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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?

34 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.

  10. Leisa says:

    I have had the Volt for a year and a half and experienced 4 flats!!! It is ridiculous and dangerous. The tires that come with the car are just too weak! And the fact that Chevy did not include a spare or a jack or anything with the car, it’s a disaster waiting to happen! I wasn’t even told about the car not having a spare. I only found out when I experienced my first flat and I went in the trunk to find the jack and the spare. What a shock it was!! I had never seen anything like that before. I searched the owner’s manual and did see that Chevy does have free roadside assistance for Volt and Spark owners because of the fact that there is no spare, and they will tow the car to any Chevy dealership for free (see the section in the owner’s manual on “what if I get a flat”). That’s the problem though. The dealership charges a ton of money for each new tire – money that I would not have paid if I wasn’t towed there. This policy of not having spare/jack in the vehicle in conjunction with the fact that they tires are crappy and easy to puncture – is the worst thing about this car, and I would not recommend it to others for that reason. It is a bad and unnecessary risk and it’s frightening!

    P.S. The dealership mentioned that the Volt does have a extra tire warranty that you can pay for when you buy the Volt. If you’re considering buying, this is probably something you will need.

  11. Cheryl says:

    I just had my second flat tire after owning my Volt 10 months on my way to work. I wasn’t told that there wasn’t a jack either and the first time I went nuts trying to find it.
    I did buy the extra tire warranty luckily, but the service department repaired the tire the first time. This same tire went flat today while I was on the expressway going 70, 50 miles from home. No accident, but I lost control for a minute and was certainly frightening. I want a new tire this time, but I agree the tires must be fragile. I’m wondering if I should look into run flats.

  12. Jim Young says:

    I’m wondering if it is the extra 500lbs of battery that makes the tires so weak? I just hit a pothole today and blew it out. I was not happy I had to have a tow.

    I thought about a donut, jack, and tire wrench to keep in a nice “box”. But the donut wouldn’t work on the front because it is too low and probably would drag with the donut? Just guessing.

    This really is an inconvenient problem especially since the tires seem to blow really easily.

  13. Angie says:

    4 car payments and first flat. I didn’t know there was no spare?!? Nor did I know there’s an issue with tires. Are there better tires out there? I drive 120 miles daily five of 7 days. I can’t have tire issues.

  14. Steve says:

    I got a set of 4 stock volt wheels I am keeping one in my garage and for long trips. but will sell the other 3 stock volt wheels in new condition for 150$ each if someone is interested. Steve 562-301-4980

  15. Mike C says:

    I’ve had my Volt for 2 weeks. I love it. We were leaving on a vacation at 9 PM Thursday night – Had a small puncture in my front passenger side tire. No spare. Had to be towed home in another city. Upon return had to be towed again (free from Chevy’s free tow – down to a Chevy Dealer. Was told it was a puncture – near sidewall – therefore a road hazard and unrepairable (new tire)I had to purchase a new tire approximately $145. Cheaper tires available but not through them and not until could be ordered on Monday 3 days later.

    IMPORTANT for other Volt owners to be aware of – I was told that if you use the little pump in the truck of Volt – it contains a special gooey sealant that once pumped into your tire/wheel – will decommission the tire air pressure sensor – which costs a bit over $90 to replace.

    WISDOM = purchase a full size spare to be somehow available and have a jack usable with your Volt. ALSO – carry an inexpensive puncture tire repair kit – (small enough to carry in the “trunk” to repair any puncture hole – instead of the supplied puncture repair pump that will result in the further need of replacing a $90+ air pressure sensor.

    I’d love to find a lightweight tire and jack that could be used in a flat tire situation.

    If anyone is aware of a rugged and high quality tire proven goo on the heavier weight of the Volt – I’d love to know about it.

    Thank you all for taking the time for your responses here.

