Never drive without a spare tyre

Friday October 20 2017

Tyre treads help in stopping a car  when you brake.


By Mustafa Ziraba

It’s plain simple. Every car needs a spare tyre because you never know when you will get a puncture.
It is interesting how some motorists can drive as a much as or more than 300 kilometres without checking the state of their spare tyres.
However, what is the deal with tiny spare tyres that have hit the market of late?
Car manufacturers have a way of reading and redirecting the market to go with their ultimate choices.
In other words, they create demand and sufficiently respond to it perhaps in a far better way.
Lately, full sized spare tyres have not been in demand and car manufacturers have understood this so well.
They manufacture the tiny ones in plenty with the full size spare tyres only found in high end SUVs and large trucks.
To the manufacturer, it is cheaper to provide a tiny sized spare tyre that can drive you to the next mechanic or tyre centre in the event of an eventuality – puncture.

Hard lesson
Moses Kabuye learnt the hard way after his tyre got a puncture while on an upcountry trip in a village in Gomba District.
“I had not cared to check the status of my spare tyre for some time and when I got a puncture that is when I learnt it had no pressure. I rode on a boda boda to the nearest town with my spare tyre to get pressure. However, the tube had a defect. I could not use it. It was one of the worst days in my driving experience,” he says.
After the hard lesson, Kabuye sought the advice of his mechanic who urged him to buy a small size tubeless spare tyre that is easy to handle and less susceptible to damage.
Spare tyres are not used for extended drives because they have low tread, are not reinforced and have no tread belt to protect them from road imperfections.
Such tyres, according to Ismail Kaketo, a tyre mechanic at Kobil in Ndeeba, are designed to get you to a repair point.
Spare tyres, especially the small ones, he says, have “a smaller surface area than a conventional tyre, which translates into diminished braking and handling”.
“Because they are small the car will dip to the side where the spare tyre was mounted when it breaks or might even pull sideways leaning towards the side of the tyre [spare],” he says.

Small tyres not good for highway drive
Such tyres, he advises, are not good for highway speed and can present safety challenge in circumstances where they are used wrongly.
It is highly advisable the spare tyres, especially the small should be placed on the rare wheels.
“If your front tyre gets a puncture replace it with one of the rare ones. You can then put the spare tyre on the rare wheel,” advises Kaketo.
It is important too that every so often preferably at each round of servicing, you check the pressure in the spare tyre and if you have all the relevant tools to change tyres including a jack and spanner.