Run Flat Tyres. Are They Worth the Cost?
Ever since the earliest days of motoring, one of the hazards drivers have had to face is the risk of a puncture. Despite advances made by tyre manufacturers, it seems that flat tyres are destined to continue plaguing us motorists.
Wouldn’t it be nice if someone were to come up with a puncture proof tyre?
Well, the so-called run flat tyre, while definitely not puncture proof, is possibly the next best thing. Even with no air pressure in the tyre, thanks to the method of construction, you can continue to drive it, at least for a limited distance, without undue concern.
Run flat tyres are built with an extra thick sidewall of reinforced rubber that is highly inflexible, enabling them to be driven on even with no air remaining. The distance you can travel in your car varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but is usually between 80 and 160 kilometres, certainly enough to get you to a tyre service location or at worst, off that busy street or motorway.
Removing the risks involved with having to change a tyre on a rainy night on the shoulder of a motorway could be a lifesaver. And anyone who has had a major blow-out of a conventional tyre will welcome the advent of run flat tyres
But before you rush out and buy these miraculous tyres, there are a few points worth considering.
You shouldn’t drive on a punctured run flat tyre faster than 90 kilometres per hour; depending on what caused your puncture, you may not be able to get your run flat tyre repaired as you would a conventional tyre. Certainly, many tyre manufacturers recommend against attempting to repair a run flat tyre.
Run flat tyres, because of their inflexible sidewalls, will give a much stiffer ride, so that you will feel each and every bump and pothole.
Tread life on a run flat tyre is lower than for conventional tyres, regardless of manufacturer. So you may find yourself replacing those run flat tyres more frequently than your previous tyres. When you do purchase run flat tyres, you will certainly notice that they cost considerably more than conventional tyres.
However, despite these drawbacks, many car manufacturers are selling models equipped with run flat tyres. The main selling point, apart from the safety angle, appears to be the increased boot space available by eliminating the need to carry a spare tyre.
So, are they worth the extra cost? If your top priorities are safety and convenience, then probably yes. If price is your primary concern, then probably no. But certainly tyre manufacturers expect the market to expand, with a forecast 10% of high-performance tyres expected to be run flats within 3 years.