Run-flat tires are a feature you may have heard of that can come with a new car. These tires allow you to keep driving even if they lose pressure, but they’re not without drawbacks. It’s important to know the pros and cons of both before you make your decision.
One of the main benefits of run-flat tires is that you won’t be stranded if you get a flat. The tire is designed to allow for limited driving even when it has no air in it.
This can be especially useful when you’ve driven through debris or hit something that punctures your tire. You can drive up to 50 miles at 55 mph on most run-flat tires before the tire needs to be replaced or repaired.
A run-flat tire usually has reinforced sidewalls, which add weight to your vehicle, decreasing fuel economy and performance.
When replacing these tires, drivers must stick with the same type of tire that came on the vehicle from the manufacturer to avoid damaging their car or affecting its handling characteristics.
|Points||Run Flat Tires||Regular Tires|
|Comfort||Less comfortable||More comfortable|
|Servicing||Every garage can’t be fixed this||Almost every garage can be fixed this|
Should you consider run-flat tires?
When it comes to car tires, there are a few things more frustrating than getting a flat tire. A flat tire can happen at any time, making you late for work or even stranded on the side of the road. But, with run-flat tires, you might not have to worry about being stuck.
Run-flat tires are reinforced in such a way to enable them to maintain their shape despite having no air pressure inside of them. This means that a driver can still safely drive their car at a reduced speed (typically 55 mph) up to 50 miles.
Whether you need run-flat tires depends on your driving style and how often you use your vehicle. If you’re someone who rarely drives and mostly just commutes from home to work, then run-flat tires might not be necessary for you.
However, if you travel regularly or use your car for long drives, then it might be beneficial for you to invest in run-flat tires because they will help keep your family safe until you can get help.
How many miles can you Drive on a run-flat tire?
The tire manufacturer usually lists the maximum miles you can drive on a flat tire. For instance, Bridgestone’s DriveGuard has a maximum 50-mile limit for speeds up to 50 mph. If you exceed this limit or drive faster than 50 mph, your tires might get damaged and cause an accident.
In case of a puncture, run-flat tires have reinforced sidewalls that can support the weight of your car for around 50 miles at 50 mph. But if you are driving over 60 mph and run over sharp debris, there is a chance that the tire will fail.
If you have a flat tire, you can usually drive for 50 miles or more on a spare tire. If you have run-flat tires, you can drive up to 50 miles at 50 mph.
The biggest reason to switch to normal tires is the mileage.
You can expect a lot more miles out of normal tires. Run flats are built with special, heavier material, and this takes a toll on their lifespan. You will see a difference in tread life and you will probably pay for it in your wallet with the higher price of run-flats.
Why do tires go flat so easily?
When you drive over something with your car, you’re penetrating it. The needle or screw is acting like a mini-puncture in the tire, and that’s the reason why tires go flat so easily.
Even if you’re driving slowly, a tire can get penetrated by a simple needle or screw. This can happen because of the weight of your car and the tire pressure. If you see this happen to your car on the road, try to drive to a safe place, then change the tire.
Don’t try to figure out how it happened or remove the object from the tire; just replace it with a spare tire. If you travel around with the object in the tire for too long, this could cause serious damage to your car.
The rubber used to make tires is highly durable, but it’s not impervious to sharp objects. Nails, screws, and other sharp objects can partially or fully penetrate the rubber on the tire and tread, which causes air to leak out of the inner tube.
What happens when you put two different sets of tires on?
Sporty cars often come with summer tires, which are designed for maximum grip in warm weather and on dry roads. Unfortunately, summer tires lack what’s called “cold weather traction” and also lose grip when temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. In the snow and ice, they’re downright dangerous.
That’s why it’s common for sporty cars to be sold with summer tires and offered as an option with all-season or winter tires. The difference can be significant.
The Tire Rack recently set up a test to show how much difference the right tire can make in cold weather conditions.
Two identical BMW 330i sedans were equipped with one of two sets of tires: Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 (summer performance) and General Altimax Arctic 12 (winter). Then they were put through their paces on a skidpad and a slalom course.
The results are pretty astonishing: The winter tires completely transformed the car’s handling in snow and ice conditions, while barely affecting its performance on dry pavement.
