Puncture-proof tires – “Run flat”

Puncture-proof tires - “Run flat”

Puncture-proof tires - “Run flat”

Punctures can be annoying. You are in a rush to get to work and suddenly one of your tires is flat . To make matters worse, the spare tire is flat. If you want to avoid this, you should invest in a set of run flat tires. Run Flat tires can be great insurance against punctures, allowing you to get to a convenient place to have your car towed or a tire changed.

Many automakers have phased out the spare tire due to the extra weight it puts on the car. Instead, they are equipped with tire repair kits or run flat tires.

These tires will not leave you lying on the shoulder or force you to remove the spare wheel and change it, avoiding the danger that this or other situations of loss of control of the car entail. However, they are not perfect, as a serious tire failure could put your car out of service without a spare wheel and replacing these tires is costly. Here we are going to tell you what a run flat is and what are the main advantages they offer and their disadvantages.

What Are Run Flat Tires?

In the event of a puncture or other type of tire failure, run flat tires have rigid and self-supporting sidewalls that are capable of supporting the weight of the car, allowing it to continue driving on the road with very little air pressure. . They are also sometimes called zero pressure tires. The run flat tires will allow you to drive the car for the next 80 kilometres at a speed of 80 km / h.

tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) light

Often times, the only indication of a puncture is the car’s tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) warning light on the dashboard. When it lights up, it will tell you that you are driving with low pressure.

Types of Tire Reinforcement Systems:

 Tires with Run Flat properties use two load bearing systems: 

  • Self-supporting . In the event of pressure loss, it has a self-supporting sidewall reinforced by several layers of rubber and a special rope, which supports the entire load and keeps the car moving even after a puncture.
  • Support ring . The ring is a special load-bearing structure inside the tire that keeps it stable and prevents it from sinking in the event of pressure loss. The distance that can be covered with the tires is determined by the manufacturers. This type of tire is usually installed on armored vehicles and requires the installation of special rims.

Self-sealing technology is another way manufacturers are protecting their cars from tire damage. For this, instead of the traditional ones or the run flat, they install self-sealing tires. These do not have the strength of the sidewalls that run flat have to continue circulating without air pressure and instead prevent all the air from leaving the tire beforehand.

They have a sealant inside the tire that seals the holes caused for example by nails. The sealant is activated by removing the nail from the tire. With a self-sealing tire, you can keep driving with little pressure loss after a puncture. Its installation is possible in cars that are not equipped with a tire pressure control system.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Run Flat Tires

Consumers should consider the advantages and disadvantages of run-flat tires when considering purchasing a new car or replacing their current tires. Find out below the positives and negatives of run-flat tires versus traditional tires.

 Advantages of run flat tires 

  • You can drive for miles on flat tires and you won’t have to change a flat tire on the shoulder. The main reason for installing run flat tires is that they offer you the ability to continue driving with a flat tire. Its thicker and more rigid flanks allow it to travel at least 80 km at a speed of 80 km / h without air inside. That is enough to get home, to work or to the workshop for the tire to be changed. In this case, you won’t have to let a flat tire interrupt your schedule. This is very convenient when driving on a dangerous road or when it rains.
  • Stability of the car. When a tire goes flat or blows suddenly, the car loses control and could collide with oncoming cars. With a run flat tire, the car maintains its stability after a puncture and is able to support the full weight of the car for kilometres. As a driver, you will enjoy more control of the car.
  • They can continue to circulate even if they have a puncture in the side. Most punctures are caused by stepping over a nail, screw, or other sharp object that pierces the tread. This can be fixed by installing a patch kit and re-inflating the tire. That’s the idea behind the tire repair kits that come standard on many cars rather than spare wheels.
    However, as the number of cars with low-profile tires increases, an increasing percentage of punctures are due to sidewall blowouts that often cause large rips in the sidewalls and are not able to be fixed by the sealant, for example. what the tire has to be replaced. Run-flat tires can often keep rolling even with a sidewall break. Of course, if the tire damage is too severe for the tire to support the weight of the vehicle, you will have to call roadside assistance.
  • Cars are lighter. These tires save a significant amount of weight by not including the spare wheel, the jack and the cross head wrench. A lighter car is an advantage due to its greater efficiency in fuel consumption.
    Also, considering the small number of replacement wheels that are installed, it is not surprising that automakers are questioning the desirability of including them. Run flat tires are a good way to provide the peace of mind that a compact spare wheel provides without the added weight or taking up space.

