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BMW 5-Series Tires and Wheels

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  • laurasdadalaurasdada Posts: 2,487
    Hello, Dale and All: Don't know if you'll remember me from the Luxury Lounge and other forums, but a quick question. Not having yet read through this forum, but we just bought a new '11 535xi, with the Radial Spoke (Style 237) 18 x 8.0 light alloy wheels, 245/45 run-flat1 all-season tires (base setup). Thinks I got a decent deal...

    Everyone: Offered the 5 year BMW Tire Protection package for $1267, my initial reaction is thanks, but no (self insure). Your thoughts? Have a couple of days to think about it, new to run flats and have read here and there that the wheels seem to be (relatively) easily damaged. I'm a bit less worried about the tires as the wheels.

    Any and all input appreciated!

    Regards,

    Laurasdada

    '13 Jaguar XF, '11 BMW 535xi, '02 Lexus RX300

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Long time no hear from. :)

    The 245/45 R18s offer roughly 4.34" of sidewall height which should be more than enough to deal with all but the nastiest of road obstructions. Personally I'd pass on the Protection Package. :)
  • laurasdadalaurasdada Posts: 2,487
    Thanks for the thoughts. Yeah, I've been more of a lurker than a poster the last couple of years, life kinda got in the way...

    Spoke to my local shop, they suggested the warranty as they claim to see a lot of BMW, Audi and Saab wheel issues. I've never bought any kind of extended warranty, always self-insured, but this is a bit of a new ball game, shop said price sounded good for five years. We'll see, I think the lovely wife would feel warmer and fuzzier with the warranty.

    Hey, we continue to support the economy, two new cars in three months! What have I done??? :confuse:

    '13 Jaguar XF, '11 BMW 535xi, '02 Lexus RX300

  • james27james27 Posts: 433
    I've never been really impressed with Goodyear tires, but that being said, there are a lot of people on the forums that complain about sidewall bubbles (supposedly from doing things like hitting curbs, etc.) with the stock tires. The nature of a run-flat is that it tends to protect the rim of the wheel better than 'normal' tires, since it must prevent the tire from peeling off the rim when it loses pressure. While it somewhat depends on your deductable, a broken rim normally is covered by your existing collision insurance, and that may cover a bit of the cost of any eventual replacment. Then, the wear rating on the tires isn't all that great, so they'll need to be replaced regularly anyway. This is more because BMW specs a higher performance tire than the fact they are run-flats. For equivalent sizes, it seems that a runflat tire costs in the order of $100 more than the conventional counterpart. The price you pay for not lugging a spare around and the safety of choosing where you stop if you do get a flat.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,448
    So much depends on the road conditions where you drive. I have the insurance on my 2010 328i and just used it to replace the left front tire due to a screw puncture wound.

    The price of the tire alone was $310.00 on Tirerack.com. I got the insurance discounted to about $1000.00 when I bought the car. I would have broken even if the wheel had also been damaged.

    I guess I would ask..."do you feel lucky?"
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,448
    Certainly I didn't mean to suggest all wheel damage is the driver's fault, but in my experience I would say when someone complains of wheel damage multiple times in short order, the driver is the most obvious cause.

    Even though one may have driven 50 years without a single incident, most/all of those years were probably on higher profile, non RFT tires.

    Is like me blaming BMW for poor design if I happen to hit a speed bump too fast and damage the front fascia on my Z4 coupe.

    Sidewalls on RFTs are much more rigid and less forgiving when driven through potholes. It's something folks need to consider when buying large rims with low profile tires.
  • laurasdadalaurasdada Posts: 2,487
    Roads of Boston and New England. Not feeling so lucky! Tires, I believe, come with a one year warranty, but I do worry about the wheels. For the first time in my life, from the research I've done the last couple of days, I think we may go for it...

    Was your contract for 5 years?

