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The Pros and Cons of Run-Flat Tires | Edmunds.com

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,112
edited October 2017 in Editorial
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The Pros and Cons of Run-Flat Tires | Edmunds.com

Run-flat, self-supporting, zero-pressure, flat, blowout, tire, PAX

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Comments

  • kawzx7kawzx7 Posts: 1

    Runflats are pretty awesome. Just put my second set in. Continental makes the best runflat as far as I'm concerned.

  • Run flats bring piece of mind as long as you don't travel more than 50 miles from a tire shop that carries your tire size.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    when you read the pros and cons in this article, it would make you wonder what percentage of people would choose to renew their run-flats once they wear out and why.

    For me, the run flat tire is the answer to the question that nobody asked.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    I really think Honda got sold a bill of goods in 2005 when they started putting Michelin PAX run flats on their Touring Odysseys. All stores had to spend something like 5000.00 to buy a special machine that could change them.

    Customers complained that they wore out quickly and they were VERY expensive to replace since they really had no competition.

    I think you could drive 150 miles on a "flat". That would be of no value if you were in the middle of Montana with the nearest Honda Dealer 200 miles from you. Very few tire stores would buy the necessary equipment or stock these tires.

    I could be dead wrong but I think Honda thought they would be the leader in a new technology that would be accepted and become the wave of the future.

    They were dead wrong in this thinking. Most Tourings have been converted to conventional wheels and tires I would think by now.

    I agree. an answer to a question nobody asked.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    There are rumors of a new tire technology which is basically a solid tire that is somehow spring ?? loaded? Maybe that'll work.

    But look, if you run on a run flat long enough, you're going to run it anyway and it'll cost 2X as much as the regular tire you ruined by running it to the shoulder of the road. If you HAVE to get off the road, you can run on the dang rim if you have to get 50 feet one way or the other.

    As soon as my run flats got worn out (all too quickly I might add) I ditched 'em. Blow outs? flats? Not in the last 5 years.

    I sorta group run flats along with under-your-seat hammers to break the glass in case your car is submerged. Only they cost $800 instead of $15.

  • zackaizackai Posts: 12
    I had my front tire replaced recently. The problem was that it got a screw in it. I didn't notice much abnormal things except the car complains that tire air pressure is low (not much noticeable externally) twice within two months (during then I still drove 80 miles/h on highway), which I feel quite impressive. But also, I was told that they couldn't patch a run-flat tire and alway need a replacement in such a case.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,277
    That is correct, run flat tires cannot be repaired. It is impossible to be certain whether or not the tire has sustained internal damage while it was being driven on under inflated. Since the shop would be legally responsible for the drivers safety if they repair the tire the only logical choice is to replace the tire.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Bridgestone says you can repair their run flats under certain conditions but they don't necessarily recommend it (that's the lawyers talking). "Certain conditions" mean puncture of less than 6mm for both side-reinforced type and support-ring type Run-Flat Technology tires, plus minimal damage to the support ring in case of the latter. How you determine that is a big question.

    However, you don't even need a puncture to scrap a run-flat tire. If you drive on one in an underinflated or no inflation condition, even IF driven within their speed and distance limitations, this can permanently damage their internal structure, surrendering strength and durability.

    Seems to me for the price of a tow truck or AAA card, you can tow your car with regular tires to a repair shop and fix that tire for less money than replacing a run-flat after having run on it to get to a repair shop.

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 152,715
    The problem with most models that come with run-flat models, standard... is there is no place to put a spare tire. So, even if you switch to normal tires, you don't have a spare. You can get towed wherever you want, and sit and wait for them to send in that 255/35-18 tire you need.. (whether you have runflats or not)

    So, my issue isn't with the cost.. it's the lack of a spare.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    edited November 2014
    I've been running 5 years without a spare. The one time I had picked up a large screw in those 50,000 miles, I just filled the tire with the electric air pump and motored 3 miles to the tire shop.

    For that slight inconvenience I saved 50,000 miles of hard riding, noisy tires---oh, wait, my RFTs wore out in 20,000 miles, I forgot.

    It's my opinion that RFTs were developed solely to allow auto engineers to create more space without a spare tire; so in essence, the RFT is sold to save THEM money, and cost you more in operating costs, all for the dubious immunization to disaster which never seems to happen to 99% of the people who run RFTs. The only disaster is paying for new ones.

