What are run-flat tires? Enjoy Seamless Driving Even with a Flat Tire

Date: June 19, 2024

It's pretty awful to be left stranded on the side of the road with a flat tyre. It's also not cool to have to wait for roadside assistance or replace a spare tyre. Run flat technology saves you the trouble of handling these kinds of circumstances.

What is a Run Flat Tire?

Run-flat tyres provide safe performance even in the event of an air pressure decrease. When the psi drops, their stronger structures are meant to support the weight of the vehicle.

Therefore, flat tyres won't be a problem while riding. Alternatively, the car can get to a nearby site where the tyre can be changed securely. RFT tires vary in their maximum speed and distance, but most of them have a 50-mile, 50-mph speed range.

The majority of premium tire brands feature proprietary run-flat technologies. The technology is now so widely used that even tiny producers are dabbling in the industry.

How do Run Flat Tires Work?

The previous few decades have seen an evolution in run-flat tyre technology. Different run-flat tyre systems were developed as a result of this. Still, self-supporting run-flat tyres and supporting ring non-flat tyres are the two primary varieties.

Tyres with self-supporting sidewall structures are the most common type of run-flat tyres. With the help of this technology, the run-flat tire's sidewall is strengthened and it can keep its ideal form even in the absence of air pressure. Consequently, the construction offers a restricted, transient performance.

Second, a hard rubber ring or a structure akin to it is featured on the supporting rin run-flats. When a run-flat tyre becomes flat, the inside lets the rim roll on the rubber ring, sustaining the weight of the car.

How Far Can You Drive on Run Flat Tires?

There is a time limit on how long you can drive on a deflated tyre, even if it is a run-flat tire. After a period, the tire's structural integrity breaks down, rendering it dangerous to use. Hence, providing a response to the query "How many miles do run flat tires last?" is essential.

Up to a maximum speed of 50 mph, these tires typically last 50 miles. It may, however, vary throughout tire manufacturers. There are certain tire brands that do not provide this speed and distance, but most do.

It's also important to remember that Mercedes-Benz's original equipment run flats are limited to a 25-mile, 25 mph range. This is about half of what most run-flat, performance tires have to provide.

Run Flat Tires Pros and Cons

New run flat tires offer advantages and disadvantages just like any other tire. Drivers must evaluate their vehicles' requirements in order to decide whether or not run-flat tires are required for cars or SUVs.

Let's review the benefits that run-flat tires provide for the typical driver.

The Benefits of Run Flat Tires

Runflat technology improves everything that goes along with safety. Run-flat tyres can make drivers feel more at peace. Run flat tires not only avoid the need for spare tires, but they also provide superior structural longevity.

The advantages of run-flat tires are as follows:

  • You can safely get home or to the closest tyre installer with run-flat tyres.
  • Eliminates the risk of replacing a flat tire in hazardous circumstances
  • Self-supporting runflat tires have a strengthened sidewall that can bear the weight of the entire car.
  • Perfect for sports cars that don't have enough trunk capacity for extra tires
  • Assist in getting rid of extra tires and tire change equipment to lighten the car and provide a more fuel-efficient ride.
  • The handling or steering of the car won't be hampered while driving on a flat tire.
  • When they drive on a flat tire, they won't impede traffic.

What are the Cons of Run Flat Tires?

Additionally, there are drawbacks to driving on run-flat tyres. Although running on flat tyres is frequently the best option, drivers should be aware of the disadvantages before making a purchase.

The following are run flats' drawbacks:

  • Run flat tires are more expensive than regular tires.
  • It is not possible to combine run-flat and standard versions on one vehicle.
  • Their more robust design reduces riding comfort and fuel efficiency (1-2%).
  • Restricted availability: Off-road run flat tires may not yet be produced in the size you require.
  • Run flats should not be repaired after they drive flat because they only provide a temporary fix.

How Much Does a Run Flat Tire Cost?

Perhaps you're wondering: How much do run-flat tires cost? Do they justify the cost?

Run flats do, regrettably, cost extra. The price increases, typically by one-third over the cost of normal tires, due to the heavier construction and the higher cost of alternative production technology.

That's not all, though. Riding on a flat tire can quickly cause damage to the interior of a run-flat tire. It is quite possible that the weight of the car managed to deform the tire if it appears flat after the air pressure is lost. Sadly, structural damage of this kind is not usually obvious to the unaided eye. Experts advise against mending run flats as a result.

