Fit Run-Flats Right
It is now becoming increasingly vital that dealerships across the country understand the fitting implications that run-flat tyres bring with them, Bridgestone has reported. As a result Bridgestone is promoting its free Run-Flat Certificate Programme, which offers training for tyre dealers and fitters across the UK. To date, in excess of 600 UK fitters and store managers have attained certification, and more than 400 machines have already been inspected and accredited by Bridgestone.
While the number of run-flat tyres on UK roads grows daily, there have been reports of a lack of knowledge within the industry about how they could and should be fitted. Bridgestone UK’s consumer marketing manager Andy Lane explains: “Some media reports have highlighted instances where a customer has requested RFT tyres, even though their car is not set up for them. Whenever this happens, we advise all dealers to point out that RFT must only be used in conjunction with TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System).
“Our RFT tyres are introduced through original equipment fittings, and retro-fitting is absolutely not recommended,” said Mr Lane. “That’s because we develop the tyres in conjunction with manufacturers to ensure they suit the set-up of the car, and fitting RFTs to a vehicle that has not been set up for them – in terms of suspension, shocks, or TPMS – could lead to at best an uncomfortable ride, or at worst to a compromise in safety.”
To reinforce its commitment to the technology, Bridgestone UK – which recently won the NTDA Product Innovation Award for its RFT tyres – has implemented a comprehensive training course to ensure that every time a run-flat tyre is fitted, it is done so correctly.
Paul Turner, Bridgestone UK’s technical training manager, attends the delegates’ site and leads training sessions at the individual depot or dealership. The sessions involve both practical demonstrations and tests to ensure proficiency at fitting RFTs, combined with an assessment of the equipment on site and its suitability for fitting the tyres, as well as the delegate’s skill at doing so.
The Bridgestone Run-Flat Certificate Programme was launched in 2001, but has seen the number of delegates and outlets taking part grow significantly in the last 12 months, with more than 180 UK outlets fully certified.