Be honest, when was the last time you checked your spare tyre?
It’s not uncommon for people to leave them for years without being checked. However, even without being used, the tyre’s rubber will eventually break down and show signs of ageing and cracks can appear and affect the overall integrity of the tyre.
It’s that same old spare, sitting in your boot deteriorating, which may be vital to getting you out of a sticky situation one day if you get a flat tyre – eek! And, if that does happen and your spare has indeed deteriorated you basically have two outcomes…
- You see how badly your spare tyre has deteriorated and are left stranded to find a new one, likely at the hands of roadside assistance. Your new tyre choices are restricted and you won’t have the time or means to research or shop around.
- The other outcome is the scarier one. If you don’t see how badly your spare has deteriorated you risk driving on an unsafe tyre and putting you and everyone else who may be in your car in danger. It might sound dramatic, but your tyres are the only thing between your car and that road, driving on a bad tyre is dangerous!
The good news is that maintaining your spare tyre really isn’t that hard. It’s simply a matter of checking the tyre yourself, ensuring your mechanic checks your spare during your service (any decent mechanic will do this anyway) and to replace your spare tyre every five years. Easy.
The Dangers Of Space Savers
Many cars these days are fitted with a space saver wheels as the spare. Basically, they’re a wheel that is a fraction of the size of your normal car wheel, designed for the dual purpose of taking up less room in your boot and reducing weight, which in turn increases your fuel economy.
While this is great for day-to-day driving, they can be problematic if you actually need to use them. Space savers are designed to get you to your closest mechanic or tyre shop only. They are absolutely not designed for longer use and will blow if driven over a long period, leaving you without a regular tyre and without a spare.
In Europe loads of cars have even skidded off cliffs as a result of driving at excessive speeds around bends while fitted with their space saver, causing the NRMA to introduce a policy that all space saver tyres must be fitted to the rear of the car only.
For this reason, if you do need to use your space saver be extra cautious on the road; drive slower than usual and replace it with a regular tyre the right size for your car as soon as you can.
If you’re heading on a long trip where you could potentially be stranded in the middle of nowhere consider replacing your space saver with a full size spare tyre, at least for that journey.
The Finish Line
Tyres, especially spare tyres, can feel like a real chore as far as car care goes. But, let’s be honest, tyres are much cheaper than they’ve ever been and when it comes down to it, they’re the only thing between you and that road – so you want them to be quality! So, get your spare checked at every service, replace it every five years and drive with peace of mind.