/ 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.

KJ says:
10 May 2015

It’s a stupid, short sighted, money grabbing, decision made by motor manufacturers that should not only be rejected by the public, the Govt, Police and motoring organisations should demand that full size spare wheels are reinstated on all cars as standard.

Twice we’ve been stuck on a long journey with only the crappy puncture repair kit that only fixes a small % of punctures. On both occasions we’ve had to wait hours for the breakdown chap to go and get the tyre replaced.

The motor manufacturers are lying when they say motorists don’t mind / care. I haven’t met anyone who feels that way.

It should simply be illegal not to have a spare tyre. That would solve it.

One of the worst decisions ever made by motoring industry – stupid stupid stupid!

Spence Coaker says:
14 May 2015

I recently had a puncture in one of the front tyres on my Mazda 6 Tourer (2011 model) Fortunately I have a full size spare so soon on my way. This is not the first puncture I have had. Normally I would have updated to a new Mazda by now but new Mazda’s do not have space for a full size spare a gross retrograde step in design. My local dealer says most people would not be able to change a wheel anyway, not the point, when roadside assistance called they will have a full size wheel to replace.
Manufacturers say that they are saving weight and therefore giving greater economy and improving emissions. I think they are saving costs, at least provide a full size spare wheel stowage so a spare can be purchased. Meanwhile they in my case are losing a sale.

tommy blows says:
6 August 2015

same as the goverment, cameras are for safety!!. we all know the reason.MONEY

I agree as I do not do this I call the AA but from taking the spare out and fitting it the time is a few minutes. A friend had a flat the other day and she said he spent ages on her tyre as comes with some can instead. I personally find this unacceptable and many have said not a deal breaker but it definitely is for me.

Nicholas Forth says:
13 November 2015

Looking to purchase XC70 in the future.

I have been driving for 35 years now and have covered nearly 1 million miles in that time. I am a Mechanical Engineer and know one or two things about cars. I consider myself to be a safe driver but in those 35 years I have had 3 major blow outs due to being unable to avoid road debris with the approach of oncoming cars. Two of those blow outs were so catastrophic that significant alloy wheel damage was caused and the tyres deflated immediately.

Having a full sized spare wheel and tyre in the boot allowed us to continue with our journey all of these occasions. An “Air Cream Glue Can” only, would have been no use at all with a hole in an alloy wheel.

Now imagine your touring in Scotland for example and your seventy miles from nowhere with no telephone signal and you have a catastrophic blow out which destroys tyre and wheel – your “Air Cream Glue Can” won’t help you and neither will your telephone.

True a space saver will assist you if you have one but the motor manufactures should be supplying full size spare wheels with decent telescopic tyre wrenches.

And another thing why are they making cars with spare tyre wells that can’t take a full size wheel and tyre ? Oh could it be because they save 5% on steel usage for that component alone.

And now lets go full circle – the xc70 is designed to be a good soft off roader. Where are you more likely to damage a wheel or tyre – Oh off road unless you hit a flooded pot hole. So why supply a space saver or “Air Cream Glue Can” ? – It does not make sense and in my opinion is a retrograde step for the car industry.

Not all new ideas are good ideas !

” a retrograde step for the car industry”

I could not agree more

Saving weight, people dont care, people cannot change a wheel anyhow. yes Guys I agree B*****t
Yet another con on the paying public.
My wife called me on the 2 occasions she had a flat wheel but without a proper spare there would have been nothing to put on as on both occasions she had driven over something. Aerosol would not have worked
My daughter on the other hand has a degree in dietetics and she’d try changing a truck wheel if she had to. Car, no problem
As to weight. Because of safety cars are gaining weight faster than the western worlds folks so a 15 or 20kg wheel is buttons to carry
Just my opinions

I’m afraid that we only have ourselves to blame here.

First, we are careless or stupid enough to buy new cars that don’t have full size spare wheels.

We then compound this delinquency by not then ordering an upgrade to a full size spare from a good local auto shop.

We then discover, as Rob did, that we have failed to adequately plan and prepare for long journeys.

Yes Derek, You have it in a nutshell. We sit around and take what’s handed out like nice little boys and girls and when we get a bit straight to the point everyone goes quiet. Thats not me. I got fed up with that years ago. If its on your mind say it and to h**** with the outcome. Britain is a great place with great people but the Gov stinks as does no spare wheel. Hows that

It’s the motor manufacturers that have deprived us of full-size spare wheels and – in many cases – somewhere sensible to store them. Many cars don’t even come with a space-saver wheel these days. Some don’t even learn that they have no spare until they have a puncture, which suggests that they don’t bother checking the pressure of their spare. They should because space-saver wheels lose pressure more quickly because the pressure is higher and volume of air lower than a normal tyre.

