AA Motoring Car Care: Going the distance on run-flats
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Getting there on run-flat tyres
With so many back roads in our beautiful country, a flat tyre can happen in the most awkward of places and sometimes right in a spot where there’s no safe place to pull over.
Even if you know how to change a tyre, there’s not always the opportunity to put your skills to use to help get you out of that sticky situation.
A number of leading car manufacturers now provide run-flat tyres, which allow a vehicle to continue moving despite a loss of pressure.
Run-flat tyres are developed with thicker, reinforced sidewalls, which means they can be driven for a short time if punctured. They are constructed with a new rubber compound that prevents tyre destruction from excessive flexing. The tyre supports the vehicle’s weight by maintaining some of its shape, even if the tyre has experienced a complete loss of pressure. They can be placed on any rim, but it is recommended that they are fitted to rims designed for these tyres to prevent separation.
All run-flat tyre solutions prevent the punctured tyre from affecting the braking, acceleration and steering of your car. They usually allow you to keep travelling for a further 80km, which should get you to the nearest garage for a repair or at least a safe place to call for AA Roadservice. The exact range depends on variables like your driving speed, load of your vehicle and driving conditions.
Run-flat tyres are becoming more common and it’s clear to see why when you consider their benefits. However, there is a sting in the tail. Tyre manufacturers state that a deflated run-flat tyre will require replacement rather than repair. And don’t think you can replace a run-flat with any standard tyre either. New Zealand Warrant of Fitness requirements mean you will need to change all four tyres to ensure safety standards are met.
If you are thinking about fitting run-flat tyres, your vehicle should have a tyre pressure monitoring system or pressure warning system that alerts the driver should the tyre receive a puncture or there is a sudden drop in pressure.
You can buy these tyres from a variety of manufacturers such as Bridgestone, Continental, Dunlop, Goodyear and Pirelli.
Some models of cars don’t come with a spare tyre, but don’t make the mistake of assuming that it’s because the vehicle is fitted with run-flat tyres. Falling into that trap could leave you broken down at the side of the road with a puncture, regretting your wrong assumption. Avoid the situation by checking what tyres have been fitted with the dealer or previous owner.
If you fear the worst from your tyres, or are not comfortable replacing a tyre on the side of the road, fitting your vehicle with run-flat tyres might just save the day.