Motorists caught unaware without a spare

Article date: 9 June 2009

  • RAC saves members 10,000 hours with the new multi-fit wheel*

A unique multi-fit wheel has been introduced by RAC to improve the "recovery time" of vehicles. RAC is the first motoring organisation to provide all of its patrols with this multi-fit wheel, which provides a new rapid solution to many of the 250,000 members who experience punctures annually.

If a member’s vehicle doesn’t have a spare wheel, and a repair isn’t viable, the punctured or damaged wheel can be temporarily replaced with the multi-fit wheel and the vehicle recovered by the Patrol to the nearest tyre specialist or dealer. Motorists in this situation would usually have an additional wait for a flatbed recovery truck.

The introduction of this innovative wheel is well-timed, as RAC Patrols were increasingly finding that some vehicles do not have a spare wheel. A survey by RAC revealed that:

  • Over a third of motorists hadn’t organised getting a spare wheel since buying a new or secondhand car that didn’t come with one
  • A quarter of motorists said they hadn’t had their spare tyre repaired or replaced since their last puncture
  • 18% said they carry a puncture repair kit and presumed that would be enough

Even with a spare on board, one in five motorists admit they have never checked it for roadworthiness and one in three women say they wouldn’t know where to start if they did have to change a  wheel, and have no intention of learning how.

David Bizley, director of technical at RAC, says: “The majority of motorists trust that new cars are sold with a spare wheel as standard, so it’s a big concern that increasingly they are not. Our research shows that one in three drivers had to change a wheel in the last 12 months. RAC Patrols annually attend a quarter of a million tyre–related incidents so the supply of a spare is critical.

“Our new multi-fit wheel will come as welcome news to our members and we expect the time savings to continue to grow, by the summer we’ll have saved a collective year and a half in time for members!**”


For more information please contact:

Lucy Haughey/Vicki Burn, RAC press office
Telephone: 01603 688891 / 01603 684224
E-mail: /  

Shelley Doyle, Hill & Knowlton
Telephone: 0207 413 3078 

*Since the January 2009 launch RAC patrols have used the multi-fit-wheel in over 2000 member callouts every month. The average wait for second resource, such as a flatbed recovery truck, at a breakdown is one hour.

**Assuming a further 2000 uses per month in June and July 2009

Notes to editors:

RAC commissioned Lightspeed Research to carry out the research. Lightspeed surveyed 1,001 people on 17 April 2009

In addition the following findings were revealed:

  • One in 10 young drivers (16-24) knowingly do not carry a spare wheel
  • One in five have never checked their spare tyre for roadworthiness (19 %)
  • Only a half of women (57%) and three quarters of men (74%) know where the locking wheel nut key is situated in their car
  • One in three female motorists have never changed a tyre and have no intention to learn
  • Over a ¼ (26%) of over 50s have never changed a tyre before and don’t plan to learn

With around seven million members, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists.  Whether it's roadside assistance, insurance, vehicle inspections and checks, legal services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists’ needs.

RAC is committed to providing the very highest levels of service to its members and has been ranked first for customer service by JD Power and Associates’ UK Roadside Assistance Study for the last three years.

Aviva bought RAC in May 2005. The acquisition brings together RAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise and leading position in motor insurance of Aviva UK Insurance (formerly Norwich Union Insurance). Aviva is the UK's largest insurer with a market share of around 15%.

RAC is part of Aviva, the world’s fifth largest insurance group which operates in 28 countries.

RAC’s news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at

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