by Carlos Lago, Senior Writer
A flat tire may not top the official list of "Bad Ways to Start Your Morning," but it's certainly among the more frustrating. Alas, that's how my Wednesday started with our 2016 Chevrolet Volt.
The embarrassing thing is I didn't notice the severity of the flat until I was halfway down the driveway and heard the front airdam scrape. It never does that. Upon turning the wheel, I felt the telltale shudder. Cue palm to forehead.
I drove back up the driveway and surveyed the damage. Fortunately the wheel rim didn't separate from the tire, so no need to worry about scarred aluminum. Alas the tire couldn't have been flatter unless it was two-dimensional.
The trunk offered few solutions for repair. Chevy Volts come with a small air compressor and tire sealant goo. Though the compressor was in the right spot, the goo was absent. Mike Schmidt got a flat tire in October last year, and we likely forgot to replace the goo. The dealer I called sells replacement containers (part number: 23119009) for around $50, but you can find it online for as low as $20. It's even on Amazon.com, so rejoice, Prime members.
None of this helped my situation. I had AAA tow the Volt to a nearby Pep Boys. And let me tell you: When you're sitting in the cab of a tow truck plodding along through traffic to a Pep Boys, the benefits of a compact spare take far greater significance over the added trunk space and ever slight increases in fuel economy that a small air compressor and a can of goo provide. If the Volt had a compact spare, I'd have infinitely more flexibility in repairing the flat.
Of course, the soonest Pep Boys could take a look at the car was noon, and of course, the Volt was already off the flatbed. And once again: When you're faced with the prospect of sitting in a Pep Boys waiting room for four hours, the benefits of a compact spare tire outweigh pretty much everything else.
What was the damage after all this? A small, pluggable hole that they fixed for $20, and another reminder that spare tires are wonderful things.
Carlos Lago, senior writer @ 25,076 miles