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Minivans to lose spare tire?

by Bill Cawthon on

According to an Allpar insider, the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans are going on a diet to meet Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. According to the source, the minivans are literally going to lose their spare tires next month. The temporary compact spare will be replaced by a portable tire inflation kit with a compressor and foam tire sealant. The weight difference between the spare and the kit is around 28 pounds.

Ram Cargo Vans and vehicles built for fleet sales are not included in the change.

A “corporate miscalculation” was said to be the driving force behind the change which affects about 70% of the vehicles built at the Windsor Assembly Plant. Fines for failure to meet the standards can bring hefty fines from the federal government.

As the full-size spare was deleted to save weight in the past, the compact spare is now on the endangered species list. GM began removing the spare from some of its vehicles last year, and the trend is growing as manufacturers look to squeeze every last pound of efficiency-robbing weight out of their products (while making more cargo space available).

Update: According to a second source, “Only Town and Country minivans will come with the inflation kit, and even then 30% will still have a spare tire.”

Thanks for the tip!

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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