For many years, I’ve been saying to anyone who’ll listen, that each and every car on the road needs a spare. A space-saver will do, but a full-sized wheel is best, and the longer the road, the more necessary it is.
Over the years many cars have let me down, not because they broke down, that one expects, but because they got a nail in the tyre. The brands giving you a can of goo expect the driver to venture no further than Bunnings on a Saturday arvo’s drive. The more exotic and luxurious the car, the less likely it is you’ll find a new tyre when you most need it. Jaguar’s F-Type can be optioned with a space saver from factory, but you have need to if, you’ll quickly find the flat tyre won’t fit anywhere inside the camp coupe.
Before I get to this weekend, let me recap:
a couple of the previous incidents saw the canned goo fail miserably. Both left us stuck on the side of the road in blistering heat for hours of tedious, stressful, waiting. The one thing you should know about “roadside assist”, is that all car companies contract their exclusive assistance to local providers such as NRMA or RACQ. You sit in the queue along with all the other poor sods, regardless the colour of the flag you’ve sent up. Only having a Liberal MP chopper in your spare will get you out of trouble any sooner.
Always check your spare, always.
Make sure you have air in the spare. If your spare is a can of goo, can I suggest you spend a bit of time on YouTube before you actually have the flat tyre. There are many times when the goo won’t work. If the tyre has been flat for too long, or driven on for too long, or if the hole is too big, of if the sidewall is damaged, you’re out of luck.
So, the run-flats sound good, right? Wrong. You have to drive straight to a tyre facility, do not go past go, do not collect $200. And, you can’t exceed 80kph. While a space-saver is also limited to 80kph, it is a real tyre, and it won’t ruin your day. Previous occasions have resulted in a very long tow-truck ride when things go wrong.
That brings us to this last weekend. My long-suffering hubby and I, threw bags, pillows, and piping hot thermoses of coffee, into the fabulous Infiniti Q50. We set out so full of promise. Sydney traffic, vicious at the best of times, lived up to expectation. It took over an hour to reach to northern boundary of the city. With windows up, and air-conditioning on, the cabin was ghostly quiet with only Kylie Minogue on low volume to keep us company. 50kms up the M1, the dash lit up with a “bong”, and a message saying “hey, it would be really great if you pumped up the tyres.” I switched the instruments to tyre-monitor-mode. Things looked dire. We stopped at a large rest area and had ice-cream. A few phone calls later, we were instructed to pump the tyre and keep an eye on it, but by then, hubby had had enough. After topping up the air, we accepted and turned back to town for a cold drink, and a warm bed. We hit our driveway 5 hours after we left home, making Friday a bust. The consequences of a car full of people and gear is too awful to contemplate. It isn’t just Infiniti, they’re all at it. The BMW group including Mini, Mercedes Benz, and Audi all have runflats, or cans of goo.
If we had a spare on board, we would have pushed our luck. We would have been able to reach the other end secure in the knowledge we would be able to continue our trip with a plan-B in mind.
We had the luxury of a spare car so early the following morning, we set off on “take-two”. Did the tyre go down on the new car? You’ll have to read the review to find out.