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BMW 3-Series Run Flat Tires

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Comments

  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited May 2012
    In the end...Its all based upon your priorities. In the grand scheme of things, 99% (or close to it) buy BMWs for transportation, not to track the car. For them, RFTs certainly provide a more than adequate level of road "stickiness" and performance. And, for what its worth, the local Goodyear shop about 2 miles from me can repair any RFT as he can a GFT. In other words, if the damage is in a suitable area (inside the outer tread patterns) he'll repair it, and if the damage is outside that area, he won't repair ANY tire, GFT, or RFT.

    My neighbor had a flat near the NC/SC boarder on I-85 about 10 years ago. He didn't stop on the road side, but continued in the emergency lane to the next exit, upon which he took and moved the car to the right-outer-side of the exit lane... completely off the "driving" section of the exit lane.

    Middle of the afternoon... sunny and warm...

    As he was changing the tire, a drunk came off the highway at great speed, hitting my neighbor and his car, killing him instantly.

    Its a good bet that he would be here today if his car hade been equipped with RFT's, simply because he wouldn't have been on the side of the exit lane so he could be hit in the first place.

    Of course, some might say that's an extreme example, and perhaps it is.

    To some folks, they view their life as being worth more than $300-400.

    Personally, I have ridden motorcycles since I was 12, and I still get comments from the local Harley shop telling me I still have a few miles on a tire after I ask them to install a new one. I use the phrase above.... My life is worth $300-400 to me...

    I say again, however, that for the vast majority of folks this wouldn't be an issue if BMW offered the options of GFT or RFT style tires. I don't think anyone would disagree with that.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited May 2012
    BMW VERY specifically says you cannot replace the tires with GFTs Sorry you may be misinformed.

    I'd like to see where you obtained that information. In all the BMW documentation I have read, I've never seen it. I have heard folks say their dealers told them that, but that isn't BMW... its a dealer.

    BMW requires RTFs such as originally supplied on the vehicle before returning it for the end of a lease, but it also requires a soft-top convertible to be returned with a BMW original soft top, not an after market one. A leasing concern should always have the expectation of the leased product being returned in original condition, less normal wear and tear. The possibility that a company might allow for certain waivers to the policy, as you state MINI has done, in no way makes RFTs "defective".

    So, if you are speaking about lease returns, you are correct. Otherwise, I'd love to see where you found this bit of information.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,312
    RFTs are not for people who drive long distances in the West, where services are few and far between, assuming you don't want to sit for a few days waiting for the magical tire to arrive from LA or San Francisco or wherever they may be stocked.

    Then you get to try to find a tire machine in Austin, Nevada, that will mount the damn thing.

    YMMV
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    That's one of the most valid points against RFts. Then again, the same can be said for many of the same sized GFT's, too, when it comes to finding an available tire.

    Overall, I agree that RFT's are primarily designed, in the US, for the urban environment, where the tires are more readily available. In Germany, I can see an RFT making a big difference if you puncture a tire running down the Autobahn at 130+ mph.

    I think many folks miss the point in the RFT/GFT debate. It isn't the tire design, but the lack of having the OPTION of RFT/GFT with a space-saver spare.

    IMO, both tire designs have their pluses and minuses, and given the option, the individual could pick the one that best suits his needs.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,550
    edited May 2012
    I'm with you on the option. The issue was that once the decision was made on the switch, the car chassis was designed for RFT as well. No space for the spare probably allowed BMW much needed flexibility on weight distribution. As their cars became porkier and porkier, it was probably more and more difficult to keep them 50/50 (rear/front) than it used to. Skipping the spare compartment and its weight, was one less variable to deal with. Not saying it was the way to go, just pointing it might contribute to their conviction to it.

    BMW is known for making those controversial decisions and sticking to them thick and thin. iDrive was an evil incrarnate, too - it probably really sucked in its version 1.0. But they worked it out and I have to say I really like mine. Moreover, market proved them right, as both Audi, Benz and now Lexus have something that can be traced to this concept. There is no reason to think RFTs will not get better and more available over time.

    Next thing is the joistick transmission lever. In its current version, it's a silly disaster, IMHO - but I bet in couple of generations it will be more than allright and perhaps even will get copied. It is done so they can get more space on center console.

    Don't even start on their ergonomics. Everything that is aft/forward (radio station/music track control, gear change) is exactly opposite to everybody else. But, well...

    BTW, now the discussion starts making sense - real arguments for or against that are of some the consequence for a real person. Lack of availability is a real argument against it. But..., just like you said it - try to get 255/40/17 GFT in small town in Utah or Arizona and you probably won't either. So you are stuck no matter what, but at least a donut tire can get you to the nearest motel and diner, while you wait. ;)

    2012 BMW 328i wagon, manual and sports package. No. sold in the US: 1. Probably.

  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,312
    edited May 2012
    . . .try to get 255/40/17 GFT in small town in Utah or Arizona. . .

