Ownership: Tire Test: Bridgestone DriveGuard Run-Flat All-Season Touring Tire

How to Find Exact Replacements for Your Car's Worn-Out Tires

  How to Find Exact Replacements for Your Car's Worn-Out Tires You’ve spent a few years and thousands of miles with your car, and you’ve finally approached that big moment: The original tires that came on your car are now worn out. The first questions that c ome to mind are, “What should I buy?" and "Do I stick with the same tires, or try a different model or brand?” Research Research New Used New & Used Make (e.g. Mazda) Model (e.g. CX-5) Research by Consumer Reports shows most car owners buy—or attempt to buy—the same tire that came on their vehicle, either solely for convenience, or to preserve or get back that new-car feel.

Despite the importance of tires, most drivers don't spend much time thinking about them. They're round, they're black, and they get expensive quickly. Those who know a bit about tires probably know that run-flat tires are even more expensive and tend to ride harder than standard tires, thanks to ultra-stiff sidewalls that don't absorb shocks from the road as well. These are the negatives Bridgestone is hoping to address and overcome with its new DriveGuard run-flat all-season tire.

The DriveGuard tire is unique in several ways. It's the first run-flat designed as a replacement tire, not a standard fitment. Bridgestone sees a massive market of consumers who'd like the peace of mind a run-flat can give but whose cars didn't come with run-flats from the factory and who can't find the right sizes.

When Was the Last Time You Checked Your Tire Pressure?

  When Was the Last Time You Checked Your Tire Pressure? Sweating the small stuff matters. Here's why.Ideally, you should check tire pressure once every couple of weeks, but most drivers are doing okay if they look at it once a month. But don't be the person who waits until the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) light comes on (assuming your vehicle even has that; none of mine do).

As a concept, consumers like the idea of run-flat tires because of the safety benefits, even if they don't care for the diminished ride quality. At the moment, there are no replacement run-flats on the market specifically intended for cars that didn't come with them from the factory. The DriveGuard tire will be available in 35 sizes, covering from 16- to 19-inch wheel sizes. That encompasses approximately two-thirds of all cars made since 2009. (That year is significant because it is the year tire pressure monitoring systems were mandated on all cars. DriveGuard is designed to be used in conjunction with that system.) Speed ratings include H, V, and W, covering your average compact to your sports sedans and coupes.

The second unique selling point for the DriveGuard is its warranty. Typically, auto manufacturers don't extend their warranties to tires, which means replacing a run-flat is all the more expensive. Bridgestone is offering a 50,000-60,000 mile warranty (depending on speed rating) with a 30-day free trial and one-year fix-or-replace warranty, during which Bridgestone will eat the cost of fixing or replacing your flat DriveGuard tire. That goes for both tread and sidewall punctures. Sixty thousand miles is pretty impressive, considering that's essentially the entire life of the tire. It's more impressive when you consider most run-flats are summer tires that last maybe half that long.

2016 Motorcycle of the Year

  2016 Motorcycle of the Year Every autumn the Motorcyclist staff sits down to reflect on the year and hash out the candidates and, eventually, the winners of our annual Motorcycle of the Year awards. Our MOTY conversations don’t just focus on hardware. We also discuss the shifts in the industry that certain motorcycles have created or been affected by, personalities that have had an impact, and the new flavors and genres of bikes that have developed or evolved in the preceding months. Some winners are easy to crown, and some debates are more heated than others. In the end, we pick one motorcycle.

The third major attribute of the DriveGuard is its construction. As with any run-flat, the sidewall is reinforced to hold the weight of the vehicle when the tire is flat. Rather than just make the sidewall super thick or insert rigid reinforcements, Bridgestone reexamined the nature of flat-tire degradation. The research showed that heat is a bigger enemy of a flat tire than weight. When a tire is flat, heat quickly builds up in the overworked sidewall, causing rapid fatigue in the rubber, which eventually starts to come apart. In addition to a new rubber formula more resistant to heat, Bridgestone also added tiny rubber fins to the exterior of the sidewall just above the wheel rim. Both the added surface area and the aerodynamic effect greatly increase cooling, so much that after 10 minutes of driving on a flat, the DriveGuard tire is 20 degrees cooler than a standard tire. All of this allowed Bridgestone to add less reinforcement to the sidewall. And that improves ride quality.

First Drive: 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback

  First Drive: 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback We’re hauling along at a decent clip in the 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback and the perfect opportunity arises to put the go pedal to the floor. Let’s see what it’s got. The 1.5-liter turbo four draws a breath and the engine’s 174 horsepower are quickly summoned. The continuously variable transmission kicks down and begins its optimization routine, efficiently delivering the power to the Civic's front wheels. Far from a brutal shove, it's more of a calculated, ordered surge.

