By on September 29, 2014

 

(photo courtesy: new.minimania.com)

TTAC commentator WheelMcCoy writes:

Hi Sajeev,

With MINIs, fun is directly proportional to repair bills. A couple with a 2009 MINI Cooper S bought an extended warranty which expires in February 2015. They hope to sell their MINI around then, but the run flat tires are worn down to their wear bars. To tide them over for 6 or 7 months, I suggested they buy some good handling low tread wear all season tires (they are in the Northeast) and an air compressor with goo. With normal tires, I’d argue they’d enjoy their MINI even more and might even want keep it after the extended warranty. But they are inclined on getting expensive run-flats to not hurt the resale value. Most likely, they will trade-in rather than sell on their own.

Appreciate your input and any alternatives we haven’t considered.

Sajeev answers:

Be it friendly advice on cars, careers, love, or whatever, a conversation between Party A and Party B about Party C is often a waste of everyone’s time.

I am not telling you to mind your own business. Far from it!  Just make sure they aren’t getting reamed on the replacement tires’ price. That is, they need help saving money on the tires they want.

Considering the repair bills and America’s love of new vehicles, I reckon your (valid) truth isn’t applicable to your friends. If they want to trade in, instead help them get the most cash for the least effort.  That said, depending on where (and when) they trade in, the receiving party might not notice the tire type. But if they trade MINI for MINI, go ahead and get factory tires.

Send your queries to [email protected]com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

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85 Comments on “Piston Slap: Run Flat Tires and Parties A, B, C...”


  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I’m staying out of the A/B/C discussion but personally would STRONGLY recommend against run-flat tires. Get some decent performance/all-weather tires instead and don’t worry about the goo. Less expensive and likely a better ride with little, if any, loss in handling.

    • 0 avatar
      daviel

      Agreed. Don’t buy a car that doesn’t at least have the small spare.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Personally, I don’t have much use for a spare tire. I’ve gotten a flat tire so rarely (i.e., once/decade) that I don’t see the big deal in getting a tow. The key is to monitor tire health and replace on time with quality rubber.

        Yes, nails happen, but how often, really?

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          I’ve had one flat in 20 years and hundreds of thousands of miles of driving. It could have been handled with a can of goo.

          Had lots of nails, but I usually catch them in time and just pay a tire shop to plug them.

          I know lots of people swear by full-sized spares, but are they really necessary on cars with TPMS? What are the odds that you’ll get a flat that doesn’t start as a slow leak?

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            about 50 / 50 in my experience .

            -Nate

          • 0 avatar
            jasmits1

            Also on a lot of smaller cars the tire iron supplied(i.e. small enough to fit beneath the trunk) doesn’t provide enough leverage to budge the lug nuts if they were installed with an impact gun. Found that one out when I was trying to remove the wheels to make a repair with the supplied iron. I had to go get a bigger one that of course doesn’t fit in the spare cavity.

          • 0 avatar
            jjster6

            @ jasmits1 – are you suggesting that the dealer didn’t reattach the wheels to the vehicle using a torque wrench to the exact specification in the manual? I find that very hard to believe (hopefully you are getting my sarcasm).

            To break the lugs free put the tire iron on the nut so the handle is parallel to the ground. Then step on the end. Ususally that works. Althoguh with my recent weight loss maybe it won’t (I’m wasting away to a truck load).

          • 0 avatar

            Germans love runflats because autobahn.

            A blowout at 120 mph ?

            Here, that isn’t a legal, or usually a practical possibility. Still, Germans know best so we get them with discussions of “no tire changes for mom in bad areas” (Doesn’t your Sport Activity Vehicle automatically detour past them ?).

            Concentrated hours of BMW board reading…
            Ditch them, get a set of good tires, carry a can of goo and an inexpensive Sears air pump.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Actually, the biggest reason BMW has gone all in on runflats is that it means they no longer have to design in a place to put the spare. Kind of a problem given the stylists want wagon wheels even on relatively small cars.

            And in most cars that have a temp spare – where are you supposed to put the flat full-size tire? It won’t fit in the well that the temp spare was in. Good fun if the trunk is already full of crap.