    Every flat tire with an RFT is a $200 flat.

    Sure if I were commuting in Iraq I might like them.
  • zackaizackai Posts: 12
    kyfdx said:

    The problem with most models that come with run-flat models, standard... is there is no place to put a spare tire. So, even if you switch to normal tires, you don't have a spare. You can get towed wherever you want, and sit and wait for them to send in that 255/35-18 tire you need.. (whether you have runflats or not)

    So, my issue isn't with the cost.. it's the lack of a spare.

    I remember that in the old days most cars had a spare tire even for those with small trunk. I guess back in those days there weren't so many tow trucks, nor repair shops. My recent search for old Japanese performance car also notice that. Some still come with (stock or not) a spare tire in the tiny trunk.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited November 2014
    I've had two flats since June on my van. It has a spare hanging underneath and I had to use it for one of the flats. Spotted the other one in time to go 8 miles into a town (thank you TPMS). Sure is nice having a spare on the gravel backroads we like to cruise, where cell coverage is spotty, much less mechanics.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well that's an extreme situation. Not too many BMWs on gravel backroads in the desert. And for those few intrepid luxury car drivers, I'd recommend getting a BMW spare tire kit. If you can avoid running flat for very long on your "run flats" you can save yourself the price of the spare tire kit the first time you remove the flat-run-flat before ruining it completely.

    This RFT technology reminds me of this new fighter plane the Germans developed in WW II. It was so slow and clumsy however, that they had to send a real fighter plane to protect each "new" fighter plane they sent up.


  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Yeah, but my first flat happened 5 minutes after picking up a nail in a McDonalds parking lot. The tire went down so fast the TPMS didn't help. I should have just called for a tow on that one since I was still near the small town and the tow probably would have been fast. Most places you have to cool your heels for an hour or more waiting for the tow truck. I can change a flat in 15 minutes.
  • 3 BMWs (over several years) with runflats and the headaches continue! Tread wears 3x faster than a regular tire and you'll need to align your tires 3x more often too. NEVER AGAIN! THEY are AWFUL! It's a gimmick from auto makers to reduce their out-the-door cost of their product and help boost fuel efficiency ratings by lightning the weight of the vehicle (no spare tire). I am furious at myself for allowing a salesman to convince me "Oh, they've really improved over the past few years, you'll get around 40K miles out of them now..." I am now replacing my two front runflats on my 2015 X3 after only 18K miles!!!!!! (NO, I am NOT putting runflats back on) Everyone has roadside assistance coverage now, if I get a flat, I will call them and be happy to wait for their arrival because I know I can patch a regular tire! ~~~DO NOT PUT RUNFLATS ON YOUR CAR~~~
  • I've been waiting for today for 3 ½ years: the day I could justify replacing my Mini's run flats with conventional tires. The original set finally wore to the point they had to be replaced anyway (at 32K miles, BTW).

    Had 2 flats on the run flats in the first 15K miles, the first one the first week I owned the MIni. Expensive to replace, no fixing them.

    The Mini's ride with the run flats was so hard, so noisy, it often felt like driving a car without the benefit of shock absorbers. The road noise was deafening on older sections of freeway. If I drove over a dime, I could tell you if it was heads or tails.

    For $530, Costco gave me four new conventional Bridgestone tires today. The difference in the ride quality is amazing, and t's about 50% quieter inside now.

    I expected the change would be noticeable, but if I had known it would be this huge, I would have chucked the run flats and shelled out for conventional tires years ago.

    I have been thinking of purchasing a BMW next, but they all come with run flats. My first question to the dealer will be whether they can sell me a new BMW with non-run flat tires. If they say no, I'll walk out.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    edited January 2016
    I am SO done with runflats.
  • carboy21carboy21 Posts: 760
    Run flats are a costly gimmick . And an excuse to do away with a spare tire .
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    edited February 2016
    Exactly--it is based on compensating for design features, not on helping the driver. The run-flat gimmick (basically "fear marketing") has been going on for the last 100 years in the auto industry and after a century of the public saying "please don't" you'd think they'd give it up.

    You know who needs run-flat tires? An army in combat in the Sahara or Siberia, not me in my Mini Cooper.

  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Or a soccer mom heading home after a late game at 11 pm with a minivan full of kids on the freeway.

    How's that for striking fear into the heart of a family consumer?
  • carboy21carboy21 Posts: 760
    edited February 2016
    stever said:

    Or a soccer mom heading home after a late game at 11 pm with a minivan full of kids on the freeway.

