Run-Flat Tires: When to Keep and When to Leave Behind

We get calls every day from BMW owners that have worn out their original run-flat tires and are on the fence about keeping the run-flat tires or going to a non-run-flat.

My best recommendation is to base your decision on where you drive. Many people commute in areas that are well populated and would have plenty of spots to pull over and wait for a tow in the event of a flat, but if your commute is more "rural" you could find yourself inconvenienced by a long wait in a potentially dangerous spot. In those situations, I'd recommend you stick with run-flat tires so you can drive to a safe spot to wait for help.

We have had many people switch to non-run-flat tires and make some kind of "backup plan" in the event of a flat tire; like adding towing coverage to their car insurance, joining AAA, or buying a spare wheel and tire. Most cars that are equipped with run-flat tires as Original Equipment do not have a spare tire (full-size or space-saver) in the trunk. Many do not even have a recess to accept one so options can be limited. Continental tire offers the ContiComfortKit as an alternative to a full-size spare that can help in the event of a punctured tire;





As long as the sidewall is intact, the Continental sealant can buy you some time to get the car to a shop or at least to somewhere you can be picked up. 

Non-run-flat tires can normally be found in all-season compounds to offer you more durablility and a quieter ride. Even if your car never sees snow, the all-season compounds are somewhat less "sticky" which improves durablity. Many of my customers have switched to the Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Position or the Michelin Pilot Sport AS Plus with great results.


I've done both tires on BMW and Lexus applications with great feedback, so they are worth considering!

Comments

Thursday, August 26, 2010 by Wayne

On the fence about replacing run flats. Are there any known problems with the tire pressure sensor, if you elect to go with non-run flat tires as a option?
Friday, September 9, 2011 by Arnie

Price if someone will admit to it is that the Continental RFT at aprox: $300 + is on the high priced side.Great Tires do not have to cost that amount.
Friday, May 17, 2013 by Abdulla

I have a bmw, and I went through this delimma. Some people told me you can do it, it is only the issue of not having a spare tire and ur car doesn't have this special sensors it figures out the flatness by weight difference. But I've been told also that the run flat tires are heavier than the normal ones, and switching them may cause unstability while driving due to weight difference. Frankly speaking, I don't know who to believe and who not to believe..!!
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 by doc

Abdulla,
We use the 2012 BMW 328i for our test vehicles, and use both run flat and not run flat tires on the cars. Having driven the same car with both types of tires, I can confidently state that the non run flat tires do not cause any instability whatsoever. I have had countless BMW customers switch away from the run flat tires with no concerns or issues with handling. Hope this helps !
Monday, July 29, 2013 by Roger Kopshina Sr

Do wheels have to be changed to run non RFT on a BMW X3
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 by doc

Roger,
Luckily all BMW original equipment wheels that come with run flat tires can accept non runflat tires instead.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 by tony

what size of non run flat spare tire and wheel do you recommend for 2013 Toyota sienna AWD
Friday, August 1, 2014 by Doc

Tony,

Unfortunately we do not have any information on a recommended Temporary spare size for your application. I'd have you consult your dealer for the safest recommendation
Tuesday, June 16, 2015 by Wil in Mesa

Help, is there a space saver spare that will fit my 2015 CLA/GLA Mercedes as a backup?

Thank!
Saturday, June 20, 2015 by Doc

Wil,
We'd have to refer your to the dealer for a space saver as Tire Rack does not have access to any temp. wheels what so ever.


Sorry !
Tuesday, September 20, 2016 by Alex Vollmer

I have one 'flat' run flat tire (right rear) on my BMW 325i which has four run flats. Can I safely replace just the two rear run flats with non-run flats, or do I need to replace all four tires with non-run flats? Thanks!
Monday, September 26, 2016 by Doc

Alex,

For safety reasons, all four tires would need to be the same type. Either all four can be run flat or non run flats, but they cannot be mixed to be sure.
Monday, June 12, 2017 by Joe

I have had some experience with mixing run flats with non run flats. DON'T! I did that without doing my homework and I really didn't like the results. The car felt unstable. Twitchy for lack of a better word. Just had a pot hole destroy my right rear tire on my 335i so I'm going to change out to a standard tire. But I won't be mixing them. They will all be non run flats.

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