Fewer spare tyres means more call-outs

An article in the Daily Mail on 29 October was entitled ‘Is this the end of the road for spare tyres?’ and focused on new research which revealed that the lack of spare tyres in new cars has led to a ‘huge rise’ in call-outs for breakdown services to deal with punctures in just four years.

The article quotes car website HonestJohn.co.uk, which says that nine out of ten new vehicles are sold with no full-size spare wheel. 27 per cent have ‘space saver’ skinny spares, while 46 per cent are equipped with a ‘repair kit’ – a phrase which is calculated to have tyre professionals gnashing their teeth in anger – typically comprising an air pump and a can of sealant. Add to these the increasing number of cars fitted with runflat tyres as standard and the demise of the full-size spare is understandable.

What has been the effect on the breakdown organisations? The short answer is a dramatic increase in the number of wheel-related call-outs; the RAC reports that, in 2010, it received 29,000 calls from drivers without a full-size spare wheel and, last year, this figure had more than tripled, to 94,000. Alarmingly – at least from their point of view – the RAC forecasts that next year the number of wheel-related call-outs will rocket to an amazing 250,000. The time spent servicing this number of incidents (and this is the RAC alone, remember) will surely be a test of the breakdown companies’ resources and manpower.

In its report, the RAC names the marques that it says are the worst for lack of a traditional spare or a space saver, citing Volvo, Vauxhall, Porsche, Mimi, Mazda, Dacia and BMW.

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