What do you think of when Run Flat tyres are mentioned? Well for me the memory is a little haunting for a number of reasons. Many years ago my wife’s Mini Cooper had a set fitted and they were nothing but problematic. Aside from the added road noise, I found them hard on back roads and constantly loosing pressure resulting in the tyre monitoring system light appearing. Today things are very different and after getting the opportunity to join Bridgestone tyres in Mondello Park, we got to see first hand how things have improved. The all-new DriveGuard tyre is the next generation of run flat that is simply miles ahead of its predecessor. Bridgestone have significantly improved the sidewalls, 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 along with its ability to dissipate heat in these conditions. The trick was ultimately to have a tyre that last 80 kilometres doing 80 km/h and remain 20% cooler than the old run flats and this is what Bridgestone achieved.
Our test in Mondello park was to negotiate a slalom course followed by a simulated kerb mount on a DriveGuard tyre that had just had a 4 inch nail driven into it. Prior to this we would drive the course with a fully inflated tyre to see how the test VW Golf Estate handled. My first drive went well and I could immediately see why Bridgestone have drawn comparisons to their Turanza T001 tyre, which offers a similar response when pushed through the bends. Grip was plentiful, noise was minimal and to be honest, if I wasn’t told it was a form of run flat I wouldn’t have been able to tell. The next bit is where the magic happens. After driving the nail in and removing it I negotiated the same course and the results were staggering. Ok there is more give in the tyre but you would really have to push the car on lock to roll off the sidewall. Even the kerb mount was negotiated with ease and the sidewalls didn’t look in bad shape at all afterwards. Bridgestone have stated that it is mandatory to have a tyre pressure monitoring system on vehicles equipped with DriveGuard tyres. This is because if it didn’t, you might not know your tyre has lost pressure!
So who are these tyres for, and what sizes do they come in? Well the answer is they are for everyone that wants peace of mind needing tyres between 15 and 18 inches in diameter. DriveGuard tyres have been designed for compact and saloon cars and the price should fall in line with standards for premium products on the market but still 10% cheaper than a standard Run Flat tyre. Just remember you do need a TPMS system but that’s required by the regulations for all vehicles sold since November 2014 so you more than likely will have one fitted anyway. For now might we urge you to consider a set of DriveGuard tyres when you a next due a change. Bridgestone simulated a punctured car on the side of the motorway at night and let me tell you, it made for one eerie experience. The noise of passing traffic with the screams of a terrified child in the back certainly made me hope my wife never has to change a tyre on the side of the road. DriveGuard could be the peace of mind we all need!