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Best Run Flat Tires

There are the many different run flat tire to choose from. We’ll break down the best choices to consider and what actual customers have to say about each tire.

Many cars and even trucks today don’t come with a spare tire, or they come with a space saver spare tire. A flat tire is an inconvenience under the best of circumstances, but getting a flat in an unsafe area and with a difficult to use emergency replacement tire can be dangerous.

Many manufacturers, such as BMW for instance, rely heavily on run flat tires instead of providing a spare. This saves space and does away with the need to change a tire on the side of the road. You can simply keep driving until you get home or to your local tire shop to have it replaced.

Best Run Flat Tires

The best run flat tires that are self sealing are Pirelli Seal Inside, Continental ContiSeal, and Michelin selfSeal. Some of the best traditional self-supporting run flat tires are Yokohama ZPS, Bridgestone DriveGuard, and Michelin ZP lines.

There are lots of great run flat tires on the market today. Run flat tire technology has been evolving since its invention and some of the downsides that pushed many to keep their conventional tires have be solved.

Tires generally fall into one of three main categories – All-Season, Summer, and Winter.

Within these are typically performance or touring tires. Performance tires prioritize traction in dry and wet conditions but tend to have shorter life spans. Grand touring tires prioritize comfort and noise in exchange for extreme performance.

It’s important to distinguish between the type of tire design and as well as the type of run flat design to understand which one will be best for you and your needs.

Quick links to jump to each tire review:

All-Season > Performance > Self-Sealing: Pirelli P Zero All Season Plus Seal Inside
All-Season > Performance > Self-Supporting: Yokohama AVID ENVigor® ZPS
All-Season > Touring > Self-Sealing: Michelin® Primacy™ Tour All Season Self Seal
All-Season > Touring > Self-Supporting: Bridgestone DriveGuard

Summer > Performance > Self-Sealing: Pirelli P Zero (PZ4) Sport Seal Inside
Summer > Performance > Self-Supporting: Michelin® Pilot® Super Sport ZP
Summer > Touring > Self-Sealing: Pirelli Cinturato P7™ with Seal Inside
Summer > Touring > Self-Supporting: Bridgestone Potenza S007A RFT

Winter > Performance > Self-Sealing: Pirelli Sottozero™ 3 with Seal Inside
Winter > Performance > Self-Supporting: Michelin® Pilot® Alpin® PA4™ ZP
Winter > Touring > Self-Sealing: Continental VikingContact™ 7 with Seal Inside
Winter > Touring > Self-Supporting: Pirelli SottoZero Serie II Run Flat

Let’s take a closer look.

Types Of Run Flat Tires

As run flat tires have evolved, the methods of dealing with a punctured tire and maintaining tire pressure have as well.

Let’s briefly review the different types of run flat tires and explain the pros and cons of each type.

Self-Sealing Run Flat Tire Diagram

Self-Sealing

The simplest and arguably best run flat tires are the self-sealing run flat. Self-sealing tires have a lot of benefits, but they aren’t a perfect solution for everyone.

Self-sealing run flat tires perform like conventional tires in almost every way. They are constructed essentially the same as traditional radial tires with the exception of the addition of an extra layer build into the inner layer of the tire that will seal around an object that punctures the tire.

They will also seal a hole left by an object that is pulled out of a tire that is as large as 3/16″. Tires with punctures much larger than this can not be repaired whether they are a run flats or not.

The self-sealing materials used in these tires form a permanent patch in the puncture automatically and require no repair. They will also not lose any meaningful amount of air pressure when punctured. The seal forms almost instantly.

Usually the driver will not even be aware that there has been a puncture. They will continue driving blissfully unaware there was ever an incident. The patch will continue to hold and no action needs to be taken by the owner.

If there is a foreign object still embedded in the tire, like a screw or nail, it can safely be removed and the tire will seal back around the puncture immediately.

The one downside to this type of run flat tire is that it is unable to deal with larger punctures. Anything large than 3/16″ will not be able to properly seal the hole and will still leave you stranded on the side of the road.

Pros

  • Automatically seals punctures up to 3/16″
  • Tire construction is identical to conventional radial tires and performs the same

Cons

  • Can’t run flat with zero pressure
  • Will fail to seal punctures larger than 3/16″ and fail, leaving you stranded
Self-Supporting Run Flat Tire Diagram

Self-Supporting

Self-supporting run flat tires are what most people think of when they think of a run flat tire. These are tires that have stiffer sidewalls that are reinforced to allow the tire to support the weight of the car or truck without the help of air pressure.

