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RAC to roll out universal spare wheel to all patrols

The breakdown specialist reported last September that it was trialling the universal wheel following a 33% rise in ‘puncture no spare’ call-outs from 2012 to 2013. The RAC is also predicting 250,000 such breakdowns by 2015 as many vehicle manufacturers no longer include spare wheels in new cars in order to decrease emissions and manufacturing costs.

By early February all RAC patrols across the UK will be equipped with the five-stud 17in lightweight alloy multi-fit wheel, which fits a high proportion of vehicles, whilst also piloting 50 four-stud wheels so that as many vehicles as possible are catered for. This will enable them to fit the wheel quickly and liaise with the nearest partner tyre supplier on their behalf to find out what replacements are available. Payment can be taken at the roadside by the RAC patrol, ensuring the customer can drive straight to the tyre centre, or book a mobile fitting at their convenience. The RAC will then arrange collection of the spare directly from tyre centre, avoiding any further hassle.

Head of RAC technical operations Phil Ryan said: ‘‘We understand why motor manufacturers need to reduce the weight of their vehicles in order to make them more fuel efficient and to meet EU carbon dioxide emissions targets and removal of the spare wheel helps them to achieve this.

‘But drivers should not suffer as a result, and in order to minimise the disruption and inconvenience that punctures can cause, the universal spare wheel provides additional options for patrols to deal with breakdowns more quickly and effectively.

‘We believe the RAC universal spare wheel will very quickly become a welcome sight for both individual and corporate members as well as being a major benefit for business customers such as fleet managers who will be able to get their vehicles back on the road more quickly, saving both time and money.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.