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No spare wheel in new cars! Really?!

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Rupert49, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. Rupert49

    Rupert49 Well-Known Member

    Wednesday's Watchdog programme (BBC1 Wednesdays 8.00pm) carried a report about people's concern that new cars, on the whole, are no longer supplied as standard with a spare wheel. Instead a 'tyre safety kit' is provided, which entails injecting the punctured tyre with a sealant and air mixture, sufficient to get you home to arrange for a repair.

    We were told that some tyre fitters are reluctant to repair tyres that have been injected in this way, as the sealant is difficult (aka 'time consuming') to wash out and the customer is usually informed that he needs a brand new tyre!

    A representative from the Motor Manufacturer's Association claimed that, in an effort to produce vehicles with greater fuel efficiency, spare wheels are now no longer supplied as standard as these can weigh 20 kilograms (rubbish!) and can therefore compromise a vehicle's mpg.

    Never mind all the inconvenience (not to say danger) of trying to operate a tyre safety kit for the first time in the wind and the rain beside a busy road, why should a small repairable puncture be ignored in favour of a brand new tyre? (Cynics can ignore this rhetorical question).

    Apparently you can specify a spare wheel if you want one, but the well in which to keep it stored out of the way is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Personally I wouldn't dream of not having a spare wheel in any car I was driving.

    Has the world gone mad .... yet again? :mad:
  2. Norman

    Norman Well-Known Member

    My current car (Honda Civic Type S), now just over 4 years old, was supplied without spare wheel. It is an optional extra and the car does have a carpeted well to accommodate a space saver wheel. I've never bothered with one and never had to use the repair kit. I must admit that I was apprehensive about the situation but now don't give it a thought.

    I don't see how injecting a deflated tyre on the side of a busy road would be any more hazardous than changing a wheel, probably much less so. My only concern is a split tyre wall that would prevent re-inflation and, for those circumstances, would use my RAC get-you-home service.
  3. mediaman

    mediaman Well-Known Member

    20 Kilo extra weight affects mpg , hence the reason to stop a spare wheel being supplied/carried ? then what about producing cars with no passenger seats.... you would save even more fuel.... better still, make it illegal for someone to drive a car if they are over 20 kilo's overweight.... [That would be one "Top Gear" presenter out of a job ]
    Honestly, what a load of ............................[words fail me ]
    *Sarky rant mode off*
  4. spangler

    spangler Well-Known Member

    The programme also said that of the main manufacturers only VW supplies a spare as standard, something I was very grateful for the other week! Run flat tyres were also mentioned, like the repair kits refered to in the show these too cannot be repaired and a new tyre is required as my daughter has found to her considerable cost with her Mini. In conclusion it seems everything is geared up around keeping the tyre retailers in business and nothing to do with fuel economy, even my puncture cost me £22 to get fixed.:mad:
  5. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    The repair kit is probably at least as effective as a "space saver" spare, and a lot more convenient to use. (If you've ever had to carry the removed wheel whilst using the space saver, and have a full load of luggage as well, you'll know exactly what I mean.)

    Nevertheless IMHO it should be mandatory to supply at least one spare wheel & tyre to the same specification as the road wheels supplied with the vehicle ... and a jack & tyre brace that are usable rather than being made of something which breaks or distorts before sufficient torque to undo the wheel nuts is applied.
  6. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    20 Kg is about half the weight of a tank of fuel.

    Cars have been getting heavier by about 100 Kg per decade, on average, over the last three or four decades. Go figure.

    BTW most small punctures in the tread of tubeless tyres - whether or not these are of the "run flat" variety - can be plugged and vulcanised from the outside i.e. without the bother of removing from the rim; this repair takes about 3 minutes & a local garage should be able to do the job for you for about £5. (Finding an embedded foreign body is the slowest & hardest part of the exercise; if there is only a hole the task may take longer & require a big tub of water to find the leak by the bubble method.) Larger holes or any sort of split or other damage on the side wall makes the tyre unsafe to repair, though a reasonably safe temporary repair can be made by adding an inner tube. What is / is not repairable is very much a matter of judgement but, if you go to a tyre specialist, they won't repair even the simplest puncture as there is too much profit in selling you a replacement.
  7. LargeFormat

    LargeFormat Well-Known Member

    With a previous car which had a spare wheel I had a high speed blow out on the "fast" lane of the motorway. Quite scary and I could have been killed but I was on my way within five minutes. However the tyre was completely shredded, and of course had to be replaced and the steel wheel was damaged. Now I also have a Honda Civic. It has a pressure loss warning system which makes it much safer and I don't think my blow out would have been anywhere near as dangerous if I had the early warning when it started to loose pressure. I'm not sure that I'd want to loose boot capacity to accommodate a spare wheel regardless of the cost.

    I used the aerosol some years ago when, in the absence of pressure monitoring the tyre wall was damaged. The aerosol was useless.

