April 9, 2017
Flat tyres revealed as main car breakdown call-out reason 0
Since it stopped being standard for new vehicles to have a spare wheel included, plus the increasing number of reported potholes on UK roads, the number of breakdowns for replacement tyres has soared; rising by almost 200,000 last year.
The AA reported that the figures have jumped due to more new cars jettisoning spare tyres in favour of run-flat tyres or a bottle of tyre sealant.
Tyre punctures are becoming more regular, as the quality of road surfaces across the Uk deteriorate. There is currently a 14 year backlog on the pothole repair programme; a recent survey showed that 25,000 drivers had experienced damage to their tyres as a result of hitting a pothole. Replacement tyre call outs replaced battery problems as the main reason breakdown services were called out in 2016.
President of the AA, Edmund King said: “Potholes often affect two tyres – front and rear on the same side – so if a car does have a spare, then the patrol’s multi-fit wheel is invaluable.”
He went on to say that even drivers who were carrying a spare tyre, were not always capable of changing it themselves.
“Big SUVs, for example, come with a tyre that can be too heavy for some people to lift, and they therefore call us for help,” added King.
Neil Greig, policy and research director at IAM RoadSmart, has suggested incorporating the skill into additional driving tuition but stopped short of saying it should be included as part of the driving test.
Greig said: “Many drivers told us they often don’t know much about how their car works and how to look after it. Changing a tyre is a life skill that can save valuable time sitting on the roadside waiting for help. It’s difficult today for drivers to properly look after their tyres. Garages and forecourts should offer more free air points so drivers can keep their tyres correctly inflated. This is something that should be included in the car servicing process and should definitely not be skimped on.
“Puncture repairs are the most common call-outs alongside cars that won’t start, and they can prove time consuming.
“A lot of people don’t even know if they have a spare wheel. They have a brand new car, and when you say this model doesn’t have a spare, they roll their eyes. People assume it’s the law to have a spare, but when they go to show you, there’s a moment of realisation.“
“They feel they’ve been ripped off by the dealer, as nobody has told them there’s no spare. Some people will have it happen once, and then with their next car they will specifically ask for a spare, even if it’s only a space saver.
“If they have a spare, people are more unlikely to attempt to change it these days, because they are scared of something going wrong. Sometimes they’ll come across locking wheel nuts and won’t know what to do. There’s a fear factor, as well as a general lack of knowledge and confidence.”
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