Angie's List: dealing with flat tires

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - "For most having a flat tire can be their worst nightmare, especially if they are caught on the road when it happens," said Angie Hicks of Angie's List. "Being prepared and knowing exactly what you've got when shopping for a car is going to be important. Don't be afraid to ask the dealer, what comes with the car? How does it work?"

In an effort to increase fuel economy, decrease vehicle weight and give you more trunk space, manufactures are saying so long to the spare tire.

Many new models are now equipped with inflator and sealant kits or run flat tires which are designed to go at slower speeds for 50 miles or more after a tire has been punctured.


"Standard low tire cannot withstand zero pressure," said Chris Cooper, an auto-service owner. "It has to have pressure to keep the tire inflated. A run flat tire does not need any pressure for a short duration of time until you can get to a shop that can repair or replace it."

Landon Toll used to drive a car with run flat tires. He never suffered a flat, but he did have to replace his run flat tires which cost about a third more than traditional tires.

"I had the car for about three years and drove with 32,000 miles about and in that time I replaced the rear tires twice and the front tires once. In total, the three years I had the car I spent a little over $2,300 just in tires alone."

In addition to being more expensive, Cooper says run flats also result in a harder ride.

"A run flat tire will run much stiffer. You don't get much of a cushion in there. Standard low tire will run nice and quiet and a run flat tire will run a little bit stiff. It just depends on what kind of ride you are looking for."

Experts tell Angie's List some run flat tires can be repaired if punctured while others cannot. It depends on the manufacturer.

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