Bridgestone is the world’s largest tire maker, eclipsing Michelin, Continental, Pirelli and Goodyear. The company has production facilities in 24 countries.
Bridgestone paid $2.6 billion for Firestone in 1988, fighting off efforts to block the sale from Michelin and Pirelli. Bridgestone then poured another $1.5 billion into modernizing Firestone’s aging plants in North America (now organized under the banner of Bridgestone Americas, based in Nashville) and Europe.
Today, the company produces tires in nearly every category. It has more than 8,500 recommended installers. Here are some standout products in each of the main categories of consumer tires.
These are premium winter tires, formulated to provide secure handling for sedans and minivans on snow and ice. WS90s use an all-new tread compound that features the company’s “multi-cell” design to attract water, draw it away from the ice surface, and enhance winter grip. Switching to winter rubber each season may seem like an unnecessary chore in this era of all-season tires, but it provides a significant safety enhancement in locations that experience serious winter conditions.
The Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus is an all-season tire formulated to optimize performance, fuel efficiency and ride comfort on SUVs, CUVs and light trucks. It’s also long-lasting, and backed by a very good 80,000-mile treadwear warranty. The Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus is available in sizes 15" to 22".
The Bridgestone Dueler H/T 685, launched in 2017, is specially formulated for the pickup trucks beloved of the American workforce. It’s an all-season, heavy-duty truck tire that’s happiest hauling heavy loads and not wearing itself out in the princess. The tire’s tread-to-road contact footprint adapts to the load being carried and results in even tread wear and longer life.
First seen in 2018, the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS aims for ultra-high performance in both luxury and sporty sedans, coupes and two-seaters. This is the choice if you want maximum grip and stability going into turns, as well as very capable high-speed roadholding. It’s also an all-season tire that fights hydroplaning by expelling water from where the rubber meets the road and (with 3D full-depth sipes) handles light snow well—but can’t substitute for the security of a winter tire.
Don’t buy these tires if all you do is putter around in your Honda Civic. The Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R is the company’s most extreme ultra-high performance tire. This is the rubber for setting the fastest zero to 60 times. It was inspired by racing tires, and engineered for “car guys” (a category that definitely includes women) who insist on cutting-edge performance when cornering and braking. The tread compound was formulated to give sports cars and performance sedans (even some performance SUVs) maximum grip. If you run a set of these tires in the warmer months, you’re definitely going to want a second set of winter tires, which are easiest to deal with if mounted on their own rims. These tires will be terrible in snow, and they don’t react well to very cold conditions.
This is a best-in-class all-terrain tire with a laser-like focus on crossovers, SUVs and pickup trucks. It was formulated both to provide a smooth ride on the highways where it will be spending most of its time, and to maximize off-road agility. It includes Bridgestone’s Traction Claw tech for quick passage through drifted snow or mud. The tread pattern uses large tread blocks and staggered shoulder lugs to both give the tire a more aggressive look--that’s big with off-roaders--and longer-lasting performance. The tires are chip- and tear-resistant, and engineered to fight uneven wear.
The Bridgestone Turanza QuietTrack is a good all-arounder, designed for all-season touring duty on popular cars and sedans. If you want zen-like repose while you cover distance, this is a good choice. The tire was engineered with the all-new QuietTrack Technology, a noise-dampening technology exclusive to Bridgestone that is precisely tuned to reduce high-frequency noise and ensure a quieter ride. The tire is a survivor, backed by an 80,000-mile limited mileage warranty.
Bridgestone, including the venerable Firestone brand, is the world’s largest tire maker, and has a good reputation for producing competitive tires in every category. I’ve had very good results with them, on both my cars. Bridgestone tires have outstanding longevity, backed in many cases by an 80,000-mile warranty. The quality is high--I’ve been to Bridgestone’s plant in Aiken County, South Carolina and seen the care that goes into company rubber. Bridgestone won the General Motors 2017 and 2018 Supplier Quality Excellence Award.
Bridgestone is also leading research into viable artificial rubbers, and in 2017 announced a new polymer that has five times the crack resistance of natural rubber, and 2.5 times the abrasion resistance.
The company makes high-performance tires, tires that are outstanding for snow and ice, and also using its QuietTrack technology produces tires with very low noise levels.
Customer satisfaction is important. Check company message boards for recurring complaints. Automotive OEM confidence is another measure--see which companies are using your brand as original equipment. Consumer Reports maintains a useful tire-buying guide. Don’t forget to match your new tires with the speed rating of the originals.
The company says three to five years if you drive 12,000 to 15,000 miles per year on all-season tires, so that’s up to 45,000 miles.You may be able to drive on them past that point, but maintaining a set of tires until they’re completely worn out is not a good idea.
The company makes passenger vehicle tires in sizes 14 to 21 inches.
Michelin, Continental, Cooper, Goodyear, Hankook, Nokian
Tire Rack, Walmart.com, Bridgestone and Firestone websites.
Ordering your tires online vs. the shop will save you money