/ Motoring

Only a third of new cars come with a spare wheel

Car wheel with a puncture

I’ve learnt that the demise of the spare wheel concerns you just as much as it concerns me. And our latest investigation has found even fewer spare wheels are being made available as standard on new cars.

We analysed the specifications of 8,755 mainstream new car models on the market currently. And we found just 29.5% come with a space-saver or full-size spare wheel as standard. The majority (50%) come with a tyre repair kit, while the remaining 20.5% have run-flat tyres fitted. See the table at the bottom of this post to find out how individual manufacturers are doing.

It seems that the manufacturers’ efforts to make vehicles more fuel efficient is driving this shift from full-size spare wheels to puncture repair kits. But that doesn’t necessarily make the cars more cost effective, as we discovered in our recent spare wheel investigation.

The true cost of puncture repair kits

Many new car models now come with an emergency tyre sealant and compressor/inflator pack instead of a spare wheel. The tyre sealant has to be squirted into the tyre itself and is designed to plug the damaged area of the tyre, allowing the motorist to drive to the nearest tyre centre to have it replaced or repaired.

So we contacted five franchised dealers of the five car brands offering the lowest number of new car models with spare wheels included as standard. We asked these dealers how much it would cost to replace a canister of tyre sealant.

Our research found that replacing a one-use tyre sealant canister can cost up to £50. See our table at the bottom of this post to find out the range of costs from different manufacturers. Yet the cost of selecting a full spare wheel as an option when you purchase a car can be less – as little as £20 in the case of Mini.

To add to the case for spare wheels, in our latest survey, 60% of you with spare wheels said tyre punctures had cost you less than £50 to fix, while 55% of those with puncture repair kits said it had cost more than £100.

It’s also important to bear in mind that many tyre centres will not repair a tyre that has been filled with any sealant. Some water-based sealants – like those offered by Honda – can be flushed out to allow the tyre to be repaired, though you will have to visit a franchised dealer to have this work carried out.

Spare wheels need to make a comeback

Ultimately, using a puncture repair kit will usually mean you having to buy a new tyre. And with the condition of UK roads worsening, punctures are becoming more frequent. The RAC told us they attended 340,000 puncture related incidents in 2012 – an increase of 17,000 on 2011. In fact, of the 670 people who have completed our spare wheel survey so far, more than half have had a puncture in the last three years.

We’ve already met with some car-makers to discuss the future of the spare wheel. However, the response so far is that they haven’t received enough feedback from owners voicing their concerns about the lack of spare wheels as standard.

And yet, 1,393 of you responded to our poll last year, with 93% saying spare wheels should be offered as standard on all cars. Only 1% were in favour of having a tyre repair kit as standard.

So if you haven’t completed it already, please fill in our spare wheel survey. It only takes a few minutes, and we can use your responses, as well as your comments below, to show car-makers that people still want spare wheels included as a no-cost option on all new cars.

Percentage of new cars with spare wheels

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Click table images to enlarge.


Faced with buying a new car it comes with (4) run flat tyres – no spare. I accept that you can drive up to possibly 150 miles on a puncture but I envisage three scenarios (I’m sure there will be others, probably all mentioned before):
– I have a catastrophic tyre failure that does not allow the run flat to run
– the alloy wheel gets badly damaged on a kerb or pothole
– the puncture occurs while a long way from home, at night when the tyre shops are shut, so we’d be faced with finding an overnight stop until they open.
As I intend to keep the car a long time and as I am perhaps overcautious I decided to order a full size matching spare wheel. As it’s an estate with no provision for a wheel it will be strapped down to the boot floor. Having opened my wallet I will feel peace of mind, aided by the fact that a fifth tyre will be economically useful when it comes to replacing worn tyres – I’ll end up with a worn spare.

I purchased a Hyundi i20, whiich was fitted with space saver tyre. I had a puncture and put the spare tyre on, it felt like I was driving on three wheel, I quickly changed the space saver tyre for a full sized one.
My partner has just purchased a Fiat Picanto and when I queried why they put a tyre inflator instead of a spare tyre, I weas told by the salesman that it was goverment regulations, to save people being put in danger when changing a tyre on a main road.