The billion-dollar question, of course, is whether all of this works, and the answer is yes. Bridgestone devised two tests to demonstrate the qualities of DriveGuard, and they were convincing. The first was a flat-tire autocross. With the left front tire of a Toyota Camry deflated, we were asked to drive around an autocross course at moderate speeds. Our test car already had nearly 10 miles of flat-tire autocross wear on it when we began. The DriveGuard performed admirably, transmitting only a bit of tire slap into the cabin when driven in a straight line. Under cornering, the noise increased and some vibration was felt in the steering wheel, enough to let the driver know a tire was out. As expected, the car constantly pulled to the left, but only slightly, and it remained easily controlled. Our test took us up to a sustained 50 mph, the tire's maximum rated speed, and control did not deteriorate.

The DriveGuard is rated to travel 50 miles at up to 50 mph without coming apart. How you drive will ultimately affect how far it will go, and the farther you go, the less likely it will be repairable as more damage is done.

2017 Honda CR-V Touring AWD First Test: The Ultimate Box-Checker?

  2017 Honda CR-V Touring AWD First Test: The Ultimate Box-Checker? Honda's Impressive New CR-V is Quicker and Lighter Than BeforeBefore that happens, though, we had the 2017 CR-V Motor-Trend-track tested, and found a crossover that would have out-accelerated to 60 mph everything in our 2016 Big Test comparison except the six-cylinder Jeep Cherokee. The all-wheel-drive 2017 CR-V's 7.5-second 0-60 time is swifter than most will expect from a compact crossover, yet still quick enough that folks who want a Ford Escape 2.0 EcoBoost or Jeep Cherokee V-6 should give it a quick drive around the block. The last-gen CR-V's naturally aspirated 2.4-liter I-4 sticks around on the base-model CR-V LX, with the 190-hp, 179-lb-ft 1.

The second test involved a head-to-head matchup of properly inflated tires. It is here that Bridgestone deserves credit for conducting a proper test. Too often, manufacturer-sponsored tire tests use vehicles not typically fitted with their tires and without a direct OE competitor to compare to. In this case, Bridgestone fitted its tire to a rented Nissan Altima and pitted it against another Altima with the stock Michelin Primacy MXM4, a common all-season touring tire. Driven back-to-back, the run-flat tire exhibited less vibration from rough roads transmitted into the cabin and through the steering wheel. Vibrations that were felt were less sharp and more muted than with the Michelin tires. Tire noise over rough pavement was about equal between the two tires. Sharp left-right transitions felt slightly smoother and more confident with the DriveGuard.

In general, the DriveGuard performed very similarly to Bridgestone's flagship all-season touring tire, the Turanza Special Plus, which shares the same tread pattern but uses a different rubber compound. Bridgestone provided a third Altima fitted with the Turanza, and both noise and vibration levels were nearly indistinguishable between the two. The DriveGuard actually felt like a slightly sportier tire thanks to its stiffer sidewalls. Speaking of sport, when pushed beyond its limits, the DriveGuard exhibited a smooth, predictable breakaway that was easily controlled and came gently back into line rather than snapping out or back. It's not a performance tire, but it's on the sporty end of the all-season segment.

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback First Drive: Incremental Business or Next Big Thing?

  2017 Honda Civic Hatchback First Drive: Incremental Business or Next Big Thing? More Like a Civic Sedan “Liftback” with a Boost and Sharper Styling and SteeringBuilt on the same platform as the sedan, the four-door, five-passenger 2017 Honda Civic hatchback will, according to Honda, boast a No. 1 ranking in cargo space (25.7 cubic feet with rear seats up and 46.2 cubic feet folded) among its compact hatchback competition: Ford Focus, Mazda 3, and Volkswagen Golf. (According to VW, the Golf has more room with rear seats folded). Yes, compared to the Civic sedan's 15.

It's a good time to bring up the Turanza Special Plus, because while Bridgestone has not yet provided specific pricing, the company says the DriveGuard will be priced roughly the same. This puts it on the slightly expensive side for an all-season touring tire, but you're getting more for your money. Some customers might find it slightly less expensive than a direct OE replacement, some slightly more expensive. We'll know more once final pricing is released.

Bridgestone says it sees a great deal of pent-up demand for an all-purpose run-flat tire. Indeed, with no one currently in the market, Bridgestone could have a massive competitive advantage should the research bear true. At face value, it makes sense. No one who's ever done it would volunteer to change a tire on the side of a busy freeway, and waiting there for a tow truck is only moderately less miserable. The guaranteed ability to continue driving to the nearest tire shop (if you're more than 50 miles from one, you've got a problem regardless of tire) offers real peace of mind for any driver. Gaining that advantage without sacrificing ride quality or noise levels, or having to pay through the nose, is icing on the cake. Look for competitors to copy this tire quickly.

Quick Take: 2016 Honda Accord V-6 .
Over the last few years, Honda has hinted at a revival of some of its past glory. Over the last few years, Honda has hinted at a revival of some of its past glory. The upcoming Civic Si and Type R, as well as the NSX, prove that Honda is producing fun cars again. Yet, it's the manual 2016 Accord Coupe V-6 that cements our opinion. It has enough character — and oomph — to carry Honda's performance credibility by itself. It's a car that deserves more press, adoration, and we can't help but love it.

See also