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AA says drivers without a spare wheel should consider buying one as pothole repairs reach 5-year high





Drivers with newer cars that don’t come with a spare wheel are being advised to consider buying an extra tyre for the boot of their car.

With pothole-related incidents at a five-year high - the AA says the case for having a spare wheel has ‘rarely been stronger’.

Breakdowns caused by potholes are at a five-year high says the AA. Image: Stock photo.
Breakdowns caused by potholes are at a five-year high says the AA. Image: Stock photo.

However the majority of new cars no longer come with an extra wheel as many manufacturers have opted to ditch the conventional replacement for repair kits instead, which are lighter, improve the vehicle’s fuel economy and take up less space in the back of the car.

Drivers, says the breakdown organisation, can’t be blamed for assuming that they've a spare tucked away neatly in the boot of their vehicle but on most occasions ‘they’d be mistaken’ - which can make for a nasty surprise during a breakdown.

Last year, says the AA, pothole-related damage accounted for almost half a billion pounds in vehicle repairs – with a considerable proportion spent on new tyres.

More than half of vehicles the AA were sent to, didn’t have spare wheels. Image: Stock photo.
More than half of vehicles the AA were sent to, didn’t have spare wheels. Image: Stock photo.

But more than half of the vehicles that patrols were sent to with punctures in 2023 were not carrying a spare wheel.

If temporary repairs at the roadside can’t be carried out, or the inflation kit fails to seal the puncture, it leaves stranded motorists needing to get their car to a garage, which can also prove difficult if the break down happens ‘after hours’.

Drivers are being advised to consider buying a spare. Image: iStock.
Drivers are being advised to consider buying a spare. Image: iStock.

Chris Wood from the AA said: “The condition of Britain’s potholed roads is leading to lots of damaged tyres. In previous times, if a vehicle suffered a punctured tyre, our patrols would simply fit the spare wheel and wave the member on their way.

“More recently, since manufacturers opted to fit an inflation kit instead of a spare wheel, it can take our patrols a couple of hours to resolve the same issue. Most of the members we attend say that they’d much prefer the peace of mind of having a spare wheel in the boot, even if they had to pay extra for it.

“Our advice is for all drivers to check if their vehicle has a spare wheel before they need it, and if they find that their vehicle doesn’t have one, to have a plan in place if things go wrong.”

Repairing a puncture is additionally complicated without a spare wheel. Image: iStock.
Repairing a puncture is additionally complicated without a spare wheel. Image: iStock.

Edmund King, AA president said having a spare wheel could ultimately save drivers both time and money.

He added: “Having a spare tyre can save time and money. If you don’t have one, consider buying one. Four out of five drivers would prefer a spare so it should always, where practical, be offered as an option.”



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