Torque Shop

Instead of a spare tyre, I see many cars today are equipped with tyre repair kits. And some have what they call run-flat tyres. Are these superior to the old-fashioned spare tyre?

Carmakers are trying all ways to save weight in a bid to meet ever-rising emission standards.

Replacing the spare tyre with tyre repair kits reduces weight by a few kilograms. But if you consider the space previously devoted to stowing a spare tyre, the weight saving is more significant.

Tyre-repair kits may seem daunting, but they actually come with clear instructions. In a way, using them requires far less effort than changing a flat.

In any case, most spare tyres are not full-size tyres and are meant to be only a temporary fix.

Run-flat tyres, on the other hand, allow you to get to the nearest service station or tyre shop with zero effort.

Their reinforced tyre walls prevent a deflated tyre from collapsing. Cars fitted with run-flats come with onboard tyre pressure monitors, which will tell the driver if there is a flat.

The downside of run-flats is that they tend to give a less comfortable ride than normal tyres because of all the reinforcements. They are also heavier.

Hence, tyre-repair kits may be the trend in the years ahead. At least, until manufacturers are able to come up with air-less tyres which are comparable to traditional tyres.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 11, 2017, with the headline 'Torque Shop'. Subscribe