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BMW 3-Series Run Flat Tires



  • johnsamjohnsam Posts: 55
    WELL WRITTEN Your 2 year experience has been experiences by many. I have owned 3 of those problems.....Still own 2.


    As long as BMW "spends" potential customers who are aware of the problems with RFTs, they will not fully see the potential sales they could.

    Certainly they have read all the negative write ups published by both owners / drives AND publications. OFFER EITHER TIRE AS OPTIONS ON NEW CARS!

  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,238
    (maintenance-averse drivers who let tire pressures get too low), combined with cars with extreme high-speed potential, clearly trump people who care about how the car handles and those who drive more than 50 miles from large metropolitan centers or anywhere in the middle of the night; you're definitely on your own if you do both.

    It's clear that there are more at the door to buy BMWs, regardless of what's done to take them away from what built the brand in the first place. There's far more money to be made building fashion accessories than cars enthusiasts wish to drive.
  • 08 335i with SP and 18 inch rims. potholes galore in nyc. and, no, you CANNOT avoid them, not when they're spaced ALL over the road. bubbled and busted 4 tires in one month. still waiting for tirerack to send one from the last pothole. haven't driven my car in 5 days.

    so, finally gave up and put the car on craiglist. then, thought better of it and got a set of 17 inch rims and grand touring tires (was going for HP all season, but tirerack talked me out of it). hopefully that'll reduce if not eliminate the issue. at least if they bust I can get a cheap new tire from any local store and not have to wait for special delivery. my last 2 cars also had low profile tires, but i never busted them. they didn't have RFs. never again. don't get RFTs!!
  • The bottom line is that it is just a joke to say that these tires are repairable. Our dealer wouldn't, the "authorized repair center" Firestone dealer we took ours to for repair quietly admitted they would not repair no matter what. Lets face it the only ones getting repaired are the ones that go flat on the dealer's lot a waiting sale. Without full disclosure of non-repair in the BMW driver owners manual they are facing class action at some point.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    edited April 2010
    I wouldn't have said it if it were a joke. :D I see them repaired successfully but of course I don't send the owners notes in 3 months asking them how it held up---but I've certainly seen them repaired.

    If you drive on them for too long, then yeah, you can't repair them, or if you puncture the side wall, but otherwise, I'd have a competent shop repair mine without any concern.

    Shops refuse to repair them because they don't know how, is what's really going on.

    You might findTHESE COMMENTS interesting. Notice how those who say YES you can repair a RFT are talking from experience but that those who say NO only say that because they were told it wasn't possible.
    And to be fair, that's honest enough---stay away from whatever you don't know and you'll stay out of trouble.

    I'd say the rules are:

    1. If you drive too long without air in them, they're toast

    2. If they are punctured in a sidewall, they are probably toast

    3. If you use "slime" to inflate them, you'll foul up the monitoring sensors (but they can be cleaned

    4. If you go to a shop that follows manufacturer's procedures, and if the tire is safely pluggable, you're good to go.


  • taxesquiretaxesquire Posts: 681
    Ive got an '07 335 with the SP, and don't see the need to keep the 18s - my understanding is that the SP gives you 17s in the front and 18s in the back so you also can't rotate your tires.

    I don't know how expensive it is to convert from 18s to 17s - how long do you think it'll take you to make up that cost?

    Also, even though the car has great accelleration, I can't imagine the change from 18s to 17s changing the dynamics much. What is your experience?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Unless I'm missing something, the Sport Package gives you 18" wheels all around, however, the front set is narrower than the rear set, and that is what precludes you from rotating the tires. The above said, I'm reasonably certain that there are 17" wheels that fit the 2007 335i, regardless of whether you want to keep the staggered setup (i.e. wider rear tires) or go with the same width at all four corners.

    Best regards,
  • larry175larry175 Posts: 68
    yup, yer xlactly right.
  • xeyexeye Posts: 162

    You're right on with the width vs diameter. BMW also doesn't even recommend tire rotation unless there is a specific need to do so. I have almost 28,000 miles on my ContiProContact RFTs and the wear is perfectly even all the way around with a lot more tread left. Quiet, good grip and smooth, too.

    Two big reasons I elected to take the 17" wheels are for the all-season tires (on my '07 335xi) and a much lesser likelihood of cracking a wheel with the craters in the Boston-area roads. I've inadvertently whacked some potholes pretty hard and did no damage. I seriously doubt I would have escaped with 18" wheels, and therefore, less rubber between the wheel and road.

    It really depends on where you live, the road conditions and the climate.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    edited April 2010
    While BMW doesn't necessarily recommend tire rotation, I do believe that some rotation is beneficial for those folks with the same size wheels and tires at all four corners. I've had two BMWs with the same size tires front and rear, with the first car (a 328i non-SP) I followed the advice of my dealer (not to be confused with BMW corporate), and didn't rotate the tires. When I sent that car back at lease end it had ~48,000 miles on the clock, and while all of the tires met the 5mm minimum tread depth requirement, the rears had roughly half of the tread depth that the fronts had.

