Getting a puncture has to be one of the most frustrating and irritating aspects of driving. But is the situation made worse when you lift the boot to only find tyre sealant and a pump, rather than a spare wheel?
It wasn’t that long ago when every new car came fitted with a full-size spare wheel. Yes, that did mean carrying extra weight on every single journey, but when you needed one, they were little hassle to fit and would instantly remedy the issue, allowing you to continue driving as normal.
But now, with the introduction of space saver wheels, run-flat tyres and puncture repair kits, the days of full-size spare wheels are almost over.
The alternatives aren’t up to scratch
As you might have guessed, a space saver wheel isn’t quite as wide as your car’s full-size wheel and tyre, which allows for more boot space. However, you can only drive on it at certain speeds. Run-flat tyres have stronger side walls, meaning you can still drive on them when they’re deflated. However, these tend to give you a harsh ride, even when you don’t have a puncture.
But as much as I have my gripes with those two, it’s the tyre goo and pump kits that I dislike most. Not only are they fiddly to use, they don’t fill you with too much confidence that the rest of your journey’s going to be a safe one.
At best, these repair kits should only be a short-term fix for your flat tyre.
Bring back spare wheels
That’s why finding out whether a car has a full-size spare wheel in the boot is important to me when I’m shopping for a new car. Despite the weight-saving advantages and improved boot space offered by repair kits, I’m not willing to compromise on the practicality and safety provided by a spare wheel.
So, it’s a massive disappointment that the full-size spare wheel is edging closer to extinction. But does it matter to you?
Are you happy for your future punctures to be rectified by goo and a pump? Or would you like to see spare wheels making a comeback, even if they limit the space in your car boot?
Fill in our new Which? car spare wheels survey and tell us what you think.
What should carmakers offer as a remedy for a punctured tyre?
A spare wheel should come as standard with all cars (79%, 1,053 Votes)
A space-saver wheel or run-flat tyre should come as standard (15%, 203 Votes)
A spare wheel should be an optional extra (2%, 32 Votes)
I don’t mind what carmakers offer (2%, 23 Votes)
A puncture repair kit is fine (1%, 16 Votes)
A space-saver wheel or run-flat tyre should be an optional extra (1%, 13 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,343