    How's that for striking fear into the heart of a family consumer?

    Then she can opt for the run flats.
    I don't want the needs of a soccer mom forced upon me or thousands of other car buyers.
    Run flat tires should be an option and not by default.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I'm not sure I'd even trust my kid with someone who doesn't know how to deal with a flat tire. Call AAA. Call 911. Call a friend. Use a sealant. 
     Get out and change the tire. Or order run flats as an option if you're that helpless.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited February 2016
    Having had to change a tire on an Interstate within the last few years, it's not real fun or safe. I was impressed by the kindly truckers - they obviously had radioed each other and they all had moved well over a good half mile or more before approaching my Subie.

    AAA takes forever - better just to find your own tow and call 'em direct. Fix-a-flat won't help a ruined tire. Plenty of cars don't have any sort of spare tire. 911 will just give you a list of towing companies you can call.
  • carboy21carboy21 Posts: 760
    edited February 2016
    Statistically speaking , the odds of a soccer mom driving alone at 11 pm in a minivan with a bunch of kids and getting a flat , are negligible. She is a stupid fool to drive alone without a male escort if it is a late game. She shouldn't be risking the safety of other's kids. An she should not be driving on old or bald tires . : B)
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Okay, 4 pm in rush hour on the same Interstate.

    I know lots of guys who wouldn't know what to do with a four-way. And I know plenty of women who can change a flat (like my wife).

    What do old or bald tires have to do with getting flats? Nails aren't particular about such things.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well first off, to justify buying run-flat tires, you'd have to calculate the odds of you having a flat on a freeway, then the odds of AAA "taking forever", then the odds of it being night time on a deserted road, then the odds of being a woman all alone with a busload of kids at midnight.

    Actually the odds are probably better of having your tire being bitten by a shark on the interstate. So logically you'd carry shark repellent and a knife and a spare tire. B)
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    All I know is that some people never get flats and I've had three just in the last 18 months on our newest van. Including one where the van was loaded to the gills.

    Bring on the Tweel. :D
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well be thankful you didn't have run flats, because you'd be out of pocket for 4 new ones.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited February 2016
    One shop wouldn't fix one recent flat, said the nail was too close to the edge of the tread. But they didn't have the right size in stock so they sent me to another shop in town. That shop was okay with fixing the tire. That's getting more rare.

    Had the same issue on our '99 trip to Newfoundland - ruined tire, had to buy one and couldn't find a match. Wound up limping in to St. John's for a right sized one, and used the oddball we purchased for a spare for several years. So that flat cost me two new tires (my wife insisted we have a spare). Lucked out on the ruined tire on our second trip to Newfoundland in 2011 and found a size match at a shop near St. Anthony.

    I've been ruining tires since forever and have had issues finding a replacement before. Just like run-flat owners experience.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Oh, another happy run-flat customer posted this dealer review yesterday. Enjoy. :)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Self re-inflating? Now THAT would be something!
  • carboy21carboy21 Posts: 760
    How about air-less tires. No air , no flat. Just a solid chunk of rubber.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    carboy21 said:
    How about air-less tires. No air , no flat. Just a solid chunk of rubber.
    That's what very early cars used. Bone jarring to say the least.
  • berriberri Posts: 10,166
    Might just be chance, but over the years I've found myself more prone to flats with those cheap quality OEM tires I've had than more expensive Michelin's I've replaced them with.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited February 2016
    I'm the outlier - my last three flats have been on the "new" van that has Michelin's on it.