            I’ve already expressed my thoughts on the merits of runflats in other responces, but the short version is I don’t love them, but I don’t hate them either after living with them for three years. I can see the rationale for them, but won’t replace them on my car.

        • 0 avatar
          sproc

          Nails or screws I consider the “good” puncture, as straight in they’re often self sealing (at least to the point of a slow leak). It other road debris that I worry about a lot more, like the piece of utility knife blade that sliced right across my right-rear contact patch a few years back (near midnight on a Sunday on a dark rural road in winter, naturally).

          I’m a huge believer in at least having a well-maintained compact spare.

        • 0 avatar
          Beerboy12

          On avg. once a year, for me. Twice with GTI run flats…

          • 0 avatar
            LeeK

            GTI run flats? My MK V, R32, and now MK VI all came standard with either Pirelli or Continental traditional tires with a donut spare in the rear cargo area. Am I missing something?

        • 0 avatar
          fincar1

          During the time my wife was a Realtor we had lots of nails in the tires, probably one or two a year. Builders’ employees throw nails around new housing construction sites as though someone else was paying for them. I still have a lot of the unused nails I picked up around the site of our new house when we moved in. But since she retired, no more nails.

        • 0 avatar
          Russycle

          Nails aren’t a big deal, but I once blew out a sidewall hitting a rock that was hidden by snow. Midnight on Christmas Eve on a lightly travelled snow covered highway, I was very happy to have a spare. But that was once in 30+ years of driving.

      • 0 avatar
        Lack Thereof

        Meh. In this age of mandatory tire pressure monitors, spare tires are quite redundant. If you pick up a puncture, you typically will get DAYS of warning between when the TPMS light comes on and when the tire goes fully flat.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Disagree, I picked up a nail and the tire was flat in 30-45 seconds which was enough time to make an exit and pull into a gas station.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            Or my latest flat, hitting a bit of curb I couldn’t see because it was dark-on-dark.

            (Or equally likely, a rock hidden in some leaves, etc.)

            I can’t recall, on the other hand, the last time I had a nail-puncture-style slow leak…

    • 0 avatar
      greaseyknight

      Personally my daily has a spare, a 12 volt compressor and a small patch kit for car tires. Overkill? Yes, but I’ve yet to be stranded by a flat. Had a couple show up in the driveway, but those were easily taken care of.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I too am of the ‘ always carry a good spare , jack and lug wrench because you never know how far you’ll need to drive on it ‘ crowd .

    I also only buy top quality tires because you have far less if any flats riding on good rubber .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    rehposolihp

    Just a word of warning: BMW Dealerships (and likely MINI) are super reluctant to give you as good a value on BMW trade ins that came with runflats that are no longer wearing runflats. The argument they made to me was that they could not, or at least would not, sell the car without first changing the tires to a runflat, and thus wanted to pass the associated cost onto me.

    It is a negotiable point – but definitely something that may come up and make the trade-in process less enjoyable.

    That said – I think those who are so vehemently against runflats may be thinking of the early products. They really have come a long way, and I for one am completely happy to have them on my vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      “The argument they made to me was that they could not, or at least would not, sell the car without first changing the tires to a runflat, and thus wanted to pass the associated cost onto me.”

      That could be a legit argument by the dealership, or it could be a great way to to essentially get you to put new tires on a trade in at no cost to the dealer.

      I’m leaning toward BS…

      As long as the tires are good I have a hard time believing that used car buyers would care whether or not the Mini had run flats. Personally, due to replacement costs I’d discount the value of a vehicle with run flats vs. performance or all season tires, but that is just my personal opinion.

      • 0 avatar
        Lack Thereof

        Most dealers won’t sell a car without either runflats or a minispare. Most chain tire shops won’t replace runflats with anything but runflats. In my opinion, it’s totally unnecessary and paranoid of them (see my TPMS post above), but it’s the way it is. They have visions of someone who ignored their TPMS light coming back and saying “you sold me a car with no spare and I got stuck on the road with a flat!”

        • 0 avatar
          kanu

          “Most dealers won’t sell a car without either runflats or a minispare.”

