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"Skinny" Spare Wheels


Thibault
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We are in the process of buying another car and have discovered that most manufacturers no longer supply a "proper" spare wheel, but instead include a skinny wheel which has a limited life and cannot be driven at more that 50 mph.

Given that French law seems to state that a car should have the same type of tyres on all its wheels, what is the position if one has to drive with 3 normal tyres and one skinny?

Has anyone any experience of using a skinny?  We would be interested in comments/views etc.

 

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[quote user="Thibault"]Given that French law seems to state that a car should have the same type of tyres on all its wheels, what is the position if one has to drive with 3 normal tyres and one skinny

[/quote]

I don't know whether French law specifies you need four wheels on a four wheel car, but how would you get your car to the garage otherwise?[;-)]

It's an emergency tyre: just good enough to get you to the garage for a proper replacement, surely? 

Edit; That's the only time I've ever used mine, anyway.

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I've used one in an emergency - and I wouldn't do it again in a hurry. Putting 250bhp through your front wheels when one is fat and one is thin, in the wet...  nah. Never mind the legal niceties. My tyre man tells me that manufacturers only use them to save money.

I'm (sort of) looking out for a spare wheel the same size as the others. There's room for it in the well.

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The weight and space-saving tyre is unfortunately only too widespread - in fact if you buy certain cars all you get is a can of sealing gunge - the space-saver is a cost option!

Personally I hate the damn things, having been forced to purchase a tyre make that I did not want but which was "available" when on a weekend trip, 200 miles from home, after a non-repairable puncture.

If forced to use one, I would advise fitting it on non-driven axles - even if that means (eg on a front-wheel drive car with a front tyre puncture) that you have to swap a rear tyre to the front, putting the space-saver on the rear. This reduces the workload on the differential. When driving with the space-saver fitted, obviously the handling of the car is affected, as is the ground clearance on the corner where it is fitted. However, when buying your car, take note what the depth of the wheel well is - on many cars it actually CAN take a full-size steel wheel and standard tyre (a give-away is if there is a lot of foam padding between the wheel and the false boot floor). The new Yaris is a case in point, as are some of the Saab models. You can then get a spare full size steel wheel and tyre and store the space-saver until you sell the car.

Pickles

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Our Mazda Bongo has a space saver fitted underneath.  Everyone who owns them change for a full size spare wheel and tyre and it fits in the space provided, so that was a cost cutting exercise.  Our Honda does not have room for a full size spare so they fit in the space saver but I would not want to drive very far on it.
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They are what they are!  Just about OK for a limp home and that's it.  We had the misfortune to have to use the one on our BX19 16v which (the car) went like the proverbial off a shovel.  Felt truly horrible, as Dick says, if you put too much power down when you forget it's on - and we only drove 12 miles on it.  Yuk.
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I have a Honda Accord and it is fitted with a space saver tyre and there was not enough room for a full size tyre. I have just had an expensive lesson with this arrangement. My front tyre received a screw on the outer side of the tyre at a point were it was illegal to repair it. The problem was that the tyres had only done 140000 miles and normally I would have replaced the damaged tyre with a new one and placed the spare tyre on the other front wheel, keeping the good replaced front tyre as the spare. This was not possible as I only had a space saver tyre as the spare so ended up having to buy 2 new tyres at over £200(already at a heavily discounted price) because of one small puncture.

I think it is a false financial economy for manufactures not to include a full size spare tyre and would suggest anyone buying a new car to see if there is room and the option to purchase one.

Baz

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[quote user="Dick Smith"]I've used one in an emergency - and I wouldn't do it again in a hurry. Putting 250bhp through your front wheels when one is fat and one is thin, in the wet...  nah. Never mind the legal niceties. My tyre man tells me that manufacturers only use them to save money.

I'm (sort of) looking out for a spare wheel the same size as the others. There's room for it in the well.
[/quote]

Dick, I thought you were a Volvo man! FWD Volvo, surely not!

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[quote user="cooperlola"][quote user="moonraker"]I am probably an ignorant old so-and-so, but how many miles do you expect to do with your tyres? 140000 miles seems pretty good to me.[/quote]I think a lot of cars would have been dead by then - let alone the tyres.[:)][/quote]

MG 1300 ( Austin 1100 in drag and leather with Cooper S running gear) 150,000 miles up and still capable of pulling 105 mph somewhere in Germany - Early 1970s 

Datsun 1600 SSS - Mid 1970s Kenya - 300,000 Kilometres and running like a train. Engine and gear box copies of contemporary Mercedes Benz units.  

