Bettertyres has recently surveyed Tyre Shops and Workshops about the use and condition of Space Saver tyres (Spacies) used on their customers cars. Our surveys findings are both interesting and quite a worry.
Survey respondents reported that they are regularly presented with seriously under inflated space savers, either on the vehicle or in the boot. Considering that most of these tyres are meant to operate at 60 psi, the pressures of 30, 18, 10 and even zero etc encountered are cause for concern. One of these tyres on a vehicle at say 15 psi is literally driving on the sidewall, damaging the tyre.
Tyre Shops often have customers arrive with seriously under-inflated spare savers on their cars, some of them almost running on their rims! This seriously damages the space saver and they should be replaced. While tyre retailers may recommend replacement, most consumers just get the tyre inflated to the correct pressure and pop it back in their boot leaving a tyre that would never pass a warrant of fitness ready for next time. n.b. spare tyres are not a WOF test item.
Really all of this is a maintenance issue, some workshops servicing vehicles are failing to check and correct spare tyre pressures and many consumers are not doing so either. These tyres need to be checked monthly with all the other tyres on the vehicle; left alone, a perfectly serviceable tyre could be flat within as little as 6 months.
Bettertyres does not consider there is anything fundamentally wrong with space savers, keep them inflated at the recommended pressure (often this is 60psi) and drive appropriately at speeds of less than 80 kph and you will never have a problem. Ignore these simple requirements and drive like a race car driver on under-inflated space savers, and anything can happen…..