Tips and advice; maintaining your tyres - Spare wheel: don't forget the fifth wheel on the wagon!

Spare wheel: don't forget the fifth wheel on the wagon!

Maintaining your tyres Philippe Carval

Often neglected, maintaining the spare wheel is essential for it to correctly perform its function in the event of necessity.

Spare wheel A spare wheel in good condition and adequate tools are useful in the case of a puncture - Copyright © : All Rights Reserved

Many drivers don't know where their spare tyre is on their vehicle. This can be annoying when a puncture occurs… Before a long trip, the first thing to do therefore is to check access to it.

The spare tyre housing

Most spare tyres can be found in a housing located under the floor of the boot. Some of them are located in a basket attached under the car. In this case, it is prudent to check regularly that the attachment threading is in good condition, as rust may attack it making unlocking impossible.

The type of spare tyre

Ever increasing size of tyre fittings have led numerous manufacturers to opt for a "spacesaver" type spare tyre. This narrow tyre fits easily into the boot floor. On the downside, it doesn't have the same performances as a normal tyre. It only allows for a maximum speed of 50 mph (as reminded on the sticker applied to the rim) and requires careful driving. Indeed, its narrow width causes a difference in grip compared to the three other tyres on the vehicle. If the spacesaver tyre is fitted to the right-hand side, left-hand turns need to be especially gentle and vice versa. Especially in the rain.

Maintaining your spare tyre

The spare tyre might be the "fifth wheel of the wagon", but it's a wheel like any other and as such requires regular maintenance.

  • Checking pressure: once a month, like the other tyres.
  • General condition: if your vehicle is more than five years old, check that the housing has not marked the tyre. If necessary, turn the wheel so that the area of contact is not always the same.

Beware of the wheel tightening and the anti-theft nuts! 

  • If the wheel was last tightened using a pneumatic wrench, check that the nuts are not too tight. Otherwise, you risk not being able to remove them on the day you get a puncture...
  • If your tyre is fitted with anti-theft lug nuts, ensure that the adapter is present in your vehicle.