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Run flat tires are exactly what they sound like: tires that can still be driven on after going flat. A run flat tire (also called a run-flat, run on flat, or runflat tire) uses specialized construction technologies that temporarily allows it to keep rolling after loss of air pressure. This protects the driver during an unexpected tire failure, and provides enough mobility to drive to a tire shop or other safe location where the tire can be changed. High-performance tires are often available in run flat sizes.
When people talk about run-flat tires, they're referring to tires with self-supporting technology. Self-supporting tires are built with stiff, rigid sidewalls that help support your car's weight in case of a blowout. If you've had a flat tire on the highway before, you're familiar with the instability and sudden loss of control that comes as the tire rapidly deflates and buckles under load. Internally reinforced sidewalls help a run flat tire to maintain its shape and stabilize the vehicle long enough to reach the nearest tire shop, even without air pressure.
Run flat tires may also incorporate self-sealing technologies. Self-sealing tires contain a layer of adhesive sealant under the tread that helps to minimize loss of air pressure after the tread is punctured. This adhesive layer is designed to seal around the object that punctured the tire, and also seals the hole in the tread when the object is removed. This stops air from escaping the tire or slows down pressure loss until more permanent repairs can be made.
Note that run flat tires aren't meant to be driven on uninflated during normal use. While self-supporting sidewalls allow a tire to support your vehicle without air pressure, doing so can still damage the tire's structural integrity. Run flat tires are generally usable within a certain speed threshhold and can travel a limited distance after failure. Multiple tire manufacturers design their run flat tires to be driven on flat at speeds up to 80 kph (50 mph) for a distance of up to 80 km (50 miles).
Run flat tires aren't for everyone. The reinforced sidewalls in a self-supporting tire also reduce cushioning, decreasing ride comfort and increasing ride noise. Since the sidewalls don't deform as the tire loses air, run flat tires are designed for use with TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) sensors that can alert the driver of air pressure loss, and shouldn't be installed on older cars that lack TPMS.
Run flat tires are an investment in driver safety against unexpected tire failures on the road. In exchange for this safety, run flat tires also tend to be priced higher than regular tires. Here at Discounted Wheel Warehouse, we have a great lineup of high-performance run flat tires from trusted tire brands like Bridgestone and Pirelli. Our warehouse offers discounted prices on premium run flat tires to keep you safe and in control during a blowout, while providing the best cost savings.