Perhaps governments could have worked together to insist that cars are supplied with spare wheels. Oh, and bulbs that can be changed at the roadside.

My new car comes with no spare but run-flats. As I have said in another conversation the thought of having a puncture a long way from home when the tyre outlets are shut, with limited miles driving on the run-flat, decided me to buy a full size wheel to take on long journeys. Hopefully I won’t get a puncture. If I do and stop early enough to avoid wrecking the tyre I’ll save money ( and an overnight unscheduled stop). And if I don’t get a puncture I’ll already have one new tyre to use when others wear – and a spare alloy if a wheel gets damaged. The only downside is the space it takes.

If we feel strongly enough about the lack of a spare – and I think we should – then why have Which? and its European counterparts under BEUC not taken action to put this right? They are our voice, aren’t they? Have they ever consulted consumers properly?

If action had been taken ten or even five years ago, we might have saved the spare wheel. There are some of us who feel strongly about the issue but I think we are in the minority. We may manage to save space-saver wheels on some models, either as standard fitment or as an extra.

A BMW owner told me that reputable tyre repairers won’t offer repairs on run-flat tyres because it is not possible to know what damage has been caused by running one under-inflated. I don’t know what happens in practice.

If you run far on run-flats, as you are effectively running on the strong tyre walls they are damaged and even if the puncture could be repaired the tyre wall structure is damaged. I presume (and hope) that if as soon as a puncture is detected you stop the tyre can be repaired. My main concern though is the inconvenience.

A Which? conversation in 2012 raised this issue and found 78% wanted a spare wheel. I wonder what other EU consumer groups found. Why was the consumer’s voice not made known? Perhaps consumer associations do not act co-operatively enough on these issues? What action did Which? take to support its members?

According to the AA: “… many repairers may be reluctant or simply refuse to repair a puncture in a run-flat tyre.”

I have run flats on my BMW and neither ATS nor Halfords would offer repairs on a puncture. Given the choice I would always opt for a spare tyre rather than run flats or a space saver.

As consumers we have own our voices too. We can vote with our wallets all the time.

The next logical move is for all wheels to be in up to three standard sizes and patterns so that roadside exchanges can readily be made in the same way as windscreens. Each manufacturer has their own spoke patterns not much different to the default avatars found on this site so that if the rim is damaged by a pothole or debris on the road either a new matching wheel has to be purchased or the damaged wheel left for repair – if possible – and later collection. This might not be convenient on a multi-leg journey like Rob’s. Is one spare wheel enough?

I have never quite seen the advantage of bespoke spokes because at speed all wheels look the same to me. When they’re standing still all I see is the dirt.

A solution to the wheel storage problem might be for the rear axle to carry two wheels on each side so that one can be released in the event of a front-wheel puncture.

The motoring organisations first mentioned universal spare wheels a couple of years ago, to cope with the increasing number of motorists without a spare wheel. That won’t help if you have a car with wheels that cannot be replaced in this way. At the time there were two sizes that would cover most cars.

It would be interesting (well, to me) to know the statistics on punctures. What is the chance of getting a puncture in a conventional tyre and a run flat, for example. My impression is that punctures used to be a little more common than they are now, but that might be a myth. I suppose the tyre retailers could provide numbers of total punctures a year and total annual sales of radials and run-flats.

I think there are fewer punctures nowadays, and certainly not so many full blow-outs that used to occur. But given that speeds on major roads are significantly higher and traffic denser the consequences can be much worse, so we have to rely on ever more sophisticated tyre and wheel technology to reduce the potential failure rate still further. I am not convinced that temporary fixes like sealant and run-flats are a satisfactory solution even for short distances and at lower speeds.

The state of the roads is a big concern and we haven’t had the winter frosts yet. Many of last year’s patches are cracking open already due to the weight of traffic and the insubstantial nature of the repair. LGV tyres seem to rip some patches out of their cavities.

Just avoiding, mainly by luck, a really deep hole on a dual-carriageway a couple of weeks ago we were more concerned with thanking our lucky stars than calling the hotline to report the defect. There are fewer highway patrols by police or the contracted-out maintenance service but the reporting numbers are rarely displayed.