    '13 Jaguar XF, '11 BMW 535xi, '02 Lexus RX300

  • I have 530xit station wagon sport package. Have replaced the run flat tires with 18"rim completly with a 17" rim 225/45/R17 tire. I have no issue with the indication since we moved all sensers from RFT rim to the new off the shave rim. I get perfect ride with the all season tires and my hwy milage has gone up by 3 miles. I am going to use the RFT 18 inch rim with 245/45/R18 tires to replace all my RFT for the winter on 328XI which my wife drives locally. Parts in the BMW told me I could use 18" rim on the 328xi.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Last time I checked the 3-Series and the 5-Series had a rather different offset; I suggest you check again before you commit to putting those wheels on your 328xi.
  • atalaya505atalaya505 Posts: 18
    edited March 2012
    I cannot believe that I am seeing the same "blame the driver" crap on this thread that you get from BMW. I have been driving reasonably high-performance cars on 45 profile tires for ten years now. Mostly turbocharged Subies, Infiniti, VW CC and Audi's. Prior to that, mostly BMW's. I have carefully avoided the "sport" upgrades with 40 or lower profile tires.

    Went back to BMW this past year when we bought a 2011 535xi. Again, stayed with 18 inch wheels and the 45 series tires. This car has a SERIOUS problem! One pothole on I 40 in New Mexico bent the rim. The car immediately began vibrating badly. We were worried that we were going to be stranded hundreds of miles from any dealer. No damage we could see at night with a flashlight, so we limped 250 miles home.

    The pothole is one that would barely have bothered any of the cars we have driven.

    There was NO driver error here. I have driven over 1.5 million miles on three continents and never had a car suffer anything like this kind of damage from this sort of impact.

    $650 and the dealer said that I was lucky that the impact did not take out the tire as well. They usually see tire sidewall bubbles when someone takes out a BMW rim.

    When we bought the car, we had planned to replace the run flats with non-run flat Conti Extreme Contact DWS tires (and the Conti inflation kit) this coming fall. Now, we are debating whether we dare keep this car. It spends much of its time on trips in the middle of nowhere.

    I know that replacing the RFTs with standard all-seasons will provide more cushioning for the wheel. With earlier BMW's this extra cushioning might be sufficient to have saved the rim in our pothole impact. But, I am far less confident that it will be sufficient on our car. The new 5 series seems to have a particularly soft front suspension. After hearing other reports of 2011 535's crashing over potholes, I took a new, non AWD, 535i out on a test drive this past week and deliberately drove it over a known pothole on a nearby surface street. The Bimmer completely bottomed its suspension with a loud jarring crash. In five other cars -- all with 45 profile tires -- I drove over the same pothole at the same speed with very little fuss.

    Stiff run flat tires, soft wheels, a suspension that crashes . . . Not sure how to fix all of these. We are now worried that even if we replace the RFTs with more flexible non-RFTs, this car may still be dangerously susceptible to impact damage.

    One possibility would be to replace the RFT's, buy the Conti kit AND devote a sizable amount of trunk real-estate to a spare tire and jack.

    Or, we could take the more drastic step of dumping a beautiful new 535xi for an Audi A6.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,448
    I certainly didn't intend to paint everyone with a broad brush, and I don't put everyone in the same bucket.

    However, there are many 5-series owners that don't suffer tire and wheel issues. All I was stating is that folks who go through wheel and tire after wheel and tire probably are contributing to their problem, even if it's just because the roads where they live are in a sad state of disrepair.

    And, as the wheel size increases and the sidewall height decreases, it creates the "perfect storm" for wheel and tire damage. That's not just a guess, because I have a good friend that's in the wheel repair business (for quite a few years now) and he's been pretty clear that frequency of damage increases as wheel diameter increases.

    Add to the, in BMW's case, stiff RFT sidewalls nd you decrease the margin of "give" even further.

