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Bridgestone DriveGuard, a Run Flat designed for all vehicles

New tyres Published the 22/01/2016 by Julien Taillandier

Bridgestone has just launched a tyre on the market that should set a precedent: the DriveGuard. The first product featuring run flat technology that can equip all vehicles on the market provided they are fitted with a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS).

Flat tyre driving with the Bridgestone DriveGuard DriveGuard Flat tyre driving with the Bridgestone DriveGuard, the first run flat tyre suitable for all vehicles - Copyright © : Bridgestone

Run Flat describes the technology that allows a tyre to be driven flat. An undeniable security advantage when punctures occur in areas at risk, which is, however, not without usage constraints and above all, is reserved for a small category of vehicles. Indeed, the run flat technology results in a very stiff tyre that is sometimes uncomfortable. The Run Flat tyre is also more expensive, heavier with poor energy efficiency and reserved for vehicles with a suitably tuned suspension. But, that was before.   

A run flat tyre for all vehicles

With the launch of the DriveGuard, Bridgestone has completely changed the ground rules. Indeed, this new tyre aims to make Run Flat technology accessible to all cars. The only condition is that cars are equipped with a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS), as required by the regulations for all vehicles sold since November 2014.

In order to generalise this technology while eliminating its main constraints, Bridgestone has primarily focused on the tyre’s structure. Stiffness had to be improved to offer a product almost as comfortable as a standard tyre. To achieve this, Bridgestone has significantly improved the tyre’s sidewalls, there where much of the run flat technology can be found, and which is also behind the constraints in using this type of tyre.

The tyre manufacturer has worked on a lighter weight construction (10% lighter) and the distribution of constraints when the tyre is flat, and its ability to dissipate heat in these conditions.

Bridgestone DriveGuard Punctured Copyright © : Bridgestone

The test: conclusive

The aim of the driving session organised by Bridgestone was to show us that the DriveGuard is a real Run Flat tyre! As such, the test started with a 20 kilometre route including a mountain pass and a high speed section in a vehicle equipped with run flat tyres! The first kilometres highlighted the characteristic noise of a punctured tyre... prompting us to remain cautious. But in terms of driving, it must be said that it is virtually impossible to know that a tyre has no pressure. The vehicle holds steady and delivers decent all round performance. Reasons that explain why it is MANDATORY to have a tyre pressure monitoring system on vehicles equipped with DriveGuard tyres. Indeed, an unfamiliar driver could easily drive with a punctured DriveGuard tyre without realising it.

Don’t forget, Run Flat technology only aims to get you to the nearest garage at a lower speed (50miles at a maximum speed of 50 mph).

Testing the DriveGuard in a standard driving configuration allowed us to appreciate that it is not as stiff as a standard Run Flat tyre. The steering response is similar to that of a Turanza T001, a premium tyre from this tyre manufacturer.

Tests organised by the standard test organisations will allow us to assess its real level of performance.

BBridgestone DriveGuard on RenaultCopyright © : Bridgestone

For whom, at what price?

Remember, all vehicles equipped with a TPMS system can fit this tyre, including those approved with Run Flat tyres as original equipment, such as certain BMW’s.

The DriveGuard will be available from March 2016 for 15 to 18 inch rim diameters. Other sizes will be available during the year.

It is mainly designed for compact and saloon cars. Its price should fall in line with standards for premium products on the market, therefore, about 10% cheaper than a standard Run Flat tyre.