New AA Multi-fit ‘spare’ saves hours at the roadside
Thanks to the pothole puncture epidemic and the fact that up to a third of newer cars don’t have a spare, the AA has come up with a unique solution to help drivers. It has launched the AA ‘Multi-fit’ wheel, the design of which is exclusive to the AA.
It comprises a slim-fit wheel and tyre with an ingenious range of interchangeable hubs and stud sets that will fit up to 90% of cars* that don’t carry a spare, as well as caravans and some trailers.
All AA roadside service patrols carry the bright yellow wheel, which has a speed limit of 50mph. It can be fitted quickly at the roadside by the Patrol.
Members of a hockey team were returning home from a match in a hired car that suffered a puncture, but there was no spare and it would take some time for the hire company to come out to assist. One of the team, an AA member, called the AA for assistance and, using the Multi-fit the Patrol turned the ladies’ despair to delight. The AA wheel enabled the ladies to drive to the hire company’s nearest depot, followed by the Patrol, who recovered his wheel: and the hockey team members could resume their journey with much less delay than they expected.
I’m delighted with it. If I’m called out to a member who’s suffered a flat and there’s no spare, it’s straightforward to fit the Multi-fit wheel
Max Holdstock, AA Patrol of the Year
The AA’s Patrol of the Year, Max Holdstock, says that often, more than an hour can be saved through use of the ‘fit and follow’ wheel.
“I’m delighted with it. If I’m called out to a member who’s suffered a flat and there’s no spare, it’s straightforward to fit the Multi-fit wheel. A range of four- and five-stud hubs and spacers mean the Multi-fit wheel can fit most cars.
“It’s also useful in situations where I need quickly to get a family and their car to a place of safety even if there is a spare, but it’s beneath a boot full of luggage or in a seized-up under-chassis carrier.
“In the past, a flat meant removing the offending wheel and leaving the car on a jack, taking the member to a depot with the wheel to have the tyre replaced or repaired, then returning to the vehicle. And possibly recovering the vehicle to a safe place before all that happened.”
“That’s a big time-saver.”
An executive on his way to an important business engagement ran through a pothole – puncturing and writing off both the nearside front and rear tyres. Although the car was equipped with a spare, using the Multi-fit an AA Patrol was able to save the day. Fitting both the spare and the Multi-fit, he followed the executive to a tyre depot close to his office where the Patrol recovered the wheel, leaving the car to have two new tyres fitted.
Our Patrols are reporting more and more pothole-related tyre failures, thanks to the poor state of repair of Britain’s roads
Donald MacSporran, AA Technical Director
Donald MacSporran, the AA’s technical director, said the new solution has been developed specially for the AA to allow the widest possible range of cars to be handled. It has been extensively trialled and meets all appropriate European standards.
“At a time when around 30% of newer cars aren’t equipped with a spare, the system has proven a blessing in situations where blow-outs caused by a pothole mean neither run-flat tyres or tyre sealant kits, often fitted instead of a spare, can be used.
“Our Patrols are reporting more and more pothole-related tyre failures, thanks to the poor state of repair of Britain’s roads. They often affect two tyres – so the Multi-fit can be invaluable on such occasion when the car does have a spare.”
A recent AA-Populus study among more than 25,000 drivers revealed that over the past 24 months, 39% had suffered damage at the very least to their tyres by hitting a pothole.**
“Over the past 12 months we have attended nearly 500,000 calls for assistance due to tyre problems – making it the second most likely reason (after battery issues) for a member to call the AA,” says MacSporran. “And the number of tyre call-outs is rising.”
A separate AA-Populus study found that nearly a fifth of respondents (17%) said they did not have a spare or serviceable spare wheel in their car while up to 5% had no idea whether there was a spare in the boot.***
Whether you have a spare or not, changing a wheel can be a dirty and hazardous task and our advice is always to call for assistance from the AA, especially if you’re on a motorway or in a dangerous location.
The AA Multi-fit spare wheel
(28 April 2016)
* Some cars such as permanent all-wheel drive and some sports cars are not suitable for fitting a multi-fit wheel
** 25,208 responses from AA-Populus panel members in February 2016
*** 22,827 responses from AA-Populus panel members in January 2013