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Do you need a spare wheel?


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Well I have needed one, but probably only twice in that period. There is no question that in modern cost conscious management decision terms it can't be justified. However, I continue to carry one, for me it is a self reliance thing particularly on a longer trip, often abroad (here's hoping!).

I probably also take more trouble with tyres these days, both choosing them and  replacing worn/damaged tyres, checking pressures etc. but I still think I would feel 'exposed' without one one board.

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I've needed my spare once while on the road (not in a Land Rover) and twice while off roading. I must admit these days I usually don't carry one. In the Range Rover the spare wheel well is taken up by the LPG-tank, in the Esprit I leave out the spare because that gives me extra storage in the front (the rear boot gets hot so not suitable for groceries or such). I do tend to take a spare when going on longer trips.

Most moderns don't have a spare either, certainly not a full size one. Either it because of cost cutting, trying to get weight down (better ways to do that!) or simply because there no longer is room for one (the spare wheel well is often used to house the adblue tank). You do get a repair kit and compressor, but that wont always be enough. Even if there is a spare, that is very rarely checked so might not be much help when you need it...

A few years ago we had to cut short a greenlaning trip with friends because of a flat. The spare was a lot smaller than the off road tyres fitted, so @elbekko wisely decided to leave for home so as not to put too much strain on the driveline. We were lucky enough to find a tyre shop along the way that was willing to help out on a Sunday, but we did miss out on some fun. He carries a full size spare ever since!

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It’s obviously a risk based decision - so things like laning or going abroad either increase the impact or likelihood of a puncture …. But after so many years on UK roads, it makes me wonder …

1 hour ago, Blanco said:

I probably also take more trouble with tyres these days, both choosing them and  replacing worn/damaged tyres, checking pressures etc.

Especially if they are looked after, are very robust tyres by design, and aren’t subject to high speed stresses.

58 minutes ago, Escape said:

Most moderns don't have a spare either

This also made me think - in that same period I’ve never had a puncture, my wife’s car hasn’t, whilst it has covered plenty of road miles and has not been carrying a spare.

🤔

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i believe they calculated this years ago , you get a puncture once every 100000 km's . so there's no real need for a spare . (but i always carry them) 

new heavy goodsvehicle's in the netherlands often don't come with a spare (save's some weight, and most drivers can't change a tyre anymore)

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I've needed my spare twice - both times glad I had it. Once coming off the ferry in Calais, and once the greenlaning trip Escape mentioned.

I always carry one, it's cheap insurance  especially in more remote locations.

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I haven't needed one on my 110...yet but have a spare just in case. Sod's law will come into play if don't have one and you will hae a punture within weeks :lol:

I carry one mostly for piece of mind. I also carry some hex keys, screw driver set, spanners and a socket plus a fuel lift pump and fuel filter all under the driver's seat set just in case.

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I’ve never had a puncture, but I’ve needed the spare a few times. Once when off road some dirt or debris got into the bead and started letting the tyre down slowly, and once when a set of wheel nuts came loose and damaged the wheel.

I personally wouldn’t go without one, but on balance of risk I can see why for many folk who only ever drive on normal roads in easy/quick reach of breakdown services it’s not required.

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In the UK on a standard vehicle I'd fairly happily live without one as I have breakdown cover and the odds are low. Also there's no room for one in the Mini anyway :lol:

On a vehicle with non-std tyre size (like my 109) or going abroad/overland or generally outside the range of good breakdown cover I'd always carry one. Much of Europe has strict rules about tyre sizes etc. so you won't get anything other than what was fitted from the factory at a tyre shop and they may even refuse to work on the vehicle if you get a jobsworth.

First trip into Europe in the Ambulance we woke up to a flat on the last day with no time in hand before having to dash for the ferry, the spare definitely saved the day.

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I always carry one (sometimes two) though in reality all the punctures I have fixed recently have been removing nails/screws/other stuff in my workshop and fixing a hole then putting it back on the vehicle. I think the last time I had to do a roadside puncture repair on any of my vehicles was probably getting on for 15 years ago, though the wife had one a couple of years back with a sharp rock right through a nearly new BFG MT (tears).

The judgement is probably best to be made on the basis of where you are and what happens next if you have a puncture. If you are in the UK and can call the AA then fine, carry on. Here, if you're out in the sticks somewhere and rip a tyre, it's potentially likely to be massively inconvenient and there are no recovery services.

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I always carry it, and have used it a few times. Every time I have been glad I did as rather than hours of waiting around I have been back on my journey in about 20 mins.

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39 minutes ago, reb78 said:

I always carry it, and have used it a few times. Every time I have been glad I did as rather than hours of waiting around I have been back on my journey in about 20 mins.

I think you've hit the nail on the head there. I've had to use recovery once for a fuel filter problem letting air into the fuel system. It took me ages to get recovered home. For the sake of a 10 minute job I could have done it myself with some simple tools. 

I also carry a light and hi vis jacket. 

Same goes if you have a puncture (provided you can pull over to a safe place to carry out the change) 

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My polo didn't have one when I bought it; after 7 years of ownership I decided I was on borrowed time, so I bought a spare wheel for it. 3 months later I had a puncture.

I think the reasons for not having one is cost, weight and the majority of the population incapable of changing it.

