A car zooms by my 2017 Chevy Bolt sitting by the side of the road with a rear right tire flat. [Photo By Christof Demont-Heinrich]

blog logoSo, ironically less than 24 hours after writing and posting two blog entries for SolarChargedDriving.Com focused on my frustrations with premature tire wear on electric cars [“Premature tire wear on electric cars” & “Tire makers need to make better tires for electric cars”], I ended up getting a flat rear right tire in my 2017 Chevy Bolt.

The Bolt does not come with a spare tire.

This meant an automatic tow, in my case to a nearby Discount Tire. There, I plunked down $400 for two new Yokohama tires that were put onto the front of my Bolt, with the rear spots still being occupied by the OEM Michelin Energy Saver A/S Selfseal Green X tires that came with the car.

I chose to go with two new tires rather than just one because I have heard it’s better to have the same tires on the front or rear of one’s car, and because my Michelins are already quite worn after just 13,000 miles of driving in my Bolt.

I missed my 12-year-old daughter’s first track meet of the fall season due to the flat, which took about three hours of extra time, including the wait for the tow truck, the tow to Discount Tire, and the time it took the replacement tires to be installed at Discount Tire.

The tow truck driver loads my 2017 Chevy Bolt onto a flatbed after a right rear tire flat grounded me.

All in all, it wasn’t that big a deal.

However, I was very LUCKY that the flat — which occurred on the outside sidewall of the right rear tire immediately after I lightly clipped a curb while trying to negotiate a right turn out of a narrow parking lot exit into which a large pick-up truck was turning left at the very same time I was exiting — happened in a very safe, convenient place: A medium trafficked four-lane road with an extra right turn lane onto an infrequently trafficked side street. That right turn lane turned out to be the perfect place for my Bolt to sit for 90 minutes while I called for, arranged, and eventually got a tow.

Yesterday was also a beautiful clear and sunny fall day here in the Denver area.

I wouldn’t want to be stuck with a flat in my Bolt, and no spare, on an interstate highway such as I-25 here in Denver, with six lanes of traffic going in both directions and thousands and thousands of cars driving by each hour, during a sleet or snow storm at night, which is just about the worst case scenario I can conjure up for myself.

The idea behind the no-spare in many electric cars is to save weight and money. For example, just like my 2017 Bolt, my 2014 Nissan LEAF, which I had until last September, and which I also managed to get a flat in and which then also required a tow, had no spare tire.

A tire technician at Discount Tire puts a new tire onto my 2017 Chevy Bolt.

Even after getting a flat yesterday and having no choice but to wait to be towed, I am still ambivalent about spares: Yes, they are nice to have, especially a full-sized spare. On the other hand, if a flat “goes down” the way it did for me yesterday — perfect spot to have a flat, perfect weather, relatively quick pick-up and not a huge wait — 90 minutes for the tow wait + 45 minutes to replace the tire — a flat isn’t all that bad.

Then again, I would likely have a very different view of things if the flat had occurred on an interstate, at night, in a driving rain or snowstorm.

What has your experience been with car tire flats and/or having no spare (in your Bolt)?

Do you think it’s a good/bad idea for many electric cars, and increasingly, gas cars as well, to have no spare tire? And what, if anything, have you done to change things after getting a flat in a car with no spare?

Would love to hear about your experiences in the comments field below.

A tiny sidewall rip near the rim ended the life of this Michelin tire at 12,700 miles on my 2017 Chevy Bolt.

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