Bridgestone Americas Inc. has launched a line of tires designed to combine run-flat capability with the smooth ride of a conventional tire. The company says DriveGuard tires are the first full line of mass-market replacement tires available for coupes, sedans and wagons not originally equipped with run-flat tires.
Advancements in Bridgestone’s run-flat technology enable DriveGuard tires to travel up to 50 miles at maximum speeds of 50 miles per hour if a puncture or loss of pressure should occur. The company says DriveGuard tires may be repaired in certain circumstances depending on tire damage, amount of pressure loss and vehicle operating conditions.
DriveGuard tires are available in the United States and Canada for coupes, sedans and wagons with tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), and come with a 50,000 to 60,000 mileage tread wear warranty. DriveGuard tires are available in 32 sizes, 15-inch to 19-inch rim diameters and 35 to 65 series.
Similar run-flat technology has been available as original equipment on select premium vehicles. Unlike some earlier generations of run-flat tires, DriveGuard tires deliver the quiet, comfortable ride and confident handling of a premium touring tire, according to Bridgestone.
We’re marketing this as a touring tire,” says Robert Saul, senior product manager. Bridgestone is using the Turanza Serenity Plus, a premium touring tire, for comparison purposes. Because the two tires share the same tread compound, they have similar wet, dry and snow performance.
“I’m not going to say they are exactly the same, each tire has a unique characteristic. DriveGuard, even though it’s a run-flat tire, will deliver comparable ride comfort to the Turanza Serenity Plus. It doesn’t mean it’s as quiet and comfortable and serene as the Turanza because that’s what the Turanza excels at so there’s still a reason to have both of those products in our portfolio. But this run-flat tire can run toe to toe with the touring tire and a lot of people would have a hard time telling the difference.”
The DriveGuard tire will be priced comparably to the Turanza Serenity Plus tire in a similar size and speed rating.
Bridgestone says its market research shows the benefits of a run-flat tire “resonate” with consumers in the safety segment, defined as one in four consumers. According to the company’s research, 88% of consumers in the safety segment say they are likely or very likely to buy the tire.
Consumers have the choice of an 80,000-mile wear warranty and ride of a premium touring tire versus a 50,000- or 60,000-wear warranty and run-flat capability, according to Jamie McNutt, manager of tire development and engineering.
“There’s no competition. This is a brand new market for us. That’s why it’s so exciting. It’s a replacement. It can go in a wide variety of vehicles instead of just the performance vehicles. In order to use these DriveGuards you need TPMS and you need the size that it fits and that’s it.”
Bridgestone will begin shipping the DriveGuard tire in the following sizes on May 1:
For more information, visit www.DriveGuard.com.