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Bridgestone Tire Review

Why Bridgestone Tires May Be Right For You
by Jeff Voth

Why is it one of the first things people do when looking to purchase a vehicle is kick the tires? When it comes to our automobiles, tires are the one thing that most of us take for granted. To prove the validity of this statement, I would like you to answer the following question honestly. When is the last time you remember walking over to your car and bending down to check the condition of the tires?

If you're answer to this question is "just last week", you probably find yourself in the vast minority. For the majority, (a group in which I humbly include myself) the truthful answer is an emphatic "I can't remember". Most of us couldn't be bothered to think about how essential tires are for safe driving and the overall enjoyment we experience behind the wheel.

I challenge you to consider this. The only point of contact your vehicle has with the road is the circular black rubber residing at the corners. If the tires on the car you drive are poorly maintained, you're probably not maximizing the full capabilities of the vehicle. Worse yet, badly worn tires significantly reduce your chance of avoiding an accident.

Bridgestone and Firestone understand the importance of tires and have recently introduced two new designs that make driving a more pleasurable and safe experience.

The Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza meets the growing demand for optimum performance tires with long lasting good looks.

Tread design has been painstakingly crafted to incorporate unique geometric shapes. Taking inspiration from famous architectural designs, it offers a tread pattern as handsome to look at as it is capable on the road.

In today's demanding luxury vehicle market, appearance is every bit as important as performance. With this in mind, Bridgestone makes full use of their new Ever-Black™ manufacturing technology for the production of the new Dueler H/L Alenza tires.

The sidewalls are constructed with a specially formulated "real black" rubber, allowing the tires to maintain their rich black color long after the tire stickers have worn off and more than a few curbs have been bumped. While it doesn't eliminate the need for cleaning on a regular basis, Ever-Black™ does reduce the need for aftermarket tire cleaners which can sometimes harm the outer surface, or cause it to yellow prematurely over time.

A recent morning test drive of the new Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza took us on several of the winding backroads and remote highways in Napa Valley, Calif. Pushed to the limit on various vehicles including the Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes-Benz M-Class and the BMW X5, the tires performed flawlessly, providing excellent driver feedback and control with a minimal amount of tire squeal.

Brake performance was consistent throughout the drive. My reflexes and those of the vehicle were tested on several occasions, due mostly to the narrow roads and blind corners that make up much of the countryside in this part of California. The tires reacted quickly to my every request and presented a strong sense of safety and control.

That afternoon, we were given the opportunity to test wet adhesion on two specially prepared wet tracks set up in the main parking lot of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. All tests were carried out with professional drivers riding shotgun in our Dueler H/L Alenza equipped Toyota 4Runner's and Acura MDX's.

The responsibility of the co-pilot was to egg on each driver to push the limits of both SUV's around each of the unique, temporary driving course.

High-speed cornering was carried out on a temporary 6-corner "road" course. Large tanker trucks regularly sprayed the asphalt, laying down a thick carpet of water. Hard acceleration was encouraged between corners, while proper braking allowed the Toyota 4Runner to properly apex the corner and carry as much speed as possible into the next turn. After three hot laps, results were recorded and average lap times evaluated.

High-speed wet braking took place in the back section of the parking lot. Here we accelerated towards a strategically placed set of cones, slammed on full brakes and after coming to an abrupt stop, jotted down the results displayed from the digital readout on the dash.

Depending on the qualifications of the driver, results added proof of the superior performance experienced while driving throughout Napa Valley earlier in the day.

The new Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza tires are available in three sizes, ranging from 16-18 inches and are offered in H and T-speed rated versions.

Part two of our day long tire test took us off-road driving, allowing the opportunity to experience the new Firestone Destination™ A/T line of light truck and SUV tires. The newest addition to the Destination tire family is designed to make full use of Bridgestone/Firestone's UNI-T® technology.

UNI-T® stands for the Ultimate Network of Intelligent Tire Technology. Combining several technologies, it optimizes performance in three critical tire areas — the casing, bead and tread.

This new tire improves handling in wet and dry conditions, and reduces irregular treadwear by combining optimum tread design, casing shape, material and construction.

Improved roundness offers better balance in all driving conditions while an innovative compound uses a special form of molecular re-engineered carbon black to improve tire wear and wet weather driving.

Taking our fleet of Jeep Grand Cherokee's off-road through the dusty, wind swept hills of Sonoma County was for the most part painless. I say for the most part as my only sense of pain came from the constant jostling experienced inside the cabin from the rough road.

Steep inclines and at one point a near vertical descent were no match for the new Firestone Destination™ A/T tires. Potholes, deep ruts and loose gravel presented an excellent opportunity to test its durability, and it was more than up to the challenge.

A rugged tire, it offers an attractive side profile with white letters standing in relief of the black background.

The new Firestone Destination™ A/T tires are available in sizes ranging from 14-17 inches and are offered in R and S-speed rated versions. It also features a 50,000 mile, limited warranty on all P-metric size tires.

The new Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza and Firestone Destination™ A/T tires set the standard for other tire manufacturers to follow. The only thing required of those who purchase these tires is to remember to routinely check for wear and tear and to make sure they are properly inflated. Since everything possible has been done to make the new Alenza and Destination tires look good, perhaps we'll be inclined to check more often.

For more information visit www.bridgestone-firestone.com or check out their tire safety site www.tiresafety.com.

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