/ Motoring

Discovering the value of a spare wheel first hand

Volvo wheel

What do you do when you’re 280 miles from home, have a puncture and a damaged wheel, but you don’t have a full-size spare wheel in the boot of the car?

We try to put as many miles on each car we road test, so I took our Volvo V70 test car on a 460-mile round trip to Newcastle with friends. Four adults, four lots of luggage and more sandwiches than you’d find on a birthday party buffet table loaded into the car in London, we set our sights on the Angel of the North.

However, a handful of miles from the Tyne, tyre-tearing disaster struck. Changing lanes on the A1, I managed to drive over a sturdy piece of debris that took a sizeable chunk out of one of the Volvos alloy wheels, puncturing the tyre in the process.

Limping into the next available SOS slip road, I suddenly recollected a meeting I’d had with Volvo earlier this year…

78% of you want a full-size spare wheel

Car breakdownWhen I first brought up the subject of spare wheels, we polled your opinion and took the results to some of the manufacturers who were charging additional money to have a spare in a new car.

One of those brands was Volvo, who I visited myself with the results showing 78% of you wanted a full-size spare wheel in cars.

In the meeting, Volvo said they’d not received feedback from owners complaining about not having a spare wheel, and that £150 extra for a temporary space-saver wheel was adequate on all models.

Imagine my relief when I lifted the boot floor of the V70, worth more than £37,500 I should add, to find the car had been specced with the space saver optional extra.

280 miles from home – a space saver won’t cut it

Rob Hull with Volvo wheelHowever, with speed restricted to 50mph and a restraint on distance due to the limited tread depth of a space saver, and the wheel too damaged to put a new tyre onto, the problem was far from sorted to make the return trip.

With all the technicians at the local Volvo garage in Newcastle already clocked off on the Saturday, no replacement wheel available in stock, and me due to fly to Rome on Monday morning, I had no other option but to leave the car with the dealer to be recovered. We then had to book a train back to London – an additional £172 for the four of us.

Had the Volvo been equipped with a full-size spare wheel, the issue would have been rectified in a matter of minutes at the roadside, rather than costing us a good portion of the day, a fair bit of money and a huge logistical headache.

We’ll continue to tell manufacturers that we think all new cars should have a spare wheel of some capacity as a no-cost option, and I’ll happily use my own experience to back that up.

Give me some more ammo, though, and post a comment below with your car puncture nightmare stories.

Comments

I am all in favour of full-size spare wheels. Tyre repair kits are useless for some repairs and space-saver wheels are less safe than standard wheels – why tolerate a reduction in car safety for both yourself and other road-users?
A few years ago when crawling through a busy junction, another driver in a hurry decided to whizz down the right-hand turn lane and then cut in, in front of the queue. He hadn’t reckoned on the islands round the traffic lights, and both front and rear wheels on the offside hit them with explosive results. Some people will need two spare wheels.

I want to see the return of full-size spare wheels, but we should have been campaigning for this when manufacturers started to introduce space-saver wheels, and not when even these are not provided with many cars.

We should all be aware that a car with a space-saver wheel fitted would fail an MOT test, and for good reason. Manufacturers obviously don’t think much about our safety if they do not provide a full-sized spare. And, as many have found to their cost, tyre sealant is often useless in the event of a puncture.

Space-saver wheels are conspicuously labelled to indicate their limitations, but that does not mean that these are followed. I have seen cars with space-saver wheels used on motorways, at 70mph. At one time I often parked in the same car park as a red Fiat that had a space-saver wheel fitted for many months.

I wonder what would happen if a driver attempted an emergency stop with a space saver wheel fitted. Perhaps Which? could check next time tyres are tested.

” Space-saver wheels are designed for temporary use to enable the vehicle to be driven to a place of repair. There is no maximum distance but due to the speed restriction, limited tread depth (only 3mm from new) and the fact that the tyre compound is often softer to simulate the traction capabilities of a wider tyre, the distance covered before repair should not be excessive.”
AA

And what reviews do we have of replacing the space saver tyre once used for nearly 50 miles? There is a whole can of worms here which I suspect the tyre industry are not averse to as there is now a market for spare emergency tyres. This piece from Popular Mechanics is full of interesting detail.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how-to/repair/how-long-can-you-really-use-your-spare-tire-7710515

The whole concept of the emergency tyre is perhaps a marketing mans dream rather than a practical solution. Replacing the fifth tyre with a limited use one also stops an owner cycling his tyres around so that a slow punctured tyre is not an emergency problem but something that can be scheduled in to a replacement cycle. Or simply equalising wear.

