run-flat tires

Run-Flat Tires: What They Are & How They Work

How many of you are familiar with run-flat tires? If you own a BMW, Mercedes, or even Cadillac I am sure you are very familiar. Some people think run-flat tires are good, while others think they are a pain. So, I am here to go over the pros & cons and our opinion on them! Stay tuned 🙂

Run-Flat Tires: What They Are & How They Work

First and foremost, a run-flat tire helps a car continue to drive even when the tire goes flat. While you cannot drive indefinitely on run-flats once they are punctured, you can drive a good distance before having to buy new ones. There are two types of run-flat tires; a self-supporting system & a support ring system.

According to Bridgestone Tires, “in most self-supporting run-flat tire systems, the tire features reinforced sidewall construction that will continue supporting the vehicle in the event of air loss. This construction allows continued operation after the loss of air pressure up to the speed and distance specified by the manufacturer. Support ring run-flat tire systems, on the other hand, employ a ring of hard rubber or another structure that can support the vehicle’s weight in an air loss condition.”

Pretty plain & simple. Let’s get into some pros & cons on run-flats.

Run-Flat Pros

  • Drivability after a flat tire: Of course, the reason run-flat tires were created was to be able to continue driving after you have a puncture. If you are driving on the highway and get a flat tire, you can keep going a pretty long distance before having to change it out. Unlike a regular tire that doesn’t allow you to continue moving at all.
  • More stable after a flat: How many of you have had a flat tire? And, how many of you have felt the car jerk to the left or right after it happened? We’ve all been there and it is always scary how quickly you lose control. With run-flats there is more stability after the tire is punctured.

Run-Flat Cons

  • No spare tire: I don’t know about you, but I like knowing I have a spare tire just in case. Even though you can continue to drive with a run-flat tire, you can’t drive forever and will have to replace not just one, but all four tires. Which leads me to my next point.
  • Expensive: Run-flat tires are always more expensive and most manufacturers recommend you replace all four when just one pops. I rather replace one tire then all four if it were up to me! Also, since they are not as widely used, most shops don’t keep stock of them which means you have to order them and wait.
  • Reduced tread wear: According to Edmunds, owners with run-flats replace their tires “6,000 miles sooner than owners using conventional tires” because they have a softer tread compound to help counter a harder ride. Plus, they are not bullet-proof meaning you can still have a blow-out just as often as you do with regular tires.
  • Watch the warning signs: If you do not pay attention to your tire pressure monitor, or if for some reason it isn’t working, you won’t really know what’s going on with your tires. You could always check your tire pressure, but run-flats don’t look like a regular tire when they are low on air, which is usually your reminder to check the pressure with regular tires.

At the end of the day, getting a flat tire is not fun and not always safe. Run-flats do allow you to have a safer experience when a tire goes flat simply because you can continue driving until you find a mechanic. You won’t be changing your tire on the side of the road and no tow truck will be bringing you a spare, but if you don’t like changing your tire or want to feel safer, then run-flat tires are your best option.

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