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Run flat tires: pros and cons

You can drive on them while they're flat. Read the pluses and minuses of run flat tires.

Run-flat tires, also known as self supporting tires, are vehicle tires designed to resist the effects of deflation when punctured. Some can be driven on at reduced speeds, up to 55 mph, and for limited distances of up to 100 miles or even 200 miles depending on the type of tire. Run-flat tires could possibly be driven on for up to 50 miles with no air in them, a feature that has some real safety benefits.

But before you go out and buy a set, consider both the advantages and disadvantages.

Run-flat pros

A car's flat tire

If you get a flat, you can likely drive to a service station and have the tire changed rather than having to do so yourself under dangerous roadside conditions. In case of a sudden loss of tire pressure while on the freeway, handling remains near-normal. This can help avoid sudden changes in vehicle stability that can turn a tire failure into a tragic accident.

Run-flat cons

Run-flats typically cost more, weigh more, decrease ride comfort and handling somewhat, and are less readily available. Some consumers contend they also wear faster and less evenly than conventional tires.

On a new vehicle designed for such tires, run-flats are well worth considering, especially since run-flat technology is advancing rapidly.

If you don't have run-flats, check your tire pressure often. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tire industry data show that 85 percent of tire failures are slow leaks, some of which go unnoticed and turn into blowouts. Keeping your tires properly inflated and fixing any slow leaks promptly can dramatically decrease your risk of a blowout or flat, in addition to improving your gas mileage.

For more on tire maintenance, take a look at our 10 Driving Tips for Saving Gas article for more ideas of how to cut down on your driving costs.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

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