          “Most dealers” must not include Acura (RLX), Audi (TT), Buick (Lacrosse), Cadillac (CTS, SRX, XTS), Chevrolet (Camaro, Malibu, Spark, Volt), Dodge (Caliber, Dart), Fiat (500), Ford (C-Max, Focus, Fusion, Mustang), Honda (Accord), Hyundai (Accent, Elantra, Sonata, Veloster), Infiniti (G), Kia (Forte, Optima, Rio, Soul), Land Rover (Range Rover Sport), Mazda (MX-5 Miata), Mitsubishi (i-MiEV), Nissan (Leaf), Porsche (911, Boxster, Cayman, Panamera), Scion (IQ), Smart (ForTwo), Toyota (Prius), and Volvo (C70 and S60), since all those cars come with an inflator kit instead of a spare tire.

          • 0 avatar
            beastpilot

            My BMW M5 doesn’t have a spare, or runflats, but does have an inflator kit.

            So you know, add BMW to that list too.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I am of the sort that if the dealership installs run-flats on a car I want to buy, I will INSIST they be replaced with proper performance tires that don’t have such a hard sidewall. If they refuse to sell it without, then those tires will be replaced and SOLD within a week of vehicle purchase.

      Yes, I do understand the benefits of them, but the drawbacks still outweigh the benefits. Part of the problem already is that you’re running with too little sidewall already, forcing the vehicle’s suspension to work harder than necessary to smooth the ride. Sure, it improves handling to no end–but it’s hardly any softer than running on solid tires.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Personally, I am a big believer of “Original spec”. Cheap out and it always costs you further down the line and usually a lot worse.
    I also advise against advising people to cheap out, that can bite back to.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      I think it’s usually ridiculously easy to find tires that are way better than OEM – my GTI has Michelin A/S3s – light-years better than the Pirellis it came with.

      Also curious…if you are such a big believer in OEM, how did you end up with run-flats on a GTI? They don’t come with run-flats…?

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        GTIs come with Pirellis now? My MKV GTI came with Continental ExtremeContactDWs. Useless in the snow, but I lived in Tucson at the time.

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          Hmmm…this is another puzzler…they stopped making MkV GTIs in April of 2009. I don’t think Conti had even introduced the ExtremeContact DWs or DWSs by then.

          My 2011 GTI came with PZero Nero A/S.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            It must have been the tire the ExtremeContact DW replaced. I know they were Continental summer tires. The Michelin PS2s that I replaced the OEM tires with were much better though

            I looked but the OEM MKV tires, and depending on what wheel size and maybe location there were five different tires.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    A related question :

    I was looking at an un damaged 2004 Mini theft recovery for $4K they other day , are they any good ? my Son tells me it’d be a fun car to have, the Salvage Title means not much re sale wiggle room though .

    TIA ,

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      Older mini’s are surprisingly expensive to repair, for what they cost to obtain.

      They are fun, but you are very likely lighting the 4k on fire for it.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        Name a car that isn’t expensive to repair. If it’s an automatic, yeah, the CVTs have less than sterling reputation.

        • 0 avatar
          Zykotec

          European Fords from the 80’s are hilariously cheap to maintain and repair, unless they get too rusty…
          On the other hand, they may need a lot of maintenance and repairs if they were not built in the Genk factory between 09.00 and 11.00 on tuesdays, on days that it didn’t rain, (unless they ran low on coffee on that day)

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “Name a car that isn’t expensive to repair”

          I can probably name a dozen, the better question is name a niche car which isn’t expensive to repair.

        • 0 avatar
          ellomdian

          The issue is that the repair bills on the Mini look a lot more like they belong to a BMW than most of the competitors in the MINI segment. It’s way less expensive to repair a Beetle from the same year, and it delivers the same experience.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          I can name a ton of cheap to repair vehicles, as I own/have owned several such vehicles.

          Assuming you do all your labor and don’t have a dealer charge something outrageous like $80 an hour, then yea my vehicles have been alright by me in that regard.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Getting a flat when your car doesn’t have a spare tire suuuuuuuuucks. It happened to me a couple weeks ago with my C-Max. The cratered roadway known as I-696 put a bubble in the side of one of the C-Max’s Michilens. No amount of tire goo was going to fix that. Luckily, I made it home where I have a spare. I’m considering loading it in the trunk for some of the longer work related trips I take.

