Run flat tyres, tyre repair kits, or spare tyres. Which is best?
Arif · Jun 9, 2020 11:37 AM
Your car ownership experience isn’t complete without having at least one flat tyre incident. For this, manufacturers have given us full-sized spares, space-savers, run-flat tyres, and even tyre repair kits. What you have in your car has been pre-determined by the manufacturer.
The question is, which is the best?
The answer depends on the type of driver you are, the type of commute you do, and where you live. Each option offers its own pros and cons.
A full-sized spare is identical to the four tyres already on your car. Provided you haven’t installed aftermarket wheels with different widths and offsets (or installed spacers), a full-sized spare tyre will not affect the ride of your car.
Pros: Able to drive like normal and drive long distances.
Cons: A full-sized spare is heavy. More weight means more fuel consumption.
Suits you best if: You can change your own tyre, don't have tyre shops in your vicinity, and make long distance journeys.
A space-saver is just like a full-sized spare. The only difference being the smaller size and lighter weight.
Pros: The lighter weight creates less load to the engine. Hence less fuel consumption, and less emissions.
Cons: The speed limit - Usually 80 km/h. A space saver is a temporary solution that compromises the handling of your car.
Suits you best if: You are able to change your own tyre, have tyre shops in your area, and your daily commute is not that far.
3. Run-flat tyres
Run flat tyres usually come in more premium cars that are not performance-oriented. Like the Mercedes A 200. Run flat tyres enable you to do as the name suggests - drive with a flat tyre.
Pros: You don’t have to change your own tyre. Just drive slowly (<80 km/h) to your nearest tyre shop. Saves more space and reduces more weight than space-savers.
Cons: Run-flat tyres are not performance oriented. However, if you can’t change your own tyre, you probably don’t care about performance too.
Suits you best if: You can't change your own tyre, live in an urban area, and don’t want to get your hands dirty.
4. Tyre puncture kits
A tyre puncture kit consists of an air compressor and some sealant. Some manufacturers, like Mercedes-Benz and Porsche offer this in some cars.
Pros: If you’re all about light weight, saving space, and performance, a tyre puncture kit is the best option.
Cons: Tyre puncture kits won’t work if the puncture is too severe. The suggested 80 km/h speed limit .
Suits you best if: You don’t like the added weight of a spare wheel and want to use performance-grade tyres.
Whether you have a spare wheel, run-flats, or a tyre repair kit, always remember to take the necessary safety precautions in case of a puncture.
Previously an engineer in an automotive manufacturing company and a highway concessionaire. A part-time research student on biofuels and diesel engines. Obsessed with vehicle electrification and the future of transportation.