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BMW 3-Series Run Flat Tires



  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,253
    Here's my experience with the el-42 rft's on '06 330Xi. I had an air bag sensor problem which I returned to the dealer twice. Ultimate solution was to relace wiring harness in steering wheel but between the trips to the dealer, I had the pleasure to test the RFT's because I developed a flat around 10 miles into a 100 mile trip on the rear driver side. The car kept decently balance up to 65 mph all the way, so if you have a loved on in this car, they really do work. Unfortunately, I had a local Goodyear dealer change to a new tire and they scratched the rim since they probably did not have the special machine in the BMW garage. Cost for new tire, $300...cost for rim, $0 since the repair shop agreed to pay. This car has the sport pkg, 17" rims and handling is great but I believe you will experience similar road feedback with any low profile tire...might stick better but the suspension is the suspension.
  • rhmassrhmass Posts: 263
    So you had the tire replaced with a different brand and thus different tread pattern? My understanding has always been that it is extremely important to have the same tire (even same tread depth of the same tires) on at least the same axle for all wheel drive. Otherwise it may damage the AWD system.
  • carl61carl61 Posts: 3
    I picked up my car from the dealer today with brand new RE050A RFT Potenza tires. It is like driving a brand new car. The dealers good will cost me $329.00 for mounting, balancing. alignment etc. but the car drives better now than it ever did before. I still feel the originals were defective because I always had a vibration (shimmy) in the steering wheel as if the tires were out of balance. That was never eliminated until now with these new tires. I don't know how long they'll last but for now I don't have to turn the volume on the radio up to hear it over the humming tires and the ride is smooth. I'll keep everyone posted.
  • imran62781imran62781 Posts: 26
    Just picked up my 2006 325xi this past weekend. This is my first post on the forum, something I wish I didn't have to join, but there seem to be so many problems. I have read all the posts about the RFTs. Most seem to have a problem, very few said they are fine with them. After spending so much money on this car it sucks to not be able to enjoy the ride since i'm worried about getting a damn flat. Anyway, my question is simple, should I get the tire/wheel warranty or not? The dealer says it is not too late and that if I go back they will examine the tires and still let me buy it. He said it would be about 600 - 700, which seems very high? If you purchased this warranty please let me know how much you paid and whether there are any catches to this. I would really appreciate your help. Thank you.
  • rhmassrhmass Posts: 263
    One thing you should know is that these tire/rim warranties are NOT offered by BMW. They are offered by the third party through the dealers. Before you buy it, make sure to check the fine prints particularly on rim replacement. It usually doesn't cover blemishes or scratches on rims, but only replaces the rim when it doesn't hold air. At the time I picked my 06 330i, I was offered the warranty ranging from $400 to $600 from different BMW dealers. I decided to "self-insure" as for the price, I'd still break even if I have two flats that must be replaced during the waranty period.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,253
    No, I relaced the damaged tire with the same size EL42. You are correct about the same tire. The bottom line is that I will keep everything stock and replace tires around 30,000 miles. The only other problem with the car was the wiring harness to repair the malfunctioning air bag indicator. Otherwise, this car is a very satisfing drive.
  • mpt1mpt1 Posts: 12
    Here’s what I’m thinking: For me, I believe the very hard ride is a sort of perfect storm of factors: stiffer suspension in the 330xi vs the 330i, relatively hard seats, relatively low profile tires and of course, the fact that the tries are run-flats (Bridgestone Turanaza EL42 225/45/17) - very stiff and don’t give at all.

    I took the car to the dealer to make sure there were no defects in the suspension, which of course there weren’t. I asked the service manager if I could replace the run flats with a standard tire without voiding the warranty or other issues and he said yes, I could absolutely replace the tires without issue. He mentioned he had a customer who recently replaced the optional run flats on a new 5 series. He was concerned though that that may not be the whole answer to the rough ride problem.

