Understanding Run Flat Tires


If you have purchased a new car recently, you may not have received and emergency donut tire conveniently tucked into the trunk. You may not have given it much thought as your mind was on more important things like getting the best price or the latest features that make driving pleasurable. But if you get a flat, you will likely discover how important it is to get your vehicle safely out of traffic and to the mechanic to get the tire replaced. So, why wasn't a donut included in your purchase as a spare? Chances are you have run flat tires and don't need a spare at all to make that emergency run to the garage.

What are run flat tires?

Run flat tires are designed with a reinforced sidewall to prevent the tire from collapsing if you get a puncture hole in your tire. This tough rubber insert will support the weight of you car while you drive it to the garage or mechanic. They won't function indefinitely, of course, but they will allow you time to get your car to a professional to repair or replace the tire. This convenient technology does the tough job for you, eliminating the need to pull out of traffic and change your tire or wait beside the road until help arrives. 

How do you know if you have run flat tires?

Run flat tires are part of the original equipment (OE) for some new models of cars, explains National Tyres and Autocare. That means your new vehicle with come with four run flat tires installed and will not have a spare donut or tire changing equipment included in your purchase. According to Edmunds, 12 percent of new vehicles come equipped with flat run tires, but this percentage is likely to increase in the future. Your manufacturer's guide will detail that your tires are flat run and will likely give you an estimate of the distance you can run them safely. You can also buy run flat tires for your vehicle. Your autocare professional can help you determine the correct size and make of run flat tires for your vehicle if they are not part of the OE.

How will you know if you have a flat?

New vehicles equipped with run flat tires also have a pressure monitoring system that will alert you when one of your tires has lost pressure. This technology typically produces a warning light on your dash similar to your brake or oil light. You may feel some difference in the handling of your vehicle or notice increased noise if you puncture a tire, but it will not be as pronounced as getting a flat with regular tires.

How far can you drive on a run flat tire?

The distance you can run a run flat tire may differ depending on the vehicle and the make of the tire, but according to Popular Mechanics, you can expect to drive for about 50 miles on a run flat tire once you get a puncture. This typically gives you enough wear to get home safely or to take your vehicle to the garage for a tire change. The reinforcement in run flat tires is not intended as a permanent solution to a flat tire and is only designed to give you enough time to get you to the garage for repairs.

How do run flat tires affect your control of the vehicle?

Generally, manufacturers recommend driving slower than normal. Bridgestone recommends keeping your speed below 50 mph when running on a run flat tire after a puncture. While there may be some slight differences in the handling of the vehicle, such as controlling taking sharp turns or braking quickly, the difference is typically minimal.

If you are purchasing a new vehicle, ask the salesperson whether the vehicles comes with run flat tires or whether it has a donut spare. And for more information about your tires and car repair in general, talk with an auto shop, such as Jensen Tire & Auto.


7 February 2017

Maintaining Your Vehicle

After dealing with car repair after car repair, I started thinking about ways that I could prevent future problems. I started taking my car in for regular tune-ups, focusing on things like tire rotations and never forgetting an oil change. I also kept careful records that helped me to track my vehicle's performance. This blog is all about maintaining your vehicle as efficiently as possible, so that you might be able to save money and prevent issues in the future. After all, who has time and money to get their car fixed constantly? Thanks for reading our blog and have an awesome day!