If you have bought a new car in the last few years or if you are in the market for one, it’s worth checking the boot to see if it has a spare tyre or not.
That’s right, car companies are ditching the spare wheels in favour of lighter and cheaper puncture repair kits and run flat tyres (run flat tires are designed to resist the effects of deflation when punctured and allow the vehicle to continue driving at reduced speeds for a certain distance depending on the tire). In a bid to improve fuel efficiency they have looked at spare wheels and the accompanying tool as 20 – 30kg of dead weight.
The problem is that neither the inflator kit nor the run flat tires will work in more serious punctures like side wall damage. As always, being well prepared is half the battle. Punctures are not a good situation to be in and being well prepared for one can you save you a lot of time, frustration and even money. Whether you have a puncture repair kit or a spare wheel it’s important to know what steps to take. Watch our video tutorial on changing a spare wheel.
Top Tip: If you have a spare tire, check it regularly to make sure it’s sufficiently inflated (otherwise you’ll have two flat tires). And of course, you’ll need a jack, wheel brace and if your wheels have locking wheel nuts it’s important to know where that key is!
To help in these situations, it’s also a good idea to have some safety essentials and tools in your boot, such as a reflective safety triangle especially for when it’s dark to warn other drivers of your presence. Other useful things to have are flashlights, high visibility jackets, a blanket to kneel down on and a good pair of gloves.
ConsumerReports.org have compiled a list of cars they have tested in 2014 which had inflator kits instead of a spare wheel. Some of which are very popular cars.
Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Mazda MX-5 Miata
The video below demonstrates the run flat technology by Continental Tyres