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Run-Flat Tires: Pros and Cons

U.S. News & World Report - Cars Logo By Eric C. Evarts of U.S. News & World Report - Cars | Slide 1 of 10: <p>Ask car buyers how they feel about run-flat tires and the answers are likely to be polarizing. Some appreciate the idea of never having to stop on the side of the road to change a flat. Others imagine horror stories of getting stranded without a spare or of paying exorbitant prices for a hard-to-find replacement.</p><p>Either way, automakers are excising spares from more and more models and replacing them with run-flats, which can support the weight of a car after being punctured and allow you to travel to a nearby tire shop at reduced speeds. In other cases, automakers are cutting out spare tires in favor of a can of sealant and a 12-volt inflator.</p><p>Surveys have shown that most drivers, even if they have a spare tire, never use it. Instead, they just call for roadside assistance. Many new drivers learn in driver’s education that they should call for assistance before trying to change a flat, because it’s not worth the risk of being run over.</p><p>Almost every automaker these days offers a telematics system that allows drivers to summon roadside assistance directly from the car; the car can even do it automatically in some cases. Against that backdrop, it’s no wonder that spare tires are going out of fashion.</p><p>In this guide, we’ll examine the pros and cons of run-flat tires so you can see whether they make sense for you.</p>

Is the Peace of Mind Worth the Price?

Ask car buyers how they feel about run-flat tires and the answers are likely to be polarizing. Some appreciate the idea of never having to stop on the side of the road to change a flat. Others imagine horror stories of getting stranded without a spare or of paying exorbitant prices for a hard-to-find replacement.

Either way, automakers are excising spares from more and more models and replacing them with run-flats, which can support the weight of a car after being punctured and allow you to travel to a nearby tire shop at reduced speeds. In other cases, automakers are cutting out spare tires in favor of a can of sealant and a 12-volt inflator.

Surveys have shown that most drivers, even if they have a spare tire, never use it. Instead, they just call for roadside assistance. Many new drivers learn in driver’s education that they should call for assistance before trying to change a flat, because it’s not worth the risk of being run over.

Almost every automaker these days offers a telematics system that allows drivers to summon roadside assistance directly from the car; the car can even do it automatically in some cases. Against that backdrop, it’s no wonder that spare tires are going out of fashion.

In this guide, we’ll examine the pros and cons of run-flat tires so you can see whether they make sense for you.

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