Beyond round and black

by Ernie Hernandez on December 19, 2011

Bridgestone EP422

A discussion on the lack of a Nissan LEAF spare tire

Nissan LEAF rolls on the latest technology low rolling resistance Bridgestone EP422 tires. It has no spare tire. This last bit of information sometimes causes concern. If one thinks about it for a moment, there is really not too much need to be concerned. Let us explain why.

Currently, the Nissan LEAF is not really designed to be a long range vehicle. In other words, it is unlikely to be put in service to shuttle your family from Southern California to Colorado for the annual family snow fest. This being the case, you will likely be using the vehicle to get back and forth to work, get the kids to school, and other typical daily driving chores. Most of these will not take you too far from home. So why no spare tire? Good question.

In any vehicle, electric or conventional gasoline powered, weight reduces range and efficiency. The LEAF does not defy physics in this regard, and thus adheres to this same law. By eliminating the spare tire, weight is saved, and range and efficiency are incrementally improved. Nissan includes in every LEAF what we affectionately refer to as a spare tire in a can. Never under any circumstances should you ever use this stuff. Why not? Let’s take a look at what Nissan has to say (on page 6-2 of the 2011 Nissan LEAF owner’s manual):

  • Do not inject any tire liquid or aerosol tire sealant into the tires, as this may cause a malfunction of the tire pressure sensors.
  • If you used the Emergency Tire Sealant to repair a minor tire puncture, your NISSAN certified LEAF dealer will also need to replace the TPMS sensor in addition to repairing or replacing the tire.
  • NISSAN recommends using only NISSAN Genuine Emergency Tire Sealant provided with your vehicle. Other tire sealants may damage the valve stem seal which can cause the tire to lose air pressure.

Convinced now?

TPMS stands for Tire Pressure Monitoring System. Each tire on the LEAF has a sensor mounted to the valve stem inside the rim of the wheel. According to one internet site that we found upon a quick search, the TPMS sensor replacement cost is roughly $130. Plus installation. All that so you don’t have to wait for a tow? We don’t think so.

What to do if you get a flat? Call the Nissan roadside assistance line (free for 36 months upon acquisition of your LEAF). The number is in your Warranty manual – you know… the one that you took out and put in your desk drawer at home. That phone number is currently 1-877-No Gas EV (1-877-664-2738). Good thing you’ve got a smart phone with access to Living LEAF so you can find it here. Walk to the nearest coffee shop, order your favorite beverage (or at least the one that they’ll offer you at a coffee shop) and wait for your ride.

There is no good reason to use the spare tire in a can provided. In fact, a good prevention to avoid temptation is to take it out of the car, thereby saving even more weight and gaining incrementally improved fuel economy and range.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sasparilla December 20, 2011 at 9:05 am

Thanks for the heads up on the damage the can of goop would do if used.

I wouldn’t be surprised if space (trunk area) was the reason Nissan kept the tire out (besides a little benefit on the weight). I believe the Volt is the same way.

Frankly I hate the fact that a spare tire isn’t included and hope that changes in the future.

If Nissan had an option to add in a spare tire (say $250), I have a feeling alot of people would take it and get one in their Leaf (I certainly would).

Reply

Mike Mociun January 20, 2015 at 1:13 pm

Also, Nissan will charge you $200 to replace the can of goop. And it seems the bottle of goop has to be screwed into the pump to get it to pump air into the tire, which is also bogus.

Reply

Ernie Hernandez January 21, 2015 at 7:45 am

Mike – Welcome to Living LEAF. I’ve just never been a fan of the stuff. It can play havoc with tire/wheel balance also.

Reply

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