How Run-flat Tires Work

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Author's Note: How Run-flat Tires Work

I had my laptop open to write this article and had the TV on, too, which is unusual. I never watch TV. I never change tires, either.

But "A Christmas Story" was on, so I decided it was time for my annual indulgence. And I'd forgotten about the "f-bomb" scene -- Ralphie's ill-fated attempt to help the old man change a flat. It was a minor inconvenience, like running low on gas, so I guess people must have gotten good at it. When Ralphie was describing his father's tire-changing prowess, I realized, no one ever changes tires anymore, do they? I can't remember the last time I was in a car that got a flat, or even saw someone with a car on a jack stand on the side of the road. Tires must have gone flat a lot more often back then, and not just because we have run-flats now. Wheels aren't rounder now, right? And I'd find it hard to believe that roads are smoother. Maybe tires aren't universally better, though. Maybe everyone just uses their cellphones to call for roadside assistance -- something Ralphie and his father couldn't do in 1940s Indiana.

Related Articles


  • Consumer Reports. "Tire Buying Guide." Oct. 15, 2012. (Dec. 19, 2012)
  • Goddard, Nick. "How Tony Stewart's NASCAR Tech Trickles Down to Your Car." Popular Mechanics. July 2, 2012. (Dec.19, 2012)
  • State Farm. "Run Flat Tires; Pros and Cons." June 27, 2011. (Dec. 19, 2012)
  • Tire Rack. "Tire Tech Information -- Run-Flat Tires." (Dec. 19, 2012)

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