    • 0 avatar

      I once came upon a couple in a TJ in the middle of the night on the road between Gerlach and Suplphur, NV. They _already_ used up their spare and hit the second flat. The jeep had road tires on them, but still… I was in RAV4 and had different bolt pattern size, so my spare was useless for them (although I had 2).

  • avatar
    scuzimi

    First thing I got rid off on my ’02 & ’04 MINIs. Never used a spare, ran all across the country and never had a flat. Not sure if they are as bad now but back then a really ruff ride.

    Dump the MINI buy a Abarth, less money and I’ve had no problems in 27k… NONE!

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      I only had a seat lever stick as a defect on our 73k, 9 year old MCS since we bought it new. No other issues. My anecdote is superior to your anecdote and clearly shows that he should keep the MINI!

      • 0 avatar
        scuzimi

        Well, Quentin, I also loved my MINIs… ’02. ’03, ’04… all S’s but all problem burdened. Engines, trans, 6 cracked windscreens, leather seats cracking, bad shock mounts and much more.

        I did the MTTS stuff from the first one in 2006 to my last one in 2012.

        The ’04 was the only good one but the engine went around 20K and I had to battle MINI to fix it??? My Abarth has been problem less in 25K. So there…;-)

  • avatar
    gasser

    If it were my Mini, with a warranty due to expire in a few months, and needing tires,I would sell/trade it now. Talk up the remaining warranty as a selling point, or if trading tell the dealer to fix his usual “what your car needs before I can retail it” list. Let the next owner/dealer decide on run flats vs regular. (P.S. I’ve changed any run flats in our fleet to regular rubber….couldn’t be happier)

  • avatar
    mcs

    I’ve been fine without run-flats and no spare – 120k miles. I have the compressor and tire stuff, plus I carry a plug kit. With the plug kit I don’t even have to take the wheel off.

  • avatar
    redliner

    I drove an R53 (2005+) Mini Cooper S for years. I replaced the tires 3-4 times on that car and always with decent quality performance tires, never run flats. Over more than 140,000 miles I never had a flat, just a few slow air leaks that still allowed me to drive the car to a tire shop.

    This made it so much easier to shop for tires and the ride was significantly improved too.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    People say that run-flats are better now…but all tires are better now, and therefore, there will always be a performance gap and a tire-life gap between them and conventional tires.

    Run-flats DO suck less than they used to – for what it’s worth.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Having a BMW on the stock RFTs, I would say the ONLY downside now is the extra weight and to some extent cost. They ride fine, they handle fine, for the performance all-season tires they are. I will probably get 40K out of mine, which is also fine. BUT they ARE heavy (and you can feel that), and they cost as much as non-all-season summer performance tires that are much higher performance. For me, I am OK with the tradeoff either way. If I lived in a place were tire issues were common, I would probably keep it on RFTs. But I have not had to put a spare on in 25 years, and that one time was due to a granite curb hidden in snow – learned my lesson on that one. I have had a couple nails here and there, but TPMS and a compressor are all you need there. And regardless, I am NOT changing a tire on the side of the road in these days of texting idiots. If I get a flat such that I cannot proceed, I am calling AAA for a tow. So it will get higher performance non-RFTs when the time comes. My winter tires are already conventional anyway.

      As for the OP, if they are going to be trading it in, probably best to find a deal on some RFTs. Or just trade it as-is and let the dealer deal with it wholesale. Probably cheaper than the new tires.

  • avatar
    Jellodyne

    The correct solution was to have replaced the run-flats when they were new, stored them, and then swapped them back on to trade.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Ok, here’s the reason for the runflats:

    They weigh less than ANY combination of standard tires AND spare. By making the car lighter, you improve its fuel economy ratings and the run-flat has the advantage of slightly lower rolling resistance, especially when matched with oversized wheels.

    This still does not overcome the fact that most people would drive them as though they were fully inflated even with 0 psi and would probably become the cause of a deadly accident due to lack of control or a shredded tire and then insist they did nothing wrong. How many people today either ignore–or in many cases flat disable–warning systems that let you know when something’s wrong?

