Fleet News

Tyres: Run-flat tyre technology could end roadside misery

THE image of a businessman huddled next to his car by the side of a road, struggling to replace a punctured tyre, could become a thing of the past within years.

Manufacturers are increasingly offering the option of new run-flat technology to drivers that offer safety and convenience benefits.

Run-flat tyres are a relatively simple idea.

They work normally as a traditional pneumatic tyre but, using special strengthening for the sidewall, they can still operate after a puncture. Their use is limited to about 50 miles and there are speed restrictions of about 50mph, but it means drivers can complete their journeys without the hassle and risk of attempting to change a tyre at the side of the road. And because a car doesn’t need a spare wheel well, the change creates immense opportunities for car design as the space can be used for something else.

The cost of this convenience can be £50 more than a ‘normal’ tyre.

There are three types of run-flat tyre. Self-sealing contain a gel or liquid in the tyre that will automatically fill any holes in the tyre wall as they are created.

Another option is tyres with an internal strengthening ring that support the sides of the tyre if it deflates. Finally, there are self-supporting tyres which have strengthened sidewalls so they can support the weight of the car when they are deflated. In each case, the tyre can get the driver to a garage or home so it can be replaced in safety.

A tyre pressure monitoring system is also needed, so the driver knows the vehicle has suffered a puncture and must slow down to a safe run-flat speed.

PROS

  • No need for a spare
  • No need to change tyre at side of road
  • Tyre pressure warning system also fitted

    CONS

  • Extra cost
  • Needs training to fit
  • Restrictions on fitting different brands
  • Repairs not recommended
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