Our resident tyre reviewer gives his verdict on Yokohama’s latest “silent” tyre.
YOKOHAMA makes a multitude of tyres from racing slicks to comfortable passenger car tyres.
However, they have also been focussing on specially designed low-noise tyres. These tyres carry the initials “dB”, which stands for “decibel”.
The first time I tested Yokohama’s dB was in 1999. In 2004, it became the AVS dB. Back then, the focus was on tread pattern noise and optimising the carcass.
Yokohama’s latest quiet tyre is known as Advan dB. For the uninitiated, Advan is the brand’s flagship line of tyres.
The Advan dB’s tread design bears some resemblance to the tread pattern of the AVS dB, but the former has a slightly more asymmetrical style, with unbroken tread bands placed on both the outer and inner tread.
There are plenty of drainage sipings that divide the tread bands into smaller individual blocks. The blocks are chamfered to reduce the feathering wear pattern and noise. The tyre’s tread belting is fairly stiff. It has rounded shoulders and no rim protector.
Dry Performance: 7/10
In terms of dry performance, the Advan dB didn’t really need any bedding-in. On- centre steering feel seemed unusually good and almost felt like a sportier tyre thanks to the positive and meaty feel.
But off-centre, it becomes more of what one expects from a comfort-biased tyre – it has softer responses to steering inputs.
This softness progressively increased as I pushed harder. However, the tyres held on surprisingly well without massive understeer or twitchiness.
The Advan dB made best use of the modest grip by handling decently. When pushed to its limits, it would emit a low-pitched howl instead of screeching.
Braking was good and it complemented the car’s ABS. The Advan dB did break traction a bit more than usual on hard take-offs, but this did not occur during normal driving.
Rolling Resistance: 8/10
The Advan dB clearly proved its abilities here, rolling easily during take-off and cruising.
Low rolling resistance results in lower fuel consumption, and this was what I experienced, too. My low-fuel warning light only came on after 360km, or 30km more than usual. This works out to around an extra km per litre of petrol.
Low rolling resistance aside, this could also have been due to the tyre’s less sporty nature, which doesn’t encourage drivers to push hard.
The Advan dB has chamfered blocks to reduce wear and noise.
Wet Performance: 8/10
The AVS dB’s weakness was wet weather performance. Yokohama claims to have fixed this with the Advan dB, and I was surprised at how much better it is in wet conditions compared to its predecessor.
While the older AVS dB would understeer with a sudden breakaway, the new Advan dB clung on relatively tenaciously. Of course, the Advan dB’s limits are lower compared to a sporty tyre.
Nevertheless, they gave me plenty of confidence in the wet. Braking and take-off performances were equally impressive in rainy conditions, too.
The Advan dB is as comfortable as its predecessor. Inflated to 32 psi, they provide the right balance between performance, comfort and rolling resistance. The ride is less than cushy when these tyres are inflated to 35 psi.
The star quality of the Advan dB is its low noise. Although I expected it to be quiet, I was still surprised at just how silent it is.
In fact, tyre noise was so low that I actually began noticing a bit of gear whine, which I never noticed before!
The Advan dB’s extra belt of noise-suppressing material under the tread really works. While cruising at 70km/h, it registers just 61 decibels. There is very little pattern noise and road surface noise is also well suppressed.
I tested these tyres (225/40 R18) on my FD2 Honda Civic Type R, which is pretty much devoid of sound proofing.
The Advan dB really delivers on the silent factor. The real surprise is the tyre’s big improvement in wet conditions. Overall, it offered more grip and did not break traction, even as understeer increased.
The enhanced fuel economy is another advantage. I consistently gained between 30km to 40km per tankful of fuel, which translates into lower running costs. Motorists searching for a quiet tyre that can improve their fuel efficiency should consider the Advan dB. It is an excellent and highly recommended choice.