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RAC trials universal spare wheel as ‘puncture no spare’ call-outs increase by nearly 50% in a year

03 Sep 2013 at 15:37

With the number of punctures on cars with no spare wheel rising by 44% in the last year, the RAC has begun trialling a universal spare wheel which is designed to speed up the fix time and minimise inconvenience for members.

In the 12 months up to August 2012, the RAC responded to 87,000 breakdowns involving a puncture on a vehicle with no spare, and in the 12 months ending in August 2013 this increased to approximately 120,000.

The ‘disappearance’ of the spare wheel has arisen as a result of car manufacturers seeking to improve fuel economy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by lessening vehicle weights. As spare wheels are relatively heavy (often weighing as much as 25kg-30kg), removing them from a standard vehicle and making them an optional extra has become increasingly common with manufacturers.

And, with car manufacturers obliged to ensure that average new car emissions do not exceed 130g of CO2 per kilometre by 2015 and 95g by 2020, the spare wheel is unlikely to make a comeback in the foreseeable future.

Although manufacturers provide a tyre inflation kit in place of a spare wheel, these are only suitable for carrying out temporary repairs on punctures up to 4mm and can be daunting to use at the side of the road. RAC patrols attending these breakdowns would firstly try to fix the puncture and, if this was not possible, would then either collect and fit a new tyre or, alternatively, tow the member to the nearest garage, both of which can be time-consuming.

However, with the RAC ‘universal’ spare wheel, which fits the majority of cars that don’t have a spare wheel fitted as standard, a quick and effective solution is possible, saving members time. RAC patrols will fit the wheel quickly and liaise with the nearest ATS Euromaster centre on their behalf to find out what replacements are available. Payment can be taken at the roadside by the RAC patrol, ensuring the customer can drive straight to ATS Euromaster, or book a mobile fitting at their convenience. The RAC will then arrange collection of the spare directly from ATS, avoiding any further hassle.

Developed with specialist manufacturer Dynomec working in partnership with tyre expert ATS Euromaster, the five-stud, 17in lightweight alloy multi-fit wheel fits a high proportion of vehicles and will significantly cut down the time spent by members at the roadside, often in potentially dangerous situations such as on the hard shoulder of motorways. Trials are taking place in South West England and Northern Ireland with some 200 patrols carrying the new wheel.

Head of RAC technical operations Phil Ryan said: “The Dynomec universal spare wheel demonstrates how the RAC is at the forefront of providing innovative solutions to help our individual members and business customers get back on the road as quickly as possible after they break down.

“We understand why motor manufacturers need to reduce the weight of their vehicles in order to make them more fuel efficient and to meet EU carbon dioxide emissions targets and removal of the spare wheel helps them to achieve this.
“But drivers should not suffer as a result, and in order to minimise the disruption and inconvenience that punctures can cause, the universal spare wheel provides additional options for patrols to deal with breakdowns more quickly and effectively. We are already seeing very positive results from the trials and we expect the universal wheel to become an increasingly common sight on our roads.”

Columba Zaal, ATS Euromaster’s group operations director, explained: “We too have noticed a surge in the number of calls our centres receive from drivers stranded with a tyre failure and no spare. The industry needed to respond to this growing problem, and it made sense for us to partner with the RAC to jointly develop a mobility proposition for motorists.

Zaal added: “All of our centres carry an extensive range of premium, mid-range and budget tyres, so we are confident we can get the majority of customers back on the road quickly. In the event that a specific tyre is not available on the shelf, we can arrange to attend any non-roadside location, such as a member’s home or place of work, on a same or next-day basis. Operating the largest mobile tyre fitting fleet in the business is a key advantage.”

The RAC believes its universal spare wheel is set to be a welcome sight for both individual and corporate members as well as being a major benefit for business customers such as fleet managers who will be able to get their vehicles back on the road more quickly, saving both time and money.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

About RAC

With around seven million members, the RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, insurance, buying a used car, vehicle inspections and checks, legal services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information – the RAC offers a solution for all motoring needs. The RAC is committed to making motoring easier, safer, more affordable and more enjoyable for drivers and road users.

The RAC is the motorist’s champion and campaigns to support the interests of its members and UK motorists at a national level, including advancing levels of road safety, supporting the needs of young drivers and voicing concerns about the increasing cost of motoring. The RAC’s annual Report on Motoring survey, now in its 25th year, provides a clear insight into the concerns and issues facing today’s motorists.

The RAC supports FairFuelUK campaigning for fairer taxes on petrol and diesel. Show support and find out more at www.fairfueluk.com.

Key facts:

  • RAC patrols fix four out of five vehicles at the roadside and on an average within 37 minutes
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About ATS Euromaster

Birmingham-based ATS Euromaster Ltd is part of the Euromaster Group, which operates in 17 European countries with 11,271 employees in more than 2,000 service centres.  Established in Great Britain since 1965, ATS Euromaster has approximately 350 centres (a mixture of retail, comprehensive and truck locations), approximately 900 mobile service vans and employs in excess of 2,600 people, providing coverage nationwide. It is the largest comprehensive tyre distributor supplying tyres for everything from cars and vans to trucks, coaches, forklifts, farm machinery and construction plant.  

ATS Euromaster was the first national tyre expert to be accredited by both SAFEContractor and the Contractors Health and Safety Scheme (CHAS), and also holds the Silver Award for Occupational Health & Safety from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. The company’s technicians are amongst the most highly trained in the fast-fit industry, offering a comprehensive range of products and services including tyres, wheels, fleet inspections, nitrogen inflation, brakes, batteries, shock absorbers, oil, exhausts, fault diagnostics, air-conditioning servicing, scheduled maintenance servicing and MOT testing. Further information is available from www.atseuromaster.co.uk.

For press information please contact Faye McBride or James Keeler on 020 8647 4467.

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