Run flat tyres have been a somewhat controversial topic since they were introduced as many feel that they are in some way ‘cheating’.
From most people’s perspective, run flat tyres allow peace of mind when driving as they don’t require you to be able to know how to fit a spare tyre and will allow you to carry on driving for a period of time if you do get a puncture. They do have their disadvantages, for example they cannot be repaired if you do get a puncture, but for many people the benefits of run flat tyres far outweigh the downsides of having them fitted to your car.
What is a run flat tyre?
Run flat tyres are designed so that the tyre beads remain anchored to the rim of the wheel; even then there is no air inside them. This means that there is no risk of the tyre flying off and the wheel itself being damaged and the tyre can more or less hold its shape for a period of time after the puncture. They have heavily reinforced sidewalls to enable them to function even when punctured and these thick walls can mask any damage which has been done to the inside. They are subjected to an awful lot of stress when they do run once punctured and for this reason they cannot be repaired.
What are the advantages of the run flat tyre?
There is no need to carry around a spare wheel. This means that you can have more space in the boot and that the car is lighter as a whole, putting less pressure on the brakes and making the car more economical with fuel. You won’t have to change the wheel at the side of the road and you won’t be left stranded in the dark waiting for a breakdown service to arrive. With a run flat tyre you can drive much further than you could on a replacement wheel, with most manufacturers recommending that you don’t travel more than 150 miles at 50mph. This means that most people would be able to get to their final destination even after having had a puncture, which makes run flat tyres much more convenient for people on the go.
Are there any disadvantages to having run flat tyres fitted?
Run flat tyres are more expensive than normal ones and if you do get a puncture, unfortunately there is no way of repairing them. Although you can carry on driving for up to 150 miles once a run flat tyre has been punctured, you will need to visit a garage at some point to have the tyre replaced and this will cost more than having a normal tyre fitted or repaired. There have also been reports that driving on run flat tyres is less comfortable a ride than driving on normal ones, but the difference is marginal.
So, if you are someone who would rather not have their journey affected by getting a puncture, run flat tyres would be a good idea. They will give you peace of mind about not having to know how to fit a spare wheel at the side of the road and give you the luxury of not having to wait for a breakdown service at the side of the road, possibly in the cold and the dark. Whether or not to have run flat tyres fitted to your car is really a personal choice, and if you feel confident about changing a wheel then they may not be worth the extra cost.
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