Home » Why Were The French So Much Better With Spare Tire Access?: Cold Start

Why Were The French So Much Better With Spare Tire Access?: Cold Start

Cs Pug404 Tire
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Changing a flat tire is one of those activities that you can almost always assume you’d rather not be doing. When you are doing it, it’s not unlikely that you’re doing it in non-ideal circumstances, on the side of a road or late at night or in crappy weather – you know the drill. That’s why I have so little patience for tire-changing-related bullshit, some of which I’ve mentioned before. When it comes to spare tires and changing tires, I think it’s up to the carmaker to do all they can to make the process as painless as possible. You know who seems to be pretty good at this? The French!

I say this because there’s at least a few examples of popular French cars that address a significant issue with changing tires: how to get access to the spare tire without having to unpack all the luggage and stuff in your trunk. Flats can definitely happen when you’re on a road trip, trunk all packed up with stuff, so when you have to change the tire, possibly in dark, shitty weather, you also have to unpack all your crap. It’s not great.

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Vidframe Min Bottom

But the French offered solutions like that Peugeot 404 up there, which dropped the spare down under the rear bumper, or this Renault Dauphine, which could stick out its spare tire like a tongue:

Cs Dauphine Spare

The Peugeot 304 also had a similar under-car drop spare tire:

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Cs Pug304 Tire

What I can’t figure out is why this was almost unheard of in American cars? Traditionally, American cars have valued comfort and convenience, often at the expense of pretty much everything else, so why couldn’t we ever be bothered to have a solution like one of these?

Am I forgetting a car that did this? I suppose the closest American cars have come to this spare-outside-the-trunk phenomenon are in pickup trucks, which often sling the tire under the bed, or in the often-absurd “Continental”-style spare tire kits, many of which ended up being like a back deck you could add onto your car:

Cs Continentalkit

That’s just ridiculous. You could stick a couple of lawn chairs on that thing. And, I think it makes luggage access even worse! Why did people do this?

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Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
8 months ago

Champlain All you want
This is a superior solution to random karate kicks.

Phuzz
Phuzz
1 year ago

I owned a Peugeot 206, which held it’s spare wheel in a cage under the boot floor. To extract it, there was a large screw inside the boot floor, which you twist (with the handle of the tire iron) to drop the cage.
Sounds easy enough, but the screw was low enough that you’d still have to move a lot of luggage around to access it. Also, for some unknowable French reason, the slot in the screw, instead of having nice straight cut sides to hold the driver in, had rounded edges, so the tire iron would slip out approximately twice per revolution.
Plus, because the spare was just hanging under the car, it got covered in road grim, and rusted in no time.
So no Jason, I’m afraid the French aren’t right on this one.

Carpediashow
Carpediashow
1 year ago

Safety regulations, fuel economy, packaging and cost savings. I have a 2013 ls460L executive and it has a full size spare with a matching 5th wheel so when you get a flat you don’t have to ride on a different size tire or have a spare wheel that doesn’t match the rest. I also have a 2013 ls500 and it has no spare at all just run flats (which makes it ride worse then my ls460) and a can of fix a flat. In doing that the ls500 trunk is deeper, now battery is in trunk for better balance (????), less weight to help with city epa rating, and it saves Toyota money by shipping a car with 4 matching wheels and tires instead of 5. And lastly I bring up safety. Problem with most of the spares you saw above there is no way you are passing federal pedestrian crash safety with a spare in the front and don’t have to worry about a trunk mounted spare rupturing the gas tank in a rear ended accident. Or on the 2023 ford f450 max tow that can tow 40,000lbs the spare tire and jack is optional to lower curb weight in rear end to allow more pin weight over rear axle for the new style 3in gooseneck required for trailers that big.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
1 year ago

Subaru picked up a bit of Frenchness with their habit of storing the spare above the engine, plus excursions into near Citroën weird with the XT and SVX.
Personally I liked the Volvo approach of storing the spare vertically behind the rear fender well. This gives good access and easily allows carrying a second spare or using the empty well as tool storage. At one time Volvo even had a gas can that fit the space.

Birk
Birk
1 year ago

Spares under the rear floor/bed SUCK when needing one offroad. Often no room to drop it far enough. Gets beat up on the rocks and ruts. All sorts of corrosion. And good luck getting the trashed wheel back into place to finish the drive out.

Nlpnt
Nlpnt
1 year ago

Oh Jason, Jason, my sweet summer child. Jason, the man who the song “California or Carolina” was written for…David was just talking about there being a totally different rust scale on the podcast I was listening to last night.

Sure, it’s a PITA to have to unload the trunk to get at the spare, but having it above the floorpan means the spare, its’ mounting setup and the jack don’t get rusty (until everything’s totally rusted through, and then you have bigger problems than the flat).

Sean F
Sean F
1 year ago
Reply to  Nlpnt

Of the three vehicles I have had with the spare under the vehicle and not in it, the actual wheels themselves rusted away to where the tire could not keep air in 2 of them, the winch system that hauled it up and down rusted and failed on all three vehicles, one of them twice, and the tire rotted to being useless in 1 of them. Meaning there was some mix of at least 2 issues on every one of them. It got to the point that with my Dakota I just decided screw it I have fix a flat and AAA and stopped worrying about a spare. And for many of these we are talking about these issues raising their heads 4-6 years in, not talking about some truck that was 12 years old and the spare never checked.

The ones where the tire was inside, under the interior floor but not under the car, or hung off the rear hatch? No issues.

Jbavi
Jbavi
1 year ago

my ’18 Honda Odyssey has its spare in a chamber under the floor and accessible between the first and second rows. That seems like a nice place to have it (though I never want to have to use it), unless that’s where all of the cheerios and goldfish and veggie straws collect when they don’t stay in the carseat

MiniDave
MiniDave
1 year ago

Minivans (Chryslers for sure) had the tire under the car, you had to lower it down with the lug wrench, it was held up with a cable.

Jalopy J
Jalopy J
1 year ago

Some older chevy trucks had a swing out spare tire carrier.

https://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/attachment.php?attachmentid=1582257&stc=1&d=1476883121

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