Bridgestone Revolutionary DriveGuard Run-Flat Tires Hits COTA
Changing a flat tire is among the most manly things you can do, so we normally don't mind getting a chance to flex our muscles. Unless it's raining. Or you don't have a spare. Or the tire that needs to be changed is on your woman's vehicle, and she is stuck on the side of the road two hours away from you.
Murphy's Law dictates those are the only times you'll ever have a flat tire, when it is least convenient. So then man invented the run-flat tire, a marvel of engineering that will allow you to drive for 50 miles at 50 mph on a flat tire. Over the past decade or so, you've seen them equipped mostly on BMW vehicles. Unfortunately they have a reputation for a stiff ride, rapid wear, and expensive replacement, so the technology hasn't really taken off — until now.
Available in May, DriveGuard is Bridgestone's new line of after market run-flat tires, designed to fit a wide range of vehicles. New technology allows for a more comfortable ride, longer wear warranty, and Bridgestone has managed to get the price down substantially too. The result is a ground-breaking product that we experienced first hand at the Circuit of the Americas. We'll allow this animation to explain in more detail here.
Fancy animations are great, but actually proving it on the road is why they invited us to Austin . While we didn't get to drive full force into road hazards causing our own punctures, we did get to drive at various speeds with a flat Driveguard, and it handled admirably. Along with the requisite TPMS light telling us we had an issue, there was noticeable noise coming from our deflated tire, which increased the longer we drove on it.
Notably, the tire made less noise and seemed to affect handling less at higher speeds. The tire isn't designed for regular driving when flat though, it is designed to safely get your vehicle to a service center where it can be replaced. We were left feeling very comfortable with its ability to get that job done.
Our second test involved laps on the track in a mostly controlled comparison between the Bridgestone DriveGuard, Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus, and OEM tires on a Nissan. Turanza is Bridgestone's premium touring tire, which shares the same tread compound with the new DriveGuards, and is offered at a similar price.
Both the Turanza and DriveGuards handled notably better than the OEM tires, which was to be expected. The real test was comparing the DriveGuards to the Turanza, where we could detect a much lesser variation. For the regular driver (that this product is targeted at), we doubt they would notice much of a difference.
While Bridgestone DriveGuard tires are clearly a premium product, they don't carry nearly the same price tag of previous generation run-flat tires. Combined with the no compromise tread warranty and comfortable ride, DriveGuard is not only compelling, it's a game changer.