By Denna Bowman
Cost-conscious motorists who replace run-flat tyres already fitted on their vehicles with standard tyres could be compromising on safety, according to a leading tyre safety organisation.
TyreSafe, the UK’s leading tyre safety group, warns motorists that fitting standard tyres that do not include run-flat technology could end up being a false economy.
It might appear tempting to motorists looking to reduce their vehicle maintenance costs to economise by selecting tyres which do not incorporate the added technology and features found in run-flat tyres.
However, by choosing these standard tyres, drivers risk significantly changing the handling characteristics of the vehicle which could increase their chances of being involved in an accident.
Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe, said: “When replacing run-flat tyres, it’s very important that driver’s consult with the vehicle manufacturer if they are thinking about using non run-flat tyres.
“As a general rule, we would always recommend that driver’s only replace run-flat tyres with a similar product.
“Run-flats have much stiffer sidewalls than those in traditional tyres and this is taken into account by vehicle manufacturers when they design their suspension and steering systems.
“By switching to tyres that do not use run-flat technology, the handling of the car can be dramatically altered and it may become unsafe, particularly during extreme manoeuvres.”
In addition to the performance changes which may occur as a result of switching to non run-flat tyres, drivers can also cause themselves other problems.
Run-flat tyres give drivers the ability to continue their journey for a limited time when they have no pressure in the tyre. Standard tyres cannot do this and must be changed as soon as there is a sudden loss of pressure.
As cars which have run-flats fitted as original equipment do not have a spare tyre, drivers switching to standard tyres could easily become stranded if they suffer a puncture.