Run flat tyres are specially designed to keep working for a short while even after a puncture. They have a reinforced sidewall stiff enough to support the weight of the car without compromising safety or damaging the wheels.
Usually, you can drive for a maximum of 80km at a top speed of 80kmph on a punctured run flat. Which allows you to get home or to a tyre centre to assess the damage. You avoid having to replace your wheel at the roadside (which can be difficult and dangerous) or call roadside assistance. With no need to carry a spare wheel, you get more boot space, greater fuel efficiency and mileage. Run flats also make it easier to control your vehicle in the event of a puncture, reducing the risk of an accident.
If your car has run flats and your TPMS warns that you’re losing tyre pressure, it’s vital that you stick to the speed limit and mileage specified by the manufacturer (found in your vehicle handbook). Then change your tyres as soon as possible.
While they may look fine to the untrained eye, it’s essential that you get to a tyre centre and have them checked out. If you don’t, there’s a danger you’ll damage the wheel itself, which is far more costly than replacing your tyre.
Can I fit run flats onto an older vehicle (retrofit)?
Consider these points before changing to run flat tyres on a vehicle previously fitted with ‘normal’ tyres :
- Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
Run flats must only be installed on a car which has a TPMS/tyre pressure monitoring system. TPMS alerts the driver to a puncture so they are aware that they have a limited time to replace their tyre, and so they drive within the limits of their deflated tyre.
- Vehicle Suspension
You should also note that you may need some changes made to your vehicle’s suspension. Because of their stiffer construction, run flat tyres contribute to a vehicle’s suspension when fitted as original equipment.
Can you repair a puncture in a run flat?
Unfortunately not. Due to the way in which a run flat tyre is reinforced to be usable when punctured, it’s not recommended to repair them following a puncture or any other sort of damage. The reason for this is that the sidewall is very thick, making it difficult to examine for damage.
Once you drive on a damaged run flat tyre, you compromise the structure that supports the weight of the car.
Any other disadvantages?
Some drivers feel cars with run-flat tyres are slightly less enjoyable to drive. Or aren’t as good at soaking up potholes and broken tarmac as cars fitted with conventional tyres. The suspension is less effective because the stiffer sidewalls are less adept at absorbing bumps. They also add ‘unsprung’ weight (mass not supported by the car’s suspension).
On average, run flat tyres are 10-25% more expensive than regular tyres. However, they can save you money in the long run, by removing the need to buy and carry a spare, or having to rely on calling for roadside assistance in the event of a puncture.
Call us to talk about it
Many car makers are now fitting run flat tyres as original equipment. If your vehicle uses them and you need replacements, you can call TyreAware on 087 3522920 for a quick quote. We supply tyres for most makes and models, with a wide range in stock from major brands to suit all budgets.