Dealing with a flat tire can be a stressful experience. One innovation designed to lessen this stress is run flat tires. In this post, we’ll go over what run flat tires are along with some of their key advantages and drawbacks.
What Are Run Flat Tires ?
Run flat tires (RFTs), also known as zero-pressure tires, continue supporting a vehicle after a puncture/loss of air pressure. Sounds impressive, right? They are! But there are a few things you need to know. The most important is this: You can’t mix RFTs with standard tires. Whichever kind of tire you decide to use must be put on all four positions of your vehicle.
The second is this: RFTs can only be used on vehicles that have a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). This system immediately alerts the driver when a tire loses pressure. TPMS is imperative to RFTs because, without it, you may not notice your tire is losing air. Generally, any vehicle that has TPMS can use RFTs, but you should confirm with your manufacturer before switching out your regular tires for RFTs.
But now that you know that, keep reading to learn more about this incredible development in tire technology.
How Do Run Flat Tires Work?
There are two main kinds of run flat tires. The first is the self-supporting system. These tires have reinforced sidewalls that minimize the damage that can come with driving on a flat. Alternatively, auxiliary-support or support ring tires have a ring of hard rubber (or other similar material) within the tire to hold it up when air is lost.
Avoid Being Stuck with a Flat
The primary advantage to RFTs is they eliminate the need to call roadside assistance when you get a flat. So, how long can you drive on a run flat tire? Even with a puncture, RFTs can continue being driven on for about 80 km at a maximum speed of 80 kph, giving you time to get to a service station or find a safe place to pull over and change your tire. The specific duration RFTs can last and under what speed will be listed in the owner’s manual.
When a standard tire gets a serious puncture or blows out, the loss of air can throw the vehicle out of balance, making it difficult to steer. RFTs are built to continue supporting the vehicle in these circumstances, making them much easier to manoeuvre.
Since they’re designed to be more durable, RFTs are more expensive than standard tires to both purchase and replace.
Because of their stiff design, RFTs produce significantly more vibrations and noise than standard tires. If you’re a fan of super smooth rides, this can make the experience less enjoyable.
An alternative to RFTs is airless tires, also known as non-pneumatic tires (NPTs). RFTs can be inflated with an air compressor. If your tire gets punctured, you can fill it with air to help sustain it until you reach a service station. NPTs, on the other hand, don’t require any inflation and are designed to never go flat.
Currently, NPTs are less common than RFTs and are predominantly used on utility vehicles. We’re likely to see new airless tire designs in the near future, however, which may increase their popularity with passenger vehicles.
Finding the Right Fit
Ultimately, the kind of tires you equip your vehicle with is up to you. Be sure to consider all of your options when shopping for vehicles and tires to find the combination that’ll best complement your lifestyle, location, and driving habits. Check out our blog for more posts on picking the right car and accessories for you.