Historically, cars have included a spare wheel as standard. The idea is, if you get a puncture, you can exchange your punctured wheel on the roadside before driving to a garage for a proper replacement.
But we’re increasingly seeing cars equipped with tyre repair kits instead of spare wheels.
Are you wondering why your car has a tyre repair kit instead of a spare wheel? Don’t worry. In many circumstances, your kit could prove more useful than a spare tyre would have.
What is a Tyre Repair Kit?
It’s a kit to help you repair your tyre which includes a sealant (usually latex-based) and a means of applying it and securing it. You force the sealant into the tyre through the valve using a compressor, which usually runs off your car’s power outlet.
This will inflate your tyre and the sealant will plug any punctures. It’s not a permanent fix, but it’ll enable you to drive home or to a garage, where you can arrange for a more permanent replacement.
Is a Spare Wheel Better than a Tyre Repair Kit?
If you’re buying a new car, find out whether a spare wheel is a better option than a tyre repair kit.
Benefits of a Tyre Repair Kit
If your car has a tyre repair kit, it should also have clear instructions on how to use it. The same cannot be said of spare tyres. If you got a flat tyre in the middle of nowhere, would you know how to fit the spare?
Even if you do know how to fit a spare tyre, it takes significantly longer to change a tyre than it does to use a tyre repair kit. If you get a flat, you’ll want to be on the go again as soon as possible. A tyre repair kit can fix your problem much sooner than a spare tyre could.
Also, you need certain other bits of equipment in order to change a tyre, such as a wheel brace and a jack. If you don’t happen to have these in your car at the time of your breakdown, then you’ll be just as stuck as you would have been if you didn’t have a spare tyre.
Finally, spare tyres are big and heavy, yet tyre repair kits are small and compact. They’ll give you more space to play with in your car. And as you won’t always be carrying around a heavy extra wheel in your boot, they could also boost your fuel efficiency.
The Downsides of a Tyre Repair Kit
Tyre repair kits can only really repair punctures. If you get a blowout, or if you damage your tyre’s sidewall, your tyre repair kit won’t help you. You’d have to call a mechanic. And you’d probably wish you had a spare tyre.
Another major downside is that some mechanics may not like working with the latex sealant included in tyre repair kits. Use a tyre repair kit, and the inside of your tyre and wheel will get covered with a sticky substance. It’s possible to clean this, but it’s not a pleasant job.
Don’t Get Left High and Dry
So which is better? A spare tyre or a tyre repair kit?
Both have their uses, and both have their downsides. Both can save your skin if you break down in the middle of nowhere. So either is good to have! If you have a tyre repair kit instead of a spare wheel, you mustn’t feel cheated. The kit’s just as good as a spare, and in some cases it’s better.
But whatever tyre repair solution you have in your car, there will be times when you’ll need some professional help to get you out of a motoring fix. Get comprehensive car insurance from Go Girl and you can add RAC breakdown cover to your policy. That way, no matter what happens on the road, you can rest assured that help will be on the way before long.