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Puncture Aftermath

Paul mentioned in a comment below that my sorry story of the hire car puncture is a very good reason to insist on having a proper spare tyre when buying a new car. My parents would totally agree with him. They bought a new car towards the end of last year, and the subject of a spare tyre wasn’t even mentioned during the sales process. They naturally assumed that the car would come with a spare, as had all the previous cars they’d owned over the last fifty years or so. But my post made them wonder whether that was indeed the case, and a quick check confirmed that no, all that was provided was “puncture repair kit”, i.e. a bottle of glue and a pump.

To say they were not happy is an understatement. It would be one thing if they’d made an informed choice, based on improved mileage, and were knowingly taking the risk of getting an unrepairable puncture. But that wasn’t the case – they had been completely in the dark. And worse still, their car had a space in the boot for a full sized spare, so it was clearly an optional extra, but it hadn’t even been raised as a possibility by the salesman.

My mother decided that Something Needed to be Done. She strode into the car showroom on Saturday morning, when the place was full of potential customers all looking for a new ’16 plate’ vehicle. Then she loudly announced to the showroom in general that she’d “been diddled” and that her car “was missing a wheel!”. She says it was impressive how quickly she was ushered into a back room, and plied with coffee, biscuits and even sherry – anything to stop her making a loud fuss in front of the other punters! The car salesman really didn’t have a leg to stand on, as it was entirely clear that he hadn’t done his job properly when she originally bought the car, so she was able to negotiate a very good price for upgrading to a proper, full-sized, spare tyre along with all the necessary tools, jack etc. 

I’m not sure that my mother would actually want to change a wheel herself these days. Now, however, she’s got a proper spare wheel, so even if she had to call the AA out to change it for her, at least she would be on her way again relatively quickly. And I suspect that the car salesman will be rather more diligent in future about spelling out the options available!