Run-Flat Tires: How Do They Work?

Posted on: May 31, 2019

Run-flat tires feature advanced designs that reinforce the tire in some way so that you can continue to drive on them and find a repair station in the event of a puncture or leak. Although they can’t be driven on for too long, when driven at a maximum of 50 mph most run-flats give drivers an extra 50-100 miles to safely get to an auto repair or tire shop.

Types of Run-Flat Tires (Support Ring System and Self-Supporting System)

There are currently two main types of run-flat tires; those that use a support ring system and those that use a self-supporting system.

Self-Supporting Run-Flat Tires

These tires feature a reinforced sidewall that is built to withstand the weight of the vehicle should the tire suddenly lose air.

Run-Flat Tires that Use a Support Ring System

These tires utilize a reinforced band of hardened rubber or another substance that can support the weight of the vehicle should a sudden air loss event occur.

The Pros & Cons of Run-Flat Tires

Pros

You Can Keep Driving – With more time to get to a repair shop, you don’t have to worry about getting out of the car to replace a tire yourself. Gone are the days of changing tires in the middle of the rain, cold, or heat. With run-flats, you can safely drive yourself off the busy highway or away from the bad part of town without worrying about further damaging your vehicle.

No Spare Tire – Without having to worry about your tires going flat, you also don’t have to worry about keeping a spare tire. The absence of a spare tire, jack, and lug wrench also means that the overall weight of your vehicle would decrease, which helps improve your fuel economy over a long period of time and frees up your cargo space for other uses.

Stability – Run-flats are designed to support your car no matter how much air has escaped from the tires. Because of this, run-flat tires give drivers more control and stability when steering than traditional tires do in the event of a total air loss scenario.

Cons

A Rougher Ride – The reinforced sidewalls of these tire means that they naturally have less flexibility when going over bumps. This can result in a little bit of a harder ride than usual, but most car manufacturers whose vehicles come with run-flats make sure and fine-tune the suspension to accommodate for this.

Availability – Currently, only Bridgestone offers a full line of run-flat replacement tires. Most other run-flat tires are considered original equipment for new cars as opposed to replacement tires, which can make it challenging to find the size and model you need. Tire shops tend to carry the most popular types of tires for cars already on the road, so if you have a brand new vehicle it can be tough to find a replacement.

Run-Flat Tires from Action Gator Tire

According to Edmunds, run-flat tires come standard on only 12% of all new vehicles. The next time you need new tires, consider investing in run-flats. You’ll be grateful for the extra time they give you to safely get to a place where you can have them replaced. Schedule your service with us today or shop for tires now.