RAC rolls out ‘universal’ spare wheel

The RAC's 'universal' spare wheel being fitted to a car.

The RAC's 'universal' spare wheel being fitted to a car. - Credit: supplied

Following a rise in the number of car-makers fitting emergency tyre-inflation kits instead of spare wheels, the RAC has introduced a ‘universal’ spare wheel to handle callouts for unfixable punctures.

Many cars now come with a tyre-inflation kit as standard, as this saves a significant amount of weight and therefore helps overall CO2 emissions. But some punctures or a complete blow-out can’t be fixed with the tyre sealant systems.

According to the RAC, in the 12 months to August 2012, it responded to 87,000 breakdowns involving a puncture on a vehicle with no spare, and in the 12 months ending in August 2013 this increased to 120,000.

The RAC claims its ‘universal’ spare wheel fits most cars that don’t have a spare wheel fitted as standard. RAC patrols will fit the wheel quickly and liaise with the nearest ATS Euromaster centre on the customer’s behalf to find out what replacement tyres are available. Payment can be taken at the roadside by the RAC patrol, ensuring the customer can drive straight to ATS Euromaster or book a mobile fitting at their convenience. The RAC will then arrange to collect the spare directly from ATS, avoiding any further hassle.

Developed with specialist manufacturer Dynomec working in partnership with tyre expert ATS Euromaster, the five-stud, 17in lightweight alloy multi-fit wheel fits a high proportion of vehicles and will significantly cut down the time spent by members at the roadside, often in potentially dangerous situations such as on the hard shoulder of motorways.

Trials are taking place in south-west England and Northern Ireland with some 200 patrols carrying the new wheel.

Phil Ryan, head of RAC technical operations, said: “We are already seeing very positive results from the trials and we expect the universal wheel to become an increasingly common sight on our roads.”