As a safe motorist, it’s your job to expect the unexpected. On Australia’s roads, other drivers will do things you never dreamt of, poor road conditions will sometimes take you by surprise, and you’ll have to deal with the occasional flat tyre. With a bit of preparation, however, those flat tyres don’t have to mean waiting for roadside assistance. In this guide, you’ll learn everything you should know about spare tyres, and you’ll learn which options are available for when you have a flat tyre.
Full-Size Spares Offer a Longer-Term Solution
With full-size spare tyres, you’ll have to buy an extra wheel and tyre when purchasing one of the wheels and tyre packages available on the market. The biggest benefit of having a full-size spare tyre is that it provides more than a temporary fix; simply put it on your vehicle in place of the flat tyre, and go on with your day.
However, full-size spare tyres do come with a significant space requirement. Ideally, you’ll ask your installer to rotate the spare into a scheduled tyre rotation so it wears the same as your car’s other tyres. Not only does this reduce strain on your vehicle, it ensures balanced handling when and if that tyre is moved up to a permanent place. When you’re checking the condition and air pressure of your vehicle’s other tyres, it’s a good idea to check your spare as well. That way, you’ll be ready for whatever the road throws at you.
A Donut/Compact Spare is an Emergency Fix
A donut or compact spare is a special-purpose, lightweight wheel and tyre that’s meant to be used when an everyday tyre is damaged beyond repair. The biggest benefit to the use of a compact spare is in its name; it’s small! You won’t have to sacrifice too much space in the boot, and your car won’t be weighed down with a full-size spare tyre and wheel.
However, a compact spare only provides a (very) temporary fix. It’s designed to only be driven a short distance at a low speed, and it lacks the tread depth to perform adequately when Australia’s weather is poor. Like a full-size spare tyre, compact spares must periodically be checked for sufficient inflation. After all, it does no good to replace one flat tyre with another!
Flat Tyre Repair Kits Are a Fast Way to Get Back on the Road
Flat tyre repair kits are available in shops everywhere, and they provide quite the tempting alternative to compact or full-size spare tyres. These kits typically cost much less (and take up less space) than a spare tyre does. From patches and plugs to tyre sealants, these kits employ a range of methods to fix problem areas without replacing the tyre.
Like a compact spare, a flat tyre repair kit is a short-term fix. These kits vary in terms of what’s included, but most pump sealant into the tyre through the inflation valve, plugging holes from the tyre’s inside. A tyre sealant kit may help repair a small hole or inflate a tyre that’s gone flat, but only to a limited degree. If the hole is more than 6 millimetres in diameter, or there’s a cut in the sidewall, you’ll need to replace or repair the tyre as soon as possible.
Run-Flat Tyres are a High-Tech Option
New run-flat tyres provide a great alternative to traditional spares. Unlike other flat tyre fixes, these help you avoid becoming stranded at the roadside repairing an air leak, changing a tyre, or waiting for help. Because of their reinforced sidewalls and cooling fins, run-flat tyres can be driven up to 75 kilometres after a puncture or the complete loss of air. Look for run-flat tyres that provide cornering grip, handle smoothly, and drive comfortably. If you’re reluctant to change a flat tyre, run-flats may be the right choice for you.
AutoCraze Wants You to be Aware of Your Spare
Whether you’re taking the kids to school or heading into the Outback, you and your family deserve a safe and smooth ride. When Australia’s roads throw surprise bumps and obstacles your way, it’s important to be ready with the flat tyre solution that suits your driving style and comfort level, whether it’s a compact spare, full-size spare, flat tyre repair kit, or a new set of run-flats. Visit your local online tyre dealer to learn more about all these options, or browse for wheels at AutoCraze. We can even help you find a local installer, so you can get back on the road before you know it.