Should the spare wheel on my car be the same size as the regular wheels?

Alex Robbins is a contributing editor at telegraph cars Where, in addition to answering readers’ queries, he also contributes reviews of new and used cars, along with articles on buying and selling.

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Do you have an automotive dilemma that you would like our expert to solve? For consumer advice and used cars, or vehicle malfunctions, email [email protected] and include your subscriber number. This week’s question…


Dear Alex,

I bought an almost new Skoda Kamiq from an authorized dealer. I ordered a full-size spare wheel, tires and tools, and paid £258. Alloy road wheels with 205/55/17 Continental tyres. Steel parts have 195/60/16 Goodyear and no markings regarding temporary or limited speed use. Wouldn’t the malfunction be MOT if the car was fitted with the spare wheel on the same axle as one of the regular alloys? Is it illegal to use this spare wheel on the road? Have the dealer provide the correct size wheel and tire, or an appropriately sized emergency spare part. Is there anything else I can do?

– RC

Dear RC,

Looks like the dealer sold you a set of spare wheel for space. Looking at the Skoda parts catalog, that’s all there is for the Kamiq (and I can’t imagine the wheel in the trunk floor is big enough to fit a 17-inch alloy). On top of that, the Kamiq’s spare space kit retails for about £250, which is what you were charged for.

Fortunately, this is perfectly legal to use on the road in an emergency. According to the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, the rules governing the fitting of tires of varying sizes across the axle “do not prohibit the installation of a temporary spare tire for use on the wheel of a passenger vehicle (not a bus) unless it is driven at speeds exceeding 50 mph” This is why most space rescue vehicles are decked out with a warning not to be used above 50 MPH. It’s somewhat unusual for your warning not to be, but it’s not a legal requirement for a space saver to carry this warning.

Of course, if you present the vehicle to an MOT wearing a space tool, it will fail, since in this case the spare is presented as a permanent road wheel for testing purposes.

So what the dealer provided is perfectly acceptable for use on the road. In fact, I wouldn’t bother trying to get them to provide one that fits your road wheels and tires, because it probably wouldn’t fit in the allotted space without raising the trunk floor so it’s not flush. Having a spare wheel in the trunk is irresponsible Imagine the damage it might cause in the event of an accident.

You can still complain if, as you suggest, the dealer sells you the set as having a full-size reserve, because that’s not true – although even then, it doesn’t look like you’ve been overcharged.

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