/ Motoring

Your view: in the driving seat

A car interior at night

We’ve steered the conversation towards driving and car maintenance. You’ve been getting revved up about puncture repair kits and motoring through the quick checks that can save you from MOT misery.

Many car manufacturers sell vehicles that don’t come with spare wheels as standard. What do we get instead? Puncture repair kits. Our Claire Evans found her kit confusing and frustrating. Rob put his foot down in the car showroom:

‘When I purchased a new car last year it only came with a tyre repair kit. I said I would not buy the car unless it came with a full-size spare wheel so the salesman agreed to supply a full-size tyre and steel hub together with the kit to mount it in and the new boot floor at no charge to me.’

Dave has struggled to find the balance between a spare wheel and a BMW’s boot space:

‘I had two punctures in the first six weeks of owning a brand new BMW X3 on Pirelli tyres. Both incidents were sudden and nail/screw-related. I knew the car had no spare wheel and have bought a space-saver for such problems, BUT there is no under-floor storage space and the wretched thing takes up far too much boot space. Serious flint-damage to tyres cannot possibly be repaired using the tyre-gloop supplied.’

A spare wheel is a clear winner for Maneg:

‘Give me a full-size spare wheel anytime. I’ll put up with the weight, the slightly smaller boot space and the increased fuel consumption in favour of a quick change and on my way without restrictions.’

Ian isn’t convinced by puncture repair kits:

‘I can’t think of a better way to waste money than having to buy a new tyre just because you’ve had a puncture and the tyre company won’t clean out the gunk that’s been used too get you out of trouble especially if the tyre is fairly new anyway. Modern day get you home spare wheels and tyres are very small and light anyway, so extra fuel cost is negligible.’

Spend time to save cash

Do you spend a couple of minutes checking your car before your MOT test? We’ve shared a list of 10 checks covering simple points like making sure your horn is working and your screenwash is topped up. Bob James is worried about motorists not checking their vehicles:

‘It is hard to understand how in such a short time so many people have become so apathetic about checking their vehicles, these figures demonstrate that at any one time around 40% of vehicles on the road are unsafe.’

L2 feels that simple checks should be part of a motorist’s routine:

‘I’d get the dealer to do a pre-MOT check. They couldn’t do my MOT, as here in Northern Ireland we have to go to a council MOT centre. I would always make sure all the things listed are correct anyway, as it’s important to do so, not just check things for MOT time.’

Helping learner drivers

This week we also asked you if you would be prepared to coach a young driver. Brat673 feels very comfortable with helping a learner driver, earning our Comment of the Week!:

‘I am 71 and feel quite confident to supervise a learner to give them extra hours practice. It is the acquisition of some automatic skills that only comes with practice. Having done a old age driving course which pointed out my bad habits and we were made aware of some changed driving practices. Feel that having passed the “test” a P plate for a year should be compulsory and perhaps an hours motorway driving lesson?’


i have been driving for about 33 years and it seems we have to pay for nearly everything i am carer for my wofe as she cannot work and we have to have a cheep car and its difficult as we have 2 kids aswell so we need a big car and the tax is a lot.about spare tyres i think you should have one given when you buy a new car and have a choice if you want a puncture repair kit instead or not

Clint Kirk says:
6 April 2013

Sorry but I don’t understand the purpose of this conversation. I don’t see what’s new in it; it seems to just bring existing motoring-related conversations together. Are we supposed to stop posting in those conversations and use this one instead?

I asked a similar question a couple of weeks ago. If I recall correctly, Patrick said that the idea is to select some comments and use these to promote more discussion.

Katie has pulled together some interesting comments from recent motoring Conversations. It’s up to us to decide whether we post here or in one of the original discussions.

I assume it is OK to extend the discussion to other issues related to motoring, and hope that might provide ideas for new Conversations rather than gentle reminders about not going too far off-topic.

It’s our chance to round up the comments you’ve made and feature them in their own post. It’s often about what we think at Which?, but the heart and soul of the website is you guys. So once a week, we go through the comments, pick a theme and pick out our favourite comments. You can then click on the links and join the discussion, or you can comment here about the themes presented by other members of the community 🙂

Sometimes I despair of the motoring industry. They develop concept cars for motor shows, which are little more than designers’ ego trips, but the rest of us have to pay for. They have denied many motorists a proper spare wheel, offering instead something that looks as if it belongs on a Morris Minor and would fail an MOT test, or no spare at all. I have no problem with these being options, but it would be nice to have the choice. Every current car will exceed the maximum speed limit and some will manage twice the speed, yet the country seems overrun with speed cameras and fixed penalties cost motorists a lot of money in increased insurance premiums and fines. Cars have become much more sophisticated and safer but sometimes the cost of fixing problems with electronics mean that otherwise serviceable cars are scrapped. It is a poor show when even main dealers sometimes cannot diagnose problems with warning light systems and now such problems mean a failed MOT. Whereas it used to be an easy job to replace a simple failed bulb, this has become fiendishly difficult with some models.

Having said all that, there is plenty of good things that can be said about the motor industry. Despite the increase in complexity, cars are much more reliable, durable and economical than they were a few decades ago. Most manufacturers offer more than a one year warranty and I know many cases of goodwill repairs and payments. I once was given a replacement engine due to a manufacturing defect that did not show up for two years after the warranty expired. I did not even push for that and I managed to get another problem fixed at the same time. I know other people who have received goodwill help. Yes I know that there are many who have been treated unfairly.

The point I want to make is that we should be pushing for longer warranties. In particular, I would like to see a ten year warranty on warning light systems, so that the motorist does not have to foot the bill for poorly designed electronics. Properly designed electronics are incredibly reliable and not something that wears out – so should really last the life of the vehicle. Sensors can fail, so I would exclude these from the warranty, but ask manufacturers to make them easily accessible to cut down repair costs.

OK – a bit of a ramble, but I have mentioned two of the topics mentioned in the introduction and others that have featured in other Conversations.