I have been giving this some thought lately as our Mini Cooper has had to have 3 run-flat tires replaced in the past 20 months. Why? Well, the first one was because I did not know you could actually patch run-flats…the dealer said no and proceeded to put a new on on the car after a tiny nail made the “YOUR TIRE IS FLAT” warning light go off. The second and third one was because A. one had a blow-out and B. they wearing really funny because the alignment was off. So we replaced the two back ones. Now we are back to having 4 fully functional, almost new tires on the Mini. But the reason I wanted to write this article was because of a conversation I had with the guy at my local tire shop.
Discussing these run-flats and replacing two of them was going to be an expensive endeavor. They were about $250 a piece…not cheap by any means. Tires this size should be about $120-$150 each if they were not run-flats…but the Mini came with run-flats so that is what we were using. But I had read somewhere that you could use regular tires and eliminate the run-flats from the equation altogether, and I figured maybe we should do that because even 4 brand new non run-flats would cost me less than 2 run-flats. But here is where the guy at the tire shop stepped in and told me something I had not thought about…and not because he wanted to sell me more expensive tires.
See, the Mini was my car…until I started working from home and no longer needed a car. So we sold my wife’s Toyota and she took the Mini. Quite a trade up! I lost my favorite car of all time but she gained a really nice ride to work. If the Mini was still mine, I probably would have gone with non run-flats…after all, if I had a flat tire somewhere, I could just pull over and change it. No biggie, I have been doing that since I was 16. But my wife…that’s where the tire guy stepped in. He told me to think about her having a blow out on the freeway or in some bad neighborhood and having to deal with the flat by herself. Without hesitating, I said “Put on new run-flats”…no questions asked. Cost was not a factor…having these tires on the car would enable my wife to continue driving even if she got a flat. They go up to 50 MPH for over 50 miles, which is definitely far enough to get her home in any case.
Sometimes piece of mind is worth the price of admission. I have to admit the run-flats ride a little harder than “regular” tires, but knowing that she can get home from anywhere with no problems is worth a little suffering. Even with the blow out she had on the freeway, she was able to continue driving for 10 minutes – enough time to get off the freeway and into a church parking lot where she could deal with the problem.
Honestly, I don’t think I will ever put anything but run-flat tires on her cars in the future…safety is way more important than keeping a few hundred bucks in the bank account.