12th Feb 2018, 21:58

A lot of modern cars do not come with a spare wheel anymore. It's annoying, especially when you get a puncture, for obvious reasons. Mind you, a lot of people don't know how to change a wheel... they just call breakdown services.

Some say they do it to save weight and it gives you a tiny increase in MPG. I'd still rather have a full size wheel. And failing that, if there is no space saver alternative then you have to make do with the puncture repair kit, which sprays air and a sealer in your tyre, but is very fiddly to use. And it has the added downside of making replacing said tyre very difficult to get off, according to some tyre shops I've spoken to about it (the sealant can ruin the inside of the wheel).

In short, having no spare wheel is a cheap and nasty cost cutting move by manufacturers that irritates the hell out of car owners.

13th Feb 2018, 17:30

Almost makes sense. Where would the damaged flat tire go then for our cars? Chain and padlock to a tree? Very wide, would not fit anywhere inside them.

Secondly, it would damage the rear axle putting different diameter tires on them. We have posi. We also have factory different width tires front and back. Here’s the solution. Use your cell, put it on a flatbed and take it home or to a tire store. I wouldn’t even bother with fix a flat. Cell phones are commonplace. Fast call and get picked up. I got the AAA platinum membership and can be towed home large distances. Pop the flat off and order a new one straight from Tire Rack. Then get it installed.

13th Feb 2018, 22:06

I see where you are coming from, but I'd still rather have the full size spare. Calling breakdown like AA or RAC will still take time to respond (even with a premium service) when they are busy - whereas a competent driver can fit the spare in about 5 minutes and be on their way.

Not sure I understand your comment about padlocked to a tree. The flat tire goes where the spare normally goes while the spare is on the car; it does not need to be padlocked anywhere. And can be repaired at earliest convenience.

I remember seeing 4x4s back in the day with the spare mounted on the rear door with a cover, which was "fashionable" and suited the flat rear doors of 4 wheel drives. I guess that's an easy solution to create more space inside or if they couldn't fit it below or in the rear or whatever. Of course, this is not suitable on regular hatchback/saloon cars of course. And modern cars have their quirks for sure, but usually it's only sports/performance cars have different diameter wheels from front and rear; generally most run of the mill cars have 4 wheels the same size - a spare to match is not such an ask given it was done for decades before without issue.

As for space in the boot and between the wheels, I had an early 90s VW Passat that had a huge lump in the boot where the spare was, so it was raised to fit, but the boot in that car was so big it never really interfered with storage space in the rear of the car. And beneath the car mechanically wise, the fuel tank and exhaust were plumbed/fitted around the space; it was never a big deal (even if you had big wheels) for good car designers.

14th Feb 2018, 08:22

I too would rather have a spare tyre - full size or otherwise. Re: the comment of a reader about the tyre being padlocked to a tree, many cars do not even have space for you to put in a spare tyre at all, not even a temporary space-saver spare (sometimes called "donuts"). They totally rely on the tyre puncture kit (compressor and a tube of goo) to fix the tyre, which often doesn't work very well at any rate.

14th Feb 2018, 09:31

Maybe it’s been luck for us, but it has been extremely rare having any flats.

I do not like run flats, but if you do pick up a nail drywall screw etc, the very design of them typically gets you home. Then you throw away the tire. My concern is more about rim damage than buying a tire. We have tires ranging from 305 to 335 on factory 20” rims. Rims can typically be repaired however. Not every tire store stocks our tires, which means a 24 hour or more delay. Another option, cheaper with better performance and ride, is buying non run flats. Then you bring a few cans of slime. Most I know call for a AAA flatbed. Or use your Onstar subscription. I’d rather my cars just be delivered straight to my home. I have a low profile jack and an electric impact to remove. And a long snap on tool torque wrench to quickly reinstall. The issue is finding the new tire and a place that has a machine to handle the sizes.

The tree comment, chaining the full size tire, was a joke, but there’s no way on earth these full size tires will fit anywhere in the car. You would have to remove the fuel tank; again a joke. The little donut tires were designed for fuel savings and space. You can buy a new truck, Jeep, larger SUV etc if you want a full size spare. I stay off the shoulders and do buy run flats. It’s never fun replacing a new tire, but it’s safer to replace. On non run flats I never plugged a tire as well. Always an inside patch. If the sidewall ever punctures, it’s a throwaway as well.

If you have your tires nitrogen filled, it minimizes PSI loss. Low or too high a tire pressure can cause tires to fail without ever passing over a road hazard. Always replace worn tires with age or high mileage. I replaced tires that looked great but dry rot was showing. That can occur in as little as several years. I bought tire road hazard insurance on tires I switched to on my truck. If the tire can be repaired, it doesn’t require going to the same place. You have to call a number they provide for other different stores they will authorize. It’s inexpensive to buy hazard insurance.

I do not think you are going to see full size tires again for most cars. At least you have the donut in some. There's a bit more to tires than just turning the key until they fail or go bad. The nice thing today is having the cells.

Good luck.

2nd Mar 2018, 00:01

I think the reason for lacking of spare wheels is almost no one will change a tire on the side of the road like in the 70s. How many times have you seen someone doing it? Myself I would do it and not call the road assistance, but almost no one is doing this today. Plus, it's quite dangerous to change a tire on a highway.