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The £600 spare tyre: how saving fuel is still costing drivers

Published 29 October 2014

The increasing use of standard tyre repair kits by manufacturers is forcing car buyers to pay extra for a spare wheel – in some cases hundreds of pounds.

Temporary repair kits are equipped as standard to almsot half of all new cars, moving the emergency spare wheel to the options list and making it an additional cost.  

An investigation by HonestJohn.co.uk has found that the prices for a spacesaver spare wheel range from £50 in the Hyundai i10 and Volkswagen Up to 12 times that amount – with Maserati charging £600 for the GranTurismo’s space-saver spare, and Porsche demanding £587 for a full-size spare with the Cayenne.

Some of the UK’s most popular cars, including the Ford C-Max, Hyundai iX35, Vauxhall Astra, Skoda Octavia and Jaguar XF, come with a repair kit as standard, meaning buyers must pay extra for the convenience of a spare wheel.

In Ford’s case a spare wheel is £95 across the range (aside from the runflat tyre option of the S-Max and Galaxy), while a Jaguar XF buyer will pay £125 for a spare wheel. Skoda’s Octavia wheel is a more reasonable £75.

Manufacturers claim that tyre repair kits are beneficial because they save space and weight, which liberates more boot space and, more importantly, reduces the car’s CO2 emissions and improves fuel economy.

Volvo is one manufacturer that now offers tyre repair kits across its entire range, with a space-saver ‘Tempa’ spare a £150 option, regardless of model. The company’s Head of Product and Pricing, Iain Howat, told us that a repair kit weighs 8kg less than a 10kg spare wheel, and only one in five Volvo customers opt to take the spare wheel option on their cars.

“Removing this extra weight inevitably means the engine doesn’t need to work as hard to pull it around, thereby improving fuel economy and, by extension, reducing CO2 emissions,” said Howat. “It may only be small incremental gains, but coupled with the other practicality and safety benefits of tyre repair kits, it makes sense to offer them as standard in our cars,” he added. 

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Comments

Maureen    on 30 October 2014

When I bought a new Mitsubishi Outlander in March 2013 I was aware that some manufacturers were not supplying a spare wheel as standard. I asked if the car I was proposing to buy had one and was told that it had. Unfortunately, I did not check this out and when in Greece in July 2014 discovered that the spare wheel was, in fact, a space saver tyre. This meant that I was unable to continue my journey and had to go find a garage where I could have my slow puncture repaired. Had I been travelling to catch a car ferry (or any other public transport) I would probably have missed it. I was fortunate to find a garage which only charged a nominal sum but I could have been held to ransom by an unscrupulous garage owner.

On my return to the UK I made my displeasure known to the dealer who had sold the car to me. Mitsubishi has mow lost someone who has been a customer for nearly thirty years. They will be allowed to service the car under the three year warranty but when I replace it I'll go where I can find a car with a real spare wheel.

GOM Salty    on 1 November 2014

I think that a spare wheel [or spacesaver] is a must have, and that Volvo's Head of Product and Pricing, Iain Howat talk of practicality of tyre repair kits is total hogwash.
If there is no consumer resistance to tyre repair kits [a misleading description, by the way!!], manufacturers will soon start designing all future models with no space for a spare wheel.

The tyre repair kit has significant limitations on puncture size & location, and it won't repair a blow-out [eg caused by road debris].
If the tyre repair kit can't be used or it doesn't work, vehicle recovery will be expensive, inconvenient, and your journey cannot continue.

In addition to the cost of replacing the tyre repair kit, I understand that if used, some garages will not repair the tyre so it will also need replacing.

Progress - I think not!!!!

Thanks, but no thanks, I want a spare wheel.

steadyeddy    on 2 November 2014

The ability to get mobile again in the SAFEST and convenient way possible should be your priority. I was always told first action is safety, and to get the vehicle off the road. Don't mess about, proceed to safety. Better to ruin a tyre than make the obituary column.
Even at a snail's pace driving with a flat tyre there is a good chance the cover will be ruined, and a can of goo will be useless. Word has it that goo will ruin the tyre anyway.
A proper spare wheel is what is needed and can be yours very cheaply, second hand, with a bit of lateral thinking. Find out if another wheel, even from another manufacturer will fit, or even a wheel from a previous model or similar. Fit this wheel to a non driven hub and turn off the ABS. Drive with caution, better late than never.
The spacesaver wheel from an early MX5 fits our 2013 Mazda 2, and I recently had a choice of 3 spacesaver wheels, all with unused tyres, and bought one for a reasonable £10. I feel far happier knowing I can cope, rather than waiting for 2 hours in the wind,rain and darkness for for a breakdown service that may or may not arrive.
Finally, practice and check you can actually remove your wheels....Alloys are often corroded onto the hub, making them difficult to remove. Midnight on the M25 is not really the place to struggle .Buy yourself the biggest wheelbrace you can handle. You can bet those wheelbolts have been put on ******* tight.

Peter Smith    on 28 September 2016

Repair kits are fine if you pick up a nail but anything bigger they're useless and even a repair to a small hole with a repair kit requires a new tyre as no major fast fit tyre place will repair it so it's an expensive option to a £7-£10 puncture repair.

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