These tires are capable of being driven on without air in them for up to 50 miles at a speed no greater than 50 miles per hour. This means that when your tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) detects a significant drop in pressure, you will need to immediately find a safe place that you can then deal with the problem.

You will need to pay close attention to the TPMS indicator since run flat tires can be difficult to “feel” when flat tires occur. You will want to check the individual pressures of each tire to determine if the tire is simply low or completely flat. This is especially true if you’re driving at highway speeds.

Not all TPMS systems are capable of detecting the actual tire pressure and may only be able to alert you to a pressure inconsistency in one of the tires. If this is your situation, you will need to pay special attention to this warning and check the pressures of your tires manually every time this type of TPMS warns you of a problem.

Self-supporting run flat tires are known for their harsh ride quality due to the very stiff sidewall design. This can be quite uncomfortable, especially with low profile tires and vehicles with stiffer suspensions.

It should also be noted that a conventional tire or self-sealing run flat will be lighter than heavier run flat tires with self-supporting sidewalls.

Pros

  • Can run flat with zero pressure
  • Can provide 50 miles of range at up to 50 miles per hour

Cons

  • Harsh ride quality
  • Heavier than a conventional tire or self-sealing run flat tires
Auxiliary-Suported Run Flat Tire Diagram

Auxiliary-Supported

Auxiliary-supported run flat tires are similar to having a tire within a tire. Inside the tire is a support ring that is mounted to the wheel. It is structurally supportive and allows you to continue driving until you can reach a safe location.

It works a lot like self-supporting run flat tires with the exception that you won’t have the harsh ride quality associated with the stiffer sidewall.

Unfortunately, auxiliary-supported tires have a few significant downsides that have prevented their acceptance in the marketplace. Expense is the largest issue. They require a specially-designed wheel to allow the mounting of the inner support ring. They also have never achieved significant volume production to allow replacement costs to come down.

Michelin had an auxiliary-supported run flat design known as PAX which they have discontinued due to vehicle manufacturers not being willing to back the design and help Michelin bring it into mainstream acceptance.

Pros

  • A run flat design that eliminates the harsh ride quality of traditional self-supporting sidewall run flats

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Requires a unique wheel designed to support this system
  • Not widely available

Best All-Season Run Flats

All-season tires are ideal tires for many that live in climates that don’t see extreme winter weather conditions. They’re designed to deal with hot summer weather, dry and wet surfaces, and still be capable of dealing with light snow.

They are less ideal for higher elevations and northern climates since those require better snow traction in winter months.

All-season run flat tires bring together two aspects of tires that allow you to greatly reduce having to pay attention to your tires. They don’t need to be swapped for many due to seasonal needs, and they can safely get you home after what would normally be a flat tire situation.

All-season tires come in a few different designs depending on your unique needs. Let’s go over our picks for the best run flat tires for each all-season run flat type.

Performance All-Season Run Flat Tires

High performance all-season tire designs are common on everything from sporty BMW models and high end sports cars such as Corvettes, to Toyota Camry’s with owners that want better traction and shorter stopping distances on dry and wet surfaces.

Performance means safety when it comes to tires, but performance tires also tend to have a shorter lifespan due to softer rubber compounds.

If you’re concerned with hydroplaning and wet traction, a performance tire will also excel on wet roads.

Self-Sealing


Pirelli P Zero All Season Plus Seal Inside

Pirelli 2654600 PZero All Season Plus Performance Radial Tire - 235/40R18XL 95Y

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Review

General consumer feedback on this tire praises its wet and dry performance but some owners have struggled to get as much mileage as they would have expected. Also, light snow performance was reported as mediocre.

Customer Rating: 7.25 of 10
Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG)
  • Treadwear: 280-500
  • Traction: A-AA
  • Temperature: A
Reseller Links

Self-Supporting


Yokohama AVID ENVigor® ZPS

YOKOHAMA AVID ENVIGOR ZPS all_ Season Radial Tire-245/45RF18 96W

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Review

Consumer feedback on the AVID ENVigor is extremely positive. Even comfort is rated quite good despite this being a self-supporting run flat. Treadwear is also quite good. The only knock is that snow traction is mediocre.

Customer Rating: 7.85 of 10
Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG)
  • Treadwear: 560
  • Traction: A
  • Temperature: A
Reseller Links

Touring All-Season Run Flats

Touring tires are more of a luxury car or highway tire. They are less performance-oriented and tend to have a longer tread life than the softer performance tire designs.

They also provide a more quiet ride and tend to be more comfortable, forgiving and smooth ride than a comparable performance tire.

While they may not have the incredible traction of a performance tire, they’re more than adequate for a daily driver that rarely sees extreme cornering forces or hard braking.

