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Carmakers Increasingly Under Fire for Using Run-Flat Tires

8/22/2007 - Santa Monica, CA
Carmakers Increasingly Under Fire for Using Run-Flat Tires

Run Flat Tire

As the number of cars being equipped with run-flat tires increases car buyers are quickly learning that the new design is not all that it's cracked up to be. One automaker adamant in its decision to equip its cars with run-flats instead of installing a proper spare in the trunk is BMW, and it's now starting to experience a consumer backlash from that decision.
Many of its customers are frustrated, not only at the shortcomings of the tire itself but also because of the exorbitant bill they face once the tires need to be replaced. Note that many service centers are unable to fix run-flats, and you can forget about re-treads (though that's probably a good thing).

Apart from the high cost of replacing the tires, run-flats are harder to come by and they don't last as long as regular tires either. Though the idea of not having to worry about changing the tire if it gets punctured sounds great, run-flats only have a range of about 50 to 100 miles once the rubber is damaged. Not much solace if you happen to hit a spike in the middle of nowhere.

Along with BMW, Corvette also has run-flats, and Toyota and Honda put them on some minivans.

Apparently, run-flats were introduced because consumers want "the smallest amount of hassle in their lives," according to an engineer from Bridgestone. Perhaps it's time drivers were forced to learn how to change a tire as part of their licensing tests.

By Siddharth Raja, Autoblog - Santa Monica, CA

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