Run-flat Hype Runs Flat

New wave "safer" tires deflating wallets everywhere

As more and more auto manufacturers outfit their latest whips with ‘run-flat’ rubbers, the public is quickly learning that the new technology in tires ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

For those unfamiliar, run-flats incorporate a reinforced inner donut-type device that allows a wheel to continue travelling 50-100 miles after the outer tire is punctured. While that may sound useful in theory, the problem arises when owners go to replace the damage, as many service-centers are unable to repair run-flats. Additionally, the new “super-tires” don’t last as long as conventional rubbers under normal conditions, and are much pricier to replace. If all that wasn’t enough bad news, a few manufacturers (BMW being one) have put so much faith in the new technology, they’ve opted out of equipping their latest cars with spare tires.

Peace of mind? Better think that over. And if your new ride is runnin ’em (BMW, Corvette, some Toyota & Honda minivans), you might want to invest in a fifth before any long road trips through places like West Virginia- unless of course you like squealing like a pig, but that’s your business.

Source: Wall Street Journal via MSN