In the mag recently I wrote about a puncture I got in the 1M which required a visit to my local Kwikfit – who’s instant reaction was to say; ‘sorry guv, can’t fix that, it’s a runflat.’
In the end, once I’d told them that the 1M isn’t fitted with runflats, they whipped the nail out of the tread, performed a five quid repair and that was that. I was on my way – whereas had the car indeed been fitted with a runflat it would have cost around £350. Or so I thought.
It has been brought to my attention, however, that quite a few BMW owners who have suffered minor punctures with runflat tyres have been told this exact same advice by their local tyre fitter – and yet Bridgestone now reckons that, provided the tyres are ‘run in accordance with instructions when punctured,’ they can be repaired, just as conventional tyres can, so long they haven’t been run at high speed with an unusually large load, or for a long period of time.
Only if you see obvious discolouration from temperature abuse or balls of rubber within the tyre itself (ie obvious internal degradation) does the tyre need to be introduced to the bin, says Bridgestone.
Which means there’s either been an heroic break down in communication between the tyre companies and the local outfits that fit them, or a more devious power is at work. Either way, if a punter walks into his local tyre outfit and asks for advice, and that advice is; sorry squire, that’s a runflat, we can’t and aren’t allowed to fix it (which is precisely what I was told by two different fitters), what’s the punter going to do? He’s going to swallow hard and cough up for a new tyre, most likely, even though in some instances he – or she – doesn’t actually need a new tyre.
Trouble is, if tyre fitters are inadvertently giving out wrong information (and my opinion is that there is no evil conspiracy at work here within the tyre fitting fraternity), surely it’s the tyre companies themselves who should be putting them straight – although having said all that, selling customers brand new replacement parts for parts that don't actually need replacing has long been a way to get ahead...