With the advent of accurate TPMS perhaps the other marketing mans dream – the run-flat will also be seen as an expensive and inadequate answer.

james says:
6 December 2013

My 06 Peugeot 307 punctured on saturday, there was an untouched decent sized spare in the boot and a full set of tools. Unfortunately the factory supplied wheel brace snapped off when trying to loosen the 2nd nut.

Will you be chasing Peugeot up on this James ?

I think the problem was probably caused by some tyre monkey using an air gun to tighten the nuts instead of a torque wrench.
I had to use an impact wrench to remove my wheel nuts from my ’12 plate CMax!

I also want a full sized spare wheel but recognise that someone pays for it. Most recently, I changed cars but bought an updated model of the previous car (Vauxhall Corsa). The body shell had not been changed and I was able to negotiate to keep the full size spare wheel from my previous car instead of receiving an inferior alternative. It would have been more difficult if there had been no space for a full size spare in the new car. If a space saver wheel would fail an MoT, it is strange that Construction and Use regulations allow its supply as a standard fitment, although I recognise that it would be better than a sealant kit.
In practice, I suspect a more common problem will be lack of experience of finding and using a jack on a modern car, aggravated by the use of locking wheelnuts – I suspect that I have been fortunate and not needed to change a wheel at the roadside for nearly fifteen years.

On Kent roads & country lanes pot holes, verge breakages & hedge brushings are an every day hazard. Covering 30,000miles a year visiting farms & rural businesses I find punctures are a common occurrence, run flats & emergancy repair kits are no substitute for a full size spare. So often punctures happen on a Friday night in the rain away from easy help over the weekend. I will not contemplate buying a new car now without a full size spare. The very least manufactures can do is offer the option of a decent spare especially essential for 4 X 4s. BMW X3 buyers take note!

I have recently purchased a Mazda 6 Sport and am dreading having a puncture as it is only supplied with a sealant kit.I understand that these sealant kits are useless if you have a tear in the Tyre and in a lot of cases the Tyre needs to be replaced.Good for the tyre companies but not for the hard up motorist.
Car companies will argue that so much weight is saved but if they were stuck in the back of nowhere and unable to continue their journeys perhaps they would change there minds.The truth of the fact I think is that they are only trying to prove that their vehicle does more M.p.g. than their competitors and boost sales.
What price safety!

Mr P says:
6 December 2013

Maybe the car manufacturers are in cahoots with the breakdown companies. Afterall, if you’re stuck at the side of the road with nowhere to go, who will you call?

Old Fart says:
6 December 2013

Listening to/reading this discussion today is exactly like listening to my father’s generation discussing the MADNESS of making cars with no starting handle. How many people want a starting handle today?

And just wait – haven’t you all worked out that no-one uses the mechanical door (key) lock any more, so pretty soon they will start to disappear too……..

I miss the floor-mounted dip switch. A starting handle on a petrol car would still be useful when your battery is nearly dead, but not practical on cars with transverse engines (as most now are?). As for mechanical keys – I have a key card and when the circuit board cracked and the remote no longer works, I was very glad of the key it held. (I found a good repairer for the key card – £25 instead of a new key at £150+.)

Malcom – for added value the car maker and your economical card repairers direction would be handy. After all saving money is good for consumers and Which Local would benefit ……

dieseltaylor – I suspect Which? would not like advertising here, but if you google “key repair Renault” you should get result(s).

I wonder how many people carry a tyre pump in their car, other than those who have one for use with tyre sealant. It is a useful tool if you discover you have a slow puncture and an under-inflated tyre. I keep a small electric pump in the boot.

Malcolm mentioned starting handles. A much safer and more civilised option is a ‘spring starter’. These are used on sea-going boats because having a battery with insufficient power to crank the engine is a rather serious problem. Just wind up the spring, push a lever and the engine is running. These are ideally suited for a transverse engine.

Thanks Malcolm. That is a huge £100 saving on a mending a broken key card compared to a new one. It may even work if Nissan [part of the same group] use that technology.

Diesel, Nissan isn’t listed on the site I’ve used, but worth an ask. They do list Jaguar X and S and Vauxhall 2 and 3 button. I’ve had 2 Renault cards repaired – last one 3 years ago – and very successful. Honest John put me on to them.