    I spoke to a truck driver one time who told me, “Most people today buy a car and simply don’t pay attention to them. They drive it until the car fails, then trade it for a new one and let someone else pay for any repair.” I have to agree with him because I have NEVER bought a used car that didn’t need major repair within the first year of ownership.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      They increase unsprung weight a lot over traditional tires, though. I’ve heard 1lb of unsprung weight is effectively 6lbs of sprung weight. So, if your runflats are 2lb heavier per corner, you have effectively increased the weight of the car by 48lbs. No space saver spare for a MINI weighs 48lbs.

      The mileage on our MINI was instantly better with same size all seasons over the all season run flats that it initially had. The issue with traditional tires and a space saver in the MINI isn’t weight. There simply isn’t anywhere to put it on the S that has a center exit exhaust. Non-S R53 MINIs had a spare tire standard.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        “I’ve heard 1lb of unsprung weight is effectively 6lbs of sprung weight.”

        You either heard wrong or trusted the wrong person. For a solid disk, the effective rotational mass is 1.5 times that of the actual mass. For a thin ring, the factor is 2. So it has to lie somewhere between those two values.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    With the amount of traveling I do, a spare is a must.

    Also with the nature of some of the roads around the country, one bad hit to a pot hole and forget about using a “can of goo” and an air compressor. Case in point: In 10 years I never had a flat tire, until hitting a hole in the road when it was dark in Chicago. Lost the right front, and the right rear had a bubble in the sidewall, the spare let me get the car off the road quickly without waiting for a tow truck. I don’t see a purpose to a full sized spare anymore, but a temporary at least should be included.

  • avatar
    slance66

    How much cheaper at non-run flat tires really? $10 a tire? I can’t tell much difference. As for the tires, I went through this debate when I replaced the RFT Continentals on my 07 328xi. I finally trusted the reviews that said RFT had vastly improved and bought a set of Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS. Huge improvement. Suggested them to a friend with a new 3 series convertible and now she loves her car.

    So, for what it’s worth, that’s what I’d put on the Mini.

    • 0 avatar
      Jolgamazatlan

      Hemorrhoids, head-lice, cooties and run-flats are afflictions that should be avoided at all cost. I didn’t want to buy that new BMW because of the Run-Craps, but my wife pleaded with me, so I relented. They were not as bad as I had originally thought ….. they were worse! The worst POS ever invented by a usurper to the title of “Engineer”.

      I won’t tell the story again, as my therapist says I should move on. Suffice to say that one of the finer moments in my life was gazing at them them lying in the dumpster behind the tire shop.

      Kept that car for 7 years, never had a flat and now the Run-Craps are a distant memory, like when I had chicken-pox and was delirious.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Assuming you had one of the early cars with them? Those first gen RFTs WERE utterly terrible. By the time I bought my car in ’11, they were pretty innocuous. I really intended to replace them right away, but they turned out to be good enough that I didn’t bother. Still happy enough with them 3 summers and ~20K later. They are about 1/2 worn.

        My car rides a little bit better and handles no worse on the non-RFT winter tires, but they are also smaller and taller and Z-speed rated vs. H-speed rated. I expect that going to non-RFT higher performance tires when replacement time comes will be a nice improvement, but not dramatic enough for me to take off perfectly good tires. It’s a grocery-getter, not a race car afterall.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      I tried to post some detailed information, but I’m being flagged as spam for including names of a tire site and/or tire manufacturers and/or prices. So I’ll keep it simple: $89 a tire is the difference.

      I wouldn’t purchase run-flats for my own use, but if the vehicle is soon to be traded-in or lease-returned, the best option is to install the cheapest run-flats you can find from a respectable tire manufacturer.

  • avatar
    daver277

    My fuel pump dies more often than I get flat tires.
    It is about as easy to change and hence, I carry a spare FP and don’t worry so much about flats.

  • avatar
    Jolgamazatlan

    krhodes1. The BMW was a 2007. Would you say those were the bad old days for
    Run-flats?

