Less than 3% of new cars sold in the UK now come with a spare wheel as standard, according to research by the RAC.

The motoring organisation said only 2.6% of new cars now came with a standard spare, with half of these only available on specific variants of the same model.

It said the effect of this was being seen on its breakdown call-out volumes, with RAC patrols going out to nearly 200,000 jobs last year where drivers had a puncture with no spare wheel, up from around 165,000 four years earlier.

The RAC said car manufacturers’ need to save weight to meet emissions regulations had motivated the drop in spare wheel provision.

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: “Getting a puncture on a journey has to be one of the most irritating breakdowns for drivers, especially if it’s as a result of hitting one of the plethora of potholes that currently characterise so many of our roads. 

“In the past, a driver could have reached for the spare wheel in the boot but this new analysis shows that these are now pretty much a thing of the past, with a minuscule number of new cars sold in the UK coming with one as standard.

“Interestingly, in many cases drivers ordering a new car can still buy a spare wheel – whether that’s a full-size one or the more common lightweight ‘space saver’ type – as an optional extra. This might turn out to be a wise investment if you are one of the many drivers who unfortunately suffers a puncture.”