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Continental’s run flat tyres are a great extended mobility solution


Have you heard of run flat tyres? Do you know what they are? Is it possible that your car is fitted with them? When it comes to tyres, there’s a lot of technical jargon flying around that some people seem to understand, but that you may not. Run flat tyres are a classic example of this.

If that’s the case for you, don’t worry. In our latest tyre safety article, the Protyre team will clear things up for you. We’ll also provide you with the crucial information you need to know when it comes to changing your run flats.

So what are run flat tyres, and do I have them on my car?

Let’s start by opening the boot of your car. When you lift the floor cover up, what do you see? If you see a spare wheel nestling in the cavity with a jack and spanner, your car is not fitted with run flat tyres. If you don’t see a spare tyre there at all, you know that your car is fitted with run flats – or at least should be.

Run flats tyres have reinforced sidewalls that mean – even if you have a puncture – you can continue driving on them at a limited speed and for a limited period – a maximum speed of 50 mph for a maximum of 50 miles. In other words, typically within easy reach of a Protyre garage.

There are three main advantages to having run flat tyres fitted, the first two of which concern driver safety:

  1. The strengthened sidewall helps keep your car under control in the event of a puncture.

  2. You don’t have to change the wheel at the side of the road – one of the most dangerous situations you can put yourself in.

  3. No spare wheel means more space in the boot, less overall weight (spare wheels are heavy) and as a result improved fuel efficiency and mileage.

What can be confusing is that run flats look more or less the same as ordinary premium tyres – and increasingly cars are fitted with them as “Original Equipment” (OE). Leading automotive manufacturers, like Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and more regularly fit Continental tyres as OE, including run flat tyres. You may well be driving a car with run flats without even realising it.

How do run flat tyres work?

Run flats feature a reinforced sidewall construction which continues to support the car, even if you have a puncture. It’s this super-tough construction that allows you to keep driving. The technology has been developed by premium tyre manufacturers, like Continental, resulting in significantly improved safety and a better driving experience.

Continental’s superb SSR (Self-Supporting Runflat) technology can be found in may of their tyres, including the highly popular ContiPremiumContact 5 and the ContiSportContact 5.

What’s key here, however, is that run flat tyres must be used in conjunction with a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). This is important because – without the automatic alert the TPMS provides – how would you even know you have a puncture, right?

If you do get the alert that one of your tyres is punctured, the other thing to bear in mind is that it’s really important not to ignore the 50 mile range limitation. It’s essential that you get the tyre changed sooner rather than later, or else you risk damaging the wheel itself – much more expensive than just replacing the tyre!

Changing run flat tyres with non-run flats – a good idea or not?

It’s tempting, yes – because run flat tyres are more expensive – but a good idea? Absolutely not, and to be avoided at all costs.

Run flat tyres often come as “Original Equipment” – what the car is fitted with when its sold new from the factory. This often means that the car’s designers have taken the opportunity to repurpose the space that would have once been used for the spare tyre, and as such there is no spare tyre cavity, and no spare tyre.

If – after one of your run flats is punctured – you replace it with a non-run flat tyre and – you’re your bad luck – have another puncture, you’d be stranded. This is why – if you bought your car second hand and you’ve discovered there’s no spare wheel in the boot – you must check that your tyres are actually run flats.

Talk to Protyre for expert advice on run flat tyres

If you’re not sure how to tell if the tyres on your car are run flats or not, head down to your local Protyre garage and speak to one of our expert tyre team. We can provide you with impartial advice, as well as expert fitting solutions.

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About the author

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By Adam White
Adam looks to create engaging and informative content across the website that provides consumers with expert advice on MOTs, servicing, vehicle maintenance and tyre care. As a motorsport enthusiast, Adam enjoys documenting the Protyre Motorsport team’s involvement in major motorsport events across the UK.
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