    I’ve decided to do it anyway. My plan is to replace the run flats with Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S since I want to stick with all-seasons. They’re not cheap, but got very good reviews on Since I’m leasing the car, I know I’m going to go through at least one set of the EL42’s anyway, so I might as well replace them now and put them back on the car when I return it from lease. Pay now or pay later. Might as well take a shot at a better ride now. I’m also going to buy the ContiComfort Kit and throw it in the trunk in case of a flat. Available at Tirerack: I"ll keep the forum posted of the results.
  • lipplipp Posts: 58
    I also have Bridgestone Turanaza RFT's on my 325I and I am going back and forth with a BMW NA CSR. I am getting nowhere. I am also in conversation with Bridgestone with nothing positive to report from them. You spent a lot of money for your 5 series and you should not have to go through this bs to have the car properly equipped with a tire that's of a quality necessary for that vehicle. You're caving in.

    I am so upset with BMW NA's lack of concern regarding this RFT issue that I vowed to never buy a BMW again. I switched from a Benz and I will switch back. BMW has no consideration for their customers. They are so rigid it's incredible. They are programmed and they provide programmed answers.

    Good luck with your problem, but don't take the easy way out, and don't compromise. You're not leasing a $15,000 sub compact. Your leasing the Ultimate Driving Machine and you should not have to go and buy tires to replace the problem tires that BMW installed on you car. Replacing them is the Ultimate Embarrassment.
  • mpt1mpt1 Posts: 12
    Yeah, part of me says I am caving in. But my back is telling me to ditch the run flats - now. I'd be much more pissed without the knowledge that I'm going to go through one set of tires regardless and will need to return the car from lease with tires that have acceptable tread left on them.

    But you're absolutely right - this is not at all the experience I'd expect from a $40K+ 'Machine', and BMW should be mortified by the realization of this major mistake. But they won't be, for the same reason iDrive is great, we all just don't know how to appreciate it.

    Although the BMW service manager was very courteous and not at all arrogant, he still acted like this is the first he's heard of the problem (in anticipation of this move, I printed out about 25 posts from various message boards about the less than joyful expereiences other BMW owners are having with the run flats and told him 'happy reading -now you're informed'). Amazing how dumb they think we all are.
  • lipplipp Posts: 58
    Thanks for the fedback. Please share with me some of the other message boards with RFT posts.

    My problem with BMW is now more than the RFT's. It's BMW NA's attitude. Here is part of my recent response to BMW NA: "I have spoken to the service staff at my servicing dealer. I am interested in speaking to someone from BMW NA. That's not possible with all of your restrictions, so I will find another way to resolve my problem. It's interesting tire problem has now escalated to a total dissatisfaction for BMW as a company -a non consumer oriented company. It's no longer a problem with the tires but a problem with BMW in general, because of this stance to not allow me to converse with a technical expert from BMW NA. Your company's inability to address issues and to stand behind their product and their policies is incredible. Remember, "you only know how good a company is when you have a problem with their product or services". I know where to rank BMW NA on a scale of 1 to 5 the next time someone asks.
  • topbiztopbiz Posts: 16
    I have called BMW NA many times regarding the runflat problems- We bought a 2006 3 AND 2006 5 series! Thank God only the 3 series have the lousy tires. We have gone through several of those beasts and BMW claims no-one else is having the problem. We bought both cars at Prstige BMW in NJ, and have been getting them serviced at BMW of the Hudson Valley. Everyone claims the problem is only with our car- what a rip-off! Gues what cars we will not be buying next time?
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,253
    I had the same thought regarding switching to standard tires since I lease also and all tires are basically garbage at around 30K miles. I really do not have the same issues regarding tire noise and do feel the difference between a standard 330i without the SP (loaner during service to the wiring harness) and my 330XI with SP. These cars will ride stiff and the low profile standards contribute to the harshness, I'm sure. (By the way, SP smokes non-SP in the twisties but again, the firmness factor is large)

    Here's some more to consider - The RFT that they took off my car is really built well in terms of sidewall thickness and strength. I started my career in the tire business and believe this is really a good technology at the early stages. Needs to be way more refined based on this feedback we are experiencing. I wonder how the Vettes are doing with the RFT setup?

