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Research suggests the spare tyre may be out of puff

Research from tyre-manufacturers has revealed the spare tyre might be joining the cassette player and roll-up windows in the big scrap heap in the sky.

Spare tyres -- a necessary evil or a relic of a bygone era?
Spare tyres — a necessary evil or a relic of a bygone era?

Tyre-maker Continental found spare wheels are only really only effective 70 per cent of the time because they are often unroadworthy, and drivers are unable or unwilling to change them by the roadside.

The inherent danger of changing a tyre was also highlighted in the study. Getting out of a stricken vehicle on a motorway at night in a thunder storm is hardly a good idea, even if you have bothered to pack a high-visibility jacket and a safety triangle.

Other negatives of the spare tyre include their weight — an average example weighs upwards of 20kg — and the resulting effect on fuel economy, not to mention the fact all that rubber takes up a great deal of space in the boot.

What are the alternatives, you ask? Well, you could use the old space-saver, a funny-looking mini tyre that saves about 7kg in weight, a bit of space and probably a few extra miles per gallon. This sort of tyre also gives you an incentive to get your original blowout properly repaired and refitted, because of how out of place it looks next to your standard rims.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Jaguar Land Rover’s Brian Cooper, senior manager for wheels and tyres said: “Customers now accept that space-saver spares are robust and they appreciate the extra boot space they yield and the weight saving that helps reduce fuel consumption. But we see the improvement in tyre repair systems as beneficial as they liberate even more luggage space and save even more weight.”

Such systems involve the user pumping a special chemical concoction into the stricken tyre to repair it in situ, but you often you need a compressor to re-inflate the tyre. They’re hardly reliable, though. Continental says the success rate of its own kit is only 80 per cent. Plus many such systems require you to stick to a very low speed limit for a number of miles after the repair.

Trusty run-flat tyres get a mention, but the rigid-walled variant turns the ride of a car into one that could shake you to bits.

Regardless of whether the spare tyre is on the way out or not, it’s worth preparing for the inevitable as nobody likes being stuck in the middle of nowhere with no phone signal, and a tyre flatter than a pancake.

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