If you're buying a new car, chances are you haven't thought much about the spare tire.

But Consumer Reports says that could come back to hurt you if you ever get a flat tire, because many new cars don't have one.

The publication said drivers need to check to see if their vehicle -- particularly if it's new -- has a standard spare and jack. Many auto manufacturers are no longer including them, as carmakers look to optimize cargo space and reduce the weight of a car to improve fuel efficiency.

Instead of a spare and a jack, many new cars now come with just a small air compressor and a sealant kit to fix a flat tire.

But that may not always be enough, said Jennifer Stockburger.

"The problem is that these kits don't work if the damage to the tire is in the inside side wall area. In that case, you'd be stranded until someone could come help you," she said.

Without a spare, sometimes the only option is a tow – which can cost a few hundred dollars.

"If you don't have a spare or your spare is flat, there is absolutely nothing we can do for you other than to tow you," said tow truck driver Michael Rotanelli.

As a driver, always be prepared for a flat tire. Know if your vehicle has a spare and if not, who to call in case of an emergency.

Consumer Reports says owners of vehicles like the Mazda 3 and the Subaru Impreza are in for a surprise when they get new tires because these lower-priced cars come with performance tires that are very expensive to replace. And while they offer better braking and handling, they also wear more quickly.

Watch CTV News for a full report from Lynda Steele, including how you can protect yourself on the road...