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Fun fact: did you know we typically test over 80 new cars and trucks every year? And over time we’ve noticed that full-sized spare tires were going the way of the VCR, replaced with temporary spare tires--commonly called “donuts.”

Aside from the fairly obvious smaller appearance, you can also identify a temporary spare by the “T” designation that appears in front of the size shown on the sidewall of the tire.

These diminutive tires operate at higher pressure to provide the load capacity of a full-sized tire. They save room and more importantly save some weight, which helps improve a vehicle’s overall fuel economy.

About 4.5 percent of our tested cars came with a tire repair kit, which works fine if you have the classical small nail puncture in the tread. But if you’re like us, we find most of our flats are caused by sidewall cuts from pothole or curb damage. If this happens to you, then you are out of luck and will need to have a cell phone handy to call a tow truck. (Read about our recent experience: “Hyundai Elantra leaves me flat.”)
What kind of tool kit should the Mazda 2 have do you guys think? I personaly would rather have the spare inflation kit and a air compressor as it much quicker and safer than sitting on the side of the highway changing your tire, you spend less time out side and more time just waiting for the air compressor, and it also is easier for people also as changing a spare on gravel or none flat part of the road would suck even more and is also extremely dangerous!
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I'll keep my donut spare. While fix-a-flat and/or a tire inflator is great, I've had two flats where they would have been useless. Banding strap sliced open a tire and a large bolt made a hole in the sidewall of my tire. Both situations would have left me stranded and auto clubs really don't serve my area since it's about a 2 hour wait based on reviews. Yes, removing the spare would save weight but you could do the same by swapping steel wheels with alloys. The Mazda2 is already down to around 2300 lbs. Sadly, I think more cars will go this route but the sole reason by the manufacturers will be to delist the spare just to save a few bucks.
 

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As for my tool kit in my Mazda 2, I am adding weight to mine. As bananaboat said, the 2 flat I had, a Fix-a-flat would not have worked. Both were sidewall failures. But just in case, I carry a bottle of the stuff, if not for myself, to help another motorist on the road. I also keep an air compressor in the car. How many of us regularly check our spare for proper air pressure? My first flat, I put on the spare and it was flat with no air as I never checked. Still drove slowly home with it as the wheel I took off was destroyed.

Phil
 
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