If you get a flat tire, you probably know the basic drill: you haul your spare out of the trunk, jack the old tire off the road, and work your muscles as you use your lug wrench to take the flat tire off and put the spare tire on. Then, you haul the flat to the tire shop, where you can hopefully get it repaired or replaced. However, tire engineers are forever looking for new ways to improve tire and auto performance, meaning that the spare tire could potentially become a thing of the past. Here are some newer innovations that are making a statement in the tire world.

Run Flat Tires

What if you were told that after your tire failed, you could drive on it anyway until you could make it to the shop? Driving on a flat used to be taboo in the car tire world, but now it is a reality for some tire types. Run flat tires will not last indefinitely -- it depends on the brand and quality, but they usually will last around 50 miles at a reduced speed (50 miles per hour or less).

Run flat tires work because they have a thicker and more supportive sidewall. This way, when the tire loses some air pressure, the sidewalls prop up the tire, allowing it to roll and protecting the metal wheel rim from becoming damaged. Run flat tires are a good option for small cars that cannot fit a spare, or for sports cars that have limited storage (designer or racing models generally are engineered for the engine, the tank, and a passenger, not for hauling tires and gear).

Emergency Tire Repair

For those who don't want to chance the engineering of a run flat tire, you can turn to DIY repair kits that will patch up your tire until you can get to the shop. These kits usually come with a can of emergency sealant and an inflator. If you have a leak, a small hole, or a tear, the sealant, which coats the interior of the tire with a slime-like substance that fills the puncture, will patch things up and the inflator will restore pressure.

Neither of these options has completely replaced the trusty spare tire, as a donut tire is generally more reliable than either of these newer options. However, if you need more storage space or if you are hoping to improve your gas mileage with a lighter vehicle, you should talk to a tire sales professional for more information on alternatives to the old spare tire. If you're interested in learning more, consider contacting companies like F & H Tire Co.