TyreSafe, the UKs leading tyre safety group, is warning motorists that they could be compromising their own safety if they replace the run-flat tyres fitted to their vehicle with standard tyres that do not include run-flat technology. With many motorists looking to reduce their vehicle maintenance costs, some have been tempted to economise by selecting tyres which do not incorporate the added technology and features found in run-flat tyres. 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.
When replacing run-flat tyres, its very important that drivers consult with the vehicle manufacturer if they are thinking about using non run-flat tyres, explains Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe. As a general rule, we would always recommend that drivers 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.
For more information about the use of run-flat tyres, drivers can visit www.tyresafe.org or consult their vehicle manufacturer for details specific to their vehicle.