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Is it Illegal to Drive Without a Spare Tyre or Wheel?

Your tyres are the only parts of your vehicle that touch the road, so when something goes wrong, such as a puncture or blowout, it’s reassuring to know you’re carrying a spare.

However, some drivers are confused about whether or not you’re legally required to carry a spare tyre.

Does the law require you to carry a spare tyre?

No, the law doesn’t state that you must have a spare tyre on hand to fit in the event of a puncture.

However, it is advisable that you do if your vehicle doesn't use run flat tyres.

The majority of new cars use run flat tyres so don’t need a spare.

What is a run flat?

A run flat is a type of tyre with a reinforced sidewall that can still be used even in the event of a puncture. The pressure within them is constantly monitored by the TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System).

Because of this, a run flat tyre doesn’t need to be changed or repaired immediately and instead allows you to drive on it for a certain period of time. 

But what if your car doesn’t use run flats, are there any penalties for not carrying a spare?

Will not carrying a spare mean your vehicle fails its MOT?

No, despite the risks of not carrying a spare, such as being stuck at the side of the road in a potentially dangerous location, your vehicle won’t fail its MOT. As it isn’t a fixed part of your vehicle, it isn’t taken into consideration.

However, it’s worth noting that if you do take your vehicle for its MOT while a space-saving spare tyre is fitted, the vehicle will fail. Ensure you’re only taking your vehicle for its MOT when there are four road-legal tyres fitted.

The benefits of carrying a spare tyre

The benefits of carrying a spare are fairly obvious, as it will help you to get out of a sticky situation in the event of a puncture or blowout.

If you’re carrying a spare, you’ll be able to pull into a safe space at the side of the road to change your flat tyre for the spare. This will then allow you to continue on with your journey so you can take the punctured tyre to be either replaced or repaired, depending on the severity of the damage.

It will also allow you a little extra peace of mind that should any of your tyres go flat, you won’t need to rely on potentially expensive roadside recovery.

If you do have a spare tyre, it’s also recommended that you have all the necessary tools to change it, should the need arise.

What happens if you get a puncture while carrying a spare?

You’ll be able to change the tyre yourself so long as you have all the correct tools in the vehicle. For more information see our guide to safely changing a car tyre.

Alternatively, if you’re signed up to breakdown cover your provider will be able to send a recovery engineer to assist you.

You’re then able to continue your journey. It’s advised that you check your vehicle’s handbook to see if there are any restrictions in speed and distance when using a spare.

What happens if you get a puncture while not carrying a spare?

If you’re carrying a puncture repair kit, you may be able to fix the puncture at the side of the road. However, this can be a difficult and time-consuming process, and does require you to carry other tools with you, such as a pressure gauge and pump.

You will be able to call for roadside assistance and be towed to a location where you’ll be able to have the tyre fixed or replaced. Not all levels of breakdown cover include a towing service, so it’s advisable that you check whether this applies to you - otherwise, you may be charged an additional fee for this, which can be expensive.

There are also some services available where a tyre specialist will bring a replacement tyre directly to you and fit it at the side of the road. However, there is usually a large fee associated with this, so it’s likely not a service you’ll want to consider as your go-to.

When is it okay not to carry a spare tyre?

It’s always recommended that you carry a spare tyre, unless your vehicle is fitted with run flat tyres and a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System.

So, do you need a spare?

While it’s not a legal requirement that you carry a spare tyre, unless your vehicle is fitted with run flat tyres then you should err on the side of caution and carry one just in case.

At some point, every driver is likely to get a flat tyre, so it’s best to be prepared and not risk having to pay for expensive towing or roadside replacement charges.

Buy a spare or new tyres today

If you’re in need of a spare, or any new tyres for your vehicle, the experts at Just Tyres will be happy to help. All you need to start buying your new tyres online today is enter your reg into our quick and easy search tool.

Customer services: 01908 222208 [email protected] Calls are recorded for training purposes

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