THE RUN-FLAT TIRE: WHY IT IS NOT POPULAR?

When Michelin commercialized the radial tyre, it had become the most sought way in tire making during the contemporary era due to many avails that the radial tire has. In the late 90’s meantime, the tire with low rolling resistance had become popular due to its advantages, including a reduction in fuel consumption while driving. Now, most car tire is a radial tyre fuse with low rolling resistance technologies. Another similar advancement in the tire too had been concurrent during this time; however, this tire does not become the most sought tire for the automobile lover, the run-flat-tire.

The run-flat tire is a pneumatic tire that can mitigate the deflation effect when the tire is punctured and can be driven at a reduced speed on limited kilometres and will not produce a downtime for the vehicle due to his abilities. In the early ’90s, Michelin, Goodyear and Dunlop had introduced the run-flat mechanism tire. Michelin had coined their run-flat tire as semi bulletproof, and it was used for military vehicle purposes while at some abandoned their intent to launch the tire in the private car as it was too costly.

Goodyear meanwhile collaborates with Chrysler motor to build a run-flat tire in their models called Captive Air Tire. At the same time, Dunlop launched their Total Mobility Tire, later named Denovo as optional equipment in the Rover P6 3500 in 1973. Meanwhile, Pirelli, Goodyear, Continental, Bridgestone, Hankook, Yokohama had been the supplier of run-flat tires for the BMW, Mercedes Benz, Mini Cooper, and Cadillac in the modern time.

They are three types of run-flat tire that will be available.

One is the self-supporting system where the tire has a reinforced sidewall that will continue, resist, and mitigate puncture and air loss. In contrast, the other run-flat tire is the support ring system with hardened rubber constructed inside the tire rim to support the weight if there is any air loss. One is making it run flat via reinforced sidewall, while another has a hardened rubber.  

They are another type of run-flat tire called a self-sealant wherein if a nail or sharp object had pierced the tire, the specially made sealant will close the hole caused by these objects to prevent air from escaping. The specially made adhesive is constructed along the thread of the tire.

As mentioned, the car manufacturer extensively using the run-flat tire is BMW, Mercedes Benz, Mini Cooper, and Cadillac. In contrast, other car manufacturers do not use the run-flat tire, which is surprising given that most of the advanced car technologies will be widely used in the modern car while the run-flat tire does not have some widespread liking.

What advantages of the run-flat tire made BMW, Mercedes Benz, Mini Cooper and Cadillac use it extensively in their models?

The big edge that runs flat tires have is putting an end to the need for the spare tire. As run-flat tires could resist the puncture and be driven at a certain speed, the need for spare tires will be erased, saving more space in the car bonnets behind.  The automobile manufacturer can make their rear bonnets bigger to accommodate the items stored in the rear bonnets.

As per its name, the run-flat tire can be driven when it is flat due to air loss. Due to these, automobile lovers do not need to replace the tire using the spare tire and jack as the car is still driven but on the limited speed and limited kilometres, which is better than none.

Since the car can be driven while it was flat, safety has also become a crucial aspect as it can provide a stable drive even if the tire had been punctured. These situations can give great satisfaction and serenity for automobile lovers as they can still control their vehicles due to the edge provided by the run-flat tires.

The supremacy of the run-flat tire makes the car manufacturers, as mentioned earlier, equipped their car with a run-flat-tire. However, other car manufacturers like Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Ford, and others do not extensively use the run-flat-tire. They are several drawbacks of run-flat tires too.

The first drawback is the cost of replacing a run-flat tire are exorbitant. For example, the replacement cost for the non-flat tire rim sized 17 will cost RM400 to RM500 per tire depending on the tire brand and tire characteristics, while the same rim sized run-flat tire can cost RM800 to RM900 per tire depending on the tire brand and tire characteristic too. The exorbitant cost is why most automobile lovers will replace their OEM run-flat tire with the normal tire when it is due for replacement.

Besides the pricey replacement, most car manufacturers’ lack of choices for the run-flat tire leading to aversion among automobile lovers. For some car model, that is not provided with a run-flat tire they are more than 1 or 2 choices that will be available while for the run-flat tire is non and beside the tire may not be available earliest in the shops as the shop owners need to make the order to the tire.

Another reason is the run-flat may mitigate the effect of air loss of tires. Still, it does not completely erase the tire blowout as it is possible to have a tire blowout, and it is also hard to detect if the air pressure is low; hence the need for the TPMS is necessary for the car equipped with the run-flat-tire. The blowout of the run-flat tire is possible if the automobile lovers’ drives above the recommended speed limit, and due to characteristics of the self-supporting system that has a reinforced sidewall, it will not bulge in the case of low air pressure, which makes it harder to detect these situations

The run-flat tire can be said on one of car tire advancements that are not extensively used in the modern-day car, which is unusual as most of the car technologies that is conception started in luxury had been widely used in most of the vehicles like the keyless entry, and many others. For car manufacturers that support run-flat tires, the advantages exceed the drawback, while for other car manufacturers, vice versa. Hence, the run-flat tire is not extensively used in all modern-day cars.

 

 

 

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