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03/03/2016
RUN-FLAT FOR EVERYONE!

Bridgestone Driveguard

 

The new Bridgestone DriveGuard, an all-season aftermarket designed for the entire automotive range, keeps you moving even after a puncture

Duilio Damiani

 

There is always a nail somewhere out there waiting for us! What may seem to be a threat is just the harsh reality, and sooner or later everyone will experience the annoyance of getting a flat tire. And as long as we are compelled to drive on air-filled tubes, we will always have to worry about it. On the other hand,  the tire industry has been trying, for some time now, to solve this long-standing issue. Most leading manufactures have been trying to solve this problem investing in run-flat technology, the possibility of driving, although for a limited mileage, on a flat tire.

Usually reserved for specific car models, Bridgestone’s DriveGuard, a run-flat tire designed for the aftermarket, and available in a wide range of sizes able to meet the requirements of a large number of motorists and vehicles, especially if equipped with TPMS systems, is ready to be launched on the European market.   

 

THE WORST MOMENT                  

Getting a flat tire is never fun.  And even if this seems to happen less often than in the past- thanks to recent technological developments on casings and tire treads - the fact remains that it is still a big hassle, if not a source of danger.

According to recent studies, it appears that drivers have a chance of getting a flat tire every 75,000 kilometers. However, since 99 percent of all statistics only tell 49 percent of the story, for those who have never had a flat tire there is always someone else who has punctured too many times.

According to Bridgestone market surveys, 60% of all motorists have suffered wheel damages at some point or other in the last four years, often in unfavorable environmental conditions, such as busy roads or adverse weather conditions. And this has caused in at least three quarters of the number of respondents a sense of disappointment and helplessness, losing hours in trying to resolve the problem. Moreover, if we split the sample examined between male and female, 72% of the women surveyed admitted not being able to replace a flat tire and in 25% of cases, this happens with a family member on board. The kind of experience we would all like to avoid or, at least, partially solve by driving for some time with a flat tire.

 

 The new DriveGuard tire range, unveiled last January to the international press, confirms Bridgestone as one of the main sources of technological innovation even on products once reserved for an exclusive clientele and now proposed to a large pool of drivers, in view of a forecasted expansion of the demand in coming years. And this is where the heart of the matter lies: with current car sales standing at 1.5 million new vehicles a year,  all equipped with TPMS systems (able to detect tire pressure loss) but lacking run-flat tires as OE, an aftermarket product that will elevate the perception of driving safety could fill a demand with a huge growth potential.

"The end user is the person we refer to," said Eduardo Minardi, Executive Chairman of Bridgestone Europe, "... and as customers are becoming increasingly demanding, especially in terms of safety, it is our duty to meet their needs and requirements. Therefore, the new DriveGuard, able to keep going in spite of a puncture, reinforces the image of Bridgestone as a premium tire manufacturer, and confirms our ability to innovate, which makes us one of the leading brands on the market. This new product positions itself as a leader in its class in terms of performance, able to cope with virtually any type of damage and suitable for any type of car equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System".

 

 

TAKE A LOAD OFF YOUR CHEST!                      

The DriveGuard technology is substantially based on reinforced sidewalls and a stiffer casing, with load-bearing polyester belts, able to support the weight of the vehicle even in the absence of internal air pressure.Compared toolder products, which suffered from an excessive increase of weight and stiffness resulting in a reduced overall driving comfort, the DriveGuard declares a mere 5% increase in weight compared to a conventional model. New advanced materials such as Nano Pro-Tech compounds, which reduce friction between carbon molecules, and the shape of the sidewalls with high heat dispersion Cooling Fin technology, contribute to reducing the high temperatures generated while driving with a deflated tire, and is therefore able to travel for 80 kilometers at a maximum speed of 80 km/h.

A run-flat tire that does not compromise on performance! Bridgestone’s DriveGuard, which can boast an “A” rating for braking distance on wet roads and a “C” rating for rolling resistance, according to the European labeling system, features an asymmetric tread pattern with a thick presence of sipes in the middle section, and a high void distribution to counteract any risk of aquaplaning. Lateral grip is guaranteed by interlocking tread blocks on the shoulder, able to effectively distribute the contact pressure on the ground, while the high-silica tread compound maximizes grip without aggravating the rolling resistance, increasing the tire’s potential mileage and savings on fuel consumption.

Two different designs and configurations of the compound allow the DriveGuard range to come in two seasonal options, with a specific range for the summer and a further one for the winter, so as to guarantee driving comfort and safety in every season and condition thanks to a highly specialized product.
The new Bridgestone DriveGuard will be available in Europe as of March this year, initially in nine sizes to be joined by ten more by January 2017, able to meet the needs of a large number of motorists ranging between 185/65 R15 and 245/40 R18, while from June ten winter models will be available, with sizes ranging between 185/65 R15 and 225/45 R17, which will be joined, sometime next year, also by the larger 225/40 R18.

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