Friday 11th January 2013
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Yes, it is true the spare wheel has now become an historic part when buying a new car. Many motorists are unaware that spare wheels have now become obsolete until the day that dreaded puncture happens and you’re forced to pull over onto the side of the road. The trouble is most people don’t actually realise their boot space now has an empty cavity until it's too late. At present, it appears that the only manufacturers that do offer spare wheels are those providing SUV’s where the wheel is fixed on the outside at the rear. But, this also could soon change.

The controversial missing spare wheel

God forbid, let's hope you don't, but should you acquire a puncture you may not realise that your car is now only fitted with a simple tyre repair kit, normally in the form of a can of glue. Worryingly, some people either have no idea how to use the repair kits, or the puncture is too big to be fixed at the roadside hence, you may need to call out road side assistance for help.

Manufacturers are now leaving out the spare wheel in cars due to legislation brought in by the government to cut CO2 emissions and make the vehicles more economical on fuel. This we are told is to make the cars more environmentally friendly, and to save us money.

The big question is does it save us money? If we then have to purchase a secondhand spare wheel at a later date and suffer a lot of hassle in the meantime.

The advantages of not having a spare wheel

Spare wheels can add huge amounts of weight to a car; therefore fuel consumption can be less without it. Additionally, spare wheels can also add to the price when buying a brand-new car. The other advantage of not having a spare wheel fitted is the extra space it can create in the boot. Some drivers are now converting there vehicles to LPG and using the extra boot space to store the gas cylinders.

The dis-advantages of not having a spare wheel

You could find yourself really stuck at the side of the road. You may have to buy a spare wheel at a later date then maybe if the boot space is taken having to store it behind the driver’s seat. This is not very practical, especially if you have to carry regular passengers onboard.

Is safety being compromised by the extinction of the spare wheel?

Well, if you do get away with fixing your flat tyre with the can of sealant goo that is supplied, then generally tyre technicians won't clean it out for you when repairing it. Your gooey pumped up tyre is now rendered useless; so, you will have to buy a brand-new tyre which can cost approximately £100 plus (£25+ if you go for a part worn tyre).

So we’re left with the dilemma, do these tyre repair kits really save us money especially when some council’s are continuing to ignore the conditions of our UK roads. There are in fact more pot holes and deteriorating roads than ever before; therefore leading to more tyre blow outs.

This has now dramatically led to more roadside assistance calls, which in turn leads to more roadside vehicles driving around to help those who are stuck. You could argue that this is adding to CO2 emissions.

More motorists are now complaining that they don't have a spare wheel and the repair kit is not full proof. Often, splits in tyres can be too big and the gooey sealant will not inflate and stay inside the tyre.

I had a situation where I accidentally hit a kerb on the side of the road and it ripped a chunk out of my alloy wheel. What would a container of glue do in that situation? Luckily, I had a spare wheel which I fixed on and drove off again.

Should you buy a spare wheel to sit in your boot, or should spare wheels be an optional extra when buying a brand-new car? You decide.

Paul from Canvey Auto Breakers who are a member of the Breakeryard network stated ‘We can’t get spare wheels off the shelves quick enough, the demand has really grown’.

Ultimately, there are ways of trying to get around this problem. Check out one clever way on YouTube here.

Please have your say below.