Mike says:
6 December 2013

I tried to buy a cheap spare wheel from the manufacturers. No such luck. I would not mind if they gave it as an option when you buy a car but they don’t. The in car repair kit was out of date when I came to use it on a country road. I have also tried to source a similar wheel and tyre from the scrap yard to no avail.

In the normal pattern of use of a family car, the higher mpg attributable to not having a wheel substitute is fractional overall – the vehicle is always being loaded to different levels and takes different journeys and often has different drivers so fuel economy varies considerably. Obviously, any weight saving is advantageous but not at any cost to safety and convenience.

I thought the picture of the roadside wheel-changing was not a good demonstration of safety first! Sure, tha car was in a lay-by but fast-moving traffic was very close and, apart from Rob in the distance, nobody seemed to be keeping a look-out for oncoming vehicles [the fourth person presumably taking the photo with their back to the traffic]. I think I would have tried to get the car much further over towards the left or on the verge if possible. Being off the carriageway, the car was not actually causing an obstruction but using the side-lights and/or hazard warning lights would have been helpful to passing drivers, and it’s always worth having a high-visibility vest or two on board in case of an emergency [not much extra weight!]. It not being a motorway, and Rob being a professional motorist, we must assume that a warning triangle was correctly positioned in advance of the breakdown.

Of course the hazard lights were flashing, John. I expect that the photo taken when the lights were lit was discarded because that spoiled the photo. 🙂

Of course you are right about the safety issues.

I’m glad proper precautions were taken – I’m thinking about the effect of an unfortunate incident on other drivers and passengers as much as on the people doing the wheel-change. I’ve had personal experience of losing my balance when struggling with a car jack or a tight wheel-nut on the drive at home – even with passing traffic at walking pace a stumble into oncoming vehicles would not be harmless and could lead other drivers to swerve with potentially dangerous consequences.

Sandy Meiklejohn says:
6 December 2013

I live in Glasgow and drive a Honda Jazz. I like it but in anticipation of a trip to the Outer Hebrides checked what the spare tyre situation was – none – just the foam kit thing. So thought I ought to get a spare and it cost nearly £200 for wheel and tyre. That was fine, I didn’t need it until this autumn when travelling up the notorious A9 for a quite weekend away, had a blow out. With help changed the wheel to the ‘spacesaver’ and hobbled into Pitlochry to get it repaired. Alas nowhere in the area was there a garage that could help on a Saturday afternoon or Sunday. Travelling home on the Monday got superb attention at ATS in Perth but Pitlochry isn’t exactly the back of beyond. I was OK that I wasn’t planning a weekend of driving but what if I had been a tourist?.

Martin says:
6 December 2013

Probability of event * cost of event = how much to pay.

Lets have some quantitative analysis.

Spare wheels?
Jump leads?
Spare battery?
Fuel can?

Don’t forget to add in the inconvenience – not easy to cost. If you belong to a motoring organisation then the fuel and battery issues can be dealt with, although worth carrying jump leads and possibly spare fuel. A proper spare wheel is, in my book, essential; one day you will have a puncture and we know how that happens when there is nowhere to repair it or replace it. So easily solved by having as proper spare – when it happens to you you’ll be glad you had it. Hang the relatively small extra cost, minimal fuel saving and space it occupies.

Add “welding set” so James csan repair his snapped Peugot wheelbrace (see earlier).

When driving my classic mini (sadly resting in the garage at the moment) I would carry all those items plus a portable jump-starter, foot pump and an emergency mobile phone.

Ahhh, the joys of driving a classic car!

Remembering my Mini, i’d probably carry a couple of sub-frames also.

john chesterfield says:
15 December 2013

Will AA, Green Flag ,RAC. Etc carry all sizes of wheel or tyre should the need arise for a Quick and efficient back on the road or would it be a case of towing you to a suitable destination .
Giving rise to putting up recovery charges for the sake of an extra £200 or so for manufacturers to include in Cost of Car in the first place . Shudder to think of the time wating for attention when a quick wheel change is the better alternative

Even with a spare wheel the newer style “locking wheel nut” socket used on VW group cars is difficult to use and wears quickly after a few uses.
I have had the locking wheel nuts changed for normal ones after the tyre specialist outlet couldnt remove them ! My dealer implied that he carried out this type of replacement frequently.
Alloy wheel theft isnt really an issue these days with most cars fitted with alloys.

