LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwired - Sept. 5, 2013) - With close to a fifth (17%)* of AA members not having a spare wheel in their car, the AA is trialling a 'universal' spare wheel to allow members to continue their journey with minimal disruption.
The innovative wheel is the first of its kind in the UK and fits the majority of modern cars with a five-stud wheel. The 17" alloy uses a system of special adaptors of ten different sizes to find the best fit.
Punctures and other tyre-related issues are the AA's second-most common call-out - after batteries - averaging 35,000 a month or more than one in ten breakdowns.
Donald MacSporran, the AA's head of technical, says: "Although punctures are thankfully rare for most drivers, you can't beat the convenience of a spare wheel.
"If your car doesn't have one, we can sometimes perform a temporary repair at the roadside or take the damaged wheel to a local tyre fitter but this can take time. The 'universal' spare offers a more convenient alternative by allowing you to drive to a local tyre depot yourself or continue your journey with the minimum of fuss.
"The patrol will reclaim the spare from the tyre depot or it gets couriered back to us after you've finished with it."
The nationwide trial is the latest innovation by the UK's biggest breakdown provider to further improve its ability to fix cars at the roadside. In the last 12 months alone, the AA has invested around £15 million in patrols' training, equipment, technology and vehicles.
The AA/Populus survey* of 22,827 AA members revealed that only around half (54%) have a full-size spare in the boot and 29 per cent have a space-saver 'skinny' spare. Around one-in-ten (9%) have a tyre sealant/inflation kit and a further 3 per cent have run-flat tyres. 522 respondents (2%) didn't know what, if anything, they have in their boot.
NOTE TO EDITORS: High-resolution photographs of the AA's new 'universal' spare wheel are available on request; and patrols and technical experts are available for interview.
The AA's 'universal' spare wheel
When the wheel is fitted, the car is subject to a 50 mph maximum speed restriction. It is for temporary use only.
* Source: Populus interviewed 22,827 adults aged 18+ on The AA/Populus online panel between 21-25 January 2013. Populus www.populus.co.uk is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.