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How To Identify Run Flat Tyres: Traits + Markings + Look

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Learning how to identify run flat tyres is a matter of checking three different parts of your car. Here are their traits, markings, and overall appearance.

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  • How To Identify Run Flat Tyres: Traits + Markings + Look

Run flat tyres differ from other models or designs because of their reinforced sidewalls. In the event of a puncture, they can still operate for a time without blowing out, bending the wheel well, or going flat. This provides you with additional time to reach a tyre repair centre.

While they're more expensive, run flats do have many advantages that offset the cost and add value to your driving experience. As such, if you've purchased your car second-hand, it's worthwhile knowing if you already have run flat tyres.

This can provide you with peace of mind, should you puncture a tyre. Instead of pulling over and calling for road-side assistance, you can safely drive to the nearest garage instead. On the flipside, if you believe you have run flat tyres and don't, you may continue to drive on the deflated tyre and hurt your car's suspension, wheel wells, or even lose control of the vehicle.

Just as importantly, if one tyre does need a replacement, you will need to purchase another run flat tyre to match the others, or replace your full set to normal tyres. Mix-matching tyres is not only dangerous, but often illegal. So, how can you tell which tyres you have?

Here's how to identify run flat tyres by yourself:

Check If You Have A Spare Wheel

If you own run flat tyres, you don't need to carry a spare wheel. After all, they can be driven even when punctured, which eliminates the stress of needing to change a wheel at the roadside. As such, if you do find a spare wheel in your car, it's likely that your car is fitted with normal tyres.

Note that run flats cannot be repaired. Their design and tread thickness mean that they survive well enough to reach a garage, but their structure weakens if damaged. Patch jobs cannot return a run flat tyre to its original strength, so it becomes dangerous to repair and continue driving on them.

Look At The Markings On The Tyre

Of course, the spare tyre may have been used and not replaced in your car. That makes this second check necessary.

Look over the markings on each of your tyres. Depending on the brand, run flat tyres will be marked with one of these three codes:

  • ROF : Used by brands like Goodyear, Bridgestone, and Dunlop. It stands for "Run On Flat."
  • EMT : Also used by Goodyear. It stands for "Extended Mobility Technology."
  • ZP or ZPS : Used by Michelin, Yokohama, and a few others. It stands for "Zero Pressure System."

All three markings are essentially the same; your tyres can be used while punctured for up to 50 miles (when kept under 50 mph). Be sure to note this limit, however. Using run flats for longer distances and at greater speeds may result in dangerous splitting or blowouts.

Check Your Owner's Manual

Some modern cars are equipped with run-flat tyres automatically. As such, you can check the owner's manual to see if it details the current or recommended tyres for your car. This won't tell you if a previous owner modified the tyres, but it can make it clear if your manufacturer installed them.

Need Help Identifying Your Tyres?

If you're still struggling to tell the kind of tyres you own, reach out to the experts at Autofusion. We're happy to evaluate the tyres, explain the design, model, or manufacturer they apply to, and help you replace them if necessary. Our expert mechanics are here to help.