Self-Sealing


Michelin® Primacy™ Tour All Season Self Seal

MICHELIN Primacy Tour A/S, All-Season Car Tire, Sport and Performance Cars - 225/55R18 98V

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Review

Customer feedback on the Primacy Tour All Season is nearly flawless across the board. It’s ranked by owners as nearly perfect in every category aside from snow traction which is only slightly lower than near-perfect.

Customer Rating: 9.0 of 10
Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG)
  • Treadwear: 540
  • Traction: A
  • Temperature: A
Reseller Links

Self-Supporting


Bridgestone DriveGuard

Bridgestone Driveguard All-Season Radial Tire - 255/35R18 94W

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Review

Customer feedback on the Bridgestone DriveGuard is generally quite good overall though not exceptional. It’s reported to have very good traction on dry and wet tarmac as well as good comfort and tread life. Like many all-season run flat tires, it struggles a bit in light snow but can manage.

Customer Rating: 7.9 of 10
Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG)
  • Treadwear: 460-500
  • Traction: A
  • Temperature: A
Reseller Links

Best Summer Run Flat Tires

Summer tires are primarily performance oriented tires that provide excellent grip on dry and wet surfaces. They have tread patterns that are ideally suited to move water out and away from the contact patch more easily than other categories of tire.

Since they’re specialized for warmer weather they don’t need to make compromises to grip in light snow or have rubber compounds that can withstand cold temperatures.

Tread life tends to be slightly lower with a summer tire due to the softer compound used in their construction, but they still typically have a good lifespan.

Performance

Strictly performance-oriented tires perform the best on wet and dry roads but usually at the cost of some comfort and tread life.

This isn’t to say that they are unusually uncomfortable and extremely short lasting, but you can expect a bit of a tradeoff on these to points for superior grip on dry and wet roads.

Self-Sealing


Pirelli P Zero (PZ4) Sport Seal Inside

Pirelli P Zero (PZ4-Sport) 245/45R20 103Y

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Review

Customer feedback is exceptional for the P Zero for dry performance. It also receives very good marks for wet performance and comfort. Unfortunately treadwear is only fair and most customers haven’t spent much time in light snow so there is no feedback on this performance category.

Customer Rating: 7.8 of 10
Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG)
  • Treadwear: 280-500
  • Traction: A-AA
  • Temperature: A
Reseller Links

Self-Supporting


Michelin® Pilot® Super Sport ZP

MICHELIN PILOT SUPER SPORT ZP P335/25ZR2 99(Y) BSW

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Review

Customer feedback on the Pilot Super Sport ZP is good in all categories except dry traction where it is rated excellent.

Customer Rating: 8.375 of 10
Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG)
  • Treadwear: 300
  • Traction: A-AA
  • Temperature: A
Reseller Links

Touring

Summer tires are designed to provide the best possible dry and wet traction. By this definition they are all essentially performance tires. But not all summer tires are strictly performance focused.

Some summer tires are designed to be more of a grand touring tire for luxury cars, SUVs, and trucks. These vehicles demand excellent handling in both dry and wet conditions while also providing a more comfortable and quiet ride quality.

Self-Sealing


Pirelli Cinturato P7™ with Seal Inside

Pirelli CINTURATO P7 Summer Radial Tire - 225/45R17 91W

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Review

Customer feedback on the Cinturato P7 is good across the board, but not excellent. It suffers slightly in the treadwear category but still performs well. It doesn’t get low marks in any category and is a solid performer. It just doesn’t quite rise to the level of incredible.

Customer Rating: 7.95 of 10
Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG)
  • Treadwear: 260-300
  • Traction: AA
  • Temperature: A
Reseller Links

Self-Supporting


Bridgestone Potenza S007A RFT

Bridgestone Potenza S007A Summer Ultra-High Performance Runflat Tire 245/40RF18 93 Y

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Review

Customers give the Potenza S007A RFTs high marks across the board. It gets nearly perfect marks for dry traction and treadwear while all other categories trail only slightly behind. The one exception to this is snow performance. There isn’t enough feedback provided to give a good recommendation on this point.

Customer Rating: 8.525 of 10
Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG)
  • Treadwear: 240-340
  • Traction: A-AA
  • Temperature: A
Reseller Links

Best Winter Run Flat Tires

Winter tires are obviously designed to be the best choice for winter. They do this by using rubber compounds that can withstand freezing temperatures and remain flexible and grippy.

They also have tread designs that give better snow traction by incorporating small slits in the tread blocks called sipes. The sipes help by adding more biting edges to the overall tread pattern and allow a winter tire to get a bit more traction on slipperier surfaces.

