Bridgestone makes run-flat popular
Run-flat tyres are now available for mass market cars, announced Bridgestone South Africa recently when they launched DriveGuard, a new range of run-flat tyres for vehicles which are not supplied with run-flat tyres from the factory.
“DriveGuard will now allow drivers of these cars to enjoy all the benefits of run-flat tyres,” said Hiroshi Nakanishi, General Manager, Field Engineering & Technical Services. “If a DriveGuard tyre is punctured, the driver can continue their journey at reduced speed until they reach a location where the tyre can be changed,” he explained.
DriveGuard is built on the technology of Bridgestone’s existing RFT run-flat tyres. If a DriveGuard tyre is punctured, a maximum speed of 80km/h can be maintained for a distance of up to 80km. “The ability to keep driving after a puncture is extremely important for family cars. Rather than changing a wheel at the roadside, a driver who has a puncture in an urban area can now get their family home in safety and then change the tyre,” commented Nakanishi. “And on longer journeys, drivers can keep going at reduced speed until they reach a safer location to change the tyre. This is a great benefit if the puncture occurs during a rainstorm or in heavy traffic where stopping at the roadside might be dangerous.”
DriveGuard features a lighter-weight construction than previous run-flat tyres and includes new technologies which allow it to run cooler and be more durable. The Controlled Contact footprint distributes the tyre load more evenly to offer better wear characteristics, and the silica-based tread compound and an asymmetrical tread pattern give the tyre improved roadholding characteristics under both wet and dry conditions. Bridgestone says the tyre construction delivers a more comfortable ride when compared to conventional tyres.
DriveGuard is available in a range of sizes to fit wheels from 15-inch to 18-inch in diameter. “This size range opens up the run-flat option to drivers of a wide range of vehicles which didn’t previously have the option of this technology,” explained Hiroshi Nakanishi. “Our research shows that more than 60,000 vehicles a year are sold in southern Africa which could benefit from DriveGuard.”
When a run-flat tyre deflates, it is often unnoticed by the driver. For this reason, all vehicles fitted with run-flats must also be equipped with a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). Although some vehicles in the target range are fitted with a TPMS as original equipment, many are not. Bridgestone explained that all outlets which stock DriveGuard will also sell a TPMS which is fitted to the vehicle as the tyres are fitted. The system, which features in-wheel sensors, will alert drivers to tyre pressure changes. This ensures drivers are aware of a puncture as it happens.