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Study says run-flat tire customer satisfaction lower

J.D. Power and Associates have conducted a study. The results say that customers are less satisfied with Run-flats than they are with standard designs.

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Run flat tires primarily serve two car segments, performance, and luxury vehicles. A new study by J.D. Power and Associates says that owners of such vehicles prefer non-run flat tires. The preference for non-run flat tires was strongest in the performance car category.

The study surveyed owners of vehicles who have had their car and tires for two full years. That helps to minimize any adjustment that might be expected when a customer accustomed to non-run flats switches over to a new type of tire. The survey asked owners to rate their satisfaction concerning four areas; Tire wear, tire ride, tire appearance, and tire traction/handling. The group then created a 1,000-point scale to rank the satisfaction of the customers. Higher is better.

Importantly, the study also tracked how often owners of both types replaced tires over the first two years. Although the percentage of non-run flat replacements in the first year was slightly higher (10% compare to 7% for run-flats), by the end of two years the run flats are replaced much more often. At least one run-flat being replaced 27% of the time compared to just 16% of non-run flats.

In the performance-sport segment, run flats rated 612. Non-run flats did better in this category with a score of 685. Performance-sport vehicles might be a vehicle like a BMW 335i or Mini Cooper S. In the luxury segment, the non-run flats are again preferred by customers with a comparative score of 712 to 688.

Commenting on this result, Brent Gruber, director, global automotive division at J.D. Power "The use of run-flat tires is likely to increase as automakers continue to view them as a viable option for improving fuel efficiency by eliminating the need for a spare tire, thereby reducing the weight. It's vital that auto and tire manufacturers address the ride and wear issues, which are still not meeting customer expectations.”

The J.D. Power and Associates study shows that customers prefer non-run flat tires and that standard tire designs prove to be more durable that run-flat tires by a significant amount.

Note: One of the most popular and most replied-to posts ever at Torque News is our story from May 2104 called “We put BMW run-flat tires to the test and give them a thumbs-down.” You can read the story at the link. Based on this study, has your opinion of run-flat tires changed at all?

Image courtesy of BMW public information page.

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-hh (not verified)    June 19, 2015 - 10:59AM

Good article, although it has a few holes.

First off, the claim that eliminating the spare tire saves manufacturers weight ignores the fact that runflat tires are heavier than conventional tires ... the net weight savings is essentially zero. What's probably the more likely truth here is that OEM's like to have a little more freedom of design of the volume that would otherwise be occupied by a spare tire wheel well.

Second, what this survey wasn't able to capture is how many customers are now already savvy enough to avoid purchasing brands who are only offering runflat tires on their product.

I fell into this cagatory last year, having passed over BMW (and also Mercedes) to buy a competitive product whose product didn't "feature" runflats. While this is a personal anecdote, it does nevertheless indicate a consumer trend of avoiding such flawed product entirely, which represents a lost sale for those OEMs that offer consumers no reasonable alternatives to runflats.

Donald Schopflocher (not verified)    September 25, 2015 - 10:17PM

Nothing seems to be changing. After having to replace all four of my run flat tires after a flat in one of them at 43500 kms, I have been completely unsuccessful in getting my BMW dealer or the representatives at BMW Canada to make any statement whatsoever about run flat tires or reasonable expectations for their performance or wear. I recommend that anyone purchasing a new BMW insist that it be delivered with a tire wear warranty, or be supplied with non Run flat tires.

Tom Woodward (not verified)    January 7, 2016 - 10:49PM

The OEM tires on our 2015 MINI Countryman S All4 are Pirelli Centurato P7. These run flats are the worst tires ever. In less than 10,000 miles two of the tires have needed to be replaced, which means we lose use of the car for 2 or 3 days. It seems to occur on the weekends every time. No dealer seems to have them in stock and the OEM warranty doesn't honor tread wear. We would have been so much happier with radials and say a collapsable spare. My older MINI has a spare and regular radials and it's a much better combination.

Otis Johnson (not verified)    August 20, 2016 - 7:42AM

I have a 2013 X3 and purchased the extended tire warranty with run flat tires all around. I have had six tires replaced during the time I have owned it and all four tires replaced once due to them being worn out after 30,000 miles. At $50.00 per tire to replace that is $300.00 and I paid $1,892.00 for all four I can honestly say I hate run flat tires due to being dependent on the dealership to replace the tires and in doing the math, I have spent probably four times the amount I would have with regular tires and not had half the wear I would have with conventional tires. To the snobs that say "If you cannot afford a BMW, don't buy it" I say FU! It makes no sense to me that my suspension is not affected when I am driving with one new tire and three fairly worn tires. In reading the reviews, I can see all of this is a big money-grab by the car manufacturers and not about safety. I have had to change out flat tires and also had patches done and the amount of time is significantly less than having to go to the dealership that may or may not be open and getting the tire replaced. With the knowledge that the run flats are significantly heavier than normal tires, I can only imagine the improvement in my X3 performance if I were to switch to regular tires. My two front tires are near their end of life and I am seriously contemplating the switch as it would cost me around $900.00 to replace them versus $800.00 for four new tires and not worry about the rest of my extended tire warranty.

