No spare tire in your new car? Four things you need to know.

You're cruising along in your new car, when bang, there's a flat tire. You do everything you’re supposed to do: Safely maneuver to the side of the road, turn on your hazard lights, lift the hood to indicate car trouble, and open the trunk to get the spare. And it’s not there! In an effort to decrease vehicle weight, increase fuel economy, and allow for more trunk space, manufacturers have been replacing full-size spare tires with smaller, temporary ones. Now, even these are disappearing in some models in favor of a tire repair kit the size of a shoebox. Don’t have a spare tire in your trunk? Here are four things you need to know: 

1. How good is that tire repair kit?

Paul Sancya/AP/File
This September photo shows a tire inflator kit (bottom) next to the charging kit in a Chevrolet Volt in Detroit. This year, more than 14 percent of new models on sale in the United States came with liquid tire sealant and a portable electric air pump instead of a spare, a trend that is growing as automakers try to shed pounds and boost gas mileage.

If you don’t have the luxury of having a spare tire, tire sealant is a possible, low-cost replacement. For about $20 to $30 a bottle, tire sealant will let you seal very small punctures. The tire repair kits include an air compressor, so you can apply the sealant and reinflate your tires. However, keep in mind that this is only a temporary fix, and an option best saved for small punctures that appear on the tire tread, not the sidewall. In many cases, a tire should be replaced after applying the sealant and reaching your destination. Be sure to read all the instructions on and know the limitations of your tire-repair kit and/or sealant. 

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