So there I was today, at the local GM dealership sitting in a $50,000 black Camaro SS. It’s the only 2016 model they have — it’s in the showroom, of course, because you don’t leave a car like that out in the ice and snow on the lot.
I’ve decided I must have a 2016 Camaro. MUST!! I won’t be buying that model, though, which is an 8-cyclinder car with all sorts of extras. Instead, I’ll be buying a 6-cyclinder Camaro — black — that costs some $20,000 less, but the body is the same. And it is a thing of absolute beauty.
But neither the SS version nor the less expensive LT version has what I feel is an absolute necessity: a spare tire. Imagine that. They’re selling cars these days without a spare of any sort — neither a compact tire nor a full-size tire. Instead, they — a lot of carmakers do this — give you some sort of tire-inflation kit that supposedly will plug a hole in a tire and reinflate it.
So, what if the hole can’t be plugged, I asked the dealer rep.
Well, that’s what GM Onstar roadside assistance is for, he told me. You just have to wait for them to arrive and tow you.
I’ll be buying a full-size spare and a jack to go with it, I told him. I’ve read horror stories of people who discovered they didn’t have a spare tire when they needed one most — out in the middle of nowhere with a flat. One gentlemen on a car site said he was delayed for two days because of a flat tire. Yes, the car company did send someone to tow his vehicle — in the middle of the night to a garage that was closed. The poor car owner slept in the car only to find out in the morning that the garage didn’t have a tire to fit his car, so they ordered one, which arrived the following day.
The driver lamented: if he had had a spare tire, he would have changed it and been on his way 20 minutes after the flat occurred.
True, I have only had to change a flat tire while on the road once since I started driving in 1981. A couple of other times, I discovered a slow leak and used my air pump to boost the tire pressure long enough to get the car to a garage.
But I would never drive a vehicle if it doesn’t have a spare tire, preferably a full-size tire. My current car, a Honda Fit with 308,000 kilometres on the odomoter, has both a compact spare and a full-size spare in the back — even though the car was sold without any sort of spare.
Not that the Camaro has a lot of space in the trunk for a spare tire . . . But that’s another story.
By the way, I am capable of changing a flat tire, but would probably call the CAA and have them do it for me.
On another car note: You can’t judge a car by its pictures. I didn’t think much of the 2016 Camaro when I saw photos of it. But when I saw it in the showroom, it took my breath away. It is magnificent . . .
The GM dealer is next door to the Honda dealer, where my car was being serviced today. Yes, I popped into the GM dealer while I was waiting. Afterward, back at the Honda dealership, I took a good look at the 2016 Honda Civic, which is also a thing of beauty — and it, too, looks much better in real life than it does in photos.
If I weren’t opting for the Camaro, I would seriously consider buying a Civic.
I do plan to keep my Fit as well, and run it for as long as possible. It’s a 2009 model (I do about 50,000 kilometres a year) and is in excellent condition, mainly because I have been maintaining it by the book. And because almost all of the mileage on the car is highway driving. It still has the original muffler, shocks etc. In fact, today’s service was a free inspection they offer for older cars, and we finally decided it was time to change the back brakes — which were original equipment. That was the only thing that needed to be done on the car, and the dealer gave me free roadside assistance for one year.
But I’m still keeping my spare tires . . .
One more car note: I’ve been reading about the “upselling” techniques dealers trot out when you are buying a new car, such as pressuring you to take worthless electronic rust protection, mud flaps etc. It is really worth doing your homework before you buy a car . . .