Tom Woodward (not verified)    May 13, 2017 - 11:34AM

In reply to by Otis Johnson (not verified)

I've purchased two sets of new MINI wheels and tires locally on Craigslist. The last set of new 18' wheels and tires cost me $600 for 4. Now I have 8 wheels and tires with Run Flats for summer and a set with Snows for Winter and a Mercedes collapsible spare with adapter in my Countryman just in case. Not worried about losing the car for days, but when the RFs wear out, they're be replaced with standard sidewall performance tires.

We do have a good friend who really has to have the Run Flats, but he's wheelchair bound and isn't able to change a tire on the side of the road. That's the only good use case I can see.

Michael (not verified)    February 14, 2017 - 7:43PM

My BMW 7 series came with run flat Pirelli tires. I have had 4 blowouts in the front tires in the last 24 months. Just don't buy them...the Pirellis or the run flats. I would almost go further to say that this may be my last BMW. It seems that the tires available cannot hold the massive weight of the engine. My dealership was totally unhelpful when I requested insurance for tire damage when I bought the tires.

Amy (not verified)    May 12, 2017 - 11:33PM

I have a BMW 7series with run flats and I absolutely hate them. Not only do they wear out quickly, but they look like they were chewed. They are expensive, which would be okay if their performed was equal to their cost. I know several people that totall ignored BMW and put regular tires on the car and I know others that chose to not buy another BMW. I also have an Escalade that I drive more than double the miles and in all kind of weather/ roads and those tires last longer.

Sandra (not verified)    September 8, 2017 - 3:02AM

I absolutely hate run flats. I agree that manufacturers put the on to make more money. They weren't made to last!!!!! I purchased a new 2014 535i and had to replace 2 tires at 28,000 miles. I was in disbelief. Had to put on 2 more at 34,000. I plan to switch to non run flats when it's time to replace all 4...... Customers should be given a choice between the two. These have to go!

Bill Smith (not verified)    September 10, 2017 - 1:06AM

I wish that this story was not true. Unfortunately, it is and would sooner deposit my new 7 series in the Hudson River than to drive it again. During morning rush hour on a Friday in NYC, I hit a pothole on an exit ramp at no more than 5mph and blew out my run flat on the front driver's side. To escalate my nightmare, during the evening rush hour of the same day while on the entrance ramp from the Bklyn Bridge to the FDR North, I hit a pothole at a 5-10mph and promptly blew out my run flat on the front passenger side. 5 months earlier, I blew out a run flat on the CT turnpike at midnight and BMW did not include the tire lock keys with my new 7series making it impossible to change the tire. Oh, one more thing of note, BMW Roadside Assistance does NOT carry tire lock keys. I have had other memorable moments with run flats on my BMW and suffice it to say, this past Friday marks the last time I will ever drive a car with a run flat and will likely never drive a BMW again.

Sally (not verified)    May 18, 2018 - 12:23PM

I have a 7-series and in the past year have had 4 blow-outs on my run flats. As others have mentioned, dealership is not very helpful. Unfortunately, this will be my last BMW--I've owned 6.

Roy Lee (not verified)    August 23, 2019 - 5:01PM

You BMW lovers, your not alone. We have a 2016 Cadillac CT5 (Performance model) that was shod with Pirelli Centuratos run flats with less than 12,000 miles on it. Last winter my wife and I decided to go to Florida for the winter months away from New England's cold winter weather. We had simultaneous blowouts of a front and rear run flat tire in CT and had to spend an additional half day there while the service personnel scoured the area for run flat replacement tires.

We got to the NJ turnpike, probably less than 150 miles from where in CT we had replaced the two Pirelli run flats earlier, and had one of the "new" Pirellis blow-out. We had to have the Caddie towed off the NJ turnpike to a service station and us to the nearest Holiday Inn. We lost two days in NJ waiting for the tire replacement servicing. The rest of the trip happily was uneventful, but just last month driving home from the local grocery store the left rear wheel sustained a blow-out and had to be replaced. So, that's four Pirelli P7 Centurato tires being replaced at more than three hundred dollars each in less than six months and all tires having less than 15,000 miles! It's not only unbelievable but is a travesty to the bequiled consumer. The Pirelli P7 Centurato run flat tire product should be taken off the market and its poor performance reported to DOT.

Gregory Raines (not verified)    September 22, 2021 - 7:48PM

Here I sit tonight in a Holiday Inn Express when my reservation was actually at a Marriott resort 150 miles away. Yep. Another flat on my BMW 650i. This is the 5th
low profile flat in the 13 months. One in Charlotte, NC. One in Charleston, WVA. One in Berkley, WVA. One in Richmond, VA, and now one in Plymouth, Ind. Shame on BMW. Shame on Dunlop and Bridgestone. This is supposed to be a high end luxury touring vehicle. Why would anyone trust this car or these tires on a trip?
I actually bought and put a spare in the trunk based on my experience. Silly me. The spare was the size for the front. The rear tire is the one that went flat...