Tire Comparisons and Durability

Dear Readers:

Do conventional tires have the same durability and performance characteristics as their Run-Flat equivalent (same brand, dimensions and ratings)? I have hardly had any tire problems with with the Michelin conventional tires on my Acura. I’ve used the donut tire maybe three times at most since 1998. Can I make the same assumption if I switch my run-flats to conventional tires on the BMW?


I have never used any run-flat tires nor had to deal with them, but from what I have heard about them, you can expect better tread life and to save a ton of money on replacement cost. Not too sure about performance and handling, but I would expect about the same, maybe a little better. Not using run-flats will also open the door to a wider range of options when it comes time to replace them. You shouldn’t have to worry about this for a while, though, if this is the BMW you just bought a few months ago you have asked questions about before. I have heard most run-flats last anywhere from 20-40k miles, typically.

The ONLY reason they have run-flat tires is so the car makers can take away the spare tire. So, yes, you can switch without installation problems.

Just be aware that your Beemer doesn’t have a spare tire. So, if you do get a flat, you’ll be at the mercy of a tow truck to get you to a tire store. The bright side is that the tire store may be able to plug the conventional tire. The run-flat will need to be replaced. No ethical tire shop will plug a run-flat tire. And, you could always get a spare rim to have a spare tire.

All things being equal, RunFlat tires have worse ride characteristics, but that is the extent of the differences. The reported wear issues are more a function of the type of tire (high performance), the fact that they are OE (Original Equipment), or the vehicles involved (eg BMW’s)

Just be aware that certain types of RunFlat tires (Michelin Pax) are not compatible with conventional tires - and the tire sizes reflect that. Your BMW doesn’t have those, but this note is for others who are not aware of the differences.