    That's why no serious weekend middle-of-the-night driver (as I used to be, but not so much anymore) out here who avoids Interstates leaves the county without a full-size spare, preferably on a matching wheel. I carried one and needed it more than once, not often, but often enough.

    There's a lot of empty out here, and the little towns shut down after 9 pm. Lovely for driving, but not so much for car repairs -- self-sufficiency is required.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,974
    I think changing out the RFTs is verboten on lease cars, right? I mean, once you turn them back in, they have to have RFTs on them.

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  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 31,124
    Correct... you have to have runflats on the car at turn-in, if that's what came on it...

    You can swap for regular tires... just save the runflats and put them back on at turn-in...

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  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited May 2012
    That's what I always thought, but the other poster stated Mini no longer requires RFT's on returned lease vehicles in post #3039, which I find a bit difficult to accept without seeing the policy in writing. After all, are the returned cars going to be equipped with new RFT's or a patch/seal kit (no spares) or is the buyer "on his own"?

    I know for certain that BMW requires BMW window glass/windshields to be original BMW issue (no aftermarket glass accepted without a "ding" to the lease payer) as well as anything such as soft tops, etc.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,974
    I don't see how a lease company could authorize such a switch on lease turn-in. I have a MINI and believe me, there is no room for a spare tire. I carry the jack of course, sealant and electric air pump.

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  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 31,124
    edited May 2012
    Base MINI Cooper doesn't have runflats... so, maybe that's it?

    Different exhaust routing leaves room for the spare tire well.

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  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    Really? I thought all Minis had moved to RFT's. My wife has an 05 convertible non-S Mini, and it has a spare but she ordered it with RFT's, so she has options.

    I know EVERY Mini at my local dealer on the lot is equipped with RFT's.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 31,124
    If you go for the optional 16" wheels, you get runflats.. even on a base model...

    But, I haven't shopped MINIs since last year... so things could have changed...

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,974
    I have 17" wheels on my MINI--after about two weeks I couldn't stand the RFTs any longer. When I switched over, the difference was so dramatic it really felt like someone else's car. It was an expensive lesson, but well learned.

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  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    Nope, you were correct. I just checked the Miniusa website, and the base hardtop model comes with a "space saver wheel and tire".

    I admit, I'm surprised its still available.

    Still, I'd bet $$$$ that any leased Mini equipped with RFTs must be returned with RFTs or get dinged...

    I'm guessing the poster discussing the "internal Mini policy change" as it relates to returned leased Minis RFT's is incorrect.
  • I've read through a few pages of posts, and I haven't yet found an answer, so I'm posting my question in the interest of time. Apologies if the answer is out there and I can't find it.

    I am debating a change from the RFTs on my wagon to nonRFTs, whatever they're called. I haven't weighed the cost difference, because I don't know what to look for in a nonRFT tire. The tires on my car now are Continental ContiProContact 205/55R16 91H. Is there a better tire [read: quality but less expensive] from another manufacturer that anyone would recommend?

    Also, any ideas how can I tell if my model has a "sport package"? THANKS FOR ANY INFO YOU CAN PROVIDE!
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 31,124
    If you have 16" wheels, you don't have the Sport Package...

    If you switch to non-runflats, what are you going to do for a spare?

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  • foxyesqfoxyesq Posts: 26
    Some prior posts state that BMW's wheel and tire insurance do not cover replacement tires. This is incorrect. I looked at my policy (yes, I elected to purchase the insurance. Haven't used it .... yet, but am still glad I have it) and, under the "Protections and Coverages" sections, it states as follows:

    "Replacement OEM or OEM approved tires and Replacement OEM wheels will be covered for the remainder of the Agreement." Thus, if you replace the tires with OEM or OEM approved tires, they will be covered same as the original tires.

    In addition, upon reviewing my policy, I came across the following benefits that may be of interest:

    1) Policy can be transferred to a new owner for a $40 (must be transferred within 30 days of sale); and
    2) In New York, where I purchased mine (and possibly other states), the policy can be cancelled at any time, with the cost of the policy refunded -- pro-rated on a daily basis (less claims paid and a $40 cancellation fee).

    Hope this helps if you are on the fence about purchasing the insurance.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    The policy doesn't include replacement costs of worn out tires, but it does include replacement of tires due to road hazard damage.

    The coverage envelops the new, OE style tires used as replacement of worn out tires, as long as the coverage remains in effect (time period).

    Frankly, why would anyone think replacement tires wouldn't be covered? Why would anyone buy coverage that only covered the original set of tires until they were worn out?
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    If you have the wheel and tire insurance from Mini, and it's still in effect, seriously consider replacement with RFTs. If not, then you have other, possibly more suitable options.

    You can move to non-RFT's, called GFT's. A suitable alternative many consider for a spare is a repair kit such as the ones offered by Slime and Continental.