Alloy wheels can stick to steel hubs making it difficult to change a wheel. I removed my wheels to put a thin smear of silicone grease on the contact points to ensure that I am able to change a wheel if I have a puncture.

Robert is right about the special socket adapter needed to remove the security bolt on each wheel. All my wheel bolts came out easily, but I can see how easy it would be to damage it if the bolts had rusted in.

The hardest part of changing a wheel can be locating it on the hub to replace the wheel bolts. I used a couple of pieces of steel rod as location dowels, but short lengths of hardwood dowel would do the job. I must get a couple of pieces to keep in the boot because they make an awkward job much simpler.

You make a very good point, Martin.

I don’t carry a spare wheel (my car has run-flats).
I don’t carry a spare battery.
I don’t carry a fuel can.
I don’t carry spare windscreen wipers.
I don’t carry jump leads.
I don’t carry spare light bulbs.
I don’t carry a spare wing mirror glass.
I don’t carry a spare key.
I don’t carry a spare ECU.
I don’t carry a spare fuel pump.
I don’t carry a spare clutch cable.
I don’t carry a spare exhaust.
In fact, I don’t carry a spare anything.

If something breaks en-route, I’m sure the breakdown services will be able to sort me out – that’s what I pay them for. And I suspect, on modern cars, tyre problems are considerably easier to resolve than fuel or ignition faults.

Several years ago I worked for one of the major breakdown services. I can’t remember the details, but tyre problems were about the 5th most popular reason for callouts.

Gradivus – that approach is fine when in urban areas or on main routes.
But large parts of the countryside does not have mobile phone coverage – like the Lake District.

If you don’t do much driving and are not concerned about cost, run-flat tyres are fine, but they are no use if you have to travel any distance.

Robert -Very true. But you miss the point.

In decades of (fairly high mileage) driving I’ve needed a spare wheel just THREE times. But I’ve called the breakdown services FOUR times for battery problems, FIVE times for fuel problems, once for brakes, and once for clutch. In other words, roughly four out of five of my on-the-road breakdowns have nothing to do with tyres.

True, there is poor mobile phone coverage in the Lake District if you get a puncture. But the coverage is just as bad if your fuel pump fails – as indeed mine did several years ago. So you’re just as stuck as when you have a puncture!

The Which? Conversation poll shows that 78% of its contributors who bothered to vote want a full-sized spare wheel (and by implication, a jack and wheel brace). How many want spare fuel system parts and the tools to fit them in their cars?

Many on this conversation want to increase the cost of new cars by several hundred pounds. And that would be for all of us. Can’t a spare wheel just be an optional extra?

Gravidus – It would be fairly pointless for me to carry most of the parts you list as I lack the knowledge to fit them. I can replace bulbs,fuses and tyres and I rate them as important if I want to have the ability to get myself out of a problem quickly rather than rely on emergency assistance.

Your incidence of accidents is nothing like mine which is fortunately devoid of problems other than tyres over the last couple of decades – other than tyre related.

Run-flat tyres may be comforting for some but they do have drawbacks such as they are considerably weightier and are often irreparable as people have driven on a damaged one longer than they should. Choice is restricted and not all tyre shops carry them. Other than that not much to say about them other than they are considerably more expensive to buy and may do less mileage.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2013/04/01/run-flat-tires-jd-power/2043469/

Amusingly[?] many Mini’s in North America a couple of years back were off the road as the supplies of run-flats were exhausted and shipments from the European factories had not kept up with demand. In fact in most of the US run-flats are a rare and unstocked item.

Gradius
Your experience sounds very atypical to me, but that may be because most of my mileage was over three decades ago, and particularly involving crossply tyres with fabric carcasses. Fuel system problems usually involved blocked carburettor jets for which one carried the appropriate tool for that car to allow dismantling and cleaning. Over the past 15 years, I think I have had one slow puncture and one or two punctures in about 80,000 miles but no other journey stopping problems.

Gradivus – If you know that your car has an inherent weakness it could be worth carrying appropriate spare parts.

Maybe those who responded to the Which? poll is unrepresentative. I know people who don’t even know if they have a spare wheel in their car. Some motorists only find out when they have a puncture.

