Groovy Grasp of Grip - Yokohama Tyres

clifford chow
21 Aug 2019

Tyres tend to be taken for granted in our day-to-day drives. We simply pop them on and forget about them till they are due for change. The only time we usually mess with them is when we top them up with gas, and for those who do bother a little more, treat our wheels to some proper alignment and re-balancing.

However, tyres should be a major component we pay attention to, they are after-all the makers or breakers of the amount of traction you can get, and they play a major role in providing ride comfort and management of road noise.

We were invited by YHI Corporation Singapore, to Amata City Industrial Estate - Thailand, to pay a visit to Yokohama’s tyre factory and testing grounds for a little schooling in how tyres are built, and spent some time behind the wheel to better understand how a good set of tyres can not only be a lifesaver, but are central in delivering that comfortable ride.

Tyre Factory Tour

Yokohama’s Thai manufacturing plant is responsible for the production of heavy vehicle and passenger car tyres, across two production facilities on its premises. We are privileged to get a tour of the Passenger & Light Truck Plant (PCLT). 

Tyre production at the factory begins with the mixing of closely-guarded quantities of ingredients which differ with tyre models. A heady smell of raw materials greets us as we walk through the production facility, and there is a rhythmic buzz of machinery and workers working in cohesion to produce tyre componentry. Thailand’s Yokohama factory has been up and running since 2005, and supplies tyres not only to the country’s very own automotive production industry, but also to international markets.

Even with automation, manufacturing is still labour-intensive, as components have to be routinely examined through each part of the build. Interestingly, we even learnt that that fancy white text seen on some SUV tyres is actually an exposed part of a specially whitened sidewall compound.

Final inspection is done by hand, ensuring that the tyres manufactured have the required roundness and are balanced within strict parameters, before being allowed out of their factory doors.

The Tyres

The highlight (and most important bit) of our visit was put these tyres to the test at Yokahama’s very own proving ground. Slapped onto the cars were BluEarth RV02, BluEarth-ES ES32, Advan dB V552 and Advan Sport V105 tyre models.

These tyres are Japanese manufactured, but are brought into Thailand’s test facility for evaluation; as conditions here, especially temperature are at a constant (mighty hot if you ask me).

BluEarth RV-02 - Silent Performers for Your SUV and MPV

Specially built for CUV and MPVs in-mind, RV-02 series tyres are built to handle the added strains of heftier weight transfer, a characteristic of taller vehicles. The tyres are also designed to be resistant to uneven wear, for a longer lifespan.

Through tighter corners at speed, the RV-02 tyres hold their line well, even through the slalom course, where the weight of a taller CUV or MPV which would tend to transfer more than those of lower-riding sedans and hatchbacks, could also put further strain on tyres… All this while performing silently. Its straight groove design prove to be resistant to hydroplaning when taking corners in the wet. 

BluEarth RV-02 tyres are available from 15” to 20” sizes.

BluEarth ES - Affordable and Economical

Built for family cars, the BluEarth ES32 tyre is designed with superior wet draining capabilities in-mind. A shoulder block for tyres with a width of 225 and more, ensures durability for the added width; while wide shoulder grooves are engineered to allow water to drain off quickly. 

A quick spin around their watered-down skid pad reveals noticeably more grip over a competing brand. The BluEarth ES tyres deliver driver confidence, being able retain their path at considerably higher speeds. Driven on dynamic surfaces, the tyres perform well, providing users with a comfortable drive.

BluEarth ES tyres are available from 13” to 18” sizes.

ADVAN dB V552 - Premium Comfort and Handling

Yokohama ADVAN series tyres offers greater overall performance. The new V552 series tyres feature an improved contact shape over the previous design. Together with a revised shoulder profile shape, its new form greatly reduces road noise, and promotes a more even wear pattern. 

Driving on dynamic surfaces on the track, reveals a quiet ride, thanks to its small block thread design; while its rounded-off sidewall shape, provides a little more play, and ensures that vibration is significantly reduced. Its shaped sidewall also reduces the effects of weight transference from turns and the effects of impacts from the road, helping to deliver superb ride comfort.

Advan dB V552 tyres are available from 15” to 20” sizes.

ADVAN Sport V105 - Superb Wet/Dry Street Performance

Manufactured with high performance street applications in-mind. ADVAN Sport V105 tyres feature an asymmetrical design, for greater maneuverability and quietness. 

A highly rigid matrix body ply structure... in short, this reduces flex in the tyre, ensuring that power can be effectively put onto the ground. 

Grip is further enhanced by the mound profile of the thread, which flattens upon contact of road surfaces. Great when you require that added control, be it on the streets, or even that occasional track day.

ADVAN Sport V105 tyres are available from 16” to 23” sizes.

Click here to know more about the Yokohama tyre range!

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