How to Identify Run Flat Tyres

By David Sholicar

If you've ever been stuck on the side of the road with a flat tyre and a dead mobile battery, you have probably wondered why you're not using run flat tyres. Run flat tyres are designed to keep you on the road after a puncture, giving you time to get home or to the local garage for a tyre change.

Run Flat

How do run flat tyres work?

Compare a run flat tyre with a non-run flat tyre and you will not see any visible difference; however, take a cross section between the two tyres and you will see that the run flat tyre is considerably thicker than the conventional tyre thanks to its reinforced sidewalls. It is these tough rubber inserts that hold up the wall of the tyre after a puncture when a conventional tyre would simply collapse.

What are the benefits of run flat tyres vs non-run flat tyres?

  • Run flat tyres allow you to drive safely after a puncture and a loss of pressure without losing control of your car, as they stay firmly anchored to the wheel rim and will not blow out. You do not have to change the tyre there and then, especially if you are on a motorway or driving at night.

  • Unlike conventional tyres, run flats allow you to drive for around 80kms at speeds of up to 80km/h after a puncture, allowing you plenty of time to get home or to the nearest garage in comfort. As you do not need to carry a spare tyre, there is more room in the boot for luggage. However, some drivers of performance cars may find the ride to be a little jittery at high speeds due to the reinforced tyre wall and the lack of give compared with a non-run flat tyre.

  • Since run flat tyres do not collapse when punctured, they protect expensive alloy wheels from damage and an expensive repair. The weight reduction achieved by dispensing with the spare wheel and tyre means that your car is more fuel efficient, saving you money in the long term.

  • Non-run flat tyres are significantly cheaper than their run flat tyre equivalents; however, the additional cost of run flats can be partially offset by the improved fuel economy. In reality, your car will only get a flat, on average, once every five years.

Can I equip my car with run flat tyres?

If your car is already fitted with run flat tyres, it is recommended that you continue to use them. If you want to retrofit these tyres to your vehicle, you will need to check with our specialists; not all vehicles are suited to run-flats. You will also need a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) fitted to alert you when there has been a loss of pressure. Only by using a TPMS can you drive on a punctured run flat tyre safely.

Free TPMS Check

You may also need adjustments made to your suspension to compensate for the stiffer nature of the run flat tyres. Finally, you should never mix different types of tyre, as they have very different handling characteristics.

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By David Sholicar
David is the National Retail Operations Manager for Protyre. One of David’s areas of responsibility and expertise is dealing with the DVSA and MOT’s for Protyre. As the Authorised Examiner Designate Manager ( AEDM ) David deals with applications for changes to the many Vehicle Testing Stations ( VTS’s) including managing the growth of the Number of MOT testing stations that Protyre operate, allocating MOT tester roles, and monitoring the MOT Test logs to ensure that Protyre MOT standards are maintained as the best in the industry.
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