Know Your Tire Tech

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The biggest change in tire technology is actually a return to the past. Early tires were solid rings of rubber that wrapped around wagon wheels. These tires were hard riding, but also impervious to punctures and very durable — ideally suited to the rough terrain of the day. Today, tire manufacturers are trying to make the flat tire a distant memory.

Today’s run-flat tires contain air and are much more complicated in construction than early rubber rings. But, they operate on the same principle: They are tough enough to run without air if necessary.

The above diagram shows the difference in construction between a conventional tire and a stiff-sidewall run-flat tire. In a stiff-sidewall run-flat tire, there is extra sidewall reinforcing rubber that prevents the sidewall of the tire from deflecting. In an inner-liner run-flat, the sidewall is no stiffer than a conventional tire, but a hard rubber or plastic ring inside the tire helps keep the tire’s sidewall from deflecting.

There are two different styles of run-flat tires. The first uses very stiff sidewalls that can support the weight of the vehicle in the event of pressure loss. Several tire companies offer this type of run-flat, and they can typically……click to read further