Dry Conditions – 90%
Wet Conditions – 90%
Snow – 70%
Comfort – 90%
Noise Reduction – 80%
Durability – 80%
A while ago I talked about donut tires, what they are, how long you can drive them, the whole nine yards. What if I told you that there is a way to continue driving after a puncture without having to revert to a spare tire?
The answer to this solution is a run-flat tire. I’ll reserve the details for another guide, but in essence, it’s a tire that can support the weight even then there’s a puncture. The options are limited and you won’t be doing thousands of miles. It’s designed to get you to the nearest tire shop to have it patched or replaced.
Run-flat tires aren’t something new on the market, and many manufacturers have these kinds of models. From the premium segment, we have Bridgestone with the DriveGuard, a tire that’s been on the market since 2016.
Being a slightly older model, how will the DriveGuard compare to some of its newer rivals?
- Excellent comfort levels for a run-flat tire
- Noise levels are on the lower end of the spectrum
- Dry performance is excellent
- Plenty of traction on damp surfaces
- Snow performance is average
- The handling isn’t the most dynamic
The Features of the Bridgestone DriveGuard
The DriveGuard is advertised as an all-season touring tire, so the features we see reflect that kind of performance.
Considering that we’re talking about an all-season model, Bridgestone used its silica-enriched rubber compound. The result of this should be a pliable tire even in colder temperatures.
For wet performance, the DriveGuard relies on the silica in the compound and the sipes in the tread. This should give the tire excellent performance on damp roads.
In harsh rain conditions, the 4 circumferential grooves work with the lateral ones to evacuate water effectively. This should offer superb aquaplaning resistance.
As a touring tire, you’d expect longevity and the DriveGuard should offer that. Bridgestone optimized the contact patch so that it can disperse the weight on all sides. It means that the tread wear should be even across the board.
Bridgestone DriveGuard in Dry Conditions
People get a touring tire for its safe performance, something that the DriveGuard can offer with no issues.
Driving around town is something the DriveGuard does with ease. It can offer plenty of traction for acceleration and the grip levels will be plentiful for going around a corner. At higher speeds, like driving on the highway, the tire will be more than up for the task. It will remain stable and you’ll have a planted feel throughout the drive. The braking distances may not be breaking any records, but are short enough for a premium touring tire.
Pushing the DriveGuard isn’t something that you should practice regularly. Even though the tire’s performance levels are high, they aren’t UHP high. As a result, getting too aggressive on acceleration will cause slip. It’s the same story in the corners. Going too hard will result in an understeer.
In terms of handling, there are some compromises when compared to some other run-flat models. Bridgestone tried to eliminate the drawback of these tires, which is the harsher ride. This meant that the DriveGuard is softer, so the responsiveness isn’t the best. Combined with that, you’re getting a tire that won’t communicate too much with you, so if you’re an enthusiast, you will be disappointed.
Bridgestone DriveGuard on Wet or Slippery Roads
Looking at the features, the DriveGuard should deliver excellent wet performance and it doesn’t disappoint.
The sipes combined with the silica-enriched compound do an excellent job at providing the performance Bridgestone advertises. With the DriveGuard you’re getting high levels of traction on damp roads, which eliminates slip as much as possible. It’s not as sticky as on dry pavement, but it’s near the best in its class. The cornering grip is high and in most normal scenarios, the tire won’t understeer. Considering that we’re talking about a touring tire, pushing it hard isn’t something it will like.
In harsh rain conditions, the DriveGuard continues to deliver impressive results. The grooves are doing an excellent job at providing very good aquaplaning resistance. You can drive on the highway without worrying about losing control over standing water.
Bridgestone DriveGuard in Snow
Bridgestone offers the DriveGuard as an all-season tire, so you are looking at some limited winter performance.
In lighter conditions, the DriveGuard does a solid-enough job of delivering traction. For the most part, you’ll be getting slightly better performance on shallow and unpacked snow, compared with packed one. The braking distances are acceptable and this is where the good performance ends.
Harsher winter conditions, like extremely cold temperatures or ice-covered roads, aren’t something that the DriveGuard can handle. In these situations, the tire almost feels undrivable, so I’d advise you to look at some dedicated winter tires.
Bridgestone DriveGuard Off-Roading
People that get touring tires don’t expect any off-road performance. The same goes for the DriveGuard. You won’t find a massive use for it in a non-paved scenario. The most you’d be able to get is a short drive on a dirt road and that’s as much as you should expect from it.
Bridgestone DriveGuard for Sporty Driving
I’ve praised a few touring run-flat tires in the past for their sporty properties, but the DriveGuard isn’t one of them.
