Run flat tires’ is a term that many drivers are not even familiar with. But, they can really come in handy on a dark and stormy night when your tire encounters a nail or glass in the road. Regular tires will simply deflate after being punctured, causing dangerous driving conditions if left unfixed. Run flat tires are specially designed to continue performing as a tire even after being punctured. Using run flat tire technology, you may never have to get out of your car to replace it a flat tire again.
So, how do they work? There are three main technologies that are used in run flat tires. The most popular is called the self supporting tire. However, this is the most inexpensive form of run flat tire. These are designed with extra thick side walls. In the event that the tire is punctured on the bottom, the sidewalls will absorb the weight of the vehicle and allow the driver to continue at a slower pace.
When the self supporting tires are punctured, the vehicle should not go any faster than 55 miles per hour. Driving at a faster speed may cause damage to the side walls that can not be repaired. The downside to using such a tire is that they may cause a bit of a rough ride. The extra mass in the sidewalls can also affect handling and stability.
Another type of run flat tire is called the auxiliary supported tire. These are made with a supporting ring wrapped around the wheel. In a way, they are almost like a tire within a tire. If the outer tire is punctured and deflated, the weight of the vehicle will be supported by the inner ring.
Drivers have found that these tires may actually provide a smoother ride because of the extra support from the inner ring. However, this system of run flat tire tends to be more expensive because of the necessity of a specialized wheel.
The final technology used in run flat tires is called self sealing technology. These tires have an inner lining applied to the inside of the rubber. If a tire of this type is punctured, then the inner lining will immediately seal over the hole.
For instance, if a tire runs over a nail, the nail may puncture through the rubber but simply push against the inner lining. This inner lining will form around the nail and prevent any air from escaping. Regular passenger tires may be fitted with a self sealing inner lining that is often injected through the tire valve.
Run flat tires are not incredibly popular, most likely because of their cost. Additionally, Federal regulations mandate that all vehicles manufactured with run flat tires be equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system.
This only goes to increase the cost of using these specialized tires. However, if you would like to avoid stepping out of your vehicle to replace a flat, then you may want to explore this technology even more.