Just bought a 2013 Civic, no spare. Dealer said don’t buy from Honda they cost a fortune. No amount of haggling would have got be the spare, however he did increase my Part Ex by £150 towards the cost. Honda quoted £250 for the spare wheel kit, but picked one up a genuine Honda spares kit from a Honda spares dealer for £120 including the bolt, keep net and bag for the old tyre if you get a puncture and need to put it in the boot. Civic comes with a huge under boot storage area so got that filled with my spare, wrench, bulbs, triangle and Hi-Vis vests. The new Qashqai, A Class, DS4 to name a few do not come with spares. The BMW 3 series doesn’t even have space for a spare, you have to keep it in a bag in the boot.

I am in the market for a new car and was thinking of a Merc C Class. But since it does not have a spare, I’m afraid they have just lost the sale. I will not buy a car without a spare as standard or without the option (and space) to buy one….. End off. It’s penny pinching at the expense of safety.

I faced a similar problem. I simply bought a full size spare for the car I wanted (the most important bit) and keep it in the back for longer trips. The tyres are runflats so OK for shorter journeys if a problem. The cost of the wheel can be partly offset when I come to replace worn tyres.

Amit Mukherji says:
22 April 2016

I have just purchased a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and was disappointed and surprised that there is no spare wheel for the car, not even a space saver one. I have called Mitsubishi but they are adamant that no spare wheel is available. They have given many incoherent reasons for this. I am diabetic and regularly take the car to the continent for very long journeys. I really resent not being given a choice and am concerned having a puncture abroad would potentially have serious consequences for my health because of the possible delays in sorting out a tyre. Has anybody managed to find a suitable space saver tyre for this car?

I replaced my VW Sharan – 2003 with a 2010 model and realized the new one didn’t have a spare wheel, goo can or a Tyre inflator – it comes with tyres with goo already installed called Contiseal tyres- not even runflats- bad puncture means stranded. So I insisted on a spare. Basically told the VW dealer no spare no deal. I don’t fancy being stranded or paying way over the odds to get a new tyre and wasting lots of time on the road side, when it can be solved in a matter of minutes.

A month later I was visiting Lake District and had a puncture in the middle of nowhere with a cut on the side of the tyre. Luckily I had the “spare wheel” in the back and managed to fix the problem in 1/2 hour. -If not for the spare I would have had to wait for recovery and purchase a new tyre at a premium. One bad experience averted!!!

All cars must have the option to have a full size spare – customers must have the CHOICE- don’t care if it is a cost option or not. Runflats (and definitely not Contiseals) are an alternate for a proper spare wheel.

The trouble with run-flat tyres is that they are generally limited to use at 30 mph for up to 50 miles – after which the expensive tyre has to be replaced. I can see the advantage for a disabled person covering short distances but like space-saver wheels they are not a sensible solution unless you are driving a van and carry a full-size spare.

As you say, we should have the choice.

Getting a Renault Captur on motability and have just been informed they WON’T sell me the car unless i buy a spare wheel at a cost of £95. Feel a bit cheated as Hyundai have said they wouldn’t charge for this but Renault waited till i placed the order before telling me i had to pay for the spare.

There is no table?!?

Just taken delivery of a new Auris hybrid and delighted to find there’s a full size spare. Long overdue.

That’s good news but before I have a case of spare wheel envy, is there proper storage for it.

Surprisingly, yes; the wheel is located in the bottom of the Boot well – exactly where the compressor and re-inflating kit of old used to be stored. The new Auris is slightly larger than the previous, and we both suspect the space has been achieved through that and by moving the battery compartment forwards a tad. I wouldn’t want to be a rear seat passenger, especially as we both have the seats back quite a bit and I’m 6’3″ so I need the space.

My spare wheel envy is confirmed. Maybe the manufacturer has been listening to the complaints.

