Are Run Flat Tires Right For You?

One of the latest advances in car tire technology has been the advent of “run flat” tires. These are tires which are designed to run for 50 miles or more after receiving a puncture that otherwise would lead to a flat tire. They are constructed from very stiff materials in the sidewall, allowing them to support the weight of the car even with very little weight. Run flat tires now come standard on new car models such as the BMW 3 series, Toyota Sienna and Chevrolet Corvette.

There are some disadvantages to run flat tires. For one thing, the stiff construction that makes them be able to run with little or no air also makes the ride occasionally rough and bumpy. In addition, many car owners have complained that the tires have uneven tire wear, leading to them needing to be replaced more frequently. Some tires need to be replaced every 15,000 miles while typical all-weather tires can last for 40,000 miles or more.

However, the safety advantages of run flat tires easily outweigh the potential drawbacks. A tire blowout can put you and your family at danger, especially if it happens on a freeway or other high-speed roads. Run flat tires will reduce the risk of this along with saving you the hassle of being stuck on the side of the road trying to replace a flat tire.

Choosing the Right Tires

When it comes to purchasing new tires for your car, the choices can seem endless. However, it doesn’t have to be a confusing process if you do a little research and know what you are looking for ahead of time. There are five key components to consider when purchasing new tires. Understanding what they are will give you an advantage when you head to the tire store:

Tire Wear: You need to go beyond the manufacturer’s tire wear ratings to understand the truth behind how long a tire will last, since manufacturers use different standards for testing – making it difficult to compare between different brands. A better idea is to look at the Uniform Tire Quality Grading rating. These independent tests are done under U.S. Department of Transportation-approved guidelines and give you a better baseline for comparing the expected rate of tire wear.

Weather Requirements: People who live in warm weather states probably won’t need to worry about purchasing tires based on winter weather. However, this should be a consideration for drivers in other parts of the country. Wet-weather tires are a must in the Pacific Northwest, while people in the Midwest and Northeast might want to consider all-weather tires for additional traction during the snowy season.

Tire Profile: A lower-profile tire will often give a bumpy and uncomfortable ride. The trade-off is looks and performance versus comfort. For the everyday passenger car, you are better off with a higher-profile tire.

Speed Rating:
This is one element that you can ignore, since even the lowest speed rated tires are adequate for speeds under 100 mph – and it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be going faster than that in your passenger car (at least, legally).

Noise: You want a smooth ride in your car, and different tires make different levels of noise. However, there is no one rating for this, so you’ll have to rely on feedback on tire review websites and salespeople to give you a sense of how noisy a tire is.

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