Tuesday, 27 November 2012



After many weeks and months of test driving and evaluation,the BMW 3 Series was chosen by the Irish Motoring Writers Association as Continental Car of The Year 2013.
I have read one criticism on the choice, based on the rationale that "it is beyond the affordability of most people". Right so on that rationale many people can't afford a new car so a Fiat Punto is out of the question for everyone else?
Of course there is hardship in Ireland. Many people are out of work and struggling. However nearly two million people are working and these are the people who are buying new cars. They don't need to be reminded constantly how terrible things are. In truth some couples I know spend more on wining and dining per month than the price of some the deals available on 3 series for 2013. The 3 series is a lifestyle choice for some and in terms of value for money, style, environmental friendliness and fuel economy; this car is a great choice. Driving it is an absolute pleasure. For these reasons the 3 series is a worthy winner of Irish Car of the year.
The 3 Series is the first winner of this esteemed title that comes on Runflat tyres as standard.
So what are Runflats? And what are the advantages or disadvantages of same?

Continentals' SSR stands for Self Supporting Runflat Tyre, which pretty much says it all. The sidewall of  Runflats have been reinforced to take the weight of the vehicle in the event of air loss/puncture.
The vehicle can then be driven for up to 100km at a restricted speed 80 KPH in order to get the motorist to a safe place for repair or replacement. All of the other major tyre manufacturers also produce a runflat option and as a standard technology in tyres, they are very much a growth segment. This video gives a very persuasive argument for the use of runflats and demonstrates very clearly what the safety benefits are.

In summary the benefits are,
  • Safety. Handling of vehicle is controlled in the event of a sudden catastrophic tyre failure.
  • Safety. The motorist does not endanger him/herself on the roadside changing the wheel. Fewer lives have been lost on UK motorway sidings in recent years.
  • Mobility. In most case the driver's journey/trip can continue.
  • Space. There is no spare so space is maximised.
  • Weight is reduced with no spare. Resulting in better fuel economy.

However it would be unbalanced to give a totally one sided argument to the use of runflats. There are some disadvantages. Such as.
  • Cost. Runflats are generally more expensive to replace the standard pneumatic. Although the gap is gradually closing.
  • Availability. Not all tyre shops will carry as large a range as they are a minority fitment.
  • Repairabilty. Is a grey area. Most tyre shops do not repair runflats and repairs are "not recommended" by tyre manufacturers. Resulting in extra cost and waste.
  • Breakdown. In the event of a tyre being shredded or seriously damaged in an impact, the driver will need a tow or callout.
  • Pneumatic or standard tyres arguably gives the driver a smoother better ride.

Ultimately it is you the motorist who makes the decision for or against and in truth we get mixed reports from our customers. We stock a full range of sizes and brands at Heffernan Tyres and it is our view that runflat technology is with us to stay and that more and more vehicles will be coming fitted with them as standard. 
For now, BMW are leading the way. And according to the IMWA, in more ways than one. And I for one, agree with them.


  1. I've been wondering whether run flat tyres are worth the investment. I have a Porsche Cayenne and, whilst I've never had a flat, the guys at EasyWheels have recommended I invest. Are they just upselling or is it a good idea?

  2. Hi Caroline, I suppose the pros and cons as above would go some way to answer answer the question. If you do a lot of driving and the thought of ending up on some motorway siding terrifies you. Well then I would say yes, buy them. I've had so many flats over the years but never on a motorway...yet! I'm not sure what the price difference will be on a Cayenne. In short, yes they are a great idea if you can afford them, Bill

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