You will thus need to replace these tires when they get flat. Run-flat tire costs are increased as a result

Standard tyres vs. run-flat tyres

There is an evident shift when going from run flats to standard tires, or the other way around. Before deciding, you should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of this choice.

Run flats are an excellent alternative if you don't feel comfortable driving on a flat tire. However, these tires' thicker design will result in less comfort and less gas mileage. But compared to traditional tires, the glass fiber and polyamide sidewall offer more safety.

On the other hand, most of us have become accustomed to the level of comfort and fuel efficiency that normal tires offer. Greater give in the sidewalls can lessen the impact of the driver's shock, but if the pressure falls too low, they will buckle. It is advisable to always have a spare tire or tyre repair kit on hand when driving on regular tires.

The cost is the primary distinction between a set of run-flat tires and a set of regular tires. Run flats have a greater selling price because of their higher manufacturing costs.

Types of Run Flat Tires

As different tyre technologies have advanced, so has the quantity of run-flat systems. Although they operate on the same fundamental idea, run-flat tires are a different issue.

Self-Supporting Run Flat (Continental SSR)

Run flat variants with firmer sidewalls are made possible by Continental's Self-Supporting technology. Hard rubber and heat-resistant strands are used in this structure to keep the tire in its ideal shape even when tire pressure drops.

Although certain self-supporting tires compromise ride quality, tire producers have found a solution. Continental SSR technology is one such. The majority of common rims use low-section tires, which is why this run-flat technology was created. The fact that these tires are repairable, if a certified tire specialist approves, is an additional bonus.

Zero Pressure Tires (Michelin ZP)

Michelin offers a new solution for self-supporting runflat tires with their Zero Pressure technology. Michelin ZP tires' longevity and effectiveness have made it possible for the company to produce original equipment tires for a wide range of car types.

The real advantage of Michelin run flats is its longevity, which makes the company a strong contender in the run flat industry. The premium rubber components utilized in the construction of these tires greatly increase driving safety standards, even though their rigid sidewalls make for a harsher ride. Because of this, the majority of premium conventional tires do not survive as long as Michelin run flats.

Run Flat with Support Ring (Michelin's PAX System)

The auxiliary supported system was another name for the Supporting Ring run flat technology. When the pressure levels dropped, it employed a ring fastened to the rim to provide motion. Consequently, the rim that ran on the supporting ring took on the burden of holding the car.

Durable sidewalls are a feature of tires made using this technology, such as the well-liked Michellin Pilot Sport PAX PS2. This enhanced their ride quality and increased their desirability. Regrettably, the technology's life was brief.

Their price was exorbitant because drivers had to buy the tires and unique rims for them (they couldn't be used on standard rims). The fact that drivers had to spend a lot of money to afford to install these tire-wheel combinations on their cars reduced the technology's effectiveness.

Tires that Seal on Their Own (Continental ContiSeal)

Self-sealing tires aren't run flats exactly, but they still deserve to be discussed. The inner lining of these tires has a unique sealant that keeps air pressure from escaping in the event that the structure sustains damage. If the puncture is less than 5 millimeters in size and is close to the tread center, this sealant was made to plug the leak.

The best thing about Self-Sealing tires, such as those made by Continental, is that they look and feel just like regular tires. They can be fixed using many techniques, and they require tire pressure to function correctly. Since the sealant typically prevents pressure loss, driving a car with flat tires is avoided with these tires.

Self-sealing tires are typically not available as original equipment tires. Nonetheless, they are available on the market for new tires, typically for the same cost as run flats.

Are Run Flat Tires Worth Your Money?

The advantages and disadvantages of run flats vary, and your driving requirements will determine if you require them. Some drivers and cars do not require them, but others just cannot survive without them.

It is undeniable that tire makers and the general public believe these tires to be trustworthy. Run flats are a popular choice despite their drawbacks.

You will encounter the same problems whether you buy tires for passenger cars or run-flat trucks (SUVs). It's a fact known to owners of run-flat tires that not everything is sunshine and rainbows. However, a lot will rely on your demands and the needs of your car as to whether run flats are the right tires for you or not.

Also read: How Do I Find Quiet Tyres for Your Car?