Space-saver tyres

Spare Tyre

How often do you get a flat tyre?

Today a full size spare tyre is a rarity.

Most manufacturers provide only space-saver or speed limited tyres, and sometimes no tyre at all, with an inflator kit or run-flat tyre considered enough for the job.

The car companies can argue that with modern technology and better roads a flat is now a rare event, but we’re still having punctures. And there’s no denying the practicality of a full size spare tyre if you’re a long way from the nearest town.

Remember if your caught without a spare tyre or you have a more serious breakdown The NRMA are here to HELP with Premium Care.

We’d like to hear your thoughts and experiences on the subject.

37 thoughts on “Space-saver tyres

  1. Of course car manufacturers are trying to reduce costs by not providing a full spare tyre, and that may be appropriate. However, I suggest that cars should always have space available for a full spare (perhaps have full-spare as an option).

  2. Tyres are very vital as far as safety aspect of driving a car is concerned. Again like in everything else where the customer has to cough up the money, manufacturers want to pass the buck. They should consider the consumer’s plight and provide a full spare tyre

  3. Its well and good for car manufactureres to put skinny tyres in boots but do not try and drive these tyres on outback roads as you will be walking pretty soon.

  4. I will not buy a car that does not come with a full size spare under any circumstances. Also all wheels must be a matched set ie 5 steel or 5 alloy

  5. I would not consider any replacement car not having a full sized spare. Space savers have a limited road and speed life. If you have to change a tyre, then once repaired, you have to either do it yourself or arrange for the Space Saver to be changed. Maybe I am of the old school. Fortunately I have a car with alloys and my spare is an alloy so I do not need to change over the repaired wheel so the car will always look “normal”.

  6. I have had the experience with the APEC long weekend last week where my brand new car (144km on the clock!) got a large screw/bolt in the tyre on the Thursday night with a planned trip from Sydney to Bowral and back on the Friday (public holiday in Sydney). Luckily, my car came with a full size spare (Subaru), and I was still able to make my planned trip, albeit with a spare tyre (still inflated) with a large bolt in it. I was able to get it repaired on the Saturday on my return to Sydney. If you had a flat on a Saturday afternoon with a nice Sunday drive planned, a space saver would be a real downer to your trip!

    When the tyre was repaired, they asked if I’d like it put back on the car, I indicated that the repaired tyre was now newer than that on the car, so I was happy to leave it as a spare!

  7. There are some areas where car manufacturers can reduce costs like reduce the number of speakers to 4 instead of 7 or 9! In such a small space, they are overkill. However, a full spare tyre is not!

    I would not consider cars without a full spare tyre and that is one of the important reason why I bought the Holden Astra instead of Mazda3! As I am going to buy a new small car next year, I will be pitting the Mazda3 against the Honda Civic and no need to guess which car will probably get my nod.

  8. I was in the process of buying a new toyota aurion prodigy but in my reasearch found toyota only supply a steel wheel for the spare & the car runs on alloy wheels. I decided not to buy i think this is very cheap on there part .

  9. Returning home from Brisbane in my Kia Carnival I had a blow out left front about 40Km north of Kempsey just at the end of a passing section at about 4:15 p.m on a rainy day. Imagine my horror not only to find an 80 K/mh rated “space saver” under the car but to access it you have to wind it down on the drivers side ! Jeez those trucks push a bit of wind in front of them !! After that scare luckily the Beaurepaire gent in Kempsey found (and fitted) a comparable tyre which enabled me to continue my trip home at a safe speed i.e 100 k/mh or the appropriate posted speed. The drive into Kempsey with the “s.s” was a nightmare as I continually pulled to the left to allow traffic (read BIG TRUCKS ) to pass. Ban all “space savers”, they are dangerous !!!!!!

  10. While on holidays I borrowed a friends car to drive to the Sunshine Coast to visit another friend of mine. Upon leaving, I discovered I had a flat tyre. The spare was a speed limited tyre. My options were to either spend the night with my friend (with no spare clothing or anything for my toddler or myself) or get another tyre. It was 4.50 in the afternoon and it was only luck that I managed to get onto a tyre place in Noosaville that stayed open for me to get there. (Bless them!) The new tyre cost more than $250.00 and that was the basic model (for a WRX) and I ended up driving home 3 hours later in the dark than I would have if the manufacturer had put a full-sized spare in the car. I feel that, like standard safety features, so too should a full-sized spare be included in all cars. This is another example of what you’re paying for diminishing in size. Like biscuits going from 250g to 200g in size and increasing the price, just because the packaging has changed. Come on Australia! This type of stuff is product erosion and should not be tolerated!