A summer tire and even an all season tire will not have be able to cope with temperatures well below 45º F. So even if you don’t deal with much ice and snow, a winter tire is a must if you regularly deal with near or sub-freezing temperatures in winter months.

Whether you choose a performance winter tire or a touring tire, winter tires will provide extra snow traction and also work well in wet conditions when there’s heavy run off from snow melt.

Performance

Even winter run flat tires come in flavors that offer a choice between performance-oriented and comfort-oriented.

Not all winter driving is done on snow and ice. While snow traction is obviously important for a winter tire, traction on dry and wet roads when the temperatures are below freezing is important too.

If you want to maximize traction, handling, and stopping distances, a performance winter tire is the right choice for you.

Self-Sealing


Pirelli Sottozero™ 3 with Seal Inside

Pirelli Winter SottoZero Series 3 Performance Winter Radial Tire - 215/60R16 95H

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Review

Customer feedback on the SottoZero 3 is excellent for wet and dry traction and very good for comfort and treadwear. It’s also very good for snow performance as well. It’s an extremely well rounded winter tire.

Customer Rating: 8.46 of 10
Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG)
  • Treadwear: N/A (Winter Tires Are Exempt From UTQG)
  • Traction: N/A (Winter Tires Are Exempt From UTQG)
  • Temperature: N/A (Winter Tires Are Exempt From UTQG)
Reseller Links

Self-Supporting


Michelin® Pilot® Alpin® PA4™ ZP

MICHELIN Pilot Alpin PA4, Winter Car Tire, Sport and High Performance Cars - 245/50R18 100H ZP

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Review

Customer feedback on the Pilot Alpin PA4 is stellar. It receives incredible feedback across every category. It has slightly better feedback for wet tarmac grip and treadwear but all categories scored exceptionally high.

Customer Rating: 8.92 of 10
Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG)
  • Treadwear: N/A (Winter Tires Are Exempt From UTQG)
  • Traction: N/A (Winter Tires Are Exempt From UTQG)
  • Temperature: N/A (Winter Tires Are Exempt From UTQG)
Reseller Links

Touring

Like with other types of touring tires, a winter touring tire focuses more on a smooth ride than on maximum grip and the ragged edge.

Self-Sealing


Continental VikingContact™ 7 with Seal Inside

Continental VIKINGCONTACT 7 215X50R17 Tire - Winter/Snow, Truck/SUV

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Review

The VikingContact 7 gets extremely good customer feedback ratings across the board. It’s standout feature is comfort, closely followed by its snow performance. It’s worst rating is dry performance but that is still very good.

Customer Rating: 8.8 of 10
Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG)
  • Treadwear: N/A (Winter Tires Are Exempt From UTQG)
  • Traction: N/A (Winter Tires Are Exempt From UTQG)
  • Temperature: N/A (Winter Tires Are Exempt From UTQG)
Reseller Links

Self-Supporting


Pirelli SottoZero Serie II Run Flat

Pirelli W270 SottoZero Serie II 255/40R20 97W

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Review

Customer feedback on the SottoZero Serie II are very good across the board. It scores excellent in wet, dry, and comfort with only snow and tread life dropping into the good range. It’s highest rated category is dry traction and its worst being grip in heavy snow. To keep things in perspective, nothing was rated badly. The worst was a rating of good.

Customer Rating: 8.52 of 10
Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG)
  • Treadwear: N/A (Winter Tires Are Exempt From UTQG)
  • Traction: N/A (Winter Tires Are Exempt From UTQG)
  • Temperature: N/A (Winter Tires Are Exempt From UTQG)
Reseller Links

Resources

Below are some links you may find helpful when learning about tires

Final Thoughts

The best run flat tires for most people are going to be an all season tire. These can handle everything from light snow to summer heat and heavy downpours. Of the all season tire options, grand touring tires are the also the best run flat tires for most people.

This leaves us with the following recommendations:

Self-Sealing:

Michelin® Primacy™ Tour All Season Self Seal

Self-Supporting:

Bridgestone DriveGuard

Most run flat tires will perform similarly when it comes to how well they work compared to similar run flat designs. I prefer self-sealing tires to self-supporting for their smooth ride quality that is similar to regular tires.

You should be aware though that self-sealing tires won’t trigger your tire pressure monitoring system except when pressures are low for temperature fluctuations or catastrophic failure.

If you have run flats as the stock tires on your vehicle, you don’t need to keep using those and can switch to something more highly rated.

About The Author
Will Creech
Will has been an automotive enthusiast since he was old enough to make engine sounds. Formerly a member of the contract training team at Discount Tire, he is unusually knowledgeable on all things related to tires. He is now the owner of and main contributor to TireGrades.com.
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