What Are Run Flat Tires? Get the Facts

What Are Run Flat Tires? Get the Facts

24th Mar 2023

Getting a flat tire is more than just a nuisance; it's a safety hazard. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), flat tires and "blowouts" are responsible for over 400 deaths and 10,000 nonfatal injuries each year in the United States. You may be driving down the highway, only for one of your vehicle's tires to go flat. The loss of air pressure in the compromised tire can affect your ability to steer and control your vehicle. There are run flat tires, however, that can minimize the risk of an accident.

Overview of Run Flat Tires

Run flat tires are pneumatic tires that are designed to continue to drive after a loss of air pressure. Contrary to common belief, they still contain air -- and run flat tires are still pressurized. The difference is that you can continue to drive on run flat tires for a short period after they've been compromised. If a traditional tire has been compromised, in comparison, you'll need to immediately pull your vehicle over and change it.

How Run Flat Tires Work

Also known as zero-pressure tires, run flat tires work by featuring a honeycomb-like design that will continue to support the vehicle on which they are used even after a loss of air pressure. Tires, of course, go flat by losing air pressure. Running over a nail may puncture the tread, resulting in a loss of air pressure. Both traditional and run flat tires can lose air pressure from punctures such as this. But you can continue to drive for a short period on run flat tires after they've been punctured.

When punctured, run flat tires will continue to support your vehicle. Other types of tires will fail to support your vehicle after a loss of air pressure. They will begin to quickly deflate, at which point the weight of your vehicle will be placed on the rim. This can damage your vehicle's rim as well as its suspension components. Run flat tires feature a reinforced sidewall, however, that allows them to support your vehicle even after a loss of air pressure.

Benefits of Run Flat Tires

You might be wondering what benefits run flat tires offer. If you get a flat tire, you can continue driving for a short period. You can drive on a punctured run flat tire indefinitely. Nonetheless, run flat tires will support the weight of your vehicle for up to 50 miles on average, thus allowing you to find a tire shop to get it fixed or replaced.

Run flat tires are also more stable during blowouts. A blowout involves the sudden loss of air pressure. When a blowout occurs with a traditional tire, you may lose control of your vehicle, which can lead to an accident. Run flat tires are more stable during blowouts. They can still lose air pressure, but you'll have an easier time controlling your vehicle if a blowout occurs with a run flat tire.