    Advantages of run flat tires
  • More space in the trunk. As we have noted, if you own a car that is equipped with these tires, you will enjoy additional space in the trunk.

 Disadvantages of run flat tires 

  • The punctures keep happening . Tires wear out over time and run-flats are no exception. Driving a run-flat tire that is not properly inflated can lead to a puncture. If the puncture occurs on the sidewall, the tire could burst and cause unstable handling. This implies that you will have to buy a new set of tires.
  • Harder driving . The greater stiffness of its sidewalls makes driving harder than that of conventional tires. Run flat tires tend to hit potholes harder than other tires. The latest models have improved your driving experience, but still cannot match the conventional tire in terms of comfort.
    Many vehicles that come with run flat tires from the factory have a suspension adjustment that takes into account the characteristics of the tires to compensate for this stiffness. On the other hand, if you want to install run flat tires on your car, you will have to take it to a mechanic to have the suspension adjusted.
  • Absence of spare tire . The reason manufacturers offer run flat tires is that they do not require a spare tire. However, let’s say you have a complete puncture and you don’t have a spare wheel or tools to change the tire. In the event that the flat tire becomes unusable, you will be forced to tow the car.
  • Limited offer and availability . Given the wide variety of cars on the market and the fact that many have different types and sizes of tires for different trim levels, there are thousands of tires available to choose from. Among them, only a small part has run flat technology.
    Most run flat tire models are designated as original equipment tires for new cars and not as replacement tires. However, manufacturers of the best tire brands are increasingly developing runflat tires, giving consumers more options to choose from within a few years.
  • They are somewhat more expensive . Although not significantly more expensive than comparable modern tires without this technology, many consumers have complained that run-flat tires can be expensive to replace. Partly due to the fact that tires have to be changed two at a time, and since runflat cannot be repaired, drivers often have to change a second, undamaged tire in conjunction with the flat.

Manufacturers and Marking of Run Flat Tires

Currently, most car models have the option of using tires with run flat properties, although only a minority of car manufacturers offer them from the factory. BMW is a notable exception, offering them in various models, including the 5 Series and the 7 Series. Instead of carrying a spare wheel, all you need is a repair kit.

how tpms sensor works

Another aspect to take into account is the need to install a tire pressure monitoring system . Due to its more rigid construction, the sidewalls do not sag if the air pressure is low. Therefore, it is essential to have a tire pressure monitoring system and check your tire pressure frequently, otherwise you will not know when you have a puncture.

Today it is possible to buy aftermarket run flat tires for a wide variety of vehicles. Leading tire manufacturers offer them in their product range. They may be marked differently for identification, such as those listed below:


Abbreviation Meaning Maker
DSST Dunlop Self Support System Dunlop
RFT Run Flat Tires, Run Flat Technology Pirelli, BridgeStone, Firestone, Nokian
RF Run Flat Yokohama, Nokian
ZPS Zero Pressure System Yokohama
SSR Self Supporting RunFlat Continental
CSR Conti Support Ring Continental
ZP Zero Pressure Michelin
ROF RunOnFlat Goodyear
EMT Extended Mobility Tire Goodyear
SSS Self-Supporting Structure BF Goodrich
XRP eXtended Runflat Performance Kumho
TRF Toyo Run Flat Toyo



Run Flat tires have been gaining popularity in recent years. Its most remarkable feature is the reinforcement of its sidewalls and one of its greatest advantages is that you will be able to continue driving even after having suffered a puncture. The standard minimum distance for most of them of 80 km, allowing you to get to a safe and convenient place for them to tow your car or change the tire

If you buy a car equipped with run flat tires, you will not have a spare wheel or jack. This makes the car lighter and more space available. However, run flat tires can be more expensive to replace than regular tires, and the possibility of a puncture remains, especially if the tires are worn.

As long as the stiffness of the ride doesn’t bother you, it’s not a bad idea to consider using runflat tires. The key is finding the right tire in the right size for your car and keeping it at the right pressure level for long life, handling and comfort.


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