Where the heck is my spare tire?
It wasn’t until Bob Kronberg of Carolina Shores, N.C., drove his new Kia Optima home from the dealership that he got an unpleasant surprise. Instead of finding a spare tire in the trunk, he saw a tire-inflator kit, with a small air compressor and a can of sealant to use in case of a flat. When he called Kia USA, a representative told him that the spare had been eliminated to save weight and, therefore, gas. The rep added that he could purchase a temporary spare-tire kit from his dealer’s parts department for about $200 to $250. “Had I known that, I would have at least had the spare-tire kit included in negotiations,” he says. Kronberg is not alone; many carmakers have eliminated spare tires to improve fuel economy. Some, like Kia (and Toyota, seen right), provide an inflator kit, and other
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