The Daily Telegraph

Spare wheels come with just 3pc of new cars

- By Will Bolton

IT IS the end of the road for the spare wheel after research revealed just 3 per cent of new cars are being sold with a back up in the boot.

Manufactur­ers are increasing­ly ditching the extra tyres to save weight and make the vehicles more fuel efficient so they adhere to tougher legislatio­n.

An RAC review of 313 models – ranging from the smallest superminis to the largest 4x4s – found only eight automatica­lly came with a spare wheel.

The breakdown company said this is causing a rise in the number of incidents where drivers need help in the event of a flat tyre.

Its patrols went out to nearly 200,000 call-outs last year where drivers had a puncture and no spare wheel – up from 165,000 in 2018.

The Government has announced an increasing number of England’s pothole-plagued roads will be resurfaced with councils being handed £8.3 billion for repairs.

Local authoritie­s will be urged to use the money to fund long-term improvemen­ts, rather than quick fix repairs as part of a new decade-long funding settlement. The Asphalt Industry Alliance has estimated that it would cost £14billion to fix all of the country’s potholes.

The RAC says many manufactur­ers have stopped including a spare wheel as standard to reduce the weight of their cars by up to 45lb.

Another factor driving the rapid decline in spare wheels is that electric vehicles often have battery packs filling the boot of a car.

The only car models identified as having a spare wheel as standard were the Fiat Tipo, Ford Focus (selected variants), Hyundai Sante Fe (PHEV), Land Rover Defender, Seat Ateca (selected models), Suzuki Across, Volvo XC90 (not PHEV) and the Toyota Land Cruiser.

Rod Dennis, spokesman for the RAC, said: “Getting a puncture on a journey has to be one of the most irritating breakdowns for drivers, especially if it’s as a result of hitting one of the plethora of potholes that currently characteri­se so many of our roads.

“In the past, a driver could have reached for the spare wheel in the boot but this new analysis shows that these are now pretty much a thing of the past.”

The Society of Motor Manufactur­ers and Traders, which represents car makers, declined to comment.

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