Introduction of tubeless tyres made many punctures non-urgent (unless the object was removed) and introduction of radial tyres put an end to repairs unless the puncture is away from the edge of the tread.

At the university where I worked there were always contractors around updating and modifying buildings. I think I had a couple of punctures per year, thanks to the boxfuls of screws they were prone to dropping on campus. Since I retired in 2011, I’ve not had a single puncture.

Those with mountain bikes often puncture-proof their tyres against thorns by putting sealant in new tyres. There’s at least one brand of car tyres that uses a similar system. I don’t know how it affects wheel balance or fitting a replacement tyre.

Wave you are correct that tubeless has less urgent punctures. Tube was still popular when I started and tubeless are brill beside those
If a small object is in tyre let it stay there and make your way to have it repaired. Dont be afraid to add air if needs be. I have screwed self tappers into holes to get me/others home and it works very well. They wont come out again and once driven a few miles they can stop fizzing completely. Not all the time but it happens.
The main thing is to not run the tyre flat for any distance and if you think you have or may have a puncture slow down because a car does not control well even on run flats.
A couple of hundred yards at any kind of speed will have the insides of the side walls all ripped up and if the tyre is inflated again the damage becomes visible from the outside with bumps around the side wall which is evidence of the breakup of the fabric of the tyre because of the physical injury caused by running flat. If a tyre man looks in and see’s 100s of little pieces of rubber the tyre is for the skip and rightly so. It’s not safe.
A hole of small size and not having cut the reinforcing can be repaired usually quite easily although like most things some will make you believe that only certain punctures can be repaired safely. As to what can and what cannot be repaired, well that could make for a whole new topic.
I was a mechanic and have been repairing tubeless tyres since I was in my teens. Yes back then we learned, or at least some of us learned did to fix wheels, service engines, rebuild engines and gear-boxs, repair wiring and we done all that in 5 years and I started on £9.20 per week top line and you got to go to the local tech one day per week for free.
I have never had a failure or problem no matter where the hole was.
I have on the other hand removed tyres that had been repaired but should never have been repaired. Tradesmen and common sense again come to mind
I’ve mixed feeling about the additive stuff to help prevent punctures.
Some are not recommended for road vehicle use but for use only in agriculture and plant vehicles that operate under a certain speed.
It is good in agri tyres.
I have used it on road in motorcycle tyres and I have seen the bright green weep out of a hole before now.
I have worked with it and still do in some wheels but in a car wheel (bike the same) it has a tendency to run to the bottom of tyre whilst stationary for a few hours for obvious reason of gravity.
For the first few miles it can cause a bit of a shake like a wheel off balance which in fact it is but it will even out again and the shaking will stop.
I’ll just edit in a little addition here at the end
A couple of comments about “blow outs”.
For the most part and not unusually most blow outs were far from blow outs and most involved tube type tyres or ones that had tubes added.
I seen on a course footage of how it mostly happened
When a tube tyre gets and obstacle through the tyre and tube the tube stretches at the point of entry and the air is lost quickly. Even if the air is going out slowly the slightest touch of the bead and the tread area together causes instant destruction because the two different rolling radius’s coming together and ripping the tube to shreds in an instant.
The air is not trapped between the tyre an rim firstly because the valve is not sealed to the rim and very quickly the tube type tyres bead breaks away from the rim and there is no hope of the wheel retaining any pressure.
This can and does happen in a second.
So although the term blow-out became an accepted term it was badly flawed because very few tyres actually blew out.
They may have looked like a wreck and it may have seemed like the tyre simply blew up/out but they did not blow out. They went suddenly and everything flew into pieces at 70mph and it was a shock but that was mostly that
A tubeless tyre on the other hand can pick up a nail, screw, whatever and the rate it leaks at is usually minimal and is often noticed whilst the car is stopped or by someone drawing your attention to it. Many simply do not become a flat wheel on the move as we know it because they deflate so slowly
If the tubeless tyre is deflating it mostly does so slowly and even if there is near no pressure and the sidewall allows the bead/rim area to touch the tread area unlike the tube type there is no thin easily damaged membrane to fly apart.
There are always stories of blowouts in corners causing a spin and when over the rear tyre is flat and the bead is broken away from the rim. This is not a blow out.
Any semi inflated or under-inflated tyre can an do break away from the outer side of the rim in a corner. Whether it be tube or tubeless the effect is instant. Poof and your in a spin and if your lucky you didnt hit anything or fly off the road.
A normally inflated tyre does not pull off the rim. You can rally, race, hotrod, destruction derby and you’ll never see a properly inflated tyre break the bead.
The bead is the inner edge of the tyre where it mounts on the rim and the machine or the part of the tyre machine that breaks the bead is know as the bead breaker.
On a tube type it is little more than a strong tight fit around the rim
On a tubeless type it is both tight and also has a rubber lip which must not be damaged and that lip gives the tyre its air tight seal to the rim.
All rims have seats for the bead. The seats are hollows right around the outside edges of the rim that the tyre beads are blown out onto.
The loud cracks as your new tyres are being fitted are the tight beads being blown out over the ridges into the seats for the beads where the tyres bead locates

Might I add. Blowouts can happen but are mosty caused by a large sharp object having an instant terminal effect on the tyre
Another all to common complaint is damage during mounting and yet again like so many of the posts here on Which the staff are often ill prepared or trained and often dont even recognise they damaged a tyre.
Modern semi auto tyre machines are designed to do a job and do it well which they can but like everything it can and is done incorrectly.
I have seen tyre’s being fitted from the wrong side of a rim and although the machine often had the power to mount the tyre the stress to the bead area is severe. This can and does cause premature failure of a tyre non more so than the ever popular Sofim motorhome chassis that is almost always on the limit of weight of both chassis and tyres.
On a van of the same model the tyre are not under the same continual load so any damage will mostly go unnoticed and the tyre will wear out.
On the MH chassis the continual near limit load even stationary just aggravates the damage and bang off the thing goes. And even if the MH stays on the road the damage to the flimsy bodywork and arch area can be really expensive.
A good test is to reach right around a tyre and feel the sidewalls for bumps. There should be no bumps and if there is get rid of the tyre.
Bumps on the surface will be all too obvious as they cause a shake like out of balance wheels and that will alert you.
It really is worthwhile especially for MH owners to do this check at least at the beginning of each season before your first run out.
So if you feel any vibration make your way pronto to Mr Tyre near you and have your tyres looked at and if you have a MH make sure you emphasise the importance of the tyre on such a vehicle. A man fitting tyres with no interest in a MH jst sees a MH as a van with curtains. he doesnt understand its 3200kg all of the year and 3500kg or more some of the year and it is never 1600kg never not in 30years because the 3200 is it empty.

When I do my weekly tyre pressure check I look for objects in the treads and visible damage. A TPMS will not check tyres. It concerns me how many cars and other vehicles are being driven on obviously inflated tyres, sometimes at motorway speeds.

That should read under-inflated rather than inflated. 🙁

ex-Peugeot fan says:
18 February 2016

I am currently looking to replace my car. However, if I can’t get a full spare wheel, I just shan’t change. So the car manufacturer lose out!

I am in exactly the same position. The new version of my current car uses gunk so that is out as I currently have a full size spare wheel.

Experienced a tyre blow out on A9 north, had to use space saver – handling of car now useless – even though on rear. Garage with correct spare in Inverness which was a long 1 hour trip, also changing wheel at side of two lane A9 very dodgy!!
Insane that a full size spare is not mandatory.
Now have 5 full size wheels with both winter and normal tyres!!

Your car would fail the MOT if it was fitted with a space-saver, so the safety is obviously questionable. I don’t understand why manufacturers were ever allowed to supply them with cars, even for temporary use.

Manufacturers just do as they please and ask questions later or maybe never if no one questions their choices

i have a mercedes c class that i would replace if new mercs came with a spare wheel but i wont buy a car without one so they have lost the sale of a 40k car for the sake of not supplying a spare i cant be alone in this attitude .not clever thinking by mercedes

Phil B says:
23 May 2016

I’ve just located this debate and would like to add my penn’th worth. We presently have a 08 Focus Estate which came with a SS spare, no bloody use to me if I’m stuck in the middle of nowhere at 10pm and still 200 miles to go. I certainly don’t want to limp along the A1 at 50mph, it would be safer to change the wheel. Needless to say we bought a full spare which we have used twice in 7years with an average of about 15k a year mainly on long distance runs, including UK to Switzerland, and that is with premium tyre brands.

Roll forward to 2016 and we are looking for a new 2nd hand vehicle. I have a shortlist of about 6 vehicles, 5 of which have either no spare at all or SS only, only one, as far as I can tell can carry a full size spare, at extra charge and a little loss of boot space. So what, even if it costs a couple of hundred quid, it could save me hours of waiting around, allow me to catch my crossing or arrive pretty much on time with no other extra costs other than a repair or replacement tyre.

