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Chevy Volt Flat Tire, No Spare Tire Woes

Chevy Volt Low Tire Pressure

Well luck finally caught up to me.  I made it 2 years and 3 months without a flat, but I knicked the curb on the way to the airport last week and BAM!  Blowout flat tire.  Not a good way to start a trip to Vegas.  The tire had a nice 1 inch tear in the sidewall from rubbed against a curb on a right hand turn.  No amount of tire repair goo was going to help this one.

Alas that is one of the issues not only with the Volt, but with many electric cars which frankly just have no room for a spare tire.  Even other cars today are forgoing the spare for weight and efficiency reasons.  I know my case is not the first, but I actually feel quite fortunate for the situation I was in.  I called AAA (a very good idea to have especially if you don’t have a spare)  They sent a tow truck out and flatbedded the Volt to a local tire shop.  (Fortunately one was still open).  The local Wheel Works didn’t have the Goodyear Fuel Max Tire in stock, but had it on order for next day delivery.  No matter, I was on my way out of town anyways.

The tow truck showed up 45 minutes later and gave me a 4 mile tow (out of my 5 mile allotment on AAA) and after doing some paperwork to get the new tires on the car, I caught a ride to the airport and used Southwest’s “Flat Tire Rule”  Who knew people actually needed to use it?  To catch the next flight out at no additional charge.  I missed dinner in Vegas, but in the grand scheme of things it really wasn’t that bad.

I suspect that others have had their tires burst in less convenient locations.  (I was able to pull into a local parking lot before all the air was out.)  So it leads me to think about a couple words of wisdom if you have a car like the Volt with no spare.

1.)  AAA is your friend.  The tow probably would have cost $160 rack rate.  Instead, it cost me all of a $60 / year membership.  Obviously you don’t get a flat all the time, but it really was convenient!

2.)  No spare means you can’t take the flat tire to shop and have them take their time, your car is out of service.  Also the Goodyear Fuel Max’s aren’t that readily stocked yet.  I’ve heard of a few folks buying spare wheels to keep around at home, but not sure how often this happens and whether that’s really worth the effort.

3.)  Long road trip?  The I-5 probably isn’t the best place for a flat and needing a very very long tow.  Make sure you’ve got the towing coverage or better yet a spare option.

Anybody else out there with a flat experience?

9 Responses to “Chevy Volt Flat Tire, No Spare Tire Woes”

  1. Pat Leong says:

    Go to Facebook’s Chevy Volt Owners group page, a guy managed to fit a deflated spare tire in the trunk vertically by trimming a slot in the substrate.

  2. Dave C2561 says:

    Thanks, Pat. At last I know what the display tire readout is!

    Question for you and others. I see your gas symbol says 111 mi. Does the reading slowly decrease as time goes by, even if you use NO gas? Mine does and I haven’t seen it mentioned on the sites.
    I have 13630 miles and have used 11 gal gas. Have had it year and a half. Zero issues.

    Thanks,
    Dave C2561

    • PatrickZWang says:

      The Gas Range Varies as a function of your recent efficiency. I noticed that when my expected battery range drops from full charge due to me using more heating etc, the gas range drops (or increases sometimes)

      So basically its calculated expected efficiency, but the gas range is going to vary for the same fixed amount of gas based on the efficiency model.

      Make sense?

      Patrick

      • Dave C2561 says:

        Thanks, Patrick. I didn’t know if it was related to the same driving habits/weather influencing the Miles to Go on electric. Guess it does.

        I enjoy your site.

        Dave

      • Mike Anderson says:

        The 111 miles in the upper left of the display photo is gasoline range remaining in the gasoline tank, i. e., the gasoline fuel gage. This number should have no relationship to recent efficiency. It will decrease when you use the gasoline engine and may decrease over time as some fuel is lost to evaporation. It will increase when gasoline is added to the gas tank.

        • PatrickZWang says:

          Hey Mike,

          The gas tanks are sealed. (excess air is even pumped out.) This is a design feature because GM knows that there will likely be long periods without gasoline usage.

          Maybe the software has changed, but you can definitely see your estimated gas range bouncing up and down even when you are just driving on battery alone. Crank up your A/C or heater hard for a while and you’ll see both range predictions drop, though electric is typically a lot more noticeable of a drop.

  3. Hawaii Volt Owner says:

    Thanks for sharing this story. I just got my Volt at the beginning of the month. I immediately noticed that my tire pressure indicator showed one tire with less air than the 3 others. I ignored it at first until I read your article. Took a look at the bad tire and saw a screw in it! I immediately patched it with a $3 tire plug kit I bought from WalMart. Even though my Volt comes with OnStar and the roadside assistance, will be keeping the tire plug in my car just in case.

    • PatrickZWang says:

      Hey There,

      Glad to have been able to help! The tire gauges are there for a reason!

      Patrick

  4. Andy Wallace says:

    I’ve had a total of 5 flats over my 36,000 miles. These tires are really weak. They should be putting run flats on them! Last one was when someone stole my car and glovebox contents which included the “free” tire replacement sticker for the front right tire which has been blown 4 times now!

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