Spare tires scarce in new vehicles

Do you have a spare tire? Are you absolutely sure?

More than a third of new vehicles do not come equipped with a spare tire, according to AAA, and it’s something drivers find out when it’s too late.

“The were surprised. I get on the scene and they realize there’s no spare in the vehicle, and I have to end up calling a tow truck for them,” said AAA roadside assistant Jay Hargraves.

Instead of a spare tire in the trunk, motorists will find a tire inflator or fix-a-flat kit, which won’t help in all cases.

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“It’s not that the kits don’t work, it’s that they only work when a flat is caused by something stuck in the center tread,” AAA’s Cindy Antrican said in a news release, “when there’s an open puncture, damage to the sidewall or a blowout, the kits are useless.”

Manufacturers began removing spare tires about a decade ago to make vehicles lighter and improve fuel efficiency, according to AAA.

“I would be shocked if I thought I had one and I’m stuck on the road somewhere. I would not be happy. That’s one of the things I’m going to check when I purchase a new car,” said Linda Miles of Kettering.

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If you are missing a spare, ask the dealership if you can purchase one.

If you plan to do without- make sure you familiarize yourself with the inflator kit so you are ready if a flat fiasco happens to you.

Get smart about your vehicle

Your vehicle is likely equipped with safety features to protect you as you navigate snowy and icy roads, but you may not know what they are or how they work.

There’s a new online tool designed to be a one-stop shop to learn about your vehicle’s safety features, safety ratings, and open recalls.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website has been overhauled to bring automobile information from several sites into an easy one-stop shop.

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Tamara Hall of Trotwood checked out her Chrysler 300 on the site and found out the vehicle has two open recalls that have yet to be fixed.

“I don’t know much about the car, or cars period, so I feel like this is very informative to me,” said Hall.

It will be invaluable to car buyers, too.

“A parent standing in a car lot looking to buy a car for their teenage driver can immediately check for any open recalls as well as safety ratings of the car,” said NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind.

Enter your VIN or vehicle make and model at NHTSA.gov for specs on your vehicle.

Shady supplements

The FDA is raising concerns about the hidden dangers that may be lurking in your workout and bodybuilding supplements.

There are hundreds of reports of adverse effects from supplements over the last seven years with 35 cases of serious liver injuries, according to the FDA.

The FDA has found that some supplements sold online or over-the-counter typically marketed as “enhancers” or “steroid alternatives” actually contain hidden synthetic testosterone otherwise known as anabolic steroids.

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“It’s scary what patients are buying over the internet,” said Dr. Josh Ordway of Franklin Family Practice, Premier Health, “any of the supplements you buy over-the-counter or online aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration so you never really know what you are getting.”

The hidden steroids can be life threatening, according Dr. Ordway.

“In the right amount they can cause heart attack, stroke, blood clots and some kidney and liver damage,” said Dr. Ordway.

“It’s unbelievable. I can’t believe a company would do that to you that’s really bad for you,” said competitive weightlifter Nick Gilmore of Germantown.

The FDA does pursue enforcement action against illegal supplement sellers, but many of them change names, change labels, and change websites quickly- making it a challenge.

Speak to your doctor before taking any enhancers or supplements, and report any adverse affects to the FDA.

Eclipse countdown

If paper eclipse glasses are proving to be hard to find or too expensive- there are other options. Find out what types of welding goggles are approved to protect your eyes right here.

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Rachel Murray is a WHIO-TV consumer reporter. You can watch her reports on News Center 7, follow her on Twitter @RMurrayWHIO, and like her fan page on Facebook.

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