    Personally, if I could, I would change BMW policy to offer GFT's and a space-saver spare in the truck option.
  • techman9techman9 Posts: 18
    I traded in the 2011 BMW for the 2012 A6. I have had it for 6 months, 10K in mileage and can tell you it was well worth it. The all wheel drive is by far superior to the BMW. Also Transmission and suspension in the A6 far exceeds performance of the BMW. People can argue wheels all day long on this forum but the simple truth is the BMW as seen better days.
  • techman9techman9 Posts: 18
    What everyone seems to be missing is that it is not a simple case of changing tires. It has to do with a combination of tires, wheels and the suspension system. For a vehicle to constantly bottom out over almost every bump is not normal for any vehicle. I have owned many cars with lower profile tires and have never had to replace any wheels or tires as a result of the size of the wheel and tire sidewall, nor did the vehicle botton out. Someone miscalculated something when it came to the suspension.

    Go get an Audi and enjoy driving again.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,448
    edited March 2012
    I'm not gonna argue the point, but I'll simply say this.

    Do a Google on "XXX alloy wheel damage", where XXX is BMW, Audi, Nissan, etc. and you will find every manufacturer shows up with wheel damage.

    I'm not here to defend BMW nor accuse any other manufacturer of defects, nor praise them. I'm just saying that the incidence of damage is directly correlated to the diameter of the wheel as it increases in size.

    If you want the bling of 18, 19 or larger wheel sizes, get ready to pay extra.
  • atalaya505atalaya505 Posts: 18
    edited March 2012
    It is absolutely true that the lower the profile tire and the stiffer the sidewall, the less "give" you are going to have, and the more problems you will have.

    But, I am comparing apples to apples here: a 2011 BMW 535xi with the standard 18" wheels and 45 profile tires against other cars with tires of similar size and profile.

    I have driven over 500,000 miles in cars with 17" and 18" 45 profile tires over all kinds of roads on three continents. And, as noted in my post, I have now tested a sampling of such cars over the same pothole at the same speed.

    ONLY the 2011 535xi exhibited this problem. I believe that is a combination of the very stiff RFT tires and a suspension design that is not suitable for our potholed American roads. You would probably never encounter this problem in Germany. But our roads are much worse than theirs.

    This would not stop me from driving this car in an urban area, but we no longer trust where it could leave us stranded a long way from civilization.

    I would love to hear from anyone who has a 2011 5 series and who has replaced the RFTs with conventional tires. Does this solve the problem? Does the suspension still crash? Have you had any tire or wheel damage since making the change?
  • I leased a 2011 535xi with the M Sport package. To date, I have blown out 5 tires due to driving over pot holes. I have never seen anything like this, and the previous post about this being exclusive to this model BMW is accurate. It's a combination of the suspension, rim design and tire. The car feels like it is about to break into two pieces and as a result the tires blow or bubble.

    BMW has replaced all the tires at no cost. This issue, along with the slow tip in at throttle and I am hugely disappointed in the car. Working to return it to BMW this week.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,448
    Either you purchased the wheel & tire insurance or you must have the most understanding and sympathetic BMW dealer in the country!
  • lawcarlawcar Posts: 81
    What type of rims and tires do you have? How big were the potholes? Where do you live? Did the tires blow up?
  • The M sport package includes 19" wheels with lower profile tires, so I can readily understand why you would be having even more problems than I.

    How did you get BMW to pay attention to you? They told me that I had to go through my dealer. So, I got the sympathetic service manager at the dealer to contact BMW on my behalf.
    Through the service manager intermediary, BMW has just blown me off. Told me that they are are not aware of any problem with F10 tires, wheels or suspension.
    Just for good measure, they informed me that replacing the RFTs with conventional all season tires would void my warrantee on anything relating to wheels, suspension or steering.
  • BTW:

    Consumer Reports complained about the (non sport) 535i they tested crashing over sharp bumps so hard that it sent shudders through the entire car.

    Car and Driver had six bent rims and two blown tires in 40,000 miles on their 550. They blamed wheels that were too soft. I think that it has more to do with the suspension design combined with the very stiff RFT tires. Probably fine for German roads, but not for the U.S.
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