Manufacturers have been keen to introduce run-flat systems for many years – in that way they avoid paying for a spare tyre for cars – but fleets have been slow to adopt them. Research last year found that take-up of run-flats on new cars where they are offered as an option is ‘negligible’ and it was only when supplied as standard fit that drivers used them.
This wasn’t helped by warnings that fleet tyre costs could rise by at least 25% as car manufacturers fit run-flats as standard. At the Association of Car Fleet Operators Midlands regional meeting, managers voiced both support and concern.
One said: ‘This will throw a lot of cost at the fleet operator, especially as the tyres can’t be repaired. The systems aren’t foolproof either. I have one driver whose low pressure warning light comes on every time he hits a pothole.
‘It happened five times in as many weeks and he ignores it now.’ Another said: ‘It is a safety issue. When someone has broken down at night, this will get the drive home.’