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Towing with run-flat tyres

  • TyrrelBosman1
    TyrrelBosman1 on

    We tow with a Mercedes Benz B200 and although this vehicle does not have a spare wheel, it is equipped with run-flat tyres – which are fantastic in that you don’t have to stop on the side of the road but can travel to the next tyre repair specialist.

    But can you continue towing to the next town? How far can you tow on a run-flat tyre, and can you get replacement tyres if you are in the proverbial town of Pofadder in the Northern Cape?

    ADMIN on

    Caravan and Outdoor Life’s publisher, Godfrey Castle’s, response: We normally go from one department to the next when asking tyre manufacturers these difficult /unusual questions. One can expect comments such as ‘the car is not designed for towing and neither is the tyre’.

    Run-flat tyres are said to be capable of continued use with no air pressure in the tyre because they have reinforced sidewalls.

    In an ordinary or conventional tyre, once it deflates, the rim will quickly cut through the sidewall with catastrophic results if this is not caught in time.

    With a run-flat, the reinforced sidewall is strong enough to keep its shape and support the weight of the car without air pressure for about 80 kilometres (generally speaking).

    The best thing you can do is to fit a tyre monitor, one that constantly monitors and informs you when a tyre is going flat, and to pack you own puncture kit so that you can do this repair yourself.

    This is easier than you think, providing that you have a repair kit, a pump and some soapy water to find the puncture. Remove the tyre, find the puncture, insert a sticky plug from the puncture kit, re-inflate, and you are good to go. A lot better than towing on a run-flat tyre to the next town!

    Also, and this is important, once a run-flat has served its purpose and got you to the next town, it should be replaced – it will more than likely have suffered excessive heat buildup, with the possibility of delamination. For this reason, tyre manufacturers will say the tyre should not be repaired if it’s run-flat − it is, after all, only a conventional tyre with thicker sidewalls.

    With modern cars being made lighter and more compact, we can expect spare wheels to disappear from the market altogether and replaced with run-flat tyres. Tyre monitors therefore make great sense in managing the longevity of tyres.

    Anyone disagree?

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