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Would you pay twice for your tyre repair?

It is that moment every driver dreads. It is raining and you are in a rush. Then there is a sudden lurch and a strange noise from the wheel; you have a flat tyre. For a long time this has been a rite of passage for the modern driver. Can you change a wheel?

It is that moment every driver dreads. It is raining and you are in a rush. Then there is a sudden lurch and a strange noise from the wheel; you have a flat tyre. For a long time this has been a rite of passage for the modern driver. Can you change a wheel? When was the last time you checked your spare to make sure it was properly inflated? Have you still got your jack and wheel brace? If you have a new car you might be in for a bit of a shock because the chances are that you haven't got a spare wheel at all.

 

A new study by the consumer magazine, Which? has revealed that less than a third of new cars are fitted with a spare tyre. What drivers of these cars get instead is a puncture repair kit. What this amounts to is canister of pressurised sealant which you then attach to the valve of the damaged tyre and inflate it, sealing the puncture at the same time. The canister costs around £50 to replace, making it about the same as a budget level tyre on a standard car. The survey shows that around 30% of new cars come with a spare tyre, either a full size or smaller space saver version. Around 50% come with a puncture repair kit and 20% have run-flat tyres, designed to be driveable at modest speeds over short distances to the nearest garage.

 

According to the AA, a spare tyre has never been a legal requirement in the UK. A spokesperson explained the thinking behind the lack of a spare: "A spare tyre has never been required under the MoT test. Manufacturers have had to cut vehicle weight to meet carbon requirements but at the same time they have had to fit a lot more safety equipment. A spare tyre weighs quite a bit and carmakers think they can get away without putting one on. It certainly annoys our members, they don't like it and these repair kits can be of limited use. The best thing to do when you buy a car is to specify that you want a spare tyre." Some drivers seem to prefer the ease of use offered by the kits but they can be a false economy and will not fix some punctures. Most tyre centres won't repair a tyre once it has been filled with the sealant, so the driver then has to buy a new tyre. He also then has to replace the repair kit, effectively paying twice for the punctured tyre.

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Back to May 2013

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