Most drivers have had to deal with the annoyance of a flat tyre. Finding a safe place to pull over, remove the damaged tyre and replacing it with your spare can take quite a while for people with limited experience in car servicing, and on top of that is the cost of replacing the damaged tyre.
But what if there was an alternative that’d get you to the mechanic faster? Run-flat tyres are not a new idea – variations of them have existed since the 1930s – but were previously most commonly found on military vehicles, VIP transports and specialised vehicles like armoured cars. However, the technology has developed in recent decades to the point where it can provide a credible alternative to spare tyres for everyday drivers. In this blog from the A Grade Automotive Network, we pull apart the good, the bad and the necessary of run-flat tyres. Read on and make a smarter choice for your vehicle.
Keeping you moving
The biggest advantage of run-flat tyres is in the name – hit a nail and keep going. At least for a while. All three technologies behind run-flat tyres – self-supporting, self-sealing and auxiliary-supported – are to varying degrees capable of continuing to support a vehicle’s weight after puncturing. Different tyres accomplish this in different ways, most commonly either relying on a reinforced sidewall to prevent crushing, an extra lining that seals small holes to prevent loss of air, or additional support rings, but all come with limitations.
Additionally, choosing to equip your car with run-flat tyres means no more carrying around a spare tyre, giving you more room in the boot. Fit in that last bag of groceries or go on holiday with a bit more than what you need with run-flats on your wheels.
The limitations of run-flats
While run-flats are a valuable addition to any car, it’s important to understand what they can and cannot do. Just as most spare tyres are ‘space-saver’ tyres that are thinner and lighter and cannot be driven for long distances or at high speeds, a punctured run flat tyre is only good for getting you to the workshop for a replacement. Most run-flat tyres, when deflated, cannot be driven at speeds above 80 kph or for distances exceeding 80 km, meaning that you can’t just forget about replacing it. With run-flat tyres fitted, it could be possible for the driver to continue on without noticing that they have a flat (some don’t notice with conventional tyres). This is why all vehicles fitted with run-flat systems must also have a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) fitted to warn the driver that there is a fault with the tyre pressure. If you see the TPMS warning light come on, contact your nearest AGAN member business.
Additionally, run-flat tyres can often cost more than double that of a comparable conventional tyre, making them a more expensive aftermarket option and a standard inclusion only on certain luxury vehicles. Generally run-flat tyres cannot be repaired and must be replaced.
Stay in the know
The real way to stay informed about how your tyres are doing is with a state-of-the-art tyre pressure monitoring system. If you’re interested in having one installed, or you already have one and you’re getting warnings, speak to the team at your local AGAN member business today.