  16. Kym says:

    I have leased my Volts for a bit more then 3 months. Had a nail punctured tire within a months and repaired. Now all 4 tire pressure a down starting with the one that was punctured before. In my last 25 years of car driving, I have never gotten a flat tire. If the tire quality is the problem, I wonder Chevelot should take responsibility of that. I think the situation should be taken care as a recall issue.

  17. Ruben of the desert says:

    How is it possible that in this day and age of elite computer designed automobiles still end up with big problems on the road?
    I’m on the freeway traveling at 65mph. and I see the car in front of me losing the hitch ball extension. It landed in the middle of the lane. I figured I would clear the piece of square metal pipe with the hitch ball attached since it is only about two inches square. Baamm !!! It hit the bottom of my car and flew up in the air and went over the driver’s side view mirror of the car behind me. A little more to the center and it would have hit that driver in the middle of the face. What are your chances if a piece of metal of about thirty pounds hit you in the face at 65mph? I think it would take your head right off or explode your head. I contacted the Volt’s manufacturer and asked them if I could use larger tires to increase the height of the car and they said that I can’t do that and can’t increase the height of the vehicle either. Sometime after that I get a flat tire and in shock I find no spare tire. This is stupid. First manufacturers shrink the spare tires to toy tires and now they take it out completely. This is stupid but understandable since toy tires are junk. Why don’t they take the steering wheel away next? Please don’t let those engineers read about my steering wheel comment. Now, the grand finale. The guy with the tow truck is trying to figure where to hook up the car to pull it on his truck. He says the car is too low and he can’t see where to hook it up. He had to put his face on the pavement on this beautiful spring morning to be able to find a spot to hook it up. I live in Arizona where the temperature can reach 120deg.F in the shade but much hotter on the pavement. You can’t put your face on the pavement year round or you will leave your face on the pavement. What kind of engineers designed this car? I had just talked to a car salesman about a new Volt but I just changed my mind. Maybe, Tesla next?

    • Jacques125 says:

      There’s a hook provided with my Gen 2 which screws on to the front of the car. I had a blow out today due to a pot hole and had to be towed.

  18. mary frank says:

    You have to be flat-bed towed, not regular towed for any hybrid car. The tow truck driver should know that!

  19. elizabeth shipley says:

    Just exp. my first flat on the upper left driver’s side. Called the dealer who said to have it towed or drive it so they could find out what the problem was. Fortunately my late husband and I had bought an air compressor many years ago just to keep our car and bike tires inflated. So got out the compressor, got the tire up toe 38 psi, drove to the dealer, hoping that I would not get a flat, and they found a small puncture hole in the tire. Fixed it and it’s fine. Had no idea the car had no spare. Also called Geico and immediately purchased roadside assistance ins. for $25./year. I only drive a few thousand miles a year and am not sure I would recommend a volt to anyone. I am seriously thinking of selling it

    • brian lindberg says:

      i leased mine, and learned about no-spare when i was taking delivery….might not have done it had i known….this is simply incredible stupidity….

  20. Volt2013Fan says:

    I thought I was alone. Only 22,000 miles on 2013 Volt and I’ve had to replace two of the Goodyear tires the car came with. There’s obvious a problem and Chevy and/or Goodyear need to put a recall on these tires. They’re clearly not safe. Also, we need options for adding an aftermarket spare to the trunk space. Side note: Still love the car though.

  21. David Dawley says:

    It appears the Goodyear tires GM put on the 2013 Volt are dangerously below normal durability as the FL tire had to be replaced at 17K miles followed by the RR failing at 24K miles. Despite the usual pothole and road debris encounters my previous set of Pirelli P4s ran 115K+ miles failure free and the Michelins I had before them lasted 64K miles without a failure. Additionally, I see my two remaining factory tires are down to 6/32 to 7/32 of an inch tread after only 24K miles which might explain the Volt’s distressingly poor grip in rain & snow. To put that in perspective, the aforementioned Pirelli tires still had from 5/32 to 7/32 of an inch tread left when at 115K miles. The more recent replacement cost $168 which is ridiculous to begin with, but having them need replacement at the rate of one tire approximately every 6K to 12K miles makes it worse. I think GM owes it to the people who bought its Volt to replace these hazardous failed attempts at a tire or, at the very least, provide them a spare and jack.

