It’s late on a wet and windy evening and you’re driving home along an unlit country lane. You hear a thud and then the car starts to pull strongly to one side. You’ve hit a pothole and it’s punctured a tyre. Any practically minded person would brace themselves and change the affected wheel for the spare. However, this could be the moment you discover that your car doesn’t actually have a spare wheel.
According to tyre maker Continental, drivers suffer a puncture on average every 44,000 miles or five years, so many people won’t know whether their car has a spare wheel or not. Over the past decade, more and more car manufacturers have ditched conventional spare wheels for tyre repair kits. They cite two main reasons for this: repair kits take up less space and are lighter, thus aiding fuel economy.
But there’s a third reason: cost. A tyre repair kit costs around £20, whereas a space-saver spare wheel could cost £100. So, by providing repair kits as standard and charging extra for a spare wheel, car makers can also make a profit out of this practice.
We conducted a survey of 251 new car models from 31 brands to find out what they provide as standard to deal with flat tyres, and found that just 8% come with a full-size spare wheel. A space-saver is standard on 30%, while 55% have a tyre repair kit rather than any type of spare wheel. The rest are fitted with run-flat tyres. Here's our rundown of which models can - and can't - be bought with some sort of spare wheel.
What Car? says…
It’s a shame that so many car makers charge extra for a spare wheel, but we still think it’s worth getting one if you can. Even a space-saver wheel will enable you to get to your destination if your car suffers a puncture, and that’s better than the risk of your car having to be towed to a garage to get a new tyre if its tyre repair kit is insufficient.
Click through to find out which brands and car models come with a spare wheel, space saver spare or a tyre inflation kit, and how much it'll cost to add a spare if it's an optional extra.