Can you switch from run-flat tires to regular tires?
The short answer is yes. It is perfectly fine to switch from run-flat tires to regular tires, but the specific details of your car need to be taken into account.
If your car was designed for run-flat tires, you will have to pay attention to a few things. If your car was not designed for run-flat tires, then you should have no problem switching.
Run-flat tires are made with sidewalls that are more reinforced than regular tires. This reinforcement gives them the ability to support the weight of your vehicle even when they are flat or close to flat.
The tire can’t go on indefinitely without air, but it can at least get you where you need to go until you can get it patched or replaced.
You may not even realize that a tire is flat until you stop driving and get out of your car. The ride may feel different, but it shouldn’t be too uncomfortable.
You will have a limited amount of time before you have to replace the tire once it goes flat, this time frame varies depending on the brand and type of tire you purchase.
Can I replace BMW run-flat tires with regular?
Run-flat tires are a popular option on many new cars, especially BMWs. These tires have a reinforced sidewall that keeps the tire from collapsing in the event of a puncture.
This enables you to drive without noticing any change in the handling of your vehicle for up to 50 miles at speeds up to 55 mph.
Of course, run-flat tires are more expensive than standard tires. But the real controversy surrounds their lifespan: Some people love them, some hate them.
Many people who have such tires installed on their cars claim that they wear out very fast and need replacement after less than 7,000 miles, while others report getting as many as 25,000 miles.
What do we think? We think it’s important to know that there is no such thing as a perfect tire. There are different models with different strengths and weaknesses. Some will last longer and provide better mileage than others, but none are ideal for every condition or situation.
If you want to swap out your run-flat tires for regular ones, we recommend installing high-performance all-season tires instead of all-season passenger car tires (a step above standard tires).
Can you mix run-flat tires with regular?
If you’re buying replacement tires for your vehicle, the answer is “no.” Even if you have only one damaged tire, it’s best to replace all four of them at the same time. That gives you a uniform set of tires with the same tread wear and performance.
Mismatched tires can make your vehicle handle poorly, especially in an emergency maneuver like turning or stopping quickly.
If you’re shopping for new tires, however, it is possible to mix run-flats with standard tires. Some car manufacturers are even doing it themselves.
For example, Ford’s 2018 Expedition offers optional run-flat tires that can be mixed with standard ones. The automaker says this helps lower the cost of a new set of Expedition tires by as much as $400 per vehicle.
The longer answer is that it is not recommended. The reason for this is that if your vehicle has been equipped with 4 run-flat tires, it is assumed that you will keep 4 run-flat tires on your vehicle.
If you decide you want to mix run-flat and non-run-flat tires, you need to be sure you know where your spare tire is located, if you have one at all, and if it is an appropriate size and type for your vehicle.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Should I get rid of my run-flat tires?
Run flats are a far superior tire to the standard non-run flat tires. They are stronger, more puncture-resistant, and they ride better.
The technology involved in building a run-flat is far superior to the technology of building a non-run flat tire. They do cost sometimes twice as much as an equivalent non-run flat tire but the advantages that they provide far outweigh the cost differences.
2. What is the benefit of run-flat tires?
If you drive a car that’s equipped with run-flat tires, you may be wondering if these tires are safer than conventional tires.
Run-flat tires are designed to allow you to continue driving on a flat tire for up to 50 miles at 50 mph. This can be a benefit in certain circumstances, but it’s important to understand the limitations of this technology.
3. How many years do run-flat tires last?
Most run-flat tires have a tread life of 50,000 miles or six years. However, this is only if you use the tires for normal driving. If you drive aggressively, you may experience faster tire wear.
The tread life also depends on the type of vehicle you have, your road conditions, and the weather in your area.
4. Are run-flat tires more prone to flats?
The problem with run-flats is that once they’ve been driven on while flat, you can’t repair them. They lose their structural integrity and have to be replaced. So in addition to being more expensive than conventional tires, you may be paying for two tires if you get a flat.
If your car has run-flat tires and you get a flat, you’ll know it because the tire pressure monitoring system will alert you that the pressure in one or more tires is low.
If you have conventional tires and you get a flat, you’ll see it or feel it when your car begins to pull to one side, or if you feel the vibration through the steering wheel.