The trend among car makers is to replace full size spare wheels with either skinny spacesaver spare wheels or inflation kits. We get a lot of messages from people complaining about inflation kits. The good news is you’re not the first and won’t be the last to ask the above question and the answer is yes, you can buy spacesaver spare wheels.
Where can you buy space saver spare wheels from?
Go online and you will find various websites selling spacesaver spare wheels. You enter either your registration number or the size of the car’s existing full-size tyres and they come up with the space saver equivalent.
If you don’t trust buying things online, car makers also sell space saver spare wheels for their cars. Order one over the phone and go to your nearest franchised dealership to pick it up.
How much are space saver spare wheels?
This depends on the car and the size of the wheel you’re after. For a big car such as an Audi Q7, you’ll be looking at in excess of £280. For smaller cars, anywhere from £90 upwards. But it’s worth shopping around.
There are lots of discounts about and if you get lucky, you could slash a decent percentage off the asking price of a brand new wheel.
You can also buy used spacesavers from sites such as eBay. We’d advise you buy new so you know it hasn’t been abused in its previous life.
What do you have to look out for when buying a spacesaver?
For a start you have to be sure that the spacesaver has the same number of lugs (pins to attach the wheel to the hub) as your car. These also have to be the same pattern as your car and the same distance apart. If they’re not, the space saver won’t fit. Simple as that. And for safety’s sake, you can’t just have two of the wheel nuts done up and leave the rest off…
You should also make sure that the tool kit in your car, specifically the wheel brace, is up to the job. If you have a car with an inflation kit, the tool kit may have gone missing or be lacking certain vital components.
Will it fit in your boot?
It’s worth checking that you have enough boot room for a spacesaver spare wheel. Some cars – particularly hybrids ‑ don’t have spare wheels for a reason: there isn’t room beneath the boot floor for them. And if your car does have what’s known as a spare wheel well, check with a tape measure that it’s big enough for the spacesaver spare you need.
When you fit a spacesaver…
Remember that spacesavers aren’t the same as normal tyres. They’re smaller and narrower. This means they have more pressure going through them so run hotter. In turn that means you can’t exceed 50mph on one and you shouldn’t drive on them for long periods. They really are designed as a means of getting you to safety and/or a new tyre and little else.
I’ve been writing about cars and motoring for more than 25 years. My career started on a long-departed classic car weekly magazine called AutoClassic. I’ve since pitched up at Autosport, Auto Express, the News of the World, Sunday Times and most recently the Daily Telegraph. When I’m not writing about cars and motoring, I’m probably doing some kind of sport or working in my garden.