It’s never convenient getting a puncture, but at least there’s a spare in the boot, and you can change the wheel in a relatively short period of time and continue along your way. While taking the kids to school earlier this week, I bumped up a shallow kerb to drop them off, and was met with a blood curdling sound, as I realised that the tyre had burst. And as I opened the car door and walked round to inspect the damage, the tell-tale sound of rushing air confirmed my worst thoughts. I was rather expecting a hole in the sidewall of the tyre, but a quick inspection revealed nothing to be overly concerned about. And while I could hear the air leaking from the tyre, it didnít appear to be going down that much.
Walking round to the rear of the car and opening the tailgate, I was met with a chilling sight. Rather than a spare wheel underneath the boot floor, there was a tyre repair kit instead. Previous experience told me that this wasnít going to be much use in this scenario, and in the event that the tyre only had a small puncture, using the can of goo would render the tyre as scrap. So, with less than a mile to travel home, I took a chance and drove the car home slowly, windows open, making sure that there werenít any sounds of grinding metal as the alloy wheel made contact with the road. As it was, by the time I parked up outside my house, the tyre still had plenty of air left in it, but the sound of rushing air from the sidewall indicated that it wouldnít be like that for long. And 20 minutes later it was flat as a pancake.
So now I was in a catch-22 situation, as I couldnít drive the car to a tyre garage, and in any case itís highly unlikely that they would have the correct model of Hankook tyre in stock. A ring round local tyre fitters confirmed my worst fears ñ they had no stocks and would have to order one in, and that could take days. So it was a phone call to SEAT assistance to ask their advice and with the vehicle being a press car, it was decided to recover the car to SEAT UK, for them to inspect the vehicle. If the worst came to the worst, they could source a tyre, either from a different vehicle or elsewhere. An appointment was arranged for the following day, when the schedule wasnít quite so busy, and a flatbed AA truck arrived to rescue the stricken SEAT. As I write this, Iím awaiting to hear the Atecaís fate, but will report back in the next issue.
Thereís a lesson here, though, and thatís the importance of having a spare wheel in the car, even if it is of the space saving variety. While the average motorist only has a puncture every three years, and perhaps it is wasteful to carry around that weight for one incident every 1,000 days, it is certainly reassuring to know that you can swap out the wheel and get on your way with the minimum of fuss. I think I can live with the fuel penalty of a spare wheel, just for the extra peace of mind.
Date arrived: 27th September 2016
Fuel economy: 65.7mpg (combined) 44.8mpg (on test)
With all the recent fog, the Samoa Orange paintwork shines out like a beacon.
The lack of a spare wheel is a serious disadvantage in the event of a puncture.