I have had many punctures over the year, thanks to working at a university where the car parks and access roads were strewn with contractors’ screws. Battery problems tend to be more common than punctures. Replacing batteries before they let you down can be more cost-effective than an expensive panic purchase. The only time I have had a car fail to start in nearly 45 years motoring is when I bought a new battery that proved faulty.

briansg – atypical? Perhaps. I always take great care of my tyres (for safety) and a good part of my driving has been in low-mileage hire cars.

The last time I needed a spare was in the late 1990s. I hit a pothole that was cunningly hiding underneath a thick layer of slush.

Prior to that, I had two in the 1970s – one a direct consequence of vandalism and one the day after I bought a barely roadworthy used car.

Yes, I’ve had other punctures, mostly due to nails. But in all cases the tyre has gone soft over several days – time aplenty to get it fixed at leisure.

Wavechange

Quote – “If you know that your car has an inherent weakness it could be worth carrying appropriate spare parts.”

I’d agree. Completely. But I don’t know of any inherent weakness in my car. And I imagine that’s true of most modern cars.

Plus, in my experience, tyres are most certainly not an inherent weakness.

I really don’t want to see car prices go up by hundreds of pounds for inappropriate spare parts. Add spare wheels to the options list, next to leather seats, fancy radios and go-faster stripes.

Dieseltaylor

I agree wholeheartedly about skills to fit spare parts, the point I was making (slightly tongue-in-cheek and following on from Martin’s comment) is about priorities of which spares to carry.

However most people will rely on the breakdown services to fit spare wheels these days. All the females in my family and circle of friends would, as indeed would most of the men.

I’m not waving a flag for run-flats; i have mixed feelings. They do cost more – about £25 a tyre for my car. Given that I’ll buy one, or possibly two, sets of tyres over the 3-4 years I’ll own the car, that’s still a lot less than the cost of a spare.

Mileage is difficult to assess, of course, but they seem to be no worse than standard tyres compared to cars of similar performance levels. If anything, I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

They do give a harder ride, largely compensated by suspension design (and perhaps better handling?). Choice is adequate (all the main tyre makers do them) and I’ve had no problems with availability (large and small tyre fitting outlets).

The big drawback is that they cannot be repaired. Never. So a simple puncture (e.g. nail through the tread) means wasting (on average) half the cost of a tyre. That hurts the wallet a lot!

No need why a full size spare wheel should cost hundreds of pounds if supplied initially – and the spare tyre could be used to get value from it. As the catastrophic failure, or puncture, of a tyre is at best very inconvenient – such as hitting a kerb, pothole, rubbish in the road – and the recovery services cannot usually help, I see a full size spare as a very sensible item to carry. I’d like to see them offered as a standard fitment – other options compromise safety.

Absolutely. As with other car parts, it is much cheaper to provide a spare wheel as standard, rather than than buy one from a dealer.

I would like to see all new cars supplied with four keys. That should add little to the cost but could help owners a great deal. According to a Which? report a couple of years ago, the AA receives more calls related to car keys than tyres/wheels.

I feel sorry for Rob but at least his problem gives us the opportunity to continue pushing for full-size spare wheels.

Gradivus – I won’t argue about your statement that most people call breakdown companies to change a wheel, but I am surprised. What has society come to if people cannot do a simple job like this for themselves?

Today I will check that I can remove my wheel nuts and wheels with the car sitting on the drive, and take appropriate action if there are problems. I want to be sure that I can change a wheel if the need arises.

So why do cars still have space in the boot for a full-size spare wheel if manufacturers say they are not needed?

Some don’t have room for a full-size wheel and tyre. Perhaps we should ask the manufacturers where they expect us to put a full-size wheel with a punctured tyre if we have a car full of people and their luggage and have to use the space-saver.

Wheel and tyre sizes , especially width, have increased over the years making storage of full size spares more difficult.

Indeed, but perhaps we don’t need these large modern wheels and tyres, especially the very low profile tyres. Much greater improvement in fuel economy could be achieved with narrower wheels and tyres than by omitting a spare wheel.

The most recent loss of a tyre was due to a pot-hole and the tyre sealant was useless. My care regrettably has different size tyres front to back so I am doubly stuffed. My advice: always buy a car that has matching tyres all-around. ANd can carry a full-size tyre.

My previous tyre disaster was in 2000 hitting a kerb in Bristol at 1 am on a Sunday night on our way to catch a flight at Gatwick for a holiday tour in China. The police opined that no tyre emergency service was awake.The run-flat was not rated for the speed or distance however it was night-time, wet and October so tyre wear due to heat would be minimised and motorways require very limited steering stress on the tyre.