    Conclusion, I wouldn't have a car without pressure monitoring or run flat tyres, no real view on spare wheel or aerosol.
  8. miked

    miked Well-Known Member

    I drive a Yeti which comes without spare wheel. In the boot all there is to re-inflate a tyre is a bottle of 'gloop' which, the manual advises, can be 'injected' in the tyre should there be a puncture, but I was also advised by the dealer who supplied the car that any tyre so treated would be fit only for 'scrap' after this treatment.
    Am I a cynic therefore in thinking that motor vehicle manufacturers are probably saving themselves the odd shilling or two by not supplying a spare?
  9. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    So explain to me why my VW Touran has no spare? Over the last 12 months I've had to buy three (THREE!) new tyres for my car. The first two were punctures caused by running over a nail. I was beginning to suspect foul play to be honest! The last one was my fault - I was too close to the kerb coming off a roundabout. Although if the loose brick lying on the road hadn't been there perhaps my tyre would have survived? Who knows.

    On the first two occasions I used the pump to put air back into the tyre, figuring that the nail would act as a plug for long enough for me to get to the local garage. I didn't use the foam as I'd heard it would mean automatically needing a new tyre. I needed one anyway because I was told that the nails were "in the wrong place and not repairable." I have no way of knowing if that's utter nonsense or not but having been told it twice I do have my suspicions!
  10. spangler

    spangler Well-Known Member

    Well my £22 puncture was just an embedded nail in the middle of the tread and the tyre had just softened rather than fully deflated however the tyre guy insisted on removing the tyre to check for internal damage. Regarding the run flats the tyre repairers won't fix even a simple puncture as they claim to have no way to assertain that the tyre has not subsequently been run in a deflated condition and thus had its structural integrity compromised.
    My VW that came with a (full size) spare wheel is a Polo SE 1.4 DSG.

  11. beatnik69

    beatnik69 Well-Known Member

    I used to have a Smart Car which didn't have a spare. the reason. being that the front wheels were a different size to the rear so in the event of a puncture you would only have a 50% chance of getting on your way again.
  12. Brian

    Brian Venerable Elder

    Run Flats, my Mini Cooper had them fitted as standard. Against, quite expensive, slightly harder ride. Cons, absolutely fabulous When a puncture does occur. an indicator light is needed to identify that a puncture has occurred. And my local Kwik Fit branch are quite prepared to repair them, subject to examination.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012
  13. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    If your Touran is a seven seater there is nowhere to site the spare, iirc the mountings for the rearmost seats are in the well. I had one of these for over three years and was quite glad to see the back of it, I drove round with a wheel in the luggage area, although I only needed it once. A tyre repair depends on where the puncture has occured, if it is in the centre on the tyre it can be repaired most times, assuming of course that there is no damage to the tyre structure. If the penetration is towards or on the shoulder or sidewall it means replacement.
  14. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    It is a 7-seater, but then so was my previous car - the Vauxhaul Zafira which managed to incorporate a spare tyre underneath. I suppose I could carry a spare around with me but to be honest the reason we have a seven seater car is because we have six bodies to lug around on a regular basis. If I add a tyre to the mix there won't be any room for camera gear!
  15. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Have you stopped to ponder if the world is sane, but it's actually you? ;)
  16. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    I remember seeing that in America (at the NCR HQ) they had parking spaces near the entrance for fat people......I got some dirty looks for suggesting that they should put the fat parking at the other side of the vast car park:D

    The boot in my car is big enough to pitch a tent in but it still has a silly little space saver under a compartment in the boot. Would prefer a full size spare as I don't need the extra compartment between the boot floor and spare wheel well personally and would rather have the peace of mind that a puncture wouldn't garuntee to ruin a trip away. I've been meaning to pick one up from a breakers or something.
  17. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    Ummm. Blow outs are usually caused by major damage inflicted near instantaneously, tyre pressure monitors give no protection against this. What the pressure monitors can do is to prevent prolonged running with dangerously low pressures which will result in poor traction & steering "lurches" which can be felt (unless the steering mechanism has robbed you of all "feel") and will eventually result in destruction of the tyre side walls but without significant risk of sudden loss of control.

    The best tyre pressure monitor is an ordinary pressure gauge, used regularly. Building site debris (nails etc) are a common hazard but tend to cause a slow pressure loss of the order of 2 psi / day giving plenty of time to repair without the bother of changing the wheel or injecting "gloop" if detected in good time.
  18. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Just as a matter of interest, definitely not intended to start an argument, how long is it since anyone here had to change a wheel at the roadside?

    In the last 25 years motoring and about 750,000 miles I have only had to do it once. And with the current recommendations for tightening wheel nuts it is nowadays no easy task - in fact I doubt that many female drivers are strong enough.

  19. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    There are things that these "repair kits" can't cope with, such as the torn side wall I had some years back. Caused by a damaged mini-roundabout. That hole by the way was so big that a tyre pressure warning system would not have made the slightest difference. I would always pay the extra for a spare wheel, even a space saver is better than waiting for a mobile tyre fitter.

    I currently have five spare wheels, a space saver and a complete set of alloys. Shame the two sets of alloy wheels are of different designs!

    When it comes to tools, I use a torque wrench to tighten the wheel bolts. Most tyre specialists do them up far too tight. The wheel brace that comes with the car is designed to undo nuts/bolts that are correctly torqued. To me it is obvious that the thing supplied with the car isn't up to the job of undoing an tight bolt. If you have alloy wheels over tightening the wheel bolts can initiate cracking in the bolt holes.
  20. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    In France on holiday last year, lunchtime on a Monday. (I only remember that because it's the time you're least likely to find anyone available to do anything for you in rural Normandy.) Husband's Volvo obviously had a slow leak. For reasons I'm none too clear on now, it was my job to change the tyre while he dealt with oncoming cows.

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