What is a run flat tire?

A run-flat tire is either a pneumatic vehicle tire specifically designed to resist the negative effects of deflation when punctured or the term may also refer to a standard wheel and tire that has a run-flat device affixed, see ‘auxiliary-supported’ below. This enables the vehicle to continue to be driven (at reduced speeds, typically under 55 mph) for limited distances (up to 10 mi depending on the tire/device).

A tire puncture for regular people is unfortunate, however a flat tire in a protective services scenario one of the most inopportune circumstances we could face while driving a client. Roadside assistance works, but waiting an hour with your principal in the car is not the answer. Similarly, changing a spare if also not ideal given those circumstances.  We do have several methods of plugging a tire quickly, which we discussed in another article, linked below:

How to plug a tire: Flat tire repair techniques

Run-flat tires are meant to support the vehicle enough to maintain operable speeds in order to get out of the area or to a repair facility. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, right? Well everything comes with a trade-off, and we will discuss the pros/cons below.

There are three major run fat tire technologies currently in use:

Self-Supporting Tire

AKA Zero-pressure tires, are the most common technology and this is simply where the tire’s sidewalls are reinforced to support the vehicle when deflated.

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(featured image courtesy of edmunds.com)