Guide to Spare Tyres

Posted by Motorama in Buyer Advice

Spare tyres are an important part of your car, and in days gone by, a fifth tyre was included in the price of your car.

But today, new cars are increasingly sold without a spare tyre to save weight and cost.

You never want your spare tyre until you get a flat. Manufacturers feel the same way: including a fifth tyre costs them more money, it makes the car heavier and you have to sacrifice space somewhere in the vehicle when you’re trying to accommodate it.

More carmakers are ditching a wheel that is the same size as all the others, to save money and weight in the car. Instead, there are options that manufacturers give in case of a flat.

Temporary ‘space saver’ spare

Many passenger cars now come with a space saver tyre in the boot, instead of a standard issue wheel. Space saver tyres were developed to get you home, or to the nearest service centre or tyre shop, where you can fork out for an actual tyre.

One benefit of a space saver tyre is the reduction of weight in your car, plus an increased amount of room inside the cabin. It can also reduce the price

Space savers have limitations that regular tyres don’t have, for example, your speed is often limited anywhere up to 80km/h because your car is running on different tyres. Your handling is also affected when a space saver is fitted, so it’s best to keep to a lower speed limit until you can fit another tyre.

Some carmakers let you switch to a full-size spare tyre as an option; sometimes for free, others for an additional cost.

Repair kits

Manufacturers are looking to cull any excess weight and create interior space, so your brand new car may not come with a spare tyre at all. Most commonly found in sports cars, puncture kits usually come an aerosol can of foam or gel that can patch small holes in the tyre and a tyre pump.

Repair kits have the benefit of completely freeing up weight and space inside the car, but the most obvious downside will come if you have a flat tyre that can’t be patched up by the can of foam.

Roadside assist

Some warranties include free roadside assist as part of the new car buying experience, which isn’t in lieu of a spare tyre – although it may become a new idea to save you having to carry and change the tyre yourself.

Right now though, you can call your manufacturers roadside assistance service to help you change a tyre, or to tow you to a service centre if your tyres are flat. Depending on your coverage, it may be complimentary or you may have to pay towing costs yourself.

It’s important to maintain your spare tyre just like any other part in your car. Make sure to check it every now and then to make sure there’s no punctures or cuts to your tyres.

If you’re in the market for a car, make sure to ask the sales team about the state of the spare tyre in the back of the car, and if you’ve used your spare tyre fixing an emergency on the way to the dealership – the parts and service teams at Motorama can help find the best tyres for you on the road and in an emergency.