I’ve just rung several dealers to ask which of their vehicles will at least take a full size spare, they seem incredulous that I would even want one. With the size of vehicles I’m looking at I bet SS wheels are wonderful if towing heavy loads, be about as much use as a chocolate fire guard. Even my old trailer had a full spare wheel on it in case of punctures.

Perhaps I’m from a different generation but I really cannot get my head around why anyone would want to drive any distance without the backup of a full size spare, even if they can’t be bothered to know how to replace it themselves. To me it’s the most basic backup you can have, and comes before a breakdown service in my books.

If nothing else I’ve got this of my chest and I’m glad to see I’m not alone…

Jamie Black says:
13 June 2016

I was amazed to find that my ‘new’ Roomster had no spare tyre.Had I known this at time of purchase I would not have bought the car. Any future purchase will be a car with a spare wheel. Safety is the most important thing when driving not an extra 0.09 miles per litre ( or whatever minimal saving it is) and not being stranded on a dark cold night with either young children or elderly relatives. How this is allowed is beyond me – but then if one looks for a ‘logical’ explanation an answer will not be found that convinces me that this is right

Doug says:
31 August 2016

Like so many folk, I discovered my new car’s lack of a spare by accident, namely a bad puncture which in no way could be repaired with the useless foam injection repair kit. End results: a 4 hour wait for a breakdown truck sent by the AA; that long wait in the middle of nowhere- no wifi, no toilets, zilch; a further 48 hour wait for my car to have a new tyre fitted by a mobile tyre fitting service- punctures can and do happen after “opening hours”/ on a Bank Holiday.
What has horrified me is that when buying the car, at no point was I told that there was no spare; hence, I wasn’t even given the option of an ” add on extra” spare. Ironically , the Owner’s Manual which came with the car says that it DOES have a ” full spare”.
Clearly ,Nissan had saved money on reprinting costs as well as on no spare tyre.
My previous car was only 3 years old when I part-exed it for the new one. And it DID have a full spare in the boot + jack , etc. As I found out when I had a bad puncture en route to an important appointment.
I would never have knowingly bought a car without a spare. I suspect that salespeople even now regard the issue as very much a non-“deal breaker” for the customer. This is ominous, isn’t it? It suggests to me that unless this utterly stupid concept is not vigorously challenged very soon it will thereafter fade into the long grass. Me? I’m actually furious about the manner of my finding out.

Allan Black says:
2 September 2016

Hi Everybody
Thought I would join in the spare wheel debate or certainly the lack of a spare wheel.! Well ,recently I bought a used 2013 Vauxhall Meriva.
It has a built in air inflator and no spare wheel. I bought the car from a dealer. It bothered me as I am out late at night. I was quoted, wait for it- £270 !! for a spare ‘thin’ wheel and kit?
Well everyone, this is how I bought a full-sized wheel, with tyre including a jack, all for the price of £40 !!
I went to my local car dismantler who was so helpful. He jacked up my car and removed one of the wheels. He took my wheel and matched it with a wheel ,off a car he had dismantled. The only difference was the wheel he had was made from steel and not allo. This did not matter as size wise and fitting were identical. He then took off the steel wheel(complete with tyre) for the spare and re-fitted my alloy wheel , Of course they are probably a long way to go for you so check for your local breakers/car dismantlers in your area.
Best of luck to one and all!
PS This e-mail is for information only.

Good advice Alan. And a very helpful yard.

I would be happier with steel wheels as alloys can be problematic and damaged more easily.

At the start of August I picked up a screw in one of my front tyres. I could hear its presence as a “stone” in the tyre. The tyre maintained pressure all the way back from mid-Wales to Gloucester, so I suppose I could have driven to a tyre place after (or during) that journey.

Once home, I “investigated” the problem by removing the screw. This, of course, deflated the tyre instantly, so then I needed to use my SS spare. Without that, I would have had to arrange a repair at home.

Full size alloy spare wheels are the cheapest option. Full size alloy spares are also the safest and greenest option. A space saver for my last new car cost £225. A new alloy hub cost £240. I purchased the hub and a new matching full size tyre. When I needed two new tyres, one 95% worn tyre which would still pass an MOT was put in boot. I only purchased one new typre. I sold the stupid glue for £10 when I purchased my full size spare. My full size spare that can be driven any range and at any at any legal speed has now cost me £5. Clever but not very smart folk including all of the car companies make one fundamental accounting error. The tyre on a full size alloy spare is a consumable – IT IS NOT a fixed cost. The tyre cost is NOT part of the the cost of a full size alloy spare. However, the tyre on a space saver or even a full size steel spare, IS a fixed cost because it is only ever used to get you home.

