How to Identify a Run-Flat Tire

by David Lipscomb

Run-flat tires, initially introduced by BMW, are designed to stay on the rim in the case of a catastrophic blowout. These tires are self-sealing, incorporating a gel layer under the tread surface. In the event of a puncture, this gel instantly forms a seal around the debris that caused the puncture or hole. This is generally permanent. Identify run-flat tires by carefully inspecting the tires for specific markings.


Turn on the flashlight. Scan the sidewall of the tire.


Look for markings such as "ZP," "RFT," "SEAL" or an image of a flat tire with an arrow pointing away from it. Use the magnifying glass to pick out these indices, if necessary.


Inspect the rim area of the tire as many run-flat models have plastic, load-bearing slugs in lieu of a traditional rubber rim attached to the wheel.


  • Run-flat tires cannot be retread due to the nature of the internal construction of the tire.
  • Cars equipped from the factory with run-flat tires (every car manufactured after 2008) have a tire pressure indicator on the dash. If this indicator light turns on, have your tires inspected.


  • Many run-flat models specify that you should not exceed 55 miles per hour after puncture.

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About the Author

David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.

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