A recent analysis has revealed a concerning fact about new car models in the United Kingdom: only 3% of them are sold with a spare wheel as standard. This means that an increasing number of drivers find themselves stranded after a puncture, without the necessary equipment to fix the problem on the spot.
The study conducted by the RAC examined 313 different car models, ranging from small superminis to large SUVs. Surprisingly, it was found that only eight of these models automatically come with a spare wheel in the trunk. This worrying trend has led to a significant increase in the number of incidents where drivers require assistance due to irreparable flat tires. Just last year, the RAC responded to nearly 200,000 calls related to punctures and the lack of a spare wheel, a notable increase from the 165,000 incidents in 2018.
So, what is behind this shift in spare wheels? Manufacturers have omitted them as standard features to reduce the weight of their vehicles, aiming to improve fuel efficiency and meet stricter emissions regulations. Another driving factor behind this decline is the proliferation of electric vehicles, which often have batteries occupying the space where a spare wheel would normally be found.
Although most new cars no longer come equipped with a spare wheel, there are still some models that go against the trend. The Fiat Tipo, Ford Focus (selected variants), Hyundai Sante Fe (PHEV), Land Rover Defender, Seat Ateca (selected variants), Suzuki Across, Volvo XC90 (non-PHEV), and Toyota Land Cruiser are the only identified models that include a spare wheel as standard.
RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis acknowledged the frustration faced by drivers when they have a puncture, especially due to the high number of potholes on UK roads. He emphasized that spare wheels have become a rarity, with only a small fraction of new cars being sold with one. As a result, drivers are increasingly relying on roadside assistance services like the RAC.
To address this problem, the RAC has introduced a pioneering multi-purpose spare wheel that can be used in emergency situations. Their patrols are now equipped with a four-bolt version, ensuring they can assist drivers more effectively. Dennis also pointed out that drivers still have the option to purchase a spare wheel as an optional extra when ordering a new car, which could be a smart investment given the growing number of punctures.
As this worrying trend continues and electric vehicles become more common, it is essential for manufacturers and policymakers to consider alternative solutions that provide drivers with peace of mind and a reliable way to fix punctures on the road.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are spare wheels becoming less common in new cars?
Manufacturers are omitting spare wheels to reduce the vehicle’s weight, improve fuel efficiency, and comply with stricter emissions regulations. Additionally, with the rise of electric vehicles, the space traditionally occupied by a spare wheel is often taken up by battery packs.
Are there any new car models that come with a spare wheel as standard?
According to the analysis conducted by the RAC, only eight car models are sold with a spare wheel as a standard feature. These include the Fiat Tipo, Ford Focus, Hyundai Sante Fe (PHEV), Land Rover Defender, Seat Ateca, Suzuki Across, Volvo XC90, and Toyota Land Cruiser.
What can drivers do if their car does not come with a spare wheel?
In such cases, drivers should consider alternative solutions such as purchasing an optional spare wheel when ordering a new car or investing in a multi-purpose spare wheel that can be used in emergency situations. It is also helpful to rely on roadside assistance services like the RAC, which can provide valuable support in case of a puncture.