If you've visited a Firestone auto repair center or one of their subsidiary Tire stores (Wheel Works, Tires Plus, etc.) one of the service advisers probably told you about Bridgestone's new DriveGuard tires. Bridgestone has made the claim DriveGuard is the first full line of mass-market replacement run flat tires available for regular cars. That means non-Luxury in case you are not aware. 🙂
What are Run Flat Tires?
Run flat tires allow a driver to keep driving when they get a puncture in the tread of their tire. Punctures usually occur when your tire picks-up a nail or screw on the road. It can start to loose air slowly but most of the time you will probably hear the tire loosing air and it will be a major time suck in your day when you get out of your car and start swearing.
If you get a puncture and start to loose air in a run flat tire, a dash warning light is triggered by the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) in the vehicle dashboard. This alerts the driver that you have a low tire. Run flat tires have stiffer sidewalls which prevent the sidewall of your tire from collapsing even if they loose air pressure. This allows you to drive to a tire shop or auto repair shop nearby to get a new run flat.
Why should I buy run flats?
A poll, obviously conducted by Bridgstone, that surveyed 2,800 U.S. drivers age 18 years of age and older showed that nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of drivers have experienced a flat tire, and 61 percent said this would really suck and ruin their day.
Based on the survey, 60 percent of people say they know how to change a flat tire however 64 percent of them would still call a roadside assistance service or friend for help. Women drivers are more than twice as likely to call for help as men (86 percent versus 41 percent), with only 14 percent of women saying they would change a flat tire themselves. Whereas 59 percent say they would change a flat tire.
Considering that most people don't check their spare tire for proper inflation… ever and a lot of new cars don't come with a spare tire these days, run flat tires look like an attractive option.
What are run DriveGuard tires?
This is Bridgestone's new line of run flat tires aimed at the mass consumer market. Essentially this means that these run flats are available on Toyotas, Hondas, Mazdas, etc. Usually run flat tires only come factory equipped on luxury vehicles or high end sports car.
DriveGuard tires give “normal people” the ability to continue driving up to 50 miles, or 80 kilometers, at 50 miles per hour if a puncture or loss of pressure should happen on any of your Bridgestone DriveGuard tires.
How do DriveGuard tires work?
Here are some videos detailing how they work.
DriveGuard – Run Flat Technology
DriveGuard – Cooling Fins
DriveGuard – NanoPro
Looks convenient, Can I get DriveGuard tires installed on my car?
DriveGuard tires can be equipped on coupes, sedans, wagons, and hatchbacks.
Bridgestone does not offer them on SUVs, crossovers, minivans, vans or trucks… yet. Also if your car is built pre-2008 and not equipped with Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), which is that annoying light that indicates that your tire pressure is low, than you can't get DriveGuard tires installed. The reason? With stiffer sidewalls that are designed to run for 50 miles at 50 mph it's hard to know if the tire is low by just looking at it. You need some sort of sensor to inform you that it is low. I'm sure this gets ignored by a lot of people though.
DriveGuards come with a 50,000 (80,000 kilometers) to 60,000 (100,000 kilometers) mileage treadwear warranty and are available in 32 t, 15” to 19” rim diameters and 35 to 65 series.
Currently DriveGuard tires are only available in the United States and Canada.
How much are DriveGuard tires?
TireRack, where I'd order tires from, has all available sizes of DriveGuard tires in stock form what I can tell. The smallest size on TireRack was $109 per tire and the largest size was $266 which is inline with what regular tires cost on the market.
Getting tires installed usually costs around $15-$25 per tire. Likely it will vary by what state and city you live in and there could be miscellaneous fees like they have like tax and tire disposal. TireRack can drop ship tires to a shop of your choice so you don't have to lug them around in your car if you want.
Would you get DriveGuard Tires installed on your car?
I have heard complaints from people who have run flat tires on their cars. They say the ride is not as comfortable, since they have a stiffer sidewall. In addition the tires wear quicker and are generally more expensive than non-run flat tires to replace.
Bridgestone claims these new DriveGuard tires deliver a better experience that is more quiet, comfortable ride you'd want from your tires. Also as stated above DriveGuards are not that much more expensive than normal tires.
Granted I haven't driven any cars equipped with DriveGuard tires and I don't currently own any cars that have TPMS. (Hey my non-TPMS Honda Accord still runs great.) So even if I wanted to run out and buy DriveGuard tires or another brand of run flat tires, I couldn't.
Final Thoughts on DriveGuard tires
Bridgestone hasn't offered to let me try out DriveGuards against regular tires so I couldn't say for certain if they are good or not. I wouldn't mind trying them out for 1-2 weeks if I got a chance.
If you have DriveGuard tires installed on your car, do you like them? How is the ride and comfort? If you are considering getting some installed leave a question below and I will try to answer as best I can.