Spare Tyre Options: Your Wheely Good Guide
Did you know? By law, you don’t have to carry a spare tyre, leading many car owners to be unsure of whether it’s worth it, what type they should carry and whether tyre repair kits are a quicker alternative.
In this article, we’ll take you through the two main types of spare tyre and their pros and cons – so you can make an informed decision.
What are the two main types of spare tyre?
It is not required by law to carry a spare tyre – but if you do, it must be in a fully legal and safe condition.
The two primary types of spare tyre available to motorists are full size spare tyre and space saver spare tyre. Let’s take a look in more detail at the benefits and disadvantages of both.
Full-Size Spare Tyre
True to the name, full-size spare tyres are exactly that – a standard tyre that is carried in the boot, ready to be changed over with a jack should you experience a puncture. They usually match the tyres already on your vehicle, but not always. So what are the pros and cons?
- A permanent solution: Unlike their temporary, space-saving cousins (more below), a full-size spare tyre is a permanent solution. Once you change the tyre to another full size one, it’s ready to serve you long into the future – or until the next puncture. This makes them a convenient choice with longevity in mind.
- Safe: As long as you’ve ensured the compatibility of the spare tyre with your vehicle, they will have the full grip and safety qualities of a standard tyre – something that space-saving design can’t offer you in the long-term.
- Big and bulky: As a full-size tyre, naturally this option will take up space in your boot. This may not be a problem if the car has a deep enough well in the boot but if you’re going on holiday or a long trip, you may want as much space in the boot as possible, making full size spares a cumbersome choice.
- Heavy: Lugging around a weighty spare tyre in the boot, along with the jack and any tools that accompany a tyre change, can reduce your fuel economy by around 1% – which all adds up in the long run.
Space Saver Spare Tyre
Generally considered a non-standard spare tyre, space saver options do what they say – save space in your boot. They are thinner and lighter than a standard tyre, making them easier and more convenient to carry around. However, they are only for emergencies and should be used as a temporary solution until you reach a garage.
- Don’t take up space: The attraction of space saver tyres is that they leave you with lots more space to play with in your boot, thanks to their compact design. This makes this a great, temporary solution for long trips or holidays where utilising as much space in the boot is a key consideration.
- Lighter: A lighter tyre makes for better fuel economy for your vehicle, saving you money and reducing your impact on the environment.
- Great in an emergency: If you’re in the middle of nowhere with a puncture, space-saving tyres are a handy, compact way to give your vehicle a fresh new tyre. This makes them perfect as a temporary solution for emergencies.
- Only temporary: Space savers are only a temporary solution to get you out of a pinch, and only until you reach a garage for a proper tyre replacement – they are not intended for long-term use. As such, you are paying purely for an emergency get-out, rather than a tyre that can last you long into the future.
- Not as safe: Space saver tyres are legally compliant, and considered safe for short-term use. However, due to the reduced surface area, their grip is not as good, nor is their braking distance. Therefore they should only be a temporary measure, and you should certainly never have two space-saving spare tyres fitted at one time.
What are tyre puncture repair kits?
For those motorists who opt out of carrying a spare wheel and a jack, the other option is carrying a tyre puncture repair kit, which normally contains a tyre sealant and compressor. But are tyre puncture repair kits safe, and will they do the job?
- Easy and quick: Using a sealant or repair kit is a lot less hassle than replacing the entire wheel. As such, this makes them a highly convenient, time-saving way to deal with a puncture.
- Light and portable: The standout benefit of tyre repair kits is their portability, making them far easier to transport than a big, bulky wheel in the boot.
- Not suitable for all kinds of puncture: For small punctures, these kits can be a godsend. For major blowouts or for structural damage to the wheel, they will be of little to no help. Therefore, if you experience some of these more major incidents, a tyre repair kit isn’t suitable.
- May result in replacement anyway: If you’ve used a sealant to patch up a puncture, chances are this is a temporary thing and will still need looking at. Also, in most cases, it’s not possible to carry out a repair once sealant has been used – potentially leading to a full tyre replacement anyway.
Any other options (like run-flats)?
Run-flat tyres are a special tyre that can keep running even when punctured, thanks to their unique design and reinforced sidewalls. This resistance to deflation will give the motorist a little more time to reach a garage than a standard tyre. This means you don’t have to carry around a heavy spare tyre in the boot. However, once punctured, run-flats are only suitable to be used at a maximum of 50 miles at a maximum speed of 50mph. The run-flat capability is designed to enable you to get to a garage safely.
Here at Mr Tyre, we’re the leading autocentre for Central England. With a huge range of high-quality tyres in stock to suit all vehicles, we have the expertise to repair and replace tyres after a puncture so you get back on the road in no time at all. Simply give us a call or drop by one of our 35+ branches.