The run-flat got us back also once I had given it a good examination. I actually think there is a significant margin of safety with run-flats but manufacturers for legal reasons are going to give a very limited warranty on distance and speed.

* Incidentally I was speaking to a Road Traffic policeman about a fatality and he said to me he would have liked to have said something at the inquest about appropriate tyres [winter] but the standard question is where the tyres legal. In this case the summer tyres; legal but not appropriate.

* Having my son’s car fitted with winter tyres I noticed bright green dust caps had been fitted. Apparently nitrogen gas was used for inflation which I am told meant after an initial one month check would then only require 6 monthly checks. What a load of BS that is. I am not arguing that nitrogen does not permeate a tyre more slowly but that alloy wheels can leak, and at any time an errant nail could provide a slow puncture. Daft advice unless you have accurate TPMS.

If a tyre fitter offered to fill my tyres with nitrogen I would ask for a blend of approximately 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% argon, by volume, which is an excellent and cost effective choice for tubeless tyres on any vehicle designed for use on public roads. One of the advantages of this blend is that it is more readily available than nitrogen for topping-up purposes.

This is a topic that should be aired. As I understand it, because nitrogen molecules are bigger than oxygen, they percolate through the rubber more slowly and therefore your tyres need topping up less frequently. However, apart from alloy rim leaks where you’d need giant molecules tyres need very infrequent – if at all – topping up anyway. And if the oxygen does migrate out, you gradually increase the nitrogen concentration by natural maintenance. However, like Oxygen Bars, someone will pay through the nose for snake oil. But…..I am quite prepared to be shot down in flames by someone more knowledgable. Would carbon dioxide not be better still?

I’ve been very lucky in not suffering a puncture for many years so when I came to buy a new Skoda, shock horror only a tube of sealant which after use and IF it works renders the tyre useless. With that in mind and imagining being stranded in filthy weather at the side of a road/motorway I decided to invest 120 pounds in a spare with jack etc, the logic being if I had to be towed away and if it happened more than once how much more would I be out of pocket. Eighteen months on and luckily to date, probably saying this is the kiss of death, no puncture. Manufacturers can boast more storage without a spare thus promoting the versatility of their vehicle but note how they sneakily introduced the sealant WITHOUT reducing the price of the car.

My Skoda Yeti didnt have a spare wheel option ( as it was the Eco version), but the dealer just ordered and fitted the relevant parts. I would assume this could be done on most cars if there is the space for a spare wheel but the manufacturer doesnt offer this option in the UK

Christopher Small says:
8 December 2013

About this time last year I ordered a VW Up and waited 4 months for it to be built with my selection of options which include a spare wheel described as ‘full size’. I took to that mean I could drive normally using the spare. A few weeks ago I removed the spare wheel for the first time and discovered that, while similar, the tyre differed compared to the other 4 and was speed restricted to 50mph. I see that VW are currently advertising a full size spare wheel as standard equipment. I don’t know how this now standard full size spare compares to the other 4 wheels but I feel that in my case the advertising was misleading.

However, for anyone reading this comment I must say that overall the VW Up is a great little car (smooth/quiet/economical/comfortable). A bit more courtesy/convenience lighting and it would be faultless for a small vehicle (almost).

My goodness. The VW Up is a recently introduced model and it has a full-sized spare wheel. Thanks for letting us know.

Perhaps all this complaining is helping. 🙂

Having had a quick look at the VW websites, it seems that if you select certain wheels you might not get a matching spare, resulting in a speed and distance restriction, but that can at least be avoided.

Mat Tuck says:
8 December 2013

Planning ahead for unknown possibilities when touring the Outer Hedbrides, I bought a new steel rim and had a local tyre centre fit a new budget tyre to it for my Skoda Fabia Greenline (so all 5 remain the same size). I was always led to believe these ‘greener’ models didn’t carry a spare because of the saving in weight, hence using less fuel, and less c02. Well I can tell you it’s not made a blind bit of difference to my overall fuel consumption and it fits in the space provided in the boot well.

The bottle of ‘VAG’ tyre sealant actually had a best before date on it, and when I removed it, it had expired. How hopeless would that of been with a flat and your bottle of jollop as good as useless?

Do motorcyclists rely on sealant, or do they carry inner tubes? Years ago I had a Lambretta motor scooter with split wheels where getting at the inner tube to repair or replace it was a doddle.