The perks of run-flat tires

July 10, 2014 12:00 AM

The first comparison of the TireRack 19th annual testing season was run-flat tires, models that maintain temporary mobility when the tire is punctured with the help of sidewall reinforcements and aerodynamics. Run-flat tires are specifically designed to give drivers a smoother ride and peace of mind. The experts at TireRack compared the Bridgestone DriveGuard run-flat model to Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Run Flat and Michelin Primacy MXV4 tires.

Run-flat tires take a turn for mainstream vehicles
In the past, run-flat tires were not typically used by mainstream drivers, but Bridgestone's new DriveGuard line is a mass-market replacement tire option that will fit most coupes, sedans and wagons, hoping to rival traditional tire options and even equipment run-flat tires that are already installed on certain new cars. In order to replace current tires with DriveGuard, the vehicle must have a working tire pressure monitoring system, which has been built into every vehicle sold in the U.S. - excluding trucks and vans - since 2008.

Ideally, DriveGuard tires improve the safety of your vehicle after a puncture, because they allow the car to continue moving until it is safe to pull over and change your tires. In order to test this new innovative line of run-flat tires, TireRack conducted a series of diagnostic road tests with the DriveGuard?, a highly rated conventional tire model and an original equipment run-flat tire fitted to the vehicle. They tested each model on the 2014 BMW F30 328i Sedan.

DriveGuard vs. Pirelli
This Pirelli model is one of the original equipment tires fitted onto the tested BMW model. Bridgestone hopes to be better than originally equipped flat-run tires by offering an easier way to change tires in the event of a flat. Models that come pre-fitted with run-flat tires often do have not spare tires or tools that allow you to change it included in the vehicle, according to TireRack. From the test, TireRack found that the Pirelli tires did indeed complement the road manners of the BMW, since they were specifically fitted for the car. However, testers also found that the DriveGuard model felt tailor-made for the vehicle. At the end of the road test, they concluded that the DriveGuard third generation run-flat technology had better ride quality, but handling, traction and fuel economy were relatively the same in the DriveGuard and Pirelli models.

DriveGuard vs. Michelin
The Michelin Primacy MXV4 is a highly rated Grand Touring All-Season conventional tire. TireRack tested the run-flat model against a traditional tire to see if consumers would find it worthwhile to switch out their regular tires for run-flat ones. After driving each model on the track, testers found that traditional tires did have better fuel economy and ride quality. However, the perks of a run-flat tire are peace of mind and possibility for a back-up plan in the event of a tire puncture. The DriveGuard line still has to compete with regular tire models, but with the potential for improved vehicle safety and always-evolving technological developments, Bridgestone hopes that one day all vehicles will be fitted with run-flat models.

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