Motoring / Motoring News

Glen Hill
3 minute read
20 Nov 2014
3:00 pm

Don’t get caught flat-footed

Glen Hill

A flat tyre is at the least deeply irritating to change on the side of the road, but possibly even deadly, given one's vulnerability on the side of the road.

One answer is that Bridgestone have produced an option to possibly change all this by allowing drivers to proceed for 80km and then change the tyre at their or even a tyre dealer’s convenience.

“DriveGuard will now allow drivers of these cars to enjoy all the benefits of run-flat tyres,” said the company’s general manager for field engineering and technical services, Hiroshi Nakanishi.

“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.

“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 safely and then change the tyre,” added Nakanishi. “And on longer journeys drivers can keep going at reduced speed until they reach a safer location.

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“This is a great benefit if the puncture occurs during a rainstorm or in heavy traffic, where stopping by the roadside might be dangerous.”

Run-flat tyres are not in themselves new but have previously been available only as original fitment and then only on a few usually upmarket cars. DriveGuard is a run-flat range that is available for mass market cars.

Bridgestone have of course been building run-flat tyres for some time as original fitment and have drawn on this experience in producing the DriveGuard option.

The special challenge in providing run-flat tyres as aftermarket fitment is the rim is standard, it has not been designed specifically for run-flats. In addition, it is vital that cars using run-flats have a tyre pressure monitoring system to alert drivers to the pressure drop. While one can safely drive on the punctured tyre it is essential that speed is reduced to 80km/h or less. Bridgestone have solved both these problems with DriveGuard. They have reinforced the beading of the DriveGuard tyre to keep it on a standard rim when deflated.

Bridgestone explained that all outlets that stock DriveGuard will also sell a tyre-pressure monitoring system, 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.

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DriveGuard also features a lighter-weight construction than previous run-flat tyres and includes new technologies that 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 asymmetrical tread pattern give the tyre improved roadholding characteristics under both wet and dry conditions.

DriveGuard is available in a range of sizes to fit wheels from 15 to 18 inches 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,” said Nakanishi. “Our research shows more than 60 000 vehicles a year are sold in South Africa that could benefit from DriveGuard.

“DriveGuard is a leap ahead in safety and convenience for the everyday driver. If a vehicle is fitted with DriveGuard, the driver never again needs to worry about the inconvenience and danger of a puncture,” concluded Nakanishi. – glenh@citizen.co.za