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Spare Wheels: A vanishing feature in the modern automotive industry

By Mathilda Bartholomew | November 30, 2023

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Just 3% of newly sold cars come equipped with a spare wheel

Spare Wheels: A vanishing feature in the modern automotive industry

New research by RAC has revealed only 3% of new cars sold come with a spare wheel.

A comprehensive review of 313 new cars from 28 different brands revealed that only eight models were equipped with a spare wheel and half of these models offered a spare wheel only on specific variants.

The absence of spare wheels in new cars is becoming more pronounced, with electric vehicles even less likely to include one. Typically, larger and heavier-duty vehicles are more likely to come with this essential feature.

The specific models with a spare wheel at the time of the research include the Fiat Tipo, selected models of the Ford Focus, Hyundai Santa Fe (PHEV), Land Rover Defender, selected models of the SEAT Ateca, Suzuki Across, Volvo XC90 (not PHEV), and the Toyota Land Cruiser. 

Car manufacturers are moving away from spare wheels due to stricter emissions regulations. The additional weight of a spare wheel, up to 20kg, contributes to increased vehicle weight and, subsequently, reduced fuel efficiency. This shift allows manufacturers to align with emission reduction goals more effectively.

This decline in the availability of spare wheels has significantly impacted RAC breakdown call-out volumes. In 2022, RAC patrols responded to nearly 200,000 incidents where drivers faced a puncture without a spare wheel, compared to around 165,000 four years earlier.

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