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1974 Plymouth Valiant - 2013 Dodge Dart - 2013 Chrysler 300C
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I don't want what I said earlier to be taken the wrong way. I fully believe cars should have spares.

In the past, the donut spares have been more than enough for my needs. Obviously, if you drive 250 miles away from anything, a donut spare won't cut it.

That said, if you want to be paranoid, by all means replace your spares every five years. I have not found that to be called for yet. The donut spare in our Escort was well over ten years old (and near its 250 mile lifespan) when we got rid of the car, and it still worked fine. But you do need to take out the spare and check it at least once a year, I think, after the car is five years old.

If I lived in the desert, I'm sure I'd feel differently.
 

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1974 Plymouth Valiant - 2013 Dodge Dart - 2013 Chrysler 300C
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On the '89 Escort, they did have pretty big warnings on the donut spare, which we used every two-three weeks.

That car was a true POS...

Local tire shops had a hard time keeping the tires and wheels in stock. Funny size tire, as I recall. Lots of demand. The wheels were just not up to New York pavements, as they were at the time (they are far better now).

THe Neon, as I recall, had large-print warnings as well. I never used the spare on the Neon, but I did use the jack now and then.

My last few cars all had unidirectional tires which made the five-way rotation impractical.

Norm, though, you'd be proud of me for this: I replaced the early-1980s spare tire on my Valiant with a brand new tire! even though it held air, it just didn't look long for the world. (I think I bought the only 1974 Valiant that still had two of the original tires on it, along with two snow tires from, if the receipts are accurate, 1983.)

I think our 300M had a full size spare, which I never ever used. It kept pressure, I might have had to fill it once over the course of eight years, and still looked new. I did take it out now and then and move it around, okay, partly so I could use the jack ;) There's something to be said about keeping the jack underneath the spare.

Remember Subarus keeping the spare on top of the engine? I never thought that was a great idea.
 

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1974 Plymouth Valiant - 2013 Dodge Dart - 2013 Chrysler 300C
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Full size spares started to disappear when standard tires exceeded 14 inches. Coincidence?

Actually I'd rather have a donut in my Valiant... and get some trunk space ;)

When wheels cost $500+ I can see why they'd use donuts, too.
 

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1974 Plymouth Valiant - 2013 Dodge Dart - 2013 Chrysler 300C
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Ha ha. Sounds like my '74 Valiant. Except I only had two original tires and it came with two spares. Two of the tires were snows from the early 1980s. It's one of those that died on its trip to my house from where I bought it.
 

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1974 Plymouth Valiant - 2013 Dodge Dart - 2013 Chrysler 300C
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Well, I'm all for having a spare, I just don't think it's the end of the world to NOT have one.

Having now heard of two OEM jacks failing, one Ford and one Dodge, I'm thinking of testing out our own OEM jack.

I use bottle jacks when I can but they really are too tall for most modern cars. Works fine for the minivan and Valiant, but didn't work for the Neon and I doubt it'll work for the 300C. (I can't recall what I used for 300M, probably the scissor.)

And btw, the scissor jacks are a huge improvement (when they don't source them to Cheapest China Company Ltd) over the ladder jacks...
 

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1974 Plymouth Valiant - 2013 Dodge Dart - 2013 Chrysler 300C
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A bud of mine that works at Toyota and drives a company-supplied Prius Plug-In (which doesn't carry a spare either) had three separate flats within a two-week span.
I don't even want to know where he works. Something must be wrong with the car (bad wheels? bad tires?), the driver, or the roads...

Seriously. I mean, take a poll, I'll bet 90% of respondents haven't had a flat in 20 years.

Some cars are bad, though, for flats, I'll give you that. My wife's Escort had a flat every three weeks or so. Wasn't like she drove it badly. Different wheels. We traded for the Neon, that never had a flat.
 

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1974 Plymouth Valiant - 2013 Dodge Dart - 2013 Chrysler 300C
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I'm still amazed at the idea of having more than one flat in a month.

Again, though -- my wife's Escort could get a flat tire and a bent rim on a perfectly smooth road, I think. I have never seen such a POS on wheels that wasn't made in Italy before 1990. Yes, I'm including Yugos.

At 20,000 miles, the car was just about dead. Every major system had problems. Only the body was in good shape. Fuel injector acting up, engine having issues, -- oh, the transmission was still good, but the suspension was shot. We'd replaced three wheels, I think, and countless tires. The car was costing us around $500 a month with no car payments.

Going to the Neon saved us $200 a month for three years and around $450 a month afterwards. It was rock solid reliable in comparison. Never a single flat. Had the windows adjusted six times at the dealer, then one final time at an independent glass shop for $75, and they never had a problem again. Brake pads and rotors, 105,000 miles or so and they didn't really need replacing. Shocks, struts were OK at the end; replaced one engine mount.
 
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