  11. I believe that car’s that rely on 4 wheels to drive, and hence if only one wheel gets a puncture then this render’s the car unusable if a slow leaking hole or a blowout occur. This means that a driver could be stranded in any number of places. At least with a spare wheel a driver can usually replace and keep going to the nearest stop or to their destination and get it repaired or replaced.

    I know that this year alone I have experienced two slow leaking punctures. One due to road works and the other building works that have occurred. One I noticed and the other I did not. Chances of blowout occurring with slow leaking that has not occurred is more probable.

    For my safety and my families. I would prefer peace of mind that I had a spare tyre built into my vehicle structure as I never know when I will need it. Whether due to a busy lifestyle in town or on the open road. I would prefer to keep the spare tyre than live without it…

  12. I understand car manufacturers strive to make their cars smaller without compromising efficiency, improving weight distruction, cost-cutting etc. But they either need to invent a puncture-proof tyre or find somewhere to put a full size spare. These are the only two realistic options.

    As someone has already pointed out, having a tyre punctured, as small as it may seem, basically renders your car useless. You are not always in walking distance of a mechanic, so a full size spare tyre MUST be included.

    Not equipping a car with a full size spare severely compromises personal safety. It is unfortunate this cannot be addressed.

  13. Better roads? Manufacturers need to try country Australia. A staked tire and no full size spare when you are a few 100km from a town which may have tyre repairer or retailer, if they are open, is no joke. There is no way I will buy a vehicle which does not have a full size spare.

  14. It is surely a price cutting thig this space saver. The argument that new tyre technology doesn’t warrant a spare full size tyre doesn’t wash because agreed that the tyres are of superior quality and under normal circumstances probably won’t have a puncture on the open road – but this is in theory and there is nothing to stop a nail, glass, sharp gravel and like in my case razor sharp edge caused by bitumen breaking off the main road, to slice through your tyre or do a big hole. Plus what guarantee is there that the puncture/damage can be repaired?Clearly spae saver is a cost saver for the manufacturer and only suitable to people who drive no within the 50km radius of their home.

  15. We don’t see many of the 24/7 tyre repair shops every 100 metres out here in the sticks! I just had a tyre punctured beyond repair (sharp stone?) out in the boonies on a Saturday night. Pussyfooting around on a full size spare with no backup until Monday didn’t inspire a feeling of wellbeing! I’d really love to do that on a space saver.

  16. I need a full size spare so i can put on my boat trailer if needed. I would think that the space saver tyre is not capable of carrying 800kg of weight, as my boat and trailer has a GVM of 1500kg. The stud patten are the same, this is not by mistake.
    I need a full sized spare tyre.

  17. There is only one way to stop manufacturers using run flat or space saver spares, don’t but their products.

    Unfortunately the average Joe does not think to ask “does it have run flats” and only finds out the hard way.

    It would be great if someone (like the NRMA) published a list of manufacturers using these tyres with a description of the problems of using them so that Joe or Josephine could be better informed with their next purchase.

  18. I suspect that the move to lower rated spare tyres came out of Europe and America. Obviously roads are far better in those places. I don’t call them space saver because my current car has one and it doesn’t look any smaller than a normal rimmed tyre. I had to use it and I can tell you that keeping under 80 was almost impossible all the time and I was driving in Sydney traffic going to work. Car manufacturers will fill your car with so called safety devices such as traction control, air bags, cruise, ABS, etc. but when it comes to the most important safety feature on a car, ie. tyres, they seem to scrimp. When I get a new car I make sure it is properly shod.

  19. Space savers are extemely limiting. And where do you put the full size tyre that came off the car? Finding a good people mover with a ful size spare is getting very difficult. Space savers are standard, with no option for a full size spare, on the Honda Odyssey, and the Toyota Tarago. I think we should stop the sales of these cars by changing the Australian Design Regulations. Even Holden fits a space saver to the Commodore, although a full size spare fits and is an option. Apparently Holden used a space saver to save a little weight so their published fuel consumption figures would be slightly better.