The boss last week had a puncture next to the playground in the village, .5 mile away from home:

large.puncture.JPG.5a9302765c5eeced5b6fbfb979633112.JPGlarge.1914989145_puncturehelper.JPG.5a0d4b5f445bd2d303346dea48240a24.JPGlarge.2079109411_puncturehelper2.JPG.114db696fa49cfbe8b5307582f246dff.JPG

Clearly the job of changing it was delegated to myself, but I got a helper.

I must say, as an engineer I can do it, but getting the spare wheel from under the car is a major puzzle; it involves removing the rear mat, and a rubber plug, which reveals a hex driver for a winch to lower the wheel on the ground using the wheel brace to drive it. This than gives you the wheel and the jack which is packed in a tupperware type box which has a sliding lid which is almost impossible to remove without a screwdriver. As the jack is exposed to the elements, it had gone rusty and is very hard to operate; nothing a bit of WD40 can't solve, but that is not something I usually carry. This is all nothing compared to trying to get the wheel back under the car, which requires 2 hands to keep the wheel horizontal and a third to operate the winch. Clearly a designer has been given a job to sort out the spare wheel mounting and not given Joe average a go at actually changing a wheel. It is non starter IMO for the usual customer.

 

Similarly, if you have a defender with a 7.50x16 tyre on the back door, is the average  (lady) driver able to lift it up?

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A workmate has a Fiat Panda, no spare just tyre or jack, just repair foam & a compressor, took 4 hours to get a tyre fitted & finish his journey to work a week ago, He is now wanting a spare wheel & a jack. 

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When we first got the 110 and my wife was using it as the family wagon I made sure she not only knew how to change the wheel but could physically do it.

 

Currently she has an Alhambra with self sealing continental runflats. Only one manufacturer in that size, the car comes with no provision for a spare, no jack, no wheelbrace, no pump, no gunk.

We have never worn a tyre out!

1 punctured in the tread and not self sealed.

1 barely detectable leak in the sidewall, but flat in 4hrs.

2 rapidly perished in the sidewall.

 

I will be looking for a car that has space for a spare next time round.

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I run tubes in the landrover tyres so when you get a puncture they go down fast. I have used the spare and wouldn’t ever not carry one.

tubeless tyres tend to mostly get slow punctures so it’s much less of an issue. My daily driver Audi has never had a spare and there is no space for one even (not even a space saver)

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The all terrain type tyres I run on my land rovers have picked up some random things were I needed spare to get me by - the quite big gapped tread does pick stuff up.

I had a few flats in the 110 with inner tubes.

I go into a lot of shipyards and industrial areas which makes me a little more cautious, and like to have a spare, I don't like getting stuck.

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I have had a handful of punctures over the years on the 109, and one puncture here in the Volvo, so would always have at least one spare.  Some of those punctures were dealt with by using tyre sealant, but some two needed the spare wheel to get to a tyre shop.  The puncture here was a slow puncture that needed inflation every day, but with the heat and road conditions, I fixed it straight away.  Being stranded with an immobilised vehicle here in summer could be lethal, so I’d never chance not having a spare.  For a town car in mild conditions, maybe…

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I have had multiple punctues in a single journey or day four times due to road debris or council potholes.

Only once was I able to get home as I had 2 spares.

My most recent vehicles all has sealant installed or in a can. I did check with the local tyre company which was good for replacement after failure as some will take ages to clean up

 

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A couple of years ago when we had a place in Cumbria , I had a hard lesson about carrying a spare.

I had fitted a nice new set of four Goodyear all season tyres to my Astra, the following day I loaded it up with things to go there (we live in Kent) new front door and some ladders on the roof bars and all. I would have normally taken a trailer, but it had an engine on it, and I couldnt be bothered to take it off ! Because I had tools, SWMBO her friend and the dog etc, I had the bright idea of taking the spare wheel out of its well, in order to cram some more stuff in. What a bad mistake that turned out to be ..................

Arrived Friday, and the plan was to fit the front door and do some other maintenance work, then come home Sunday afternoon/evening, then all three of us back to work on Monday. All went well until we set off for home around 3pm on Sunday. Turning the car round to get out, I clipped a piece of steel sticking out of a derelict gate, which neatly ripped the sidewall out of one of the new front tyres.

The place is half a mile up an unsurfaced track, there is no mobile signal, its Sunday afternoon, and I have no spare wheel, wheelbrace or jack (took the toolkit out as well) and have to be back the next day. Green Flag wouldnt help as I should have had a spare. Anchors. Eventually managed to get the wheel off with an old box spanner from the shed, having lifted the car with some fence posts and a lot of swearing. No chance of getting a new tyre or spare wheel, so had to wait until the following morning. None of us could let work know we wouldnt be in (no phone signal remember) Not much a problem for me, but big problem for SWMBO and her friend.

Next morning I walked down to main road carrying the wheel/tyre, which was quite a trial, then waited an hour for the bus into town. Of course no tyre specialist there, so was held to ransom by local garage charging tourist rates. Budget tyre cost more than the Goodyear ! Back on the bus a couple of hours later, and a half mile uphill walk with the wheel and tyre. Refitted it the best I could, bearing in mind I couldnt do the bolts up properly, and eventually set off for home at 4pm. I stopped at a farm to borrow a socket to do the nuts up properly. Traffic was a nightmare and we eventually arrived home just gone midnight.

So yes, I always now carry a spare. And a puncture plug kit. Wouldnt even entertain NOT having one now.

I understand that if your vehicle is meant to have a spare wheel and you do not have one, some of the breakdown and recovery companies will refuse to attend, so you might want to check that out with whoever you use

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