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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?

14 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.

    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?


      • 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.


      • 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!


  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!

  5. Ismail says:

    Thanks for the article, I have had 2 flats since i have a got my used Volt a little less than a year ago. The tires go completely flat and they even come out of the rim. I slightly damaged the rims on Both front wheels. I dont understand why? the wheels still have thread on them and they was no warning about a leak or anything. For the first, I taught i hit a big nail or something but the second one is too much of a coincidence. Any inputs?

  6. JoelR says:

    Had my first flat today – really inconvenient – tire store did not have one in stock and the car rental told me I would have to wait about 6 hours- it wasnt leaking to bad so I took it home and got my pickup and took the tire off and back to the shop- IF I had a spare I would not have lost so much time running around – I wanna SPARE !

  7. Karen says:

    This is a problem, I have had my Volt for 3 months and 3 flats!! I can blame the car, but tires may be weak. First one I ran over something…..could not find it, another a nail and last night a curb jumped out at us (we did hit it pretty hard). First tire I went to Chevy and it was a bit over $200. This time I will try another place, of course that included the foam stuff, which worked great the first time, but not last night. Hassle!! But still love the car!!

  8. Robin says:

    I am happy to find fellow volt owners with the same problem. My volt’s front driver side tire just blew up on the highway, sending me flying across 4 lanes of fast moving traffic. With the terrible service from Chevy roadside assistance, my toddler and I were trapped in the car on an overpass for almost two hours.
    While everyone at the Chevy service department agrees that the tires on the boot are weaker than normal tires, no one is willing to take the blame.

    I have owned my volt for a year and this is the second blow out I have dealt with.
    Is there any resource anyone has found? I am ready to trade my volt in for a car that won’t put me and my family in a more dangerous situation than normal.

  9. Robert says:

    Got a flat, 11:00 pm on a Saturday night due to a really bad pothole. Split the sidewall. It is a pain-in-the-you-know-what not to have a spare when no tire store in the area will be open for at least 36 hours.

    I am getting a spare wheel and will set it up with a tire to keep in my garage, and to take with on long trips. That, and a scissors jack with a lug wrench.

    I get the need to reduce weight, but a blowout is too common an issue not to have a backup plan.

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