  20. I recently bought a new Mazda 3 Neo. I insisted on a full size wheel in the overall negotiated price. The only issue now is that because of the increased tyre size, the plastic tray that came with the space saver tyre won’t fit in the tyre well. Unfortunately the carpet covered well cover is very thin and flexes without the plastic tray. The sales people said they had not had anyone else request a full size tyre.

    This is something that definitely should be covered in car standards.

  21. i think these tyres if you wont to call them that are dangerous as far as i am concren. they are only for emergency only but i see alot of motorist driving around every day and in some or even most cases i have seen cars with these tyres on freeways doing the speed limit 90 to 110km/hr which to my understanding have a max. speed sticker of 80km on them.
    People are also fitting them up to the front which cant be any good for steering and road handling

  22. I will never buy a vehicle without a proper spare, and I suggest nobody else does either. Once manufacturers realise they are not selling any cars, they will soon abandon this rubbish. And the ADRs should DEMAND full size spares. My 2c worth…

  23. I refuse to buy a car, business or pleasure, that has not got a full size spare! Alternatives at present are simply too dangerous, inconvenient and in some cases impossible to use, even as backup.

    Looking around for a suitable fleet car for my company recently came to several possibles. The final decision was easy… chose the model with a full size spare, irrespective of all the other gimmics and add ons the opposition threw in. Manufacturers take note!!! Toy spares are simply not suitable in Australia where no garage is open at night or long week end, so punctures cannot be repaired.

  24. Seriously, some of these arguments don’t make sense. It’s not always a case of needing a full sized spare wheel. People who live in the city or urban areas most of the time probably don’t require a full sized spare.

    Space Saver spares are applicable in some areas, and then full size spares are applicable in others. Think of those poor people who buy small cars that have no spare tyre at all!

    And if you’ve got a space saver spare and you break down in the country and its 100km’s to the nearest workshop.. I guess you call NRMA.

    The question of over or incorrect use of space saver spares is a different matter though.

  25. I have a full size spare in my car right now…but i am gonna get rid of it becoz i only have room for a space saver in the groove as i wanna put things in the boot. a space saver is after all a very temporary tyre, one that will let u get the car home or to a mechanic.
    i have a device that u can use to pump up and repair punctured tyres in the car that i will use instead of the space saver, which will be there in the most extreme emergencies. so for some people (like me) a space saver is the way to go.

  26. Be thankful that you even have a space saver spare tyre. My Lotus Elise doesn’t have a spare all, just a can of air. There’s just no room for a spare, and if it did have one, would it be the 16 inch for the front or the 17 inch for the rear?

  27. I regrettably just bought a new Volvo XC-90.
    It came with a Space Saver.

    Any car company that prides itself in safety and or Luxury has absolutely no right involving itself with space savers.

    Also, I love the thought of the car being full of family and loaded to the roof. The we get a puncture on the front wheel.

    Whoooo!!!!!! Then we need to change one of the rears over to the front, then put the space saver on the rear…………….Best of all, where do you put the full sized flat???????????? Oh tie it to the bonnet????? No how about the roof???? Oh, silly me you leave the luggage by the roadside, put the flat in your beautiful clean boot space if it’s all wet and perhaps muddy and then get it repaired and then come back for your wet luggage.

    The people at Volvo didn’t think of possibly needing to carry the flat to anywhere really did they????

    The spare does not fit in the space saver space of course!!!!!


    Why am I really mad??? Because I knew all this before hand!