    My luck, a solid rubber tire would have a blow-out. Sure love those one lane gravel roads though....
  • berriberri Posts: 10,166
    Maybe you better get yourself a transit card Stever B)
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited February 2016
    Back in the day I got real good at fixing my sew-ups too. Now I drill out the rims and stick Schrader tubes in 'em.
  • A friend of mine bought a BMW SUV about two and a half years ago and has had to replace five tires. Why, because they are sensitive to everything. If you plan on buying a car with run flats, buy the tire insurance. I was thinking MINI next, but if they come with run flats, absolutely not
  • Run Flat Dunlop tires have characteristic catastrophic side wall blowout which can impact steering control. I have had two failures which Goodyear says are impact????????? Sidewall blowout makes Run Flat a LOL phrase. These tires should be recalled. They were on my 2009 Toyota Sienna AWD.
  • lance666lance666 Posts: 1
    edited October 2017
    I own a 2008 car, so I'm just now investigating "run-flat" tires. It seems mostly designed for those who don't know how or can't bear changing a flat in the rain. Most of the cons can be summarized as "EXPENSIVE". You rich folks go for it. We poorer folks will stick with spare tire. I can get a spare repaired and even buy a new tire under $60.
  • I have run flats on my Mercedes ML, they are the gawd awfulest tires I've ever had. It's like driving on the wheels...... looking at Michelin Premiers, I want a nice ride.
  • BadBMWBadBMW Posts: 1
    My wife and I purchased a bmw 550i with run flats. In 6 years we have gone through 13 tires on this car. These tires are garbage. We cannot take the car more then 20 miles from home out of fear we will get a flat. We have had the vehicle on a flatbed after 4 of the flats as it was unsafe to drive (smoke, slow speed, people honking and cursing us as they passed us). Trying to take side roads instead of main roads to avoid traffic. I have talked at least 5 or 6 people out of buying/looking at bmw vehicles after explaining the dangers of run flats. These tires are unsafe, dangerous and a pain in the butt. The ride is worse, fuel economy is worse, price is higher for these tires, getting a flat fixed goes from putting on the spare and getting the flat fixed to having to purchase yet another tire and having to hope that you can get a new tire. We have lost the use of our car for as long as 4 days waiting for a new tire. What a joke! We have owned 3 bmw vehicles bet we are never going to own another!
  • HctimHctim Posts: 1
    Own a 2018 Mercedes GLC with run flats. With 26,000 miles and half the tread left and no flats will be replacing with run flats.Best invention since the Wheel.
  • 2018 Mercedes GLC 300 with run flat tires. At dealer to address a non-tire related issue and am told that my initial set of run flat tires already need to be replaced. Only 18K miles. Extremely disappointed. Will definitely include cost of tires in projected total cost of ownership at next purchase.
  • Does anyone have experience with BMW 5 series car, changing from run flats to non-run flats. Besides buying another wheel, spare and jack, any problems with brakes, suspension? Thanks.
  • MikePotter1024MikePotter1024 SLC, UT, USAPosts: 3
    Looking at a new Lexus UX 250h only has run flats. Is giving me pause. I wouldn't mind carrying a full size spare when I head up in to the Rockies if could get a jack and a tire iron. I have a full size spare in my Subaru Forester with a 5 tire rotation. Hate the donut spares and disabling AWD. Full size fits in the tire storage...Think I will hate the run flats worse. I have changed the spare in 0F with a good windchill. In the winter I carry full complement of emergency gear including parka, snowpants, and Sorrels here in the Rockies. So I was fine being outside in that weather.
  • MikePotter1024MikePotter1024 SLC, UT, USAPosts: 3
    edited October 2019
    So is the final solution for long trips to carry two runflat spares as luggage? At least any garage can change a tire. Seems to defeat the purpose of saving weight carrying 2 spares mounted on rims. Actually maybe can get by with one at first if rotate one spare in a 5 tire rotation. That way dont need to buy 2 the first time. After that though need a pair. Thoughts?
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 152,715

    So is the final solution for long trips to carry two runflat spares as luggage? At least any garage can change a tire. Seems to defeat the purpose of saving weight carrying 2 spares mounted on rims. Actually maybe can get by with one at first if rotate one spare in a 5 tire rotation. That way dont need to buy 2 the first time. After that though need a pair. Thoughts?

    My wife has had run-flats on vehicles for the last 6 years. We just drive it, and don't worry about it.

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  • MikePotter1024MikePotter1024 SLC, UT, USAPosts: 3
    Well despite the Lexus press release saying 100 mile range, looks like the UX 250h is stuck with 50. Maybe can negotiate to get a good deal on new rim and tire for 5 tire rotation as part of purchase. Press release: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-compact-crossover-for-a-refined-luxury-driver-the-all-new-2019-lexus-ux-300710897.html
  • Rhane_MannRhane_Mann USAPosts: 1
    I just recently dumped my second set of run flats - they lasted about 26,000 miles. The factory set was about the same. Instead I bought nice Michelins, a 12V DV pump, and a can of Fix-A-Flat. The ride is better and I'll probably get 40,000-50,000 out of them. Run flats are a scam.
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