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Runflat are teh Suck!

June 27, 2007

They sound so nice at first.  Tires that don’t just go flat.  Tires that can be driven for fifty miles at 0 psi.

The notion was certainly pleasing when I picked up my Pirelli Eufori-clad Mini last summer.

Too bad the reality isn’t all sunshine and roses.Euforirunflat

First, runflats are stiff.  They don’t flex as well as a traditional tire, meaning that you get a stiff (at times jarring) ride and diminished road-holding capabilities alongside that peace of mind.

Second, runflats are heavy.  Granted, you don’t have to lug around a spare, but that much more unsprung weight doesn’t help calm down that jarring ride.

Third, that "driven for fifty miles" thing is pretty useless when your Tire Pressure Monitor may as well be called the "Cry Wolf" light.  I’ve had that damn light go off for everything from taking a speedbump too fast to driving north at 4:45 PM on a Sunday.  So when it does go off, you never know if its serious or not.  Of course, after my experience with Land Rovers, I expect nothing less from a British automobile (warning lights are for interior ambiance).

Fourth, at least in the case of my Mini, runflats are about as fragile as Paris Hilton at a bareknuckle boxing tournament (isn’t that a great mental image…).  I haven’t had the car a year, and I’ve already burned through three of the four original tires.  One was holed by a screw (couldn’t repair).  Another went flat for no reason whatsoever. 

And today, while I was at the dealership getting my brake pads replaced, I came to discover that my rear tires were absolutely shredded.  As in most of the tread being gone, with what remained separating in places from the sidewall.  There were metal threads from the interior structure showing through the rubber.

What the hell?  The tires only had 17,000 miles on them.  It’s not like they’re Bias-Ply Super Swampers!  And it’s not like I’m pulling four-wheel slides at every turn (every fourth turn, thank you).  I’d expected them to pull out at least 30,000.

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