How the RAC Universal Spare Wheel fixes no-spare breakdowns

How the RAC Universal Spare Wheel fixes no-spare breakdowns
Stay on the road with the RAC Universal Spare Wheel

We rolled out the RAC universal spare wheel to all patrol vans in 2014 in response to the number of new cars being sold without a spare wheel.

To date they have been used more than one million times to help get our members back on the road and avoid the need for recovery.

In 2018 our patrols dealt with almost 200,000 ‘puncture no spare’ breakdowns – an increase of 84% on 2012.

Once fitted, the member can complete their journey or drive to a local approved tyre specialist to get a repair or replacement. Then the member simply leaves the universal spare wheel at the tyre specialist for us to collect later.

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.

By using a Universal Spare Wheel, something all our patrols carry, our members with Breakdown Cover are protected from getting caught out. Broken down without cover? Call 03301598743.



Why the RAC Universal Spare Wheel is Necessary

Car manufacturers now find themselves under 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're 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 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.

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.

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

RAC Breakdown cover from just £7 a month*. Plus FREE Battery Replace!^  

*New, single vehicle-based cover. £7 a month for Basic cover. ^For 1 nominated vehicle when added to Extra or Complete cover. New customers only. Ends 26/02/24, 7am.

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings