Automotive A heavily abused Run Flat Tire

Published on December 16th, 2021 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Do Run Flat Tires Last Longer Or Less Than Normal Tires?

Why Did These Run Flat Tires Become Like This

Generally, run flat tires use the same rubber compounds as conventional tires, so you can expect similar longevity. Despite their reinforced components, run flats will wear at the same rate as standard tires and they require the same level of care and maintenance.

Yes, tires need to be looked after. Whacking pot holes and leaving tires underinflated will damage and lower the life-span of the tire. Just like with this car owner who never looked after their tires.

To keep your run flat tires (or any normal tire) in good condition, check the air pressure, depth and condition every fortnight or at least once a month (every 30 days at the worst) and visit the nearest petrol station and use the FREE ‘air pressure’ facilities.

This will ensure you get maximum life out of your tires before having to replace them which can be very expensive today.

Run flat (or self supporting) tires are specially designed to keep working for a short while even after they suffer a puncture. So if you get a puncture on a rainy dark night, there is no need for an uncomfortable and some what dangerous roadside tire change which you should be able to safely drive home or to your nearest tire shop to get your damaged tire changed.

Run flat tires also reduce the dangers of a potentially dangerous tire blow out due to their unique construction.

How do they work?

Run flat tires are built with reinforced sidewalls. Normally, a car is supported by the air in your tires, and once you have a puncture, they collapse. However, run flat tires have tough rubber inserts which temporarily hold up the weight of your vehicle even after a puncture.

So, with this tire issue here, the car owner was in two minds to stay with run-flats or to change to normal tires. We managed to convince her to stay with run-flats for a few reasons.

  1. She does not check her tires at all.
  2. She does not have a tool kit and will not know how to use it as well if she had it.
  3. She has never taken her tire pressure monitoring device warning seriously.
  4. She needs run-flats to get her home in case of an issue.
  5. She is not a car person and will probably get scammed at a large franchised tire shop.

Fitting Run Flat to an older vehicle (‘retro fitting’)

If you are considering changing to run flat tires on a vehicle that was previously fitted with ‘normal’ tires, then there are several points to consider:

Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Run flats must only be installed on a car which has TPMS/tire pressure monitoring system. TPMS alerts the driver to a puncture so they are aware that they have a limited time to replace their tire, and so they drive within the limits of their deflated tire.

Vehicle Suspension

You should also note that you may need some changes made to your vehicle’s suspension (certain models with active suspension). Because of their stiffer construction, run flat tires contribute to a vehicle’s suspension when fitted as original equipment.

Life span of Run Flat Tires

The materials used to manufacture run flat tires are similar or identical to conventional tires, so their wear rates should be comparable. Keeping the correct air pressure in your tires (no matter what type) is the best way to ensure a longer life from your tires.

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