I hope the car behaves itself and you are happy with it.

Car prices baffle us both. We bought this one almost by accident. We’d been running a two-year old Auris and we popped into the Toyota dealer to arrange its service. While we were there, a sales chap we know well saw us, made us a hot chocolate and just chatted amiably. It was I who asked him what our current car was worth and when he told us that if we part exchanged it we could have the latest, brand new version, top of the range Auris hybrid for less than we were actually paying at that moment it was hard to refuse. So we came out yesterday with a brand new Auris, more electronic tricks than I imagined possible and several £££s cheaper, plus we won’t have to pay any road tax as we would have if we’d waited until after April next year. It was a true win-win situation, but how they make money I’m not sure.

I don’t begin to understand the motor industry. I once had a leaflet about a clearance sale by the local VW main dealer. I was passing the door and paid the marked price, though I did insist of a full tank of fuel and 12 months VED rather than 6 months – hardly haggling. Friends were impressed by the ‘good deal’ and my own research confirmed it. I’m not often in the right place at the right time.

Maybe they needed the cash flow, or were approaching targets that would benefit them. I am not a wheeler dealer, but did shop around main dealers for the “quality” car I bought last year and ended up with 24% off list. I was happy; the dealer was happy. I might still have paid a few pounds more than I needed but don’t know it so feel satisfied. One clue was my original intention was to avoid a new car and buy one around a year old. However the new car – made to order – was not so much more expensive, and I got the full warranty and the precise specification I wanted, including colour and the “extras” I regarded as worthwhile.

It did not have a spare wheel unfortunately, but run-flats. So I organised a full size spare although it has to sit in the back (estate) and I’ll take it on longer journeys – just in case. At least it can be used when the tyres are changed.

I have bought a Mercedes GLA AMG and didnt realise it didnt have a spare wheel , I complained and was sold a space saver wheel, only one problem , there is no space for this to fit. They usually go under the boot floor but there is not enough space for this. I would not have bought the car if I had realised this, I change from a Jaguar which has a full size spare wheel and I will be changing back to a Jag next car change.

Its an absolute disgrace that car manufacturers are getting away with this. I’ve just bought a new Vauxhall Viva unknowingly it had no spare wheel. I went back to Evans Halshaw to complain and made to feel that I was making a fuss and that I shouldn’t need a spare. I have had 5 punctures in the previous 2 years in my previous car so I insisted I wanted one. It has cost me over £200 to get small space saver wheel and tool kit.
Their attitude was that 99% of cars are now sold without spare wheels and you can just ring a breakdown company if you get a puncture so I should accept it. I came out of the showroom and In the car park opposite was a young man with a puncture who had waited nearly 2 hours for a rescue truck as he had no spare wheel.. These car dealers have no respect or care about a customer once they have bought their vehicle.

It would be interesting to know how many car manufacturers personally keep a spare in their vehicle. I think its disgusting to hold drivers to ransom in this way. Vehicle recovery companies must be delighted when winter hits and their workload triples because of this unnecessary inconvenience. I wouldn’t buy a car that didn’t have a spare, I would shop around elsewhere, if enough people did this it could help make the cheapskate manufacturers sit up and listen The unfortunate thing is the unsuspecting public who assume a spare will be provided (after all it makes common sense ) don’t realise until after the fact. SPREAD THE WORD

The default specification should include a full-size spare. People who don’t want one could have a roadside assistance contract instead or a price reduction. Even if you have a temporary spare the chances are you will have to call out your roadside assistance company anyway because you can’t release the wheel-nuts or operate the jack [or even lift the damaged wheel without getting a hernia] but you’re better off with a proper running wheel that can stay on the car while the damaged tyre is repaired or replaced.

A further point is that if the car is supplied with a full-size spare wheel there will be a proper place to keep it which can be used to accommodate the damaged wheel after removal. Without such a space, and a car full of passengers, where is the damaged wheel supposed to go? There really is no substitute for a full-size spare wheel and tyre.

