Increasingly, cars are being sold without a spare wheel included as standard, often to the disbelief of motorists who go to look for it when their car suffers a puncture or flat tyre. The RAC Universal Spare Wheel was designed to tackle this problem. In 2013 our patrols dealt with around 94,000 ‘puncture no spare’ breakdowns – a 33% increase on 2012, but a considerably greater 223% increase since 2010 when there were just 29,000 breakdowns. With 2015 figures expected to rise to 250,000, our Breakdown Cover
issued all our Patrols with a Universal Spare Wheel, to help prevent our members from being caught out.
Why the RAC Universal Spare Wheel is Necessary
Car manufacturers now find themselves under increasing pressure to reduce emissions, improve fuel efficiency and maximise space available to owners. One of the simplest ways for them to achieve these targets is to supply vehicles without a spare wheel as standard. Even though we are proud of our Patrols’ ability to fix four out of five breakdowns at the roadside, the rise of the puncture no-spare breakdown has led our technical team to develop an inventive solution to a modern phenomenon that seems to be here to stay.
The first port of call for all of our Breakdown Cover Patrols is to try and repair a puncture by plugging the hole, which has a 50% success rate. Where puncture repair is not successful, the next step would be to fit the spare wheel that came with the vehicle when it was sold. Even though this is a viable option when dealing with older cars, approximately half of all new vehicles do not come with a spare wheel. To overcome this problem we have developed a Universal Spare Wheel to help speed up fix time and minimise inconvenience for our members.
Developed with a specialist manufacturer partner, the five-stud, 17in lightweight alloy multi-fit wheel fits a high proportion of vehicles. In fact between January and October 2014 it was used over 30,000 times. While the five-stud universal wheel fits many of the new vehicles sold without a spare, we are also developing a four-stud wheel to fit a majority of those for which the five-stud version is not applicable – traditionally smaller cars like Fiestas and Fiat Puntos.
Where the Universal Spare Wheel is needed, our patrol will fit it swiftly and liaise with the nearest local approved tyre specialist on your behalf to find out what appropriate replacements are available. Payment can be taken at the roadside by the RAC patrol, ensuring you can drive straight to the tyre centre, or book a mobile fitting at your convenience. The RAC will then arrange collection of the spare wheel directly from the tyre centre, avoiding any further inconvenience for you.
Contact us today
Find further information on Breakdown Cover or speak to one of our RAC advisers on 0844 891 3111 to get a quote.*