Reader: New car, poor tyres

2013-02-05 16:45

Wheels24 Reader Chris shares has shared his thoughts on tyres, spares wheels and dealer practices.

"I am looking at buying a new quality car and I am very disappointed to find that so many make use  of the very dangerous practice of supplying sub-standard spare wheels.

These wheels are smaller, have limited speed and range. Should you need to change a wheel in a remote area that could mean being stranded where there is no assistance and out of range of cellphone use.


In addition, if there are four people in the car and the boot is full, where do you put the wheel you just took off ?

There are even more dangerous cars that do not have a spare wheel at all. I would be scared to take a car like this very far from a garage.

There is also the tendency to fit run-flat tyres. These generally cannot be repaired, are expensive to replace and not readily available.

These systems may be suitable for Europe but are certainly not suitable for South Africa, other African countries or areas where roads are bad and there are vast distances between towns.

The effect is these cars could place you in a very dangerous situation and should not be allowed."

Do you agree with Chris? Automakers anything to say?

Email us and we'll publish your thoughts - or use the Readers' Comments section below...

  • raath - 2013-02-06 07:36

    "These wheels are smaller, have limited speed and range." They are smaller to save space, limited speed is better than no speed, and the short range forces you to change the tyre sooner rather than driving with your spare for too long. "There is also the tendency to fit run-flat tyres. These generally cannot be repaired, are expensive to replace and not readily available." Feel free to change the tyres then - or get a car without run-flats. "The effect is these cars could place you in a very dangerous situation." There are ways to mitigate all your concerns. Complaining about cars being unsafe because of the spare tyres is just juvenile. Rather write something about people with worn and smooth tyres, tyres being fitted the wrong way around against their water-dispersing threads, or tyres being under-inflated. Did you know that a tyre only bursts at around 14 bar? You can easily inflate your tyre more. Under-inflated tyres are the major cause of tyre failure from tyre-wall fatigue and stresses. And no, inflating it a bit more than the recommended pressure won't affect your wear on the tyre surface, because that surface is too stiff to change shape under those pressures.

      brak.jan - 2013-02-06 09:08

      Agreed, there are much more important factors to consider. If the 'marie biscuit' really worries you, get a full size spare, even if its on a steel rim.

      Killbot79 - 2013-02-06 09:45

      Marie biscuits are fine to get you around till you have a chance to fix the damaged tyre, but what irks me is, the tyre is rated a top speed of 80km/h but then you see people driving over 120km on the freeway with these thin tyres. Not very clever, there is a reason for that rating.

      thando.gqabaza - 2013-02-06 11:30

      Some manufacturers insist on full size spare wheels.I believe that this is a safety feature given our vast distances and harsh conditions. The manufacturers fitting marie biscuits must realize that we are not in Europe. As for run flats - I had a 3 series and had a flat tyre while driving to Durban on Christmas eve a few years ago. I made it to Durban but since everyone was closed for the next 2 days could not buy another tyre and thus use my car. And yes they normally recommend buying a new tyre instead of repairing a run flat. Once again , designed for Europe , not for Africa.

  • riotousr - 2013-02-06 09:54

    In most cases we call it the biscuit. If you change your 4 tyres from manufacture size the abominable biscuit becomes dangerously undersized. The labels do, however, warn you not to drive extended distances with such tyres. Whether you buy the car used or brand new my advice is that you try to negotiate a spare wheel that is of identical dimensions to your four driving wheels. Most dealerships are always wheeling to steal a tyre from that dud so that they can break a sale.

  • ben.maluleke - 2013-02-06 13:11

    Yeah that's very true I bought a car and didn't check my spare till I got flat tyre and only to find my spare is incorrect size, luckily I was next to tyre and wheel dealer.....

      raath - 2013-02-07 08:45

      "Didn't check my spare" <-- your mistake then? :)

  • colin.ashby.35 - 2013-02-06 13:12

    looks like his wheel alignment is off. i dont believe that new cars come with 2nd grade tyres.maybe 2nd hand cars , but not new. i would rather have a marie biscuit than a run flat.

  • carolyn.ferreira.750 - 2013-02-06 20:05

    Run-flats are more expensive and are becoming more available with every month because more vehicles are being fitted with them, they have one big advantage over other tyres, you can drive 350+km on them without having to stop, witout any damage to the rim or the car, your handling is hardly affected, granted one has to slow down a little to prevent the tyres from overheating but you can drive until you are in a position to then replace the tyre in a safe environment.

  • Mandy Casey - 2013-02-08 02:25

    I fully agree with the writer, how much more difficult is it to sell a car with a spare that is identical in size to the other four wheels!

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