What is a Run Flat Tire?

July 5, 2016 Professional Advice

What is a run-flat tire?

A run flat tire has the ability to run without air pressure while allowing the driver to maintain steering control.

Developed for trains, military and specialized armoured vehicles, these tires were intended to allow drivers to escape even after a puncture. Over the past 50 years run flat tires have moved into the mainstream, and are now provided as Original Equipment on an assortment of luxury and high end vehicles. With car manufacturers opting to reduce the need for spare tires, and their associated weight, run flat tires are becoming increasingly common.

Differences in run-flat options

Self-Supporting Tires

A self-supporting run-flat tire has a stiffer sidewall that allows it to sustain the weight of the vehicle if required. These tires do not need to be mounted onto specialized wheels; however, they do require Tire Pressure Monitoring System to ensure that the driver is aware a puncture has occurred. Over the years self-supporting tires have come a long way from the rigid rides of the past. Using a variety of compounds, manufacturers are able to create the feel of smooth all-season tire with the security of the run-flat technology.

Auxiliary Supported Tires

Tires are mounted to wheels equipped with a special support ring that will carry the vehicle load in the event of a puncture. These wheels require special training and equipment to facilitate changeovers.

*Run Flat tires are not intended for extended use after a puncture.