Rental cars do not always have spare tires

newsroom@islandpacket.comMay 4, 2014 

Having just survived a car blowout on Interstate 95 near Fayetteville N.C., I discovered I am one of the few who are surprised that a rental car would not have a spare tire. Intentionally.

I managed to steer off the highway far enough to get out of the car without being hit by any of the tractor-trailer trucks roaring by. The tire blew completely off the rim. Opening the trunk, I uncovered a manual that instructed how to change a tire -- but no tire. In the well where the spare was to go, there was a block of form-fit Styrofoam that had a gadget to inflate a tire low in air, but no tire.

Another car stopped on the other side of the four-lane highway and darted across to me.

His comment: "Man, no wonder that blew. There's hardly any tread."

My comment: "No spare either."

His comment: "You're kidding me!"

About three hours later, another rental car was delivered from Raleigh. It had a spare tire, but the delivery guy wasn't surprised the original rental car didn't. "Lots of the rentals don't," he said.

I contacted the rental car company and said, "You put my life in danger just so your company could save a couple bucks."

Their response: "We would never put a customer in danger just to save a few bucks."

My response: "So why else would the rental car not have a spare tire?"

Their response: Silence.

Dennis Malick

Hilton Head Island

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