The performance isn’t the worst and the tire can handle some aggressiveness. It’s not on the same level as a UHP tire, but in its category, it does a decently good enough job.
Handling isn’t all that impressive. Unlike most run-flat tires, Bridgestone set up the DriveGuard to be softer to improve refinement. This means that the tire won’t be as responsive as some of its rivals. Besides that, you won’t have a lot of feedback through the steering wheel, so it won’t be the best option for a track day.
Does the Bridgestone DriveGuard Ride Comfortably?
Refinement, especially comfort, is an area where run-flat tires suffer. The good news here is that Bridgestone did its magic and made the DriveGuard to be a well-refined tire.
The biggest surprise comes from the comfort levels. Bridgestone made the DriveGuard one of the most comfortable run-flat tires on the market. It deals with smaller bumps excellently and the worst part is a small thump when you go over a large pothole. The vibrations are also very low and, in most cases, you won’t even feel them.
In terms of the noise levels, the DriveGuard doesn’t disappoint either. The tire is mostly quiet around town with a slight growl over rougher surfaces. It continued to be relatively quiet on the highway and, like before, the noise levels depend on the smoothness of the surface.
Bridgestone DriveGuard Warranty
Looking at the warranty, the DriveGuard isn’t the most impressive option on the market. The tire comes with a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty, the same as the CrossClimate 2. As good as it sounds, there are models like the PureContact LS that come with a 70,000-mile warranty.
The most important thing to note here is that the DriveGuard is a run-flat tire. From its category, this model has the longest treadwear warranty.
Bridgestone DriveGuard Pricing: Is It Worth the Price?
Considering that we’re talking about a run-flat tire, the DriveGuard is an attractive option. A 17-inch model is priced similarly to Michelin’s CrossClimate 2. It’s not the most affordable premium option, but don’t forget that it’s a run-flat tire.
Should I Buy the Bridgestone DriveGuard?
Run-flat tires aren’t the most common option you’ll find on the market, but they aren’t very rare. In this category of tires, the DriveGuard is a model that I would recommend, as long as you’re looking for that kind of tire.
The performance is as good as most grand touring tires. It offers more than enough to keep you safe, leaving you a bit of headroom. The DriveGuard isn’t made for aggressive driving, meaning that you can push it, but you won’t have a lot of fun.
As a run-flat tire, the DriveGuard is impressive in terms of refinement, especially in the comfort department. It’s almost as comfortable as its rivals while keeping the road noise minimal.
The DriveGuard is far from the most affordable option, but looking at the overall package, I have to say that it’s worth it.
What Vehicles Will the Bridgestone DriveGuard Fit?
Here’s a sample list of cars that the Bridgestone DriveGuard will fit:
- Audi A3, A4
- BMW 3, 5 Series
- Ford Focus, Fiesta
- Honda Accord, Civic
- Mazda 2, 3, 6
- Nissan Maxima, Altima
- Subaru Impreza
- Toyota Camry, Corolla
Tire Sizes of the Bridgestone DriveGuard
- 195/60RF15 88H
- 195/65RF15 91H
- 195/55RF16 87V
- 205/55RF16 91V
- 205/60RF16 92V
- 205/65RF16 95H
- 215/55RF16 93V
- 215/60RF16 95V
- 225/60RF16 98V
- 225/65RF16 100H
- 235/65RF16 103T
- 205/45RF17 88W
- 205/50RF17 93W
- 215/45RF17 91W
- 215/50RF17 95V
- 215/55RF17 94V
- 225/45RF17 91W
- 225/50RF17 94W
- 225/55RF17 97V
- 225/60RF17 99H
- 225/65RF17 102H
- 235/45RF17 94W
- 235/50RF17 96W
- 235/55RF17 99W
- 235/60RF17 102H
- 235/65RF17 104H
- 245/40RF17 91W
- 245/45RF17 99W
- 255/40RF17 94W
- 215/45RF18 93W
- 215/55RF18 95H
- 225/40RF18 92W
- 225/45RF18 95W
- 225/50RF18 95W
- 225/55RF18 98H
- 225/60RF18 100H
- 235/40RF18 95W
- 235/45RF18 98W
- 235/50RF18 97W
- 235/55RF18 100V
- 245/40RF18 97W
- 245/45RF18 96W
- 255/35RF18 94W
- 255/40RF18 99W
- 255/45RF18 99W
- 235/55RF19 105H
- 245/40RF19 98W
- 245/45RF19 102W
- 255/45RF19 100V
- 245/45RF20 103W
- 245/50RF20 102V