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Very much so. Both in terms of the tire technology, and in that BMW had not yet figured out how to make the suspension work with a tire that has a sidewall with roughly the give of cast iron.

      The second generation tires combined with the suspension changes on the LCI cars make a HUGE difference. *I* can tell the difference between the OEM RFTs and non-RFTs, but I bet 90%+ of owners cannot. The difference does get more dramatic when you get into fashion-victim wheel sizes, but it isn’t much on 17’s or smaller. Current 3rd gen RFTs are supposed to be better yet.

      I suspect that the poster who says that they saved 20lbs per wheel also replaced the boat anchor heavy OEM wheels at the same time. That can easily save 20lbs per corner. BMW wheels look great but they tend to be very, very heavy.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    To put some numbers on this, for my 2011 328i, from The Tire Rack, Continental runflats in 225/45-17 are $168 each and weigh 28lbs. These are actual a generation newer and a speed rating higher (V vs. H) than what are on my car currently, but are basically similar enough. The closest non-RFT Continental tire (EC DWS) is $135 each and weighs 21 lbs. They are W-speed rated, one level higher than the RFT tire.

    They have RFT tires from as low as $155 to as high as $220. Non-RFT range from $75 to $210. Plus some more expensive auto-cross tires that are not comparable.

    So the current variation in both price and weight is not all that bad. Was MUCH worse 10 years ago when these first came out.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      Seven pounds in that size range is an enormous difference in tire weight.

      So your runflats in 225/45-17, for your 230-hp BMW inline six, weigh as much as the non-RFT version of the tire in 285/35-20, which is the rear tire size on a Shelby GT500, which weighs 3900 lbs. and has 652 horsepower.

      I will admit that RFTs are probably a better rim-protector than a standard tire, but that’s about it.

      My wife’s 2000 Passat had 162,000 miles on it when she got rid of it, My 2003 SVT Focus has 114,000+ right now, and my 2011 GTI has 38,000. None of those cars’ spares ever touched the ground (both of the VWs, interestingly, had/have full-size spares).

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Oh, I completely agree. 7lbs IS a lot, and I can feel the effects of the heavy rolling stock. But while I do not have Baruthian talents behind the wheel, I am a keen driver and autocrosser. My Mom would never know the difference, but she would certainly notice not having to stop on the side of the road due to a flat.

        They actually make lousy rim protectors – the sideway is so much harder that impacts are passed right to the wheel. One reason they are so prone to bending and or cracking.

        I haven’t had a flat in nearly 25 years. And I drive upwards of 35K a year total between my cars and rented cars. Which is why I have no problem at all with running non-RFT tires and just carrying a goo compressor in the car.

        But all that said, the technology of runflat tires has improved markedly. They used to be 10-12lbs heavier and ride and handle like they were made out of cast iron, and cost 2X+ as much as conventional tires. Now they are down to 7lbs more, ride and handle nearly as well, and cost $35 more. And ultimately, like it or not as the cost gets closer and closer more and more OEMs will use them. BMW was a trailblazer in this, but they are far from alone now. 10 years from now spare tires will be at best an extra cost option on most cars. It saves the automakers the cost of a wheel and tire, and also having to design in a place to put the thing.

  • avatar
    jjster6

    I’ve had quite a few nails in the tires over the last 10 years (relatively new subdivisio) and 3 full sidewall blow outs where goo wouldn’t handle it. And all 3 blowouts were a fair hike to civilization (>50 miles). I like having a spare, at least a compact one that I can limp home on.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I’m really enjoying reading all the comments as run flat tires are foreign to me .

    ALL our Vehicles have good spares , jacks , lug wrenches and I personally torque the lugs as over enthusiastic tire shop grunts have ruined many a brake drum or brake disc not to mention the difficulty in breaking loose over tightened lugs by hand .

    Am I the only one who’ll willingly ruin a tire by driving it slowly and carefully off the freeway to a safe place to change it ? .

