What are run flat tyres?

By Julia Freeman

What do you do when you get a flat tyre? With a run flat tyre, you’ll be able to keep driving – usually at a maximum speed of 50 mph – until you can get to your nearest local Protyre garage. This short guide will take you through the ins and outs of these tyres, so you will never again need to ask, “What are run flat tyres?”

If you want to know whether your vehicle has run flat car tyres, check the spare. If there’s no tyre repair kit, the chances are you have these reinforced tyres. If you have a new car and no spare tyre at all, then you almost certainly have this type of tyre fitted.

How do run flat tyres work?

Run flat car tyres use reinforced sidewalls or a reinforced support ring to cope with the loss of air pressure after a puncture. These reinforced tyres must be used in conjunction with a TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System), so you’re alerted when you experience a puncture and your tyre loses pressure.
If you have run flat vehicle tyres and you do experience a flat, don’t ignore the speed and distance limitations of your tyres. Get to your nearest Protyre garage as soon as possible. Remember, a run flat tyre is designed to get you home safely if it gets a puncture, avoiding you being left stranded by the roadside. If TPMS warns you that your tyres are compromised, you must pay heed to that warning.

What are the benefits of run flat tyres?

Run flat technology allows you to drive safely in the event of a puncture:

  • Strengthened tyres have more integrity and help you to keep your car under control.

  • You don’t have to change your tyre in uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situations at the side of the road.

  • You won’t need a spare tyre, so you have more space in the boot of your car and less weight overall, leading to improved fuel efficiency

Can I switch back to normal tyres?

There’s no doubt that run flat car tyres are more expensive than regular tyres, but obviously they’re more convenient too. It is possible to swap out your run flats for regular tyres but be aware that if they’re OEM equipment that decision could have an impact on your car’s suspension and handling. And of course, you’ll need to purchase a spare tyre / wheel as well.
You can’t retrofit this type of tyre to an older vehicle unless it has TPMS and a suitable suspension. Our years of experience tell us that you shouldn’t mix tyres on your vehicle, so avoid running conventional and run flat vehicle tyres together. Of course, this advice goes for any type of tyre, just like batteries, old and new should not be mixed.

Can my run flat car tyres be repaired?

For safety reasons, it’s NOT recommended that run flat tyres are repaired. If you’ve exceeded the speed or distance limit for your tyre, then the strength and reinforcement may be compromised. As there’s no way of knowing the internal condition of the tyre, a punctured run flat tyre needs to be replaced which further adds to the cost of run-flats.

How long do run flat vehicle tyres last?

Because your run flat car tyres are manufactured from conventional materials, they’ll last as long as a regular tyre. Inspect them regularly and keep them inflated to the correct pressure to optimise their lifespan.

Ask the experts

At Protyre we’re the local garage you can trust. That means you’ll get a personalised service plus professional and knowledgeable mechanics and a wide range of run flat car tyres from brands like Bridgestone, Continental, Dunlop, Falken, Goodyear, Michelin, and Pirelli. Many are available with same-day fitting.
Even if you are not in need of a new set of tyres, or are unsure as to your requirements, you can contact your local Protyre garage and book your vehicle in for a free tyre check. Our qualified tyre specialists will be able to assess your vehicle, letting you know the condition, and above all, the safety of your tyres, advising you on the best next steps to take to ensure your vehicle runs smoothly.

Share with your friends...

About the author

Article Author Photo
By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Brand Marketing for Micheldever Group and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to deliver their automotive needs.
View authorArrow right
What 4x4 Tyres Do I Need?
Customers are sometimes confused regarding the difference between 4-wheel drive (4WD) and all-wheel drive (AWD).
Find out moreChevron
Tyre replacement tips
You probably don’t give your vehicle tyres a great deal of thought, at least until you experience a flat tyre or a puncture. But have you ever stopped to consider the punishment that your tyres take each and every day?
Find out moreChevron
What are Reinforced Car Tyres?
Reinforced tyres are usually marked “XL” or “Extra Load”. They are often similar in price to standard versions of the same tyre, so some people wonder what the differences are.
Find out moreChevron