Pros and Cons of Run-Flat Tires

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tire sidewall difference between standard car tires and run-flat tiresRun flat tires (RFT) have been rising in popularity in the last few years and are now the preferred choice among many vehicle owners.

But what do they bring to the table and are they really worth it?

Here is a rundown of the pros and cons of run-flat tires.

Advantages and disadvantages of run-flat tires

First up are the advantages:

Pros of run-flat tires

Here are some of the reasons behind the soaring sales of the best run flat tires.

(i) More peace of mind

Perhaps you are aware of this: they won’t fail you in the middle of a lonely road (you can at least drive on until you arrive at a safer location to change the tire).

This is obviously their single biggest advantage and it explains why some vehicle manufacturers have made them a standard in their latest cars.

(ii) Safer in puncture situations

The other major winner in run-flat tires such as Pirelli run flat tires is their enhanced stability when the tire blows out.

A sudden deflation in conventional tires can cause you to lose control because of the inevitable tread destabilization and I’m sure you have heard of accidents caused by tire blowouts.

In contrast, run flats are designed to better support your vehicle’s weight even in situations where they contain no air and they may significantly reduce your risk of crashing.

a tire cut-away view showing the reinforced sidewall of a run flat car tire

Cons of run-flat tires

And now to some of their glaring shortcomings:

(i) Pricey

Nearly a century after their invention (they first appeared on the scene in the 1930’s), the technology used to make these tires is still expensive.

This cost is transferred to you in the form of the purchase price, labor, and taxes.

They are additionally more difficult to fix and you might need to spend on a new tire with each puncture.

(ii) They’re not foolproof

Incidents of run-flat tires bursting have been reported in various news outlets now and then.

This compounds your woes, particularly when in far-flung small towns since most of the time you won’t be carrying a spare tire.

(iii) Faster tread wear

Some studies have shown that run-flat tires offer less mileage than standard tires.

One of the contributors to this is the utilization of softer treads to survive the harder rides (when running ‘flat’).

(iv) Uncomfortable road noise

Another complaint often raised against run-flat tires is their tendency to be louder- the thicker, stiff sidewalls are to blame for this yet they’re so essential for their support when deflated. Run-flat tires cannot be counted among the best tires for quiet ride and their gas mileage is lower.

(v) Tough to tell if you’re running low on air

Thanks once again to the more rigid sidewalls, you might struggle to tell when the air pressure has fallen below the optimal rating (or when it’s completely flat).

This will require that you fix a tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS) in your car (another cost).

Summary

Run-flat tires have their army of supporters as well as critics and you can now see why.

Whether they’re worth it is mainly a question of your needs and driving routine.

Overall, you should carefully weigh the above pros and cons of run-flat tires versus those of regular tires before making a decision.

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