  22. David Dawley says:

    This note is supplemental to my note of 01/03/17. As if the previously mentioned 2 failures in 7K miles was not annoying enough, the tire that replaced the second failed tire also sustained damage deemed unacceptable to repair only about 200 miles after it was installed. Based on the ’3 strikes and you are out’ principle I declined to throw good money after bad on these weak tires. As Chevrolet was only willing to sell me a tire identical to the 3 that already failed very prematurely and refused even to concede 3 failures in 7.5K miles is unusual, never mind 2 in 200 miles, I called Goodyear directly. Unlike Chevy, Goodyear cares about customer support and satisfaction and replaced all 4 of their Assurance Fuel Max tires with their superior Assurance TripleTred tires for $181 more than Chevrolet wanted to charge me for one untrustworthy Assurance Fuel Max tire. Having put 70K miles on a set of previously owned TripleTred tires without a single failure under virtually identical conditions to those I used the Fuel Max tires under I can say with confidence that they are not only much more damage resistant, but they are also far more durable and much better tires in rain and snow while being only marginally noisier and rougher than the otherwise inferior Fuel Max. Chevy, btw, seemed to maintain their air pump and can of sealant are a totally adequate substitute for having a spare tire in the first generation Volts, but obviously they do not believe that as I see they felt compelled to offer spare tires in the second generation Volts.

  23. Lisa says:

    I have only owned my 2017 Chevy Volt for three weeks. Last night on the highway going about 50 mph I hit a small pothole and my front left tire blew out. I was shocked when I opened the trunk and found there was no spare, only “a kit.” About 5 pages in the owner’s manual were devoted to how to use the kit, but it was too dark to read and I noted it did say for severe damage the kit would not work. I called roadside assistance and the driver told me that he could not help me use the kit because of legal liability issues: if I hit someone after using the kit, he would be liable and could lose his job. Since I did not have a spare, I had to have the Volt towed to my house. Missed a full day of work. This is crazy. Can someone recommend what tires I should buy to replace these? I also want to buy a spare.

  24. paul choi says:

    We had a flat at 10:30 on a Friday night. I pulled off the freeway and into a gas station. By that time the tire was a little mangled and the flat repair only got us back to the freeway on ramp. We left the car on the shoulder and called a cab. Came back the next morning and fixed the flat. I bought a used wheel and new tire for a spare. Also carry a small hydraulic lift and a lug wrench.

  25. Mohinder says:

    Brand new chevy just fews weeks out of the lot. Had a tire blow out with a slight hit to the curb on right turn to my office parking lot. Used sealant but tire would not inflate. Called chevy service and they would only tow to the dealer. Took it to the dealer and they brought up initial issue of now sealant gumming up the sealant. Ahhhh. It all seemed liked a scam.

    Have been using my infiniti on the same turn to office without any flats for years. Something is fishy about these tires.

  26. David A says:

    This was the exact thing that happened to me last April as I was on my way to the Airport, and heading out of the country with my Chevy Volt Mark II. I hit a curb, and no spare to be found. I didn’t bring my AAA card since I was going out the country, but I won’t do that again. Luckily, there was someone around who was working and saw the whole thing, who happened to have a AAA card.

    Chevy should fix this issue.

  27. Zinnia Harrison says:

    Same rear tire blow out on my 2017 Chevy Volt. I used On Star and advised them I needed a tow. They asked if I had a spare and I said No, the tire repair goo isn’t going to fix the tire. My VIN was given to the tow company and after answering ALL the questions – they sent a guy in a car out to replace my tire. UGH! With a child in the car with me, I now have to call back and get real help which is another hour plus. My first OnStar experience is HORRID. It sounds like I should get AAA again.

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