FORT MYERS, Fla. - New government regulations could leave you stranded on the side of the road. Imagine getting a flat tire, popping the trunk to find your spare, and instead you find nothing.
They tow our most precious cargo, but far too often we take our cars, and more specifically our tires, for granted. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 70% of Americans don't frequently check their tire pressure. Which leads to nearly 60,000 accidents every year. Dan Herman, the Fleet Manager with AAA in Fort Myers, says there's something else most drivers don't realize.
"A lot of people have no idea that they don't have a spare tire," said Herman.
Every major car manufacturer has new models that come without a spare tire. And some industry experts say the spare could soon be a thing of the past.
Due to new federal fuel economy standards, many car makers are dropping weight. And opting for an inflator or sealant kit, instead of a spare tire.
Ken Martinsen of Fort Myers was surprised when he looked into the back of his 2009 Mini Cooper this week.
"I didn't know it didn't have a spare. I saw the tool kit in there and I just assumed the tire was underneath the car," Martinsen said.
He assumed wrong. Martinsen's car doesn't have a spare or a patch kit. Which means if he has a flat he has to be towed.
"God forbid you do shred the tire it would be nice to get out on the side of the road and put on a new tire, but it ain't happening here," Martinsen said.
It can also be dangerous and time consuming.
"You get a flat tire on the interstate and you call us out. We come out there, pop the trunk, and you don't have a spare...now we have to get you a tow. And now you're out there a little bit longer than you're supposed to be," said Harmen.
Even if a car comes with a sealant drivers like Anver Suleiman admit they have "no idea what to do."
AAA recommends you change the sealant every five years and immediately after use.
The lesson from Herman, before you go back on the road, check your trunk.
"Whatever car you have, check and see. Even if you have a spare, check to see if it's inflated. Because of the heat they get deflated."