RAV4 Drivers Club Guide to Toyota RAV4 Run-Flat Tire System (BSR)
This guide is written to explain the BSR Run Flat system installed on the Toyota Rav4 T180 and SR180.
Many owners have bought their cars without knowing this BSR system, so here I will try to explain what it is and the options to replace it.
What is the BSR system?
It is a run flat system which is different from other types in that the sidewall of the tires used is heavily reinforced, so if a puncture or deflation occurs, the car effectively crumples at the sidewall.
BSR (Bridgestone Safety Ring) is a system that uses a ring that is placed inside the tire around the rim. This is what the car travels on in the event of deflation. The tires are effectively a normal tire. This is a development of a WW2 military vehicle.
There is also a lubricant inside the tire that lubricates the tire and the BSR ring in the event of a deflation. Without this the friction generated would destroy both elements.
The system is backed up by a TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) which turns on a warning light on the dash if it goes flat…
The advantages of this system..
It means no need to carry a spare tire… And… Err well that’s it really…
The tires have to be removed by a special and very expensive machine that only Toyota Dealers and some independent Tire Dealers have.
Only one type of Bridgestone tire can be used with the BSR system. No other brand or model of tire may be used.
This makes replacements expensive when it’s time for new tires and can be very inconvenient in the event of a puncture.
Owners report very high replacement or repair costs!
Well owners can simply live with what they have and bear what is considered a huge replacement or repair cost.
Completely remove existing tires and BSR system. You can have the tires removed by an equipped dealer as described above. Costs about £45 per wheel OR just cut the tires and remove the inner circlips with the help of an angle grinder.
The TPMS system can be retained or removed and changed to prevent the light from flashing on the dash.
Once the rims and rings have been removed, any tire dealer can install regular tires on a regular tire machine and any brand can be used.
You must notify your insurance company if you remove the BSR system and fit regular tires.
There is unlikely to be an additional premium as the car will be in the latest SR Rav4 spec. That is, without the BSR system and a tire repair kit in the trunk.
It is possible to remove the tires and the BSR ring and then put the tires back on, but this will invalidate your insurance because the tires have a symbol on the tire wall designating them as Run flats. Which of course without the BSR rings inside they are not! This could mean that a Driver who is unaware of this could be in trouble if a deflation occurs and they continue to drive…
The wheels with the extra weight of the BSR system and the lubricating gel is huge compared to a wheel fitted with a normal tire.
The suspension has two elements to deal with:
The weight of the spring. This is the weight of the Vehicle, Its Occupants, Cargo, etc.
Unsprung weight. This is the weight of the wheels, tires, brakes, etc.
Relieving the suspension of the unsprung mass allows you to continue the work of controlling the sprung mass. This adds up to a much smoother ride without the bumps and thumps that come with the increased weight of BSR-equipped wheels. Remember that tire walls are NOT reinforced.
Ride quality IMPROVES MASSIVELY when the BSR is removed!
If you trade in a BSR-equipped RAV at a Toyota dealer, one of the first questions you’ll be asked is whether you still have flats. Because if it doesn’t, in their eyes, the car has been radically altered and cannot be sold under the Toyota-approved car scheme.
Other dealers may or may not ask depending on whether they know about the system in the first place…
I hope this helps