    Anyway, I liked the performance at 0 pressure at 65 mph when I had my experience. Also, the car tracks really well in the wet or dry with these tires IMO and is flat around all turns with the setup stock but the rough surfaces are tough, real tough. Just do not order sport package if you lean towards smoothness over handling. The tires are heavy duty, bottom line but many more tires will perform on the luxury side way better.

    Good luck with the change and a good strategy. I will wait out through about 20 -24 months in my lease term to see what RFT options evolve. I drive 80% highway so I should not have a wear problem and will get about 10 - 16 months on new rubber for the balance of my lease (36 mo.)
  • mpt1mpt1 Posts: 12
    Thanks for the insight. As I understand, the suspension in the 330xi non-sport and sport is the same while they are different in the 330i. Does this mean that the 330xi is already 'sport-tuned', or does it mean the the extra weight of the AWD forces the use of yet a different suspension that cannot be sport tuned?

    I'm also not experiencing excessive road noise with the RFTs. It's just hitting some of those bumps and whishing there was a little more give in the tire to do some absorbing.
  • abchurchabchurch Posts: 1
    I had my first RFT failure this week, and all my early skepticism about driving a car (2006 325xi) with no full size spare was confirmed. It will never be better to have only 4 wheels, regardless of advances in tire technology, and until the self-proclaimed builders of the ultimate driving machine realize this, BMW owners will be unnecessarily inconvenienced and immobilized each time a tire fails.

    The most compelling aspect of my experience was when my car was on the lift at a major tire dealership in Fairfield County, Connecticut (not exactly remote), the wheel had been removed, the Bridgestone EL42 was found to be damaged, and the dealership had no exact (or approximate) replacement tire available. There was no way to even roll the car off the lift! We ended up putting the damaged tire back on the car just to get it out of the bay and onto a vehicle transport truck that arrived 2 hours later to take me to the nearest BMW dealership.

    There were a number of unique specifics about my experience that aren't necessarily relevant to a general discussion of the topic, but I believe every car owner's experiences are similarly complicated in their respective ways, and I have no reason yet to believe that 4 wheels are better than 5 (or 6, as I have for my 2002 325xi).
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,253
    Here's the suspension difference between i and xi(fromBMWNA)
    "325xi and 330xi have steel lower arms and a steel subframe, plus an aluminum thrust plate."

    Thr tire profile is the same as standard 330i without SP so I think this makes the difference. I definately felt improvement (handlung) but again, the harshness was more evident between rough and smooth pavement on my car verse the i.
  • nfishernfisher Posts: 2
    I have a 330i without sport package. I am confussed about the recommended tire pressure. There is a sticker on the left front door that reads to inflate front tires to 29 and rears to 36 psi. In addition there is another sticker, yellow in color, that read front tires to be inflated to 23 and rears to 41 psi. Can anyone advise me on correct pressure?
  • owner6owner6 Posts: 89
    Based on all the BAD experiences with RFT Flat repair/replacement on this topic I have decided to call all the BMW dealers in the Baltimore/Washington/Northern Virginia area to determine there RFT tire inventory and experience in fixing/replacing Flat tires. This way I can call the ones with the best claim of service and see where to drive when and if i have a flat. My Risk Mitigation.
  • gordonwdgordonwd Posts: 336
    I don't have an answer for you, but the 23/41 spec seems way off to me -- 23 too low for any tire, and 18psi difference front to rear also seems weird, especially on a car with close to a 50/50 weight distribution. Then again, I don't have RFTs on my '04 model...
  • imran62781imran62781 Posts: 26
    For me, what the dealer told me to set the pressure at was different than what the manual says. Shouldnt the manual be the one and only thing to follow..........I guess that is a question but also an opinion. sorry if it doesnt help....
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