Andrew, I agree and posted much earlier that on my estate with run flat tyres there was no spare at all, nor provision to store it. So I bought a wheel and tyre matching those already on the car and take it in the back on longer journeys. If I’m more than a few miles from home and have a puncture, I don’t want to wreck an expensive run flat, and the chances are it will happen when no tyre sellers are open. The tyre, as you say, will be used when the others wear, so the cost was just an alloy wheel. The saving is security, not having to find an overnight stay if I’m a long way from home and, hopefully, not having to replace an otherwise decent tyre in the event of a puncture – I gather once you’ve run any distance on a run flat they are unlikely to be repairable.

It I should simple for me I would not purchase a car if it did not have a spare wheel. My car is a 10 year old supermini but it has a spare wheel. This category of car now uses some stupid repair kit so I am keeping my old car until it is no longer possible. Spare wheel is a deal breaker for me. I looked at a one year old Corsa a few months ago but it did not have a spare wheel so I walked away. I would not even entertain the idea of a puncture repair kit.

Just read a post on another thread where a roadside assistance expert said it shoukd be an MOT fail if the car does not have a spare wheel. I concur.

I suppose the thinking behind the fact that the availability of a spare wheel is not an MOT test requirement is that it is a specification deficiency and not a safety hazard because a car with a flat tyre is not going anywhere, whereas a car with faulty brakes or badly worn tyres could still be driven and lead to a collision. However, I think it is important that any method of making a car with a flat tyre driveable should be tested and certified to be a safe system whether it be space-saver wheels, or run-flat tyres, or an expanding compound, or a sealant. Changing a wheel is not an easy or particularly safe operation and I don’t suppose sealing the tyre at the roadside is much easier or safer. Carrying out this task is doubly hazardous if the wheel is on the driver’s side, or if it is dark, or if visibility is impaired by fog or rain. So the best advice is to enrol with a reliable roadside assistance company and call them out if necessary. Whereas their first preference is to plug a puncture, that is not always effective and I think even they would prefer to swap a wheel than fiddle about with other methods because at least that does not compromise the performance of the car, its braking, its steering or its suspension. My view is that buying a car without a full-size spare wheel is a risk. The RAC say that the number of ‘puncture no spare’ incidents they deal with is rising rapidly [29,000 in 2010 going up to 250,000 in 2015 and still climbing] and all their patrols now carry a Universal Spare Wheel which is a five-stud, 17in lightweight alloy multi-fit wheel that fits a high proportion of vehicles; a four stud version is in development. Other roadside emergency companies are available and might have similar resources.

I think it has all been said – a full size spare makes economic sense, as the tyre can be used when others wear, sealant is no good for a badly damaged tyre, a run flat may run out of wear after a failure when no garages are open and you’re miles from home, etc…. It is just a retrograde step where the driver loses out. I keep a full size spare in the back of my estate car; no provision for any kind of spare – just runflats.

However, one spare does not cure all situations. We were going on holiday, stopped in a long queue at traffic lights, when a selfish driver who just could not wait came down the outside of the queue and cut in front as the lights changed. Unfortunately for him (but not to some of the waiting drivers’) he had not noticed the traffic light was on a small island with a steel surround that burst both his offside tyres. No injuries to anyone except no doubt his pride. Only one spare.

We had a Convo about the universal spare wheel a couple of years ago: https://conversation.which.co.uk/motoring/universal-spare-wheel-breakdown-puncture-repair-cars-aa-rac/ Nothing much seems to have changed except there will be fewer cars carrying spare wheels.

Yes, this topic does rather go round and round in small circles, doesn’t it?

From the introduction: “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….” Perhaps they were not receptive.

Had action been taken when the first manufacturer came up with a car without a spare wheel, the outcome might have been very different. Prompt action could be the answer to achieve quick wins.

Which? seems to keep “telling” organisations – spare wheels, Whirlpool, banks, energy companies, Amazon……the list goes on. But rarely does it seem to move anything forward. Many cars don’t have spare wheels, Whirlpool have not remedied Indesit dryers yet, Amazon seem to distribute products with 2 pin plugs. Perhaps this strategy does not work as well as one that does proper research and produces credible concrete proposals that can be pursued? Time for a rethink about the approach to consumers problems?

You can get a bit tyred of repetitive Convos that result in…………..?

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Patrick may best comment on this duncan.