My husband works for the RAC. ‘Wheel change no spare’ comes up on the job description far too often these days. A can of foam cannot repair a tyre that has been shredded! A lot of the jobs are out of hours so all the tyre shops are shut. Sometimes he can use the ‘Universal wheel’ that they carry, but that does not fit all types of car, and the problem is still not solved as the universal wheel needs to be given back to the patrol for the next unsuspecting motorist that gets a puncture. If the universal wheel is not suitable, this leads to a recovery truck being needed to deposit the car in perhaps a not convenient place if the motorist is a long distance from where they need to be.

This is all supposed to be about saving emissions. It actually leads to lives being endangered on the side of the road, so much time wasted, and very costly if the can of foam has been used as the tyre usually has to be scrapped.

When we buy a new car, if there is no spare wheel offered, we will take our business elsewhere.

Most cars that come with a puncture repair kit still have the original space for a spare wheel You can buy one from the dealer at great expense but it will have a brand new tyre which may never be used Try a scrap yard for a wheel and tyre for your make and model Quite new cars are written off and scrapped Much cheaper too

I bought a new Citroen C4 and asked for spare wheel! It was agreed until I came to pick it up and there was an inflation kit in it! I have had three punctures resulting in new tyres being bought! What a pain I can change a wheel but all occasions I have had to limp the car to garage to sort problem! Arrrggghh I do not feel safe with no spare! Will not be buying future car with no spare its a joke

I wonder how many cars come with a spare wheel these days.

I used to have frequent punctures and it is not funny to have to replace a tyre after about 1000 miles. Since I retired early, five years ago, I have not had a single puncture. I think that confirms my thought that it was the screws that contractors dropped in the car parks at work that were the main problem.

I have a new Citroen ds purchased brand new this year in March when I had a puncture there was no spare no inflation kit no jack no wheel brace on telephoning the dealership I was told there should have been an inflation kit but no jack or wheel brace is this correct does anyone know

It’s very hard to find this sort of information from car websites, Jacqui. If a kit should have been provided, I doubt that a dealer would supply it after all this time. Inflation kits cannot be relied on, so perhaps the best answer is to equip yourself with a spare wheel, jack and wheel brace, plus anything else that is needed. For my car I have a little hook to remove the plastic caps covering the wheel bolts and an adaptor to remove the security wheel bolts.

I have 16″ alloys on my fiat punto, can I use a 15″ steel wheel in an emergency.

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My car did not have a spare wheel so I bought a used one( online) plus tyre ( a very good tyre )but found it fit in the space for the spare but it was to big to fit flush with the boot floor The space is only made now for spacesaver wheels It costs much more for a spacesaver wheel than a brand new full sized one

My car had runflats and no spare. If I were stuck miles from home with a flat, tyre stores closed, I’d be stuffed. So I bought a replacement identical wheel for use on long journeys – stays in the back just in case. When I need to replace tyres it will be used.

Rita Carr says:
12 February 2019

A friend with a new Mercedes has just experienced a puncture with no spare. He was only a short distance from home, but It’s made him so concerned that he’s contemplating buying two new tyres to keep as spares! They’d be in the garage of course – so not too useful should they be needed! When buying my next car the spare will be my first consideration.

Doug Johns says:
7 March 2019

A spare wheel is essential to meet emergency requirements such as punctures in the early course of a journey : particularly long ones where an urgent or important meeting is scheduled.Spare are also vital in remote areas.

If pulling a trailer/caravan then the availability of a spare is vital. Again if a puncture occurs in remote areas and on a week end when there are few garages to offer assistance then having/not having a spare is a no brainer.

Caravans have spare wheels

It would be useful to know which cars come with spare wheels, either as standard or as an option.

Lamoureux says:
30 April 2019

I have a new car that I lease & a tyre split, so had to call the emergency services who then placed my car on a trailer and I had to get up into the cab. I have Arthritis, and it is almost impossible for me. The loss of the spare wheel s disgusting as we pay enough for our new cars. In future I shall only have a car that has a spare wheel.