  28. Volvo claims by 2020 no one will ever get injured in an accident in their cars. Big claim, wonder if they will sort out a tyre that never gets a puncture. Maybe its time to rethink the wheel. :)

  29. Got a flat (sort of a blowout actually) doing 110kmh on the Pacific Motorway near the Gold Coast on my way from Sydney to the Sunsine Coast in my 2009 Mazda CX-7. I pulled over and called the NRMA, who put me through to the RACQ who because I was on a motorway arranged for a tow truck to tow me off the motorway. We almost had to pass a tyre dealer but the towtruck driver said the rules are he had to tow me to a service station about 100 metres away! Then the RACQ patrolman wouldn’t change the tyre because the spare was a spacesaver. This was for ‘legal raesons.’ What?? So I’m 100 metres from a tyre dealer with a flat tyre and a car loaded with luggage. I tried to inflate the tyre to drive to the tyre dealer, but the air came straight out of the hole. So in pouring rain I had to take all the luggage out of the car, even the boot space cover board to access the jack which was almost under the rear seat! and fit the space saver spare then drive 100m to the tyre dealer. The tyre needed replacing and they didn’t have one in stock until the next day so my options were to stay overnight (just because of a puncture!) or drive to Brisbane along the motorway at 80kmh while being abused by other drivers (even though I was in the left lane and had my hazard lights on). $499, four hours and a lot of wet luggage later the tyre had been replaced. My opinion? Ban space savers because they ruin your trip. Also RACQ is a joke. Why tow you past a tyre dealer to just leave you at a service station and then refuse to fit your space saver for legal reasons? Come on!

  30. Agree with all the posts that full-size spares should be compulsory – not ‘Noddy wheels’ or, heaven forbid, no spares.

    I have had 5 ‘spectacular’ flat tyres in recent years – 4 on city roads (3 in Canberra, which is supposed to have ‘good’ roads). Thankfully none were blow-outs, but 4 were bad enough that it was difficult to pull to the side of the road (even the ones at fairly low speeds) – and all except one with a full boot (of course!). (And while I’m ranting, tyre fitters – please ensure that the nuts can be undone by human hands – even male ones!… )

    I am looking for a replacement car but finding a very small pool that have full-size spares – and haven’t found one that meets my other specs as well yet…

  31. Purchased a new Mazda3 hatch a couple of weeks ago. I was aware of the space saver spare, so bought a full size alloy to match the ones on the car. Guess what? It won’t fit into the tyre well in lieu of the space saver. So now it floats around in the boot and takes up about 20% of the space. If purchasing a full size spare is an option available to you by the Dealer, why wouldn’t Mazda have made the spare wheel well big enough to accomodate it? Beggars belief!! The dealer didn’t even mention that it wouldn’t fit.
    By the way – the car had 4xBridgestones and the purchased spare was a Pirelli.
    Checked with the Dealer after the first 1000km service to get it changed to match the car and was told – “tough, not our problem.” If I wanted to have a tyre to match I would have to pay for it and no credit for the Pirelli.

  32. I was always against space saver tyres. But as an Racv patrol that can’t get out of bed this morning due to several hard wheel changes on my last shift. I am thinking from my point of view they may be needed. If manufacturers can’t design the way spares have to come out better with the size of wheels on cars getting bigger and bigger. Then they should use a smaller lighter wheel. Try getting the alloy wheel out of a 208 statesman. It has the jack equipment stored underneath it. So to remove it you must lean well in to the boot and lift the wheel straight up and out of the well. That’s why my back and shoulders are so sore. Anyway just another point of view

  33. Under existing ADR’s it’s illegal to have mismatched tyre sizes on the same axle except for space savers. If it’s too dangerous to let you or me do it intentionally, how could it suddenly be safe if the manufacturer does it? Car manufacturers don’t vote but YOU do, so sue your Transport regulator if you have an accident while wearing one. I don’t give a toss about getting 16 cupholders or Bluenose connectivity- leave all that junk out but provide a real spare.

  34. As the owner of a Mazda CX5. Having a space saver spare tyre, my main concern is the car is fitted with 225/65/R17 -102V tyres and the spare is a 185/80/R17 – 95M. Thus when the spare is to be used I will have a tyre that in my opinion is not as safe – as originally under the motor traffic act 1905 all tyres must conform with the regulations of such act.

  35. Had a roofing screw in a tyre on my Mazda CX 5 just after leaving Sydney for Newcastle late one Saturday afternoon. Seemed like I would be forced to fit the spacesaver and travel at 80 kph all the way home! (What a pain that would have been!). Fortunately we found a service station with a mechanic who repaired the faulty tyre with a plug. Now I have purchased a matching full spare, although this has meant the luggage compartment floor is now 45mm higher. I also understand I cannot tow my caravan with a spacesaver fitted, so I think I have made the right move..

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