A long time ago I suggested that, when it comes time to get tires, that you skip getting run flats and go with a normal tire. Improved ride and handling, plus they are cheaper. I still think that is the way to go.

Pictured is the Pirelli Eufori@ Run Flat and it costs $US205 from tires.com for a 205/45r-17. For comparision, the same size Kumho Ecsta AST non-runflat costs $US99. On a set of 4, that’s a huge savings!

“But db”, you say, “what happens if I get a flat?”

Most of the time, at least for me, flats happen when I’m near either my house or work. I’ve been lucky to not get a flat during a road trip or when I was in unfamiliar territory (or a desolate stretch of I-70). I’m also a huge cheapskate as I’ve mentioned before, and paying an extra $US400+ for a set of tires doesn’t work for me. Finally, I have a spare, so I don’t worry about it.

But for you that don’t have a spare, might I recommend the following.

  • For everyday around town driving, keep an extra wheel with tire at home. You get a flat between home and work, or driving around town, you could easily have someone fetch that and bring it, along with the required tool, to you. Handy too for those morning when you wake up to a flat tire. That’s the worst! To save a few bucks, the wheel doesn’t even have to match, just make sure it is the same diameter (16″, 17″, 18″)
  • For longer drives (3-4 hours), get a can of fix-a-flat or a AAA Card or both. Carry the spare if you are going to be travelling on roads less traveled or desolate areas.
  • For even longer drives (MTTS anyone?), maybe carry that spare wheel mentioned above in the back seat. You can get covers for them to they don’t make the interior all icky and you can pick up a bottle jack at every automotive parts store on the planet.

Run flat tires are expensive, don’t provide the greatest ride (although on the R56/R55 it is better than the R53) and don’t handle as well as their non-runflat counterparts. Also, if you have a Cooper, you already have a spare tire (check under the boot and read your manual), so getting run-flats isn’t necessary.

Comments are open if you have anything to add or want to ask a question.

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  1. I went with a used donut spare from a chevy cobalt ($50). Got it at a salvage yard (caveat: you can only use it on the rear). It fits in the spare compartment in my clubby S. I’m not sure about how it would fit in the coupe.

  2. One caveat – depends what wheels and MINI you have. I switched to non-runflats but had TERRIBLE trouble when one failed on my GP, hundreds of miles from home. I had a skinny spare, but no jack (my fault) and no tire place was able to work on the GP because it is so low.
    I’m back with runflats now. But yes, they are crazy expensive.

  3. OOOh, hate to say this, but I miss run flats on my MINI. I’ve had 5 flats since February. Not a single one was from a puncture.

    My TPMS sensors/valve stems keep loosening up, letting out the air, and then telling me they went flat. Its happened at all four corners at least once.

    The dealer is taking care of me, but they also give me the ‘you are crazy’ look, because no one else has EVER come in for this.

    I carry a tiny wrench and an air compressor now, and I don’t trust the MINI to get me there any more.

  4. Are you running after-market wheels Matt? I’ve never heard of that problem with the TPMS sensors before, especially not happening to all 4 wheels of the car.

    I hope your dealer gets you sorted out. That’s crazy!

  5. I just switched to non-runflats on my 03′ MCS and the ‘flat tire indicator’ is now flashing. can i remedy this or is it something i need to deal with now that i made the switch?

    1. You can reset the light by pressing the button under your parking brake. Once reset, it shouldn’t come back unless you actually have a flat.

      The problem comes because (I’m guessing) the tires that you replaced the runflats with are a different size. That’s normal, since you changed the overall aspect ratio of the tire.

      Like I said, resetting should clear it and you won’t have that problem again.

  6. I’m in the vast minority: I actually like my runflats. I’ve got three sets of wheels and tires, and there’s just something about my runflats that I prefer.

    I’ve got Web Spokes with the Hankook Ventus v10’s, and like them, but not as much as my runflat OEM Goodyear Eagle NCT 5 EMT.

    Maybe I’m going crazy? :-)

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