The most important thing to do in an emergency is to stay calm, and Bridgestone’s new DriveGuard run-flat technology tyres help by giving you extra peace of mind.
You’re almost certainly going to feel it before you see or hear it. You’re driving along, minding your own business when you gradually feel your car’s stability begin to waver and it starts to want to pull to one side.
As you pull over to the side of the road, you hear a regular “tic-tic-tic-tic” noise coming from one corner of the car, that becomes less frequent as the car slows down. Finally, you step out and see that, annoyingly, you’ve picked up a puncture.
Of course, that’s a best case scenario. It’s a rare occurrence, but some unfortunate folk simply hear a “bang” before the car swerves to one side as the tyre blows out.
Either way, you’re now stuck with, at best, the sweaty, tiring, and slightly dangerous (depending on location) task of changing the punctured tyre out for your spare, or at worst, a lengthy wait for a tow truck because the damage is too severe for a repair kit to fix, or (increasingly commonly these days) your car doesn’t have a spare onboard.
But what if we told you that there’s something you could buy for your car that would allow you to avoid getting into these kind of hot, uncomfortable, and risky situations?
That solution comes in the form of DriveGuard, a new line of run-flat technology (RFT) tyres from Japanese tyre maker Bridgestone, that can allow you to safely travel up to a maximum distance of 80km at a maximum speed of 80km/h after a puncture.
Long ago the sole reserve of fanciful action and spy movies like the James Bond series, RFT tyres have actually been commercially available for a few decades now, and today can be found as standard fitment on some new cars, most notably BMWs.
In fact, DriveGuard is actually a third-generation RFT tyre, and expands the Bridgestone RFT line-up alongside the performance-oriented Potenza, comfort-biased Turanza, and SUV Alenza RFT tyre lines.
The main benefit of RFT tyres is enhanced mobility. As the name implies, RFT tyres can safely continue running even after experiencing a loss of air pressure. This means that you don’t have to immediately stop by the side of the road to address the issue, and can quite possibly continue on your current journey and look for a tyre shop to repair or replace the tyre at a more convenient time.
Another benefit is safety. Not only in the sense that stopping by the roadside puts you in a lot of danger of getting hit by a passing vehicle, but also because a punctured RFT tyre gives drivers better, more precise control of their vehicle compared to a punctured regular tyre.
This is made possible by the heavily-reinforced sidewalls in DriveGuard RFT tyres, which are able to maintain their shape and support the weight of the car when there’s no air left.
These benefits become exponentially more significant on long road trips into Malaysia. Some of the roads up north aren’t as well maintained as ours, and the increased debris brings with it the increased risk of a tyre puncture.
Being able to continue driving means you can avoid the risk of getting stranded somewhere you’d rather not be, or a rural part of the countryside where help is hard to come by.
Of course, nothing on Earth is without its downsides, and in the case of RFTs, that’s traditionally a bumpier ride – a side effect of the stiffer sidewalls, which don’t flex as much and thus can’t cushion impacts as much as conventional tyres.
With DriveGuard being a third-generation RFT though, it’s able to draw on Bridgestone’s extensive experience with the technology, and offer a slightly springier sidewall. Where a traditional RFT tyre can be up to 26 percent stiffer than a conventional tyre, DriveGuard is only 6 percent stiffer than that same conventional tyre, which means there’s a much smaller penalty to ride comfort compared to a regular RFT tyre.
Also, the specialised nature of RFTs in the past required specially-designed wheels to prevent the tyres deforming and debeading (essentially coming off the wheel), which meant you had to purchase a whole new set of rims if you wanted to use RFTs, but DriveGuard continues to bring convenience to the fore, as they can be fitted to any wheel, as long as it has a tyre pressure monitoring system.
The Bridgestone DriveGuard is available in 36 different sizes, for rims from 15 to 20-inches, and in 35 to 65 tyre profiles. Prices start from S$173; for more information, check out https://www.bridgestone.com.sg/en/tyre/DriveGuard-RFT, or find your nearest Bridgestone authorised dealer here https://www.bridgestone.com.sg/en/dealer.