• Sign in
  • |
  • Sign up

Car News

Run-Flat Tires Receive Low Marks In Study

RELATED READING
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs Infiniti cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon

author photo by Doug DeMuro
  • Shoppers don't like run-flats for cost and wear
  • Low rolling resistance tires also receive bad marks
  • Michelin scores highest among tire makers

A new study shows that many drivers don't like two new types of tires offered by several automakers. According to the new JD Power Tire Customer Satisfaction Study, many drivers are unhappy with run-flat tires and fuel-saving low rolling resistance tires.

Run-flats earned the most scorn from car owners. As suggested by their name, run-flats benefit drivers by resisting punctures. Most run-flats can stay inflated for 100 miles or more after a puncture, giving drivers time to visit a repair facility. They also reduce vehicle weight and improve gas mileage, since cars with run-flats don't need a spare tire. But drivers don't like run-flat tires since they tend to wear more quickly than normal tires. And when it comes time for replacement, they can often be more expensive.

Automakers have noticed the backlash against run-flats. While Honda once used the tires on several new models, the brand no longer offers them. The decision came after a class-action lawsuit that alleged unreasonable tread wear and high replacement costs. BMW still offers run-flats on most models, including the popular 3- and 5-Series. And General Motors also uses the tires on some upscale models, such as the Cadillac ATS and CTS, as well as on the Chevrolet Corvette sports car. But many other brands have shied away from the tires.

The JD Power study also found a negative reaction to most low rolling resistance tires. These tires use a new technology that reduces the effort required to roll. As a result, low rolling resistance tires also boost gas mileage. But most shoppers don't understand the benefit.

According to JD Power, the main problem is that shoppers believe low rolling resistance tires compromise traction and durability. In reality, the traction loss and shorter lifespan of these tires is likely minimal. But shoppers seem to think choosing a low rolling resistance tire means putting gas mileage ahead of safety.

"Consumers don't fully understand the benefit of low rolling resistance tires," said Brent Gruber, director of JD Power's automotive division. "They believe they are forfeiting important aspects of tire performance by opting for low rolling resistance tires, yet don't know how much improvement in fuel efficiency they should expect in return."

JD Power says that problem could be solved by more education about the tires. Increased marketing, for example, may help shoppers understand the benefits of low rolling resistance tires. That's important, since many car brands are trying hard to boost gas mileage -- and the tires can increase fuel economy between one and four percent. That's why they're often used on economy cars like the Dodge Dart Aero and Chevrolet Cruze Eco.

The JD Power Tire Customer Satisfaction Study also showed drivers favor Michelin tires. In both luxury and mainstream segments, Michelin tires scored higher than rivals from Pirelli, Goodyear, Firestone and other brands.

What it means to you: Shoppers considering run-flats or low rolling resistance tires should consider the pros and cons before deciding to buy a set.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Close 
Run-Flat Tires Receive Low Marks In Study