RAV4 Drivers Club Guide to Toyota RAV4 Run-Flat (BSR) Tire System

April 30, 2021 0 Comments

This guide is written to hopefully explain the BSR Run Flat system installed on the Toyota Rav4 T180 and SR180.

Many owners have bought their cars without knowledge of 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 that is different from other types in which the side wall of the used tires is heavily reinforced, so that if a puncture or deflation occurs, the car runs efficiently on the side wall.

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 drives in the event of deflation. The tires are effectively a normal tire. This is a development of a WWII military vehicle.

There is also a lubricant inside the tire that lubricates the tire and the BSR ring in the event of a flat. Without this, the friction generated would destroy both elements.

The system is backed by a TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) that illuminates a warning light on the dash if a deflation occurs …

The advantages of this system …

It means no need to carry a spare tire … And … Well, that’s it really …

The least …

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 make or model of tire can be used.

This makes expensive replacements become time for new tires and can be very inconvenient in the event of a puncture.

Owners report very high replacement or repair costs!

The options …

Well, homeowners can just live with what they have and bear what is considered huge replacement or repair costs.


Remove the existing tires and the BSR system completely. You can have an equipped dealer remove the tires as described above. It costs around £ 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 tires and rings have been removed, any tire dealer can fit normal tires on a normal tire machine and any brand can be used.

Insurance implications …

You must notify your insurance company if you remove the BSR system and fit normal tires.

There is likely to be an additional premium as the car will be like the latest SR Rav4 spec. That is, no BSR system and a tire repair kit in the trunk.

It is possible to remove the tires and the BSR ring and then put them 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 doesn’t realize this could run into trouble if deflation occurs and they keep driving …

Driving quality

Wheels with the extra weight of the BSR system and lubricating gel are huge compared to a wheel fitted with a normal tire.

The suspension has two elements to deal with:

The suspended weight. This is the weight of the vehicle, its occupants, cargo, etc.

The unsprung weight. This is the weight of the wheels, tires, brakes, etc.

Relieving suspension from unsprung weight allows you to get on with the task of controlling suspended weight. This adds up to a much smoother ride without the crashes and bumps that the increased weight of BSR-equipped wheels produces. Remember that the walls of the tires are not reinforced.

Ride quality is MASSIVELY IMPROVED when the BSR is removed!

To consider …

If a BSR-equipped RAV is swapped out to a Toyota dealer, one of the first questions that will be asked will be: do you still have the floors in operation? Because if not, the car has been radically modified 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

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