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Why I Will Always Buy Run Flat Tires

April 07, 2016
by Bart Anderson, Vice President of Marketing and Chief Vision Officer
 

My Mini Cooper S was having a great time scooting around I-465 in Indianapolis. She was taking me home from a few errands and was tracking a smooth line around some slower-moving vehicles.

Without warning I heard a loud thump under the front tire, then quickly another thump from the back. The low tire warning light fired up from its position on the dashboard and I lifted off the throttle in search of a path to the emergency lane. Interestingly, the Mini held its course and followed the commands from the steering wheel almost as if nothing was wrong.

My roadside inspection revealed nothing unusual, but those warning lights don’t lie. Something was wrong. I just didn’t know yet how bad it was. There was some happiness in that moment as I stood on the side of the road because my Mini Cooper S, like a growing number of other cars, rolls on run flat tires. These tires are designed with stiff sidewalls and can support the weight of the car with zero air pressure. As a result, I got back in the car and continued home despite the glare of the low tire warning light.

Once in my garage I removed one of the tires and saw something incredible on the inside of the wheel - a section of the wheel was gone!

Run Flat Tire

Imagine had this chunk of alloy gone missing while riding along on regular tires. The blowout at interstate speeds could have spelled disaster for my Mini and for me.

Sure there are downsides to run flat tires: they cost a lot more and have a bit stiffer ride than normal tires. But are they worth it? Obviously I wasn’t inconvenienced by this flat tire. I didn’t get my hands dirty. I didn’t even have to unload the car to get to the jack. I wasn’t late for supper. But those aren’t the reasons I will always buy run flat tires. Still being around to write about it is reason enough.

Filed under: auto, car, safety, tips, tires
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