I am about to arrive at my holiday paradise on the Sicily coast driving a new A1 with a friend. The A1 is a great car, comfortable as an Audi should be, but agile like an old Mini. The road-trip has been effortless. We are finally reaching the coast and that first glimpse of the sea makes us rush too hastily onto an unpaved road. Suddenly the front-right tyre makes a strange sound, a puncture; the worse thing as it is so close to our destination.
Never mind, we just have to quickly put on the spare wheel, but where is the spare wheel?
A quick look at the manual and we realise that the brand-new car has no spare wheel at all. Like almost every brand new car, as I will discover later, it has a can of foam instead.
If you are wondering why, you definitely have a point. It's quite hard to figure how much money or space can be saved by getting rid of the trusty spare wheel. But that's what car companies have decided. The spare wheel is now an optional extra.
With your next new-car, in the event of a puncture, you will need to call a road-side assistance service to help you out. But manufacturers have a solution to replace the spare wheel. A tyre inflator and sealant pack which gets you out of trouble. But destroys your tyre.
This “pack” consists of a can of special foam which allows you to temporarily patch up the tyre enough to reach the closest tyre fitter. The problem is that the chemicals corrode the tyre and cannot be washed off.
Also, what if, instead of a puncture, your tyre explodes? The foam becomes useless. And if you have a tiny puncture on your brand-new expensive tyre and by using the foam you destroy an otherwise perfectly repairable tyre? That would be really annoying.
If this sounds strange, there is more. New cars still have the space for the spare wheel - but it's empty.
The change comes after a government policy introduced orders manufacturers to build lighter cars in order to save fuel. A lighter car can be classed in a lower band on the CO2 scale. It also means more profit for the manufacturer when consumers realise they need the tyre and pay for the option.
At the end of the day, we are stuck with a brand-new tyre full of foam on an island not exactly famous for its mechanics. However it’s so beautiful here that it’s not such a bad place to be stuck.
|Comments||Post a comment|
2 October 2012, 08:05PM
The answer is easy. Dont buy a new car that does not have a spare tyre.
4 October 2012, 12:39PM
"The answer is easy. Dont buy a new car that does not have a spare tyre."
Hmmm. . . then you won't have much choice of new car, because most now come without a spare tyre and is only available as an optional extra.
27 November 2012, 05:15PM
a spare wheel would be a good selling point for some manufacturers now because the Tyre inflaters are useless they do more harm than good.
5 December 2012, 01:00PM
What about mobility cars that have no spare wheels , surely you should get a spare wheel then, as the can of foam is absolutly useless, they can't expect you to have a flat tyre on a motorway and you have got a disabled person it's insane.
|The research from comparison website, Gocompare.com found that glove-boxes contain on average £112 worth of goods|
|Nissan unveils new London Taxi|
|Porsche 918 tests in iconic Martini colours|
|Volkswagen Group goes from strength to strength|
|Are you a sleepy head behind the wheel?|
|Do older drivers pose a threat on our roads?|
|Top Gear review Range Rover Evoque|
|That missing spare wheel|
|The five worst roads in Britain|
|Mileage allowance fails to keep pace with costs.|
|The Car Supermarket Option|
|The all new Range Rover Evoque|
|Motorists face considerable increases in their car insurance premiums|
|A study by Gocompare.com reveals an insight to British motorists and their habits behind the wheel|