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Run-Flat Tires

Run-Flat Tires

Run-Flat Tires

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Filed under: Opinion, European Car Testing

 Like everything else in the world, Run-Flat tires have both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is implied in the name: if you get a tire puncture the vehicle will remain stable giving you the time you need to safety get to the side of the road. The disadvantages are a rough ride, limited driving range before total tire failure, and the tire's high cost. The loud and jarring ride I can deal with, the cost is whatever, but it is the limited range that poses the greatest problem for me.

Over the weekend, a fellow ec co-worker and I took a long trip out to the middle of BFE (aka no-mans-land) to do a little canyon carving. About ½ way through the journey, his Audi A5 front tire had a total blowout from a 3 inch long slice completely through the rubber. This occurred on a on a two-lane road, with a mountain on one side and an overhang on the other. Lucky for him, Audi equips the A5with a spare tire and he was able to make the 200+ mile journey back to civilization. This got me thinking, the BMW 335d I was driving was equipped with run-flat tires that are good for only 50 miles after a puncture. So if I had the same problem I would have been stranded 150 miles from home. Sure I could have had the vehicle towed but at what expense? The closest city that I could have even possible got a tire was 80 miles away and since it was Saturday I would have been stranded there until Monday. Plus what if 50 miles would not have gotten me off the mountain road and I had to wait there for a tow?

I get the whole run-flat concept, it is a great safety feature, but BMW eliminating the spare tire just to save a little weight and manufacturing cost is just ridiculous. After this weekend, I feel that if I or my girlfriend decide to take a trip further that 50 miles from my house I would have to come up with a contingency plan in case of tire failure. Mental note: Get a AAA Premier membership with a 200 mile tow option. It would be great it BMW did offer a spare tire option for consumers who don’t mind adding a few pounds or spending a few bucks to save themselves a huge headache


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