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What are run-flat tyres?

Run-flat tyres can be incredibly useful in the event of a puncture but what exactly are they and are they worth paying a little more for? We’ve got all the information for you right here…

For more information, read our dedicated guides to winter tyres or head over to our new car deals page to see how much carwow can help you save on your next car.

What are run-flat tyres?

Run-flat tyres basically do what the name suggests. In the event of a puncture, a run-flat tyre will allow you to continue driving for a limited time. Their strong sidewalls allow them to stay partially rigid – even if a dirty great nail has pushed its way through the rubber surface – and support the weight of a car at low speeds.

Run-flat tyres should be seen as a last resort – they’ll help you get to a garage without calling for roadside assistance but should not be used for extended periods or at high speeds. Most manufacturers advise that you travel no more than 50 miles after suffering a puncture.

The effects of punctures in run-flat tyres are often much more subtle than in conventional tyres. As a result, many cars come fitted with a tyre pressure monitoring system to alert the driver if a sudden drop in air pressure is detected.

What are the pros and cons of run-flat tyres?

A clear positive for run-flat tyres is the lifeline they offer for those who pick up a puncture. They give you a chance to drive to a safer place and not be stranded by the roadside. Run-flat tyres will often offer you more control should you pick up a puncture at motorway speeds, too.

Unfortunately, this extra security comes at a price – some run flats can cost twice as much as a similar sized conventional tyre. They also weigh more due to their reinforced sidewalls which can affect a car’s handling ride quality. For this reason, BMW chooses not to fit them as standard to its high-performance M cars.

Run-flat tyres rely on their strong sidewalls to help the keep their shape in the event of a puncture – as a result, they’ll be seriously weakened by large slashes and cuts.

Who makes run-flat tyres?

Most major tyre manufacturers produce run-flat tyres – prices will vary depending which brand you pick and the tyre dimensions you’re after. Some car manufacturers, including BMW and Mini, even fit them to many of their cars as standard. Others may offer them as an optional extra.

How much do run-flat tyres cost?

In general, run-flat tyres will usually carry a noticeable premium over traditional alternatives but the amount you’ll pay can vary greatly. For example, run-flat tyres for a BMW 3 Series could cost in the region of £100 more than a conventional tyre while those for a modest Vauxhall Corsa could set you back from just £45 each.

Are run-flat tyres worth it?

Long-distance drivers and those who regularly travel on poorly maintained roads stand to gain the most from a set of run-flat tyres. They could prevent you from getting stranded by the roadside and help you cover the last few miles to get home.

If you only use a car for travelling short distances, or your car comes equipped with a spare tyre, you may be better off with a set of traditional alternatives. Choosing standard tyres could save you a noticeable amount of money over the car’s lifetime, too.

Save money on your next car

Head over to our new car deals page to see how much carwow can help you save on your next car or use our PCP calculator to get a better idea how much it could cost per month. Not sure what to buy? Head over to our car chooser tool to narrow down your search.

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