Where Have Spare Tyres Gone??
Years ago all new cars came with a spare tyre and jack kit. While this may have been a cause for much confusion and concern for the poor motorist stranded at the roadside with a puncture or a blowout - at least the ability to get rolling was always there with a little effort and blackened hands.
Modern car manufacturers are tasked with seeking ever reducing carbon emissions through whatever means necessary. One of these is through vehicle weight reduction.
The spare wheel and tyre has become the victim.
In it's place in the boot you'll often find a can of temporary sealant which is pumped into the tyre via the valve.
While this may offer a very limited 'get you home' capability, the reality is that these products seldom fix anything more than a small puncture within the tread of the tyre - which may have lost pressure overnight. A sudden deflation or blowout from a sidewall impact while driving will likely render a spare-less vehicle stranded at the roadside with no means of repair.
For motoring breakdown organisations this trend is causing a permanent headache both day and night. For motorists, the experience can be immensely stressful and sometimes quite dangerous what with having to remove passengers from cars to await rescue in often precarious positions - and that's for those lucky enough to have a mobile phone signal!
What's the answer?
Run on flat tyres were introduced a number of years ago to provide a safer solution in the event of a puncture. These tyres are capable of being driven on for a limited mileage at a limited speed with zero pressure held within. They are self supporting as a result of the improved and significantly reinforced sidewall construction. They are also considerably more expensive and are rapidly falling out of favour with many cash strapped motorists.
The reality is that vehicles should always carry a spare wheel and tyre - be it a space saver or full size item - and a removal kit. To go one step further, perhaps all new drivers should also be trained and tested on their ability to replace a wheel should the need arise - valuable knowledge for everyone.
If the current situation has arisen due to global government policies to reduce carbon output from vehicles then perhaps a study should be undertaken to calculate the additional emissions pumped out from the 100's of millions of recovery miles undertaken each year as a direct result.
New vehicles should always carry a spare wheel and purchasers need to bring about change by continuing to demand this feature as a standard option.
A.Lawrence - Hometyre Group Ltd 03/06/13
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