I recently suffered a punctured tyre while checking out conditions at a one of my favourite beaches. And no, before anyone jumps to conclusions, it had nothing to do with potholes in roads - even though we all seem to have plenty of those. But the fact remained I was stuck by the side of the road with a tyre that was rapidly deflating, and only something described officially as a "space saver" as a spare. While these tyres are called space savers, I prefer to call them pretend tyres, because they look like they would be more at home attached to a Tonka truck - although I doubt they could match the famed toughness that Tonka toys offered. And while I have often prided myself on my ability to change my own tyres, the space savers were another emasculating thing all together, because I had to call for professional help to inflate and then fit this odd-looking Pinocchio of the automotive world, that was trying to pretend it was a real tyre. And so I limped the 70-odd kilometres homes at a reduced speed, because these pretend tyres can't be driven at normal speeds - at risk of some horrible but unspecified thing happening. But I suppose I should count myself lucky, even having a space saver fitted to my car. Because apparently, many of the newer cars come without any sort of spare at all. Instead of offering a spare tyre, the car companies have started to provide only a puncture repair kit - and if that doesn't work your next best option is to call a tow truck. This has left me scratching my head, wondering whatever happened to the repeated claims made by car manufacturers over many years, that they were focused on safety and reliability. How is not providing a spare tyre increasing safety or reliability? Does the prospect of being stuck on a remote road, many kilometres from the nearest town, in the middle of the night, while waiting for an overpriced tow truck to arrive, fit with the improved safety and reliability ideal? Or maybe that notion just went the way of service stations - the places that actually provided service by a staff member who checked the oil and water levels and washed windscreens while putting petrol into your car. They are just more things sacrificed to the god of growing profit margins and optimised returns.