AA survey reveals drivers prefer spare wheels over repair kits, citing pothole-related costs

A selective focus shot of a man repairing a car leaning on a wheel

Long assumed, but now verified by a recent survey of over 10,000 AA members, drivers vastly prefer traditional or spacesaver spare wheels over the tyre sealant and puncture repair kits often seen on new cars.

According to the motoring group, there has never been a better argument for carrying a spare on the UK’s potholed and damaged roads, with 82% of members voting in favour of it.

Pothole damage is predicted to cost drivers in the UK an astounding £500 million in 2023 alone, with replacement tyres accounting for a significant amount of that cost. Although most of the time they would be mistaken, the AA believes that drivers of more recent models cannot be faulted for believing they have a spare wheel hidden under the boot floor.

A noteworthy twenty percent of younger drivers, according to the report, would not even stop to think about whether a car they were buying had a spare.

In 2023, the AA responded to over half of the the car calls it made to motorists who had punctures and were also driving without a spare wheel. Although patrols can do interim repairs when necessary, in many situations the only options are to hire a mobile tyre fitter or make an instant journey to a garage to use the patrol’s temporary “multi-fit” spare.

The AA wants to raise awareness of the possibility of fitting a spare wheel after a car has left the dealership in order to reduce the amount of time patrols have to spend in these kinds of circumstances. More than a third of the drivers surveyed said they were unsure about using a tyre inflation kit, but half of them said they would be willing to pay for a spare wheel.

“In previous times, if a vehicle suffered a punctured tyre, our patrols would simply fit the spare wheel and wave the member on their way. More recently, since manufacturers opted to fit an inflation kit instead of a spare wheel, it can take our patrols a couple of hours to resolve the same issue,” says AA patrol of the year, Chris Wood.

According to the AA, owners who already own a spare wheel should make sure it is still functional, and those who don’t should think about getting one.

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