Though not an industry standard, run-flat tires ("RFT's" or "Run-on-Flat" tires) have been developed by manufacturers as a way to increase vehicle safety, as well as save space and decrease the weight of the vehicle by eliminating the need for a spare tire.
Most run-flat tires are equipped with technology that maintains the vehicle's mobility when a tire is punctured by supporting the weight of the vehicle using reinforced inner sidewalls. For this reason, they are also known as "self-supporting tires" and provide the driver with maximum control over their vehicle. The purpose of this design is to allow the driver to reach safety before replacing the damaged tire and to reduce the instances of tire blow-outs and vehicle flip-overs. A typical run-flat tire allows a vehicle to drive for about 90 kilometres, at a maximum speed of 90 km/hr following a puncture.
Not sure if your car is using run-flat tires? The best way to find out is to ask the dealer before you purchase a vehicle. You can also verify an existing vehicle by looking at the tire sidewalls for the letters RFT.
A few notable drawbacks with RFTs are that they have a tendency to wear quicker than regular tires, manufacturers produce them in limited quantities, and they are generally more expensive.
If your vehicle was originally equipped with regular tires and wheels but you are interested in switching to RFT’s or vice versa, best practice is to wait until the treads have worn and they are ready to be replaced. This way you get the maximum life out of your OE tires and only replace them when you have to.
To identify which of our tires are run-flat-tires, please look for this icon: