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Ask the Mechanic: Why does my new car have no spare tyre?

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Hello Paul, I just bought a 2004 car from a car dealer and I have discovered there is no spare tyre. Do they legally have to provide one of these?

Vanessa.

Hello Vanessa, in Uganda, no law requires a car dealer to provide a spare tyre. It has been common practice for new or used cars to be sold with a spare tyre and wheel-changing tools. It would be interesting to know which car you bought.

Over time, car manufacturers such as Toyota, VW and Audi have altered car specifications to provide smaller space saver spare tyre. More recently, some newer cars such as BMW have specifications that do not include spare tyres and wheel changing tools. These cars come with tyre puncture repair and inflation kits to fix deflated tyres and keep you going. Other cars have run-flat tyres that can keep driving after deflation due to punctures at speeds up to 80 kph for 80 kilometres or to the nearest tyre repair clinic.

If the specifications of the car you bought state that it should have a spare tyre, then your dealer ought to give you one. Your sales agreement can refer to and can be a useful resource during negotiations for dealer compliance.

ACCIDENT AND RESPONSIBILITY

Hello Paul, I parked my car in a parking spot. I looked in my RHS mirror and saw no car coming from behind. But as I opened my door to get out, a car came and crashed into my door, and thankfully only their mirror got broken. Who is at fault?

Doreen.

Hello Doreen, this situation is double-edged. The driver whose car knocks  another in this case, whose side mirror hits your car door while opening it, may be held responsible for the accident. This decision in your favour can be influenced by the fact that you parked properly in a designated parking spot. Secondly, the motorist whose side mirror hit your open door was driving too close to the parking spot.

However, based on the existing Uganda Traffic and Road Safety Act, you may be held responsible for this accident. As a motorist, you are charged by this Act to use or drive your car with due consideration to other road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. 

Before you open your door at a busy roadside parking slot, you must make sure there are no other road users nearby or passing by. It is your responsibility to ensure it is safe to open your door. Passing traffic should not have to swerve to avoid parked motorists opening car doors.

IS A CROCHETED STEERING COVER ILLEGAL?

Hello Paul, is it illegal to have a crocheted steering cover?

Diane.

Hello Diane, a crocheted steering wheel cover is a braided steering cover popular with motorists who want to improve their steering grip or make it look fancy. A poorly designed or excessively thick crocheted steering cover may obstruct your view or even compromise your steering grip.

The crocheted steering wheel cover is not illegal in Uganda’s Traffic and Road Safety Act amendments of 2023 or previous Acts. However, it is crucial to make sure this accessory does not obstruct your clear view of the road ahead or affect your ability to handle the car or drive safely.