Bring back a decent spare wheel, say disgruntled motorists

Proper spare wheels were last fitted to new cars regularly in the 1990s, and drivers aren't happy about their disappearance, a new survey shows.

Today’s motorists are often in for a nasty surprise when they get a puncture, since most modern cars do not come with a proper spare wheel.

And according to a survey by Britain’s Carbuyer magazine, a lot of drivers are not happy about this state of affairs.

A thousand people were asked and two out of three (65 per cent) listed not having a full-size spare as their biggest gripe.

In order to save space in the luggage compartment, manufacturers fit a so-called emergency wheel or sometimes supply a breakdown kit with a mini-compressor and sealant for an on-the-fly fix.

Proper spare wheels were last fitted to new cars regularly in the 1990s.

The space-saving emergency spare tyre is also usually limited to a maximum speed of 80 km/h and a maximum distance of about the same, which limits a driver’s options for getting to a suitable tyre shop.

BMW is unusual in offering run-flat tyres, but most carmakers ignore the complaints from buyers.

“The absence of a full-size spare appears to be overwhelmingly unpopular with drivers, doubtless because both alternative solutions are such inconvenient temporary solutions to a flat tyre,” said Carbuyer editor-at-large, James Batchelor.

“Continuing your journey on a speed-limited wheel – or using a temporary repair kit – are deeply unpopular options for an overwhelming majority of drivers,” said Batchelor.

Other complaints highlighted in the survey were features introduced for driver convenience such as stop-start systems which cut and restart the engine at traffic lights in a bid to save fuel.

Seven per cent listed the devices as a pet hate, while 5 per cent said they disliked keyless entry systems. Fourth on the list of dislikes were automatic handbrakes, irritating four per cent of those canvassed.