Fleet News

Tyre management: Modern tyre policies waste time and money

By Hugh Wallace, managing director, Arnold Clark Vehicle Management

Throughout our 50 years in business, I have seen huge leaps forward with regards to technology, safety and environmental initiatives.

The vast majority have been for the better. However, there are some areas in need of improvement.

Drivers are promised cost savings through certain manufacturers’ ‘no spare tyre’ policies.

The substitution of spare tyres with inflation kits is geared towards fuel and emission reductions. But to what other cost?

Consumers aren’t always aware that tyre inflation systems don’t work on every kind of flat tyre.

And even if they are successful, these tyres need to be washed out for re-use, or worse, discarded and replaced.

RAC figures show that more than 80,000 of its call-outs last year were from drivers who had no spare tyre and had encountered limited success with sealant kits.

It has since suggested that the use of a repair kit is surplus.

The end result of these policies is an enormous waste of man-hours, resource and expense.

In addition, many new cars are fitted with tyres that surpass the required specification.

I understand it can make the vehicle more visually appealing to aid sales, but this is exaggerated in some vehicles whereby the tyre’s speed rating far exceeds the car’s performance capabilities.

What’s more, tyre manufacturers pass on discounts to car companies on certain tyres to assist trade.

These discounts are not necessarily being passed on to the consumer; rather they are used as a bargaining tool in ‘free upgrade’ deals to secure sales.

The main issue arises when these tyres need to be replaced.

More often than not, consumers will want to replace these with like-for-like tyres, resulting in unnecessary expense, unbeknown to them.

Overall I believe that vehicle and tyre manufacturers need to work together with fleet companies.

This will ensure that a mutually beneficial outcome is achieved, with a long-term view of continually increasing customer satisfaction – aiding future sales and growth for all.

Click here for tyres best practice and procurement insight

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  • IslandDweller - 10/08/2013 13:39

    Spot on. I recently encountered a tyre problem with a rental car (VW Touran) in a remote part of Cumbria. If there had been a spare, I could have easily changed the wheel and been on my way in half an hour. But I had to rely on a rescue service - who then who had to go away again and return later to source a tyre - which took most of the day. This "supposed benefit" of no spare tyre is actually a major step backwards.

  • john R - 03/08/2015 15:50

    Hire a car in USA and you will find they have removed the spare wheel (also any rear parcel shelf). They say because they get stolen, a nonsense as they have your credit card details. They want to sell you tyre and glass insurance. But with huge distances across deserts, even having insurance will not get you mobile the same day. U.S. cars do not have sealant or inflation kits; don't seem to have heard of them. Towing fees can be well over $1,000.

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