19th November 2017
Tyres are susceptible to damage on the road and it is important that you are prepared! It is not a legal requirement to carry a spare tyre and many modern cars do not come with one as standard, but you should choose a spare tyre or alternative to keep with you in case you run in to difficulties on the road.
A spare tyre is a fifth tyre usually located underneath a panel in your boot along with equipment that you can use to change it when necessary. Make sure that you are familiar with where your spare tyre is located and check that it is in good condition by measuring your tyre tread and checking for damage before you need to use it. You should also check the pressure of your spare tyre when you check the tyres which are in use. If you switch over your tyres seasonally, you must also remember to switch your spare as fitting one summer tyre with three winter tyres (or vice versa) will drastically affect your handling.
Spare tyres are a popular option as they will allow you to continue driving as usual, so you won’t need to visit a tyre specialist immediately following your incident. The damaged tyre could also be repaired unlike run-flat tyres which are irreparable following damage.
If you carry a spare tyre, however, it is important that you know what you are doing as this can be a difficult task and dangerous if you do not fit your spare tyre properly. A spare tyre will also take up extra space and weight in your car.
A space saver tyre is a light-weight spare tyre and will take up less space as well as weight in your car. Due to their construction, they are more of a temporary measure and following fitting of a space saver to your vehicle you will need to visit a tyre specialist as soon as possible. Space saver tyres are restricted to a certain speed limit which will be displayed by a sticker on the tyre.
Much like spare tyres, space saver tyres will enable you to change your tyre and get back on the road, however, only for a short time. As with spare tyres, fitting a space saver tyre is hard work and you will need to be aware of what you are doing.
Many motorists choose to carry a tyre repair kit with them whilst driving so that they can quickly repair tyre damage themselves. Tyre repair kits will contain a type of sealant and an inflator which will allow you to seal the damage and re-inflate the tyre. When using a tyre repair kit you must always follow the instructions provided as equipment can differ between kits.
The most appealing thing about a tyre repair kit is the ease of use when compared with fitting a spare tyre. They are also smaller and lighter, making them easier to carry around than a tyre.
The disadvantage of using a tyre repair kit is that it is very much a temporary measure and you must visit a tyre specialist as soon as possible to have your damaged tyre replaced. In addition, a tyre that has been temporarily fixed using a tyre repair kit cannot be repaired.
Run-flat tyres have reinforced sidewalls which enable them to continue driving following a puncture. They are able to maintain the shape of the tyre following damage for a short time, which will allow you to drive home or to a specialist at a reduced speed following tyre damage. You can choose to have run-flat tyres fitted to your vehicle and you will not need to carry either a spare tyre or a tyre repair kit. If you do wish to have run-flat tyres fitted, you will need to have all the tyres on your vehicle replaced together.
Run-flat tyres are a great option if you are wary of changing a tyre or making any repairs yourself. They will enable you to drive safely to a specialist straight away following damage. Unlike standard tyres, run-flat tyres cannot be repaired once they have suffered damage as this can compromise the tyre’s structure.
For more information on spare tyres and alternative options, contact your local Merityre Specialists who will be able to provide further guidance and advice.