    Go t o www.tirerack.com and enter your make/model info and go to the tire section. There, you can see all the tire options available for your car, as well as read reviews and opinions of others that have tried them.
  • Good question, thank you for making me consider that. OK, so if I need to keep run flats, is there one brand/type/model that's better than another? It's got Continental ContiProContact tires on there now...

    Thank you again for your reply, my apologies for my delay in responding.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,974
    I threw my MINI's RFTs over a fence and put on a set of Bridgestone Potenza RE760s, and am very pleased. It's like someone switched cars on me overnight. I can't say yet about how they will wear, however, but over 10K so far and no problems.

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  • skinhealerskinhealer Posts: 33
    edited June 2012
    Hello all,

    I have about 60K on my 328XI 2008 model and got my state inspection and they stated I needed by tires changed but not urgent was wondering if anybody can guide me for a new set of tires.

    Presently have bridgestone, heard conntenental is good but not sure at all. My car has run flat tires.

    Hoping to get good long lasting tires and fairly smooth. Don't mind spending money if they last long and are smooth.

    Thank you,
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,550
    I assume you have size 225/45/R17 (it is important, because not all sized are avaialable with all tire models). I also assume you are looking for all-season tires. You probably have previous generation of Bridgestones (most likely Turanza EL42 RFT). Tirerack tested newer RFT all season model, whish is 960 (they did it against the EL42 and non-RFT version of 960) and they really liked it - much quiter, much better grip etc. Continental has three models: ContiSportContact 2 and 3 SSR (those are summer UHP - are not design to last) and ContiProContact SSR, which are all-season - heard some good things about those. There are also Yokohama Avid Envigor ZPS - those are brand new, so no tests available.

    Go to tire rack, read a little and you get an idea. If wear is your primary concern, look for UTQG rating (rating directly related to treadwear) of 400 and above. Advantage of Contis and Bridgestones 960 they have AA traction rating. Yokos have only single A rating, but in your case it may suffice, as it seems you get an outsised mileage on your tires (must be driving really gently).

    2012 BMW 328i wagon, manual and sports package. No. sold in the US: 1. Probably.

  • runningdocrunningdoc Posts: 32
    Hey there... my 335i Sport came with Bridgestone Protenza RFTs 22540R18 Front, 25535R18 Rear... The rear tires are coming close to wearing out and it is time to think of replacement. I did some quick searching at tire rack, which list both RFTs, and GFTs. A few questions as I research:

    1) The rears wore quicker than the front (about 30K on the rears) and the protenza has very poor treadwear rating (140). In fact, they were not driven in the winter as I have winter tires and rims. There is a Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 ZP which has a better tirewear (220 vs.140) and better traction (AA). While they are more on tirerack, they are still significantly less than the dealer. Has anyone tried the Michelin tire on the 335i/325i, and if so, what was your experience?

    2) A question that has been asked repeatedly, but I will pose it again, has anyone switched from RFTs to GFTs, and is there any concern in switching one axle at a time? The GFTs have considerable advantages in tirewear over the RFTs. I believe the GFTs are still superior in performance (handling, noise, and wear) vs. the RFTs.

    3) If switching to GFTs, I assume people are carrying slime or a repair kit as the backup plan?

    4) If you have switched to GFTs in this 3 series, have you suggestions of the tire you switched to and your impressions of the tires?

    Thanks for any suggestions, thoughts, etc.
  • runningdocrunningdoc Posts: 32
    Scratch question number 2... can only replace the OEM RFTs in complete sets...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,974
    I wouldn't put too much weight on treadware ratings...some consideration, but less than you'd think.

    for one thing, this rating is a RATIO, not mileage based. So tire A has twice the ratio of tire B, but if they are driven under different conditions, then they might end up wearing out at the same time.

    Also, the ratings are put on the tires by the manufacturers themselves, and they have become more of a marketing tool than the ratings were initially created for.

    In short, you'd be better off using the mileage warranty as a gauge of how long the tire will last---the treadwear rating is pretty much not to be counted upon. ( you will often find a tire with a treadwear rating of 400 warrantied for 40,000 miles and another with the same 400 rating warrantied at 60,000 miles---huh?)

    PS: The tests performed by tire companies are not actively monitored by the gov't.

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  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,578
    RE: 1)
    I just passed 10,000 miles in a 2011 335iS [ M Sport suspension ]
    with the Michelins.
    No complaints.
    Even wear.
    Excellent handling.
    - Ray
    One data point....
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited June 2012
    Excellent analysis...

    One additional point, though...

    Tires that are OEM equipment are made to the car manufacturer's specs. That means that, as an example, the Continental ContiProContact tires that came on a Nissan Versa may have a different component makup than a different sized tire of the same Continental make/model/series (this isn't limited to Continental, just an example).

    That's one reason you may see mixed tire reviews in which one sized tire gets excellent mileage, and another size tire of the same make/model/series getting nowhere near that mileage.
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