    SWMBO is always instructed to put on the hazard lights and drive as slowly as possible to her destination , I then go change the spare for her , over a decade ago a rim was ruined , so what ? I can buy rims easily , not so easy to replace her .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar

      Nope, been there, done it. Better to shred a tire than have the whole car destroyed because it stopped in an awkward place or maimed because of a dangerous one.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      If I had a non-mechanically inclined spouse, I would probably have RFTs on their car even if it had a spare. It’s extra peace of mind for not a lot more money. Similarly, if I lived in the middle of nowhere I would probably carry a temp spare in my car. For myself, where I live and drive, I am willing to take the risk and just have a goo compressor kit, but I can see the argument if you have spouse and/or family.

      And I am with you on the torqueing of lug nuts to the point that I RARELY let garages touch my wheels. If I need new tires, I take the wheels off at home and take them to the shop loose. Too many times on too many cars I have had to break out the pipe extension to get the lug nuts off, including on my Rover last year!

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Discount tire does my rotations (for free) and you’ll see them using a torque wrench on all 32 lug nuts.
        Great prices and great service, if only I could get free alignments.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Discount Tire is an example of a company that totally gets the concept of how to earn, and importantly, MAINTAIN the loyalty of their customers.

          They are 100% straight up with customers (women or men), charge absolutely fair prices, and have the best customer service and most competent employees/managers BY FAR, of any tire chain.

          Neither I nor anyone I know has yet to have anything but good things to say about Discount; they make most (not all) competitors seem like scumbags by contrast

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            I agree, Discount tire is the only chain service/etc center I’ve ever let touch my vehicles, and they have never let me down.
            I hawkeye them when they’re working on my vehicles, I’ve never seen anything of the slightest concern.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            The only thing bad that I can say about Discount Tire is that they did a shameful job of installing the studs on the tires my buddy ordered online. Many were sticking out way too far, which results in drastically reduced stud life. I would think it’s not easy on the road, either. We try to purchase factory-studded tires, but it’s not always an option in Canada, where winter tire selection is very limited in comparison to Europe. So he ordered his Duratracs from Tire Rack this year and they look perfect.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Sadly the closest Discount Tire to me is in OH, which is a good 600 miles away. Not really convenient.

  • avatar
    WheelMcCoy

    I knew this subject would produce interesting comments from the B&B. Thanks all.

    Sajeev is wise about not getting too deep in the middle of things. This subject came up over dinner, and I gave my point of view, and never brought it up again. But I’d like to add for the B&B, if BMW wants to push RFT, they need to support the supply chain in a similar way that Tesla is supporting charging stations. RFTs won’t take off if replacements are hard to come by.

    Anyway, the couple traded in their MINI and leased a CPO 2014 BMW 328ix with 7000 miles on it. They went for a lease because they know BMWs can be as troublesome as MINIs, and it would be better to let someone else own the problems 3 years later.

    Meanwhile, I am waiting for the opportune time to tell them that once they get the “driving fun” out of their system, they will finally learn to appreciate the reliability of a Toyota. :)

    I can hear Sajeev whispering, “Say that, and you won’t get invited to dinner ever again.”

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Anecdote does not equal data, but my Mom’s Prius-V has had notably more issues than my 328i over the same time and mileage (3.5yrs, ~32K miles). The difference is not nearly as vast as you might think. The difference in how the cars drive IS that vast though. You get what you pay for, and sometimes the purchase price is only the down payment. :-)

      Though I will say that despite being theoretically German Engineered, Mini’s have always seemed to have rather traditional British build quality. I say that with love as a P38 Range Rover victim, er, I mean very happy owner.

  • avatar
    WheelMcCoy

    CNET’s Brian Cooley did a very good video on run-flats:

    http://www.cnet.com/videos/smarter-driver-understanding-run-flat-tires/

    From July 2013, the info is current and my take away is:

    1. run flats can cost 25% more than regular tires
    2. a run flat tire can weigh 5 pounds more a regular tire
    3. run flats still aren’t easily available
    4. traditional spares and tires have also improved

    He also mentions the pros of run flats.

  • avatar
    andrewallen

    Nip round to the local scrap yard and buy some second hand run flats off another mini?
    As far as spares go if you get a flat what happens if the locals think you are a witch? South Africans have burnt 12 witches or so this year already. They already know you are filthy rich, you are driving a vehicle, that’s why they strew the road with puncture causing devices.

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