Run flat tyres have been around now for a number of years and fitted to lots of different cars when they leave the factory. Coupled with the Tyre Pressure Management System (TPMS) they have successfully helped to reduce the gross weights of cars in an attempt reduce fuel consumption by taking out the spare wheel and tyre along with the jack and other tools, so you can’t even remove a wheel even if you wanted to.
But over the lifespan of the car and balanced against the more expensive run flat tyre, is this really an effective way to reduce carbon emissions? We truly don’t know the answer to this one, but given the nature of the build of a run flat tyre, the extra strength in the casing etc. then this may just cause more emissions during the production process?
So what are the pro’s and con’s to run flat tyres, let’s take a look so you can make your own mind up!
When you have a puncture, you can still drive for between 50 and 100 miles dependant on the tyre, great, this will get you to the garage to get it sorted.
The TPMS will alert you that you have a puncture or slowly deflating tyre, you can then check and re-inflate where appropriate.
You don’t have to stand at the side of the road changing the tyre or waiting for the AA or RAC to help you do this, ideal for those with limited knowledge or the technical ability to change a tyre.
You know the tyre is approved by your vehicles manufacturer and is right for the car.
When you get a puncture in a run flat tyre and continue to drive on it, you can damage the side wall strength integrity. If this happens, the tyre cannot be repaired and re-fitted to the car, regardless of how much tread may be left, verdict? New tyre.
If you have a blow out or get a hole on the side wall then the chances are that the tyre will go flat. Yes, it is still possible for a run flat to go properly flat and be un-drivable. Then, without a spare tyre in the boot, you’re stuck, waiting for recovery to sort it out.
The cost! Run flat tyres cost, on average, a third more than standard tyres. So if you can’t repair it and have to replace it, it starts to become an expensive way to reduce weight.
The comfort of the ride is generally harder. This is due to the extra strength, it makes the tyres less flexible. So car manufacturers have altered the setup of the suspension to compensate, but it isn’t quite as good.
They return less miles from a set. Class action court cases have been brought in the past for the excessive cost of replacing the tyres and at a much earlier time than under standard tyres. BMW and Bridgestone where the big names, and they settles with reduced costs for replacement tyres.
Those are just a few of the pro’s and con’s, we feel sure if you have run flats fitted, you’ll have your own. But what’s the way forward? How can you mitigate this?
Often, the space in the boot where the spare wheel should be is still there. It is too expensive to redesign the car to get rid of it, and in any case, you’ll find the other odds and sods there.
But this helps you, the motorist, as you can still fit a spare wheel into the boot along with a jack and wheel brace. After market steel wheels are becoming ever more popular for those running with run flat tyres.
The second option is to completely replace all of the run flats with standard tyres. Providing that they are the same in size and ratings as the run flats, there are no issues with insurance policies and warranties should remain unaffected (check with manufacturer)
So now it just comes down to your preference, but quite often, keeping the run flats and a spare in the boot for the drastic emergency could well be the compromise on these expensive tyres.
For me personally? I would lose the run flats and go back to standard tyres.