The writer is a freelance automotive journalist.
To the Editor:
As someone who does most of his long-distance driving on two-lane back roads where cell phone service is iffy, I was glad to see Edward Lapham's April 11 column take issue with the ongoing phaseout of spare tires.
Even if a full-sized spare tire never gets mentioned as a "want" like styling, safety or fuel economy in new-car-buyer surveys, I would bet there are still a lot of motorists who consider such a tire -- or at least the ability to fit one purchased separately in the trunk well -- a must, along with a compact, easily handled jack.
I wonder: In the absence of one or both in an unfamiliar rental car, how many airport-bound travelers have missed flights that had cost them hundreds of dollars? Lapham should consider himself lucky that a breakfast meeting was the only thing he missed.
As long as an automobile can be beached like a whale by a pothole or a tiny piece of road debris, dispensing with the spare and the jack is akin to putting the cart before the horse.