A letter from your trusty space-saver wheel | Top Gear
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A letter from your trusty space-saver wheel

Ever wondered what it’s like to be a lonely spare wheel? Wonder no more

Published: 08 May 2020

I’ve been watching you, Simon. Every mile you’ve driven in your Corsa 1.2 Exclusiv – our Corsa 1.2 Exclusiv, I should say – I’ve been there too, right beside you. Right behind you, technically. Waiting, just waiting, to be your saviour in times of trouble. Yes, that’s right, Simon. I’m your ever-ready space-saver spare wheel.

I know you’ve not needed me yet, Simon. Not even thought of me, most likely. That’s OK. That’s the lot of a spare wheel. Out of sight, out of mind. Not required until we’re really required. Like an ambulance. Or Loperamide. Just think of me as your personal emergency service, Simon. So long as your emergency is ‘I’ve got a flat tyre’ and the service you require is ‘an almost comically small replacement wheel to get me home’. Other emergencies, not so much. I’ll level with you – faced with a burning building, I’m more a hindrance than a help. 

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You’re not a bad guy, Simon. I’ve seen you, cleaning your car – our car – every Sunday morning. I’ve seen the attention you lavish on the other wheels. The chamois cloth. The soapy suds. The little pointy brush thing for getting the brake dust out from between the spokes. Would it kill you, Simon, to give me a quick spruce-up while you’re at it? I know I’ve not been putting in the hard yards of the other wheels, the non-spares. But it’s dusty down here under the boot floor. Things haven’t smelled right since that banana smoothie leaked out of your shopping in 2017. 

It’s a tough time to be a spare wheel, Simon. Roads aren’t what they used to be. Not like the good old days, when you couldn’t move for shards of glass and rusty nails. Punctures have gone right out of fashion. Some drivers think they can wing it without even a space-saver nowadays. Just a pump and a can of that squirty stuff. Fool’s game, Simon. Where does it end? One day it’s a can of squirty stuff, the next you’re ditching the little box of spare bulbs from your glove box, before you know it you’re BASE jumping off the BT Tower with a lit firework jammed down your boxers. Don’t be a madman, Simon. You need me.

I’m ready for a run-out. We don’t need to wait for a puncture. Mix it up. Give me a shot. Sure, I know it says ‘maximum speed 50mph’ on my sidewall, but that’s just health and safety covering their backs. You can wring me out to 52, easy. Maybe 53. What I lack in grip I make up for in jaunty style. And just think of the rolling resistance. I’m almost dangerously low in the old road-friction department. What I’m saying is, sub me in, front-right, I’ll give you an extra five miles on a tank. And interestingly wonky handling, gratis.

Or don’t, Simon. Your call. I’m good, biding my time, waiting for the call-up. But just remember. Every breath you take. Every move you make. I’ll be watching you. Because I’m your space-saver spare wheel.

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