Early MKII Golf GTI sold with 250,000 miles up mid 80s because I took a job with a company car

Current Peugeot 306 HDI 175,000 miles and six years old, might buy an old Citreon SM or a real Lancia, but expect I will keep Pug for trailor towing etc and will be very upset if it does not do 300,000 miles.

Seem to get about 50,000 miles froma set of tyres

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[quote user="moonraker"]I am probably an ignorant old so-and-so, but how many miles do you expect to do with your tyres? 140000 miles seems pretty good to me.[/quote]

Yes, it would have wonderful, unfortunately I entered an extra zero.  I anticipate 14,000 miles to half the tyres life.

Baz

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Thanks for all the comments and advice.  We're off  to check the spare wheel container size [I]

It sounds as if it is merely a manufacturers' cost cutting exercise.  In a world where children can't play conkers without safety glasses and local authorities can't put up hanging baskets in case one falls on someone's head and trees have to be felled in case children climb them and fall, it does seem strange that cars can have an oddly performing "safety tyre" [8-)]

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[quote user="Thibault"]Given that French law seems to state that a car should have the same type of tyres on all its wheels...[/quote]Are you sure on this ?

Having the same type of tyres on each axle is obviously sensible but having to maintain all 4 tyres as the same could mean buying 4 new tyres for the sake of one puncture and I don't see your average Frenchman standing for that.

As to the basic question about "skinnys", would not the fact that they are provided as standard equipment by virtually all manufacturers on certain models imply that they must be legal to use ?

If you did get nicked for using one I would think you'd have a pretty good case to argue in court.

To Pickles:  Space saver wheels are of the same diameter as the original to prevent the problem of reduced ride height.

On a cynical note, the insistence on changing tyres in pairs means that there must be tens of thousands of perfectly serviceable tyres removed from cars every year and I wonder what happens to them. A "part worn" tyre market such as exists in UK is obviously contrary to the entire concept but you might be forgiven for imagining perhaps that many tyre fitters (plus their families and mates) never ever have to buy a new tyre....!

Can you insist on keeping the tyre, I don't see why not, whether on the car or off it's your property after all. If it happens to you and you have the space to put the good tyre somewhere why not take it back to UK next time then get a replacemnt wheel from a scrappy and have it put on that ?

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I have an  MG and whilst it is a super car the given 'skinny' spare wheel is a joke.  If you have a puncture on the front it wont fit because  the brake discs are too big.  So you need to take a normal tyre off the back and put on the front, then put the 'skinny' on the back !!  When I bought it I made the salesman put in a normal sized spare.  There is plenty of room in the well.

Dave

 

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I'm surprised that no one has mentioned that many tyres these days are" handed ".  So carrying a conventional spare would mean you would have to carry a left and right hand one, or alternatively the wheel would have to be so constructed so that it could be fitted either way round - with the likelyhood that your average punter would not realise and put it on wrong anyway.

 

Just have a look at the tread pattern next time you get in the car.

 

Surely this is why the skinnies have come in.

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Whether you can fit a normal-sized wheel in the spaced depends entirely on the model of car.  Some seem to be truly"space saving" - especially those in very small cars such as the new Micra where there really is no room for anything bigger but the load space is resultingly huge for such a small car.  Others, which have space savers for cost cutting purposes - thinly disguised in the blurb as space saving - may well have room for a normal sized wheel but do not bank on it. 

Andy also has a good point.  This is one of the reasons why you can only buy replacement tyres in pairs here in France. Even if you have a full-sized spare, then you should still put the correct wheel back on the car as soon as possible and keep your spare wheel for just that - a spare for use in emergencies only.  Probably those with alloys would do this anyway as the spare is rarely an alloy anyway so doesn't match and is a different weight as a result which is also not a good thing!

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Many cars with alloy wheels have a non-spacesaver steel spare;then one of my cars has a steel spare which is full size but is a 14" not 16" but has the same rolling radius as it is larger profile;then you get the true spacesavers and then other vehicles are now being sold with no spare-just a can of goo and a pump.Porsche used to sell a car which had different size wheels front to rear-a spacesaver spare was supplied but the removed wheel was too wide to go in the luggage area so Porsche supplied a plastic bag to put the removed wheel in to allow it to be carried on the passenger seat(or lap).
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