Cars with run-flat tires can help you out in a pinch.

Features You Auto Know: Run-Flat Tires | CarMax

The short and sweet of it:

If you’re dead-set against getting stuck with a flat on the side of the road, you might consider run-flat tires. They can keep your car on the move until you can get to a safe place to make a repair.

Why does it matter to me?

Why get a car with run-flat tires? Because in some cases, run-flat tires could make the difference between a pleasant commute or peaceful journey and a not-so-fun trip.

Automakers have been shaving weight from their cars in recent years in order to comply with federal MPG mandates. Generally, the heavier a vehicle, the more fuel it burns to drive down the road.

So some manufacturers have opted to fit their cars with run-flat tires, and ditch the extra weight that comes with having a full-sized spare wheel, tire, and tire jack in the luggage area. These tires, with their stiffer, reinforced sidewalls and lower rolling resistance, could mean additional miles per gallon for you, plus some extra space in the back for a 3rd row seat or some extra gear.

It also means there’s less chance you’ll need to get out of the car on the side of the road to change a tire.

Picture yourself in this scenario:

Features You Auto Know: Run-Flat Tires | CarMax

You’re on the final leg of your commute, or your family road trip, in a car with standard tires. You pick up a nail that flattens your left front tire. It’s January. It’s nighttime, and it’s raining.

If you’re up for the job and you have a spare tire, you might be inclined to remove all the luggage in the trunk, take out the jack and spare, jack up the car, and change the tire in the wet by yourself. You might also call a roadside assistance number, and then wait for help to get to you.

But if you’ve got run-flat tires, you might not know you ran over a nail (you’ll see a tire-pressure warning light on your dash). If you get a flat with these tires, you can usually drive 50 – 100 miles (at reduced speed) until you’re home or at your local tire shop.

Run-flats do tend to cost more than regular, non-run-flat tires. But some drivers are OK with paying a little extra for a little more peace of mind.

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