Whether you’re on a long road trip with your family or a short but congested commute to work, one of the most stressful things you can deal with is a flat tire. If you’ve never dealt with the need to pull over and change a tire on the side of the road, then as the old saying goes, “it’s not a matter of if but when” it will happen to you. That is unless your car is equipped with run-flat tires. 

Run-flat tires come standard on many new vehicles, so there’s a whole generation of people who will never have to struggle with roadside tire changes or calling a tow truck for roadside assistance—at least not for a typical flat tire. Run-flats might sound like the perfect tire for all driving situations, but as with any type of tire, they have benefits and drawbacks.

Benefits of Run-flat Tires

The most obvious benefit of run-flat tires is that you won’t be left stranded if you suffer a tire puncture that would cause a loss of air pressure in your tires. Here’s a list of some of the most common benefits of having run-flat, or self-supporting, tires:

  • Peace of mind: You won’t have to worry about changing a tire on the side of the road or in the middle of the night. You’ll also never have to worry about getting dirt and grease all over you or your nice clothes if you’re on the way to work or a special occasion. Plus, you won’t have to sit around waiting for roadside assistance.
  • Lighter vehicle weight: As automotive technology advances, vehicle weights have increased, but that’s been curbed by the use of lightweight materials to help extend fuel mileage. The weight savings from not having a spare tire, jack, and associated tools can be substantial and helps with fuel economy as well as performance and driving dynamics.
  • More space: Along with less weight from no spare tire, there are space-saving benefits, too. All that room saved in your trunk opens up more storage space for groceries, road trips, or whatever else you need to haul around.
  • Safety: Run-flat tires are safer than standard tires. You won’t have to change a tire on the side of a busy road since you can drive far enough or long enough to get it repaired* or replaced. Plus, as an added level of safety, they’re much safer to drive on when deflated because of the self-supporting nature of run-flat tires. They maintain their shape so you won’t experience unexpected changes in handling when the tire deflates.
  • Growing availability: Many auto manufacturers include run-flat tires as original equipment, and some like BMW provide run-flat tires on most of their models, so there’s an ever-growing selection of brands and sizes. There are also run-flat options for pre-owned and older vehicles that didn’t come with run-flats originally; those options are limited but expanding.


Drawbacks of Run-flat Tires

No good thing comes without a price, and that’s true here. Run-flat tires do have a few drawbacks, but drivers tend to think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Here’s a list of the drawbacks so you can make an educated choice for your next set of tires:

  • More expensive: As the category grows, prices are coming down a bit, but run-flat tires are still generally more expensive than their standard counterparts. If one does go flat and isn’t driven on excessively, some tire manufacturers do allow repairs, but if driven on for the full duration of allowable mileage when flat, the tire will need to be replaced in most cases. 
  • Limited options: If your car came with run-flat tires, then there should be a good number of replacement options, but for those looking to upsize or who have standard tires and want to upgrade to run-flats, there are limited options. Expect the choices in this tire category to keep growing, however.
  • Stiffer ride: Added stiffness is simply the nature of a run-flat tire’s construction. The self-supporting effect in run-flat tires is because of either reinforced sidewalls or other structural support systems. Regardless of the support method, that means the tires are stiffer and can result in a slightly harsher ride, although most auto manufacturers tune the suspensions to accommodate the added tire stiffness. Plus, tire makers are constantly striving to create run-flat tires that ride as well as standard touring tires, and there are options that are comparable to good all-season tires.
  • Not indestructible: Just because they’re designed to be driven on even with zero air pressure doesn’t mean you won’t ever have to call roadside assistance. In the event of a full tire blowout from sidewall damage, run-flat tires will need to be replaced immediately and won’t likely be capable of the same distance as a tire that simply loses pressure due to a puncture or other damage.
  • Performance: Although a stiff sidewall might sound good for high-performance driving, most run-flat tires are designed around all-season performance capabilities. There are high-performance run-flat tires available; however, the non-run-flat versions will still perform better, partially because of the weight of run-flats. If you live in an area where you’re concerned about winter performance, most options are in the all-season category, and if you get substantial snow in your area, there are winter run-flat tires available.
  • Visible damage: Unlike standard tires that look considerably different when they’re even slightly low on air, run-flat tires can be very difficult to check visually. The self-supporting nature of the tires makes them look close to normal even with no air pressure, so if your vehicle isn’t equipped with TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system), then you’ll want to have a good tire pressure gauge, as it’s still recommended to check your tire pressures regularly.

As with other tire options, there are pros and cons to run-flat tires. For most drivers, the benefits will easily outweigh the drawbacks, and as run-flat tire technology advances, the negative aspects will all but disappear. 

If you’re looking for the best replacement run-flat tires or thinking of making the switch to run-flats in Kansas City or looking to learn more about run-flats in Dallas, contact Zohr online or call/text us at 816-800-9175 and we’ll be happy to help you choose the best run-flat tires for your vehicle. Plus, we’ll deliver them directly to you and install them at your home or office.

 *Many self-supporting run-flat tires can be repaired if minor damage is incurred, but check with the tire manufacturer or contact Zohr with questions about your specific tires.

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