The next time you buy a new car, ask the salesman if it comes with a spare wheel. That's the advice Bryn John of Kabega Park sent to the Herald's Fair and Square last week.
He wrote: "This may sound like a silly question, but a few car manufacturers are starting to produce certain models without a 'spare [wheel]', but with a repair kit instead - for example, the Honda Jazz, Vauxhall Astra and some of the Opel and Audi ranges.
"Some manufacturers like Jaguar will give you the option of a 'spare' or the repair kit," he says.
"This money-saving ploy is to 'give you more room in the boot' or 'the reduced weight will improve your petrol consumption'. But this trend is not being widely advertised for obvious reasons, as I would imagine that certain car sales would drop."
John says almost a fifth (18%) of new cars world-wide have no spare wheel. "And soon this will be the norm," he says. "As this is South Africa's best kept secret, let's hope the car salesmen and advertisers share it with us," he added.
The Herald's motoring editor Bobby Cheetham agrees:
"Cars without spare wheels are a pet hate of mine and I have written about it countless times.
"Most of these companies have a 24-hour contact line where you can report your problem and they will send a service car with a spare wheel for you. However, if you are stuck in Kakamas it may take more than 24 hours or even longer for the service car to reach you.
He says it gets worse though. "If you look in the boot for a jack and wheel-spanner, you wont find one Most of these cars without spare wheels don't come equipped with a jack or spanners.
"It's just another case of motor companies sticking their hands into your wallet to relieve you of your hard-earned cash," he added jadedly
"My advice is take your business elsewhere. It really is a critical safety factor which some car manufacturers ignore," he adds.
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