There is nothing in the law that says you have to carry a spare wheel so a lot of cars don’t have them in order to save weight. Instead these models come with tyre inflation kits. These are a kind of moose that you inject into the tyre through the valve. Then when you use the supplied compressor to pump the tyre up, the moose plugs the hole.
Are tyre inflation kits any good?
That depends on the kind of puncture you’ve had. If it’s a small hole in the central tread area, say caused by a nail, then yes, they should work. However, if you’ve hit an object and perhaps gashed the tyre’s sidewall, then an inflation kit is pretty useless.
It also depends on how quickly you’ve noticed the puncture and therefore stopped. If you’ve driven some distance, the tyre may well have overheated and shredded.
All that said, in certain circumstances, inflation kits are very good. They could well get you home and mean you don’t have to change the wheel. It’s something that might appeal to anyone who isn’t confident with a jack and wheel brace.
You can get aftermarket kits
If you like the sound of these, you can buy them over the counter from motor retailers. They cost anywhere between about £6 and £23. However, if you buy one from the car maker, it’s likely to be pricier.
But they may mean you can’t repair the tyre
Sometimes punctured tyres can be repaired, depending on the position of the hole. Read all about tyre repairs here. However, the moose used with inflation kits is by its nature sticky stuff. Frequently fast fit operations will refuse to repair tyres because cleaning out the moose to make the repair is too time consuming, messy and difficult.
You could always buy a spare
Unless it’s a specialist sportscar with no boot, or perhaps a model with two different sizes of tyre front to back, there will doubtless be a space in or under the boot for a spare wheel. And usually for around £100 you can buy a space saver spare from the manufacturer.
At least keep a locking wheel nut key
Most cars now have alloy wheels. And to prevent nerks nicking them for their 15-year old Corsas, car makers give them locking wheel nut keys. This means if you need to change a wheel, you’ll need a locking wheel nut key.
Of course with an inflation kit you shouldn’t need one at the roadside. But inflation kits do only offer a very temporary repair. And you will have to get the tyre changed at some point. The good news is, most breakdown organisations and garages have tools that will remove locking wheel nuts if you can’t find yours.