    When I got my second BMW (a 530i SP), I was in no hurry to rotate the tires, however, after maybe ten-thousand miles, the rear tires got so noisy that it was either try to rotate them, or buy new tires. I chose the former and was so delighted with the results that I rotated every 10,000 miles after that; managed to get over 35,000 miles out of a set of "summer" tires which is kind of unheard of.

    If/when I get another BMW, you can be assured that I will A) order the Sport Package again, B) "downgrade" the wheel/tire combo to the smallest wheel size that will fit over the brakes, and make them the same width all the way around, and C) make good well and sure that any new rubber I buy is of the good old GFT (Gets Flat Tires) variety.

    Best regards,
  • We don't normally rotate tires here in the UK, even on same size wheels, as the roads are so bad and how they affect tire wear.

    As for repairs, the debate continues here as well. The UK's Tyre Industry Council (Tyresafe), don't recommend repairs unless specific criteria is met and qualified inspection takes place. Most tire shops won't take the risk, as the tire manufacturers also state a similar case. Liability is one of the main issues.

    One serious issue we have here is, we use the 'indirect' TPWS. ABS sensor based, so tires can slowly go down 'ahead' of a puncture alert. Some tires have shreaded within a few miles, suggesting users have already run many miles on low pressure, so any repairs are even more suspect. Inspections have shown the inside of the tires are in a right mess, even after just a few miles from the warning gong, completely over heated and turning to dust.

    As one tire shop stated to me, "you leave here with a new run-flat tire and get a puncture down the road, we won't repair it, it will be another new tyre". Then let forth on the way he really felt about the problems with run-flats. :mad:

  • So the width is different between the front and the rear in the sport package - 40s on the front, and 35s on the rear. If one rotated the tires, what would be the biggest drawback to even out wear? It would seem it would put the wider tire width on the rear, and the smaller patch on the front, but I would wonder if there were any other concerns, such as safety for this?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Given that the 35s are wider than the 40s, rotating the SP tires would involve putting wider tires on the front of the car, and as such, you would most likely have inner fender clearance issues when turning the steering wheel to near-lock. The other drawback of putting wider tires on the front is that when nearing the limit of adhesion (due to some combination of less than ideal conditions, emergency maneuvering, and / or spirited driving), the back end will break loose first and you could find yourself up against a guard rail (or worse).

    Best regards,
  • The wider tyres are on the back, they are 255 section and the narrow 225 on the front. The aspect ratio 35 & 40 is just that, an aspect ratio of the width.

    To think of changing front to back is a no, no. We are into the whole concept of handling, controlled understeer and handling balance. The 'staggered' wheels are a sport setup after all.

  • as everybody's been saying, the fronts are narrower than the rears.

    regarding the cost: you can go on tirerack or discount tire or probably others and get prices. I got a nice looking set of 17s that look exactly like some people's stock 328s for only 130 each. the tires are standard GFTs, only 130 each. tirerack also talked me out of getting high performance all seasons and into grand touring all seasons, which last up to 60,000 miles vs. 40,000 for the high performance (he asked me if I do any "high performance" related stuff. I said no). grand total, including shipping was 1160. or only about 300 bucks more than what I would;'ve spent on the rear RFTs alone!!

    so, if I kept the RFTs I would've had to replace them every 20,000 miles or so. with the grand touring tires, I won't ahve to change them for nearly 3 times as long. that defintely makes it worth while.

    performance: the 17s are lighter than the 18s. so, you'll have less unsprung weight=better handling in some situations (such as when encountering nyc potholes that literally swallow smart cars). also less weight to rotate=faster rotation. therefore, you might get a very slight improvement in acceleration. the down side is that I'll probably not be able to corner as fast anymore given the taller and softer sidewalls. not much loss for me.

    well, I still haven't received the new set of wheels and tires yet, but I'll let you know how they go. I just received my third replacement RFT for the fronts yesterday. so, for the first time in 5 days I was able to drive my car. which brings up another EXCELLENT point about the switch from RFT to GFs: I don't have to wait days for a replacemtn tire anymore. I just have to go to the nearest auto shop and they'll have my very ordinary touring tires for a very ordinary price.

    oh, and as for the spare: the front 18s fit on any corner of the car, so I'll just keep one of them in the trunk to use as a full size spare! it'll be a spare that you wouldn't even need to check the pressure on! I'll have the fastest buick, i mean , bimmer on the block!!
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    edited April 2010
    "the down side is that I'll probably not be able to corner as fast anymore given the taller and softer sidewalls. not much loss for me."

    That isn't entirely true. Why? Not only are the 18" wheels heavier, but the bulk of the weight is further from the axis of rotation, and if you've ever tried to turn a heavy gyroscope against its will, you'll realize that the further that weight is from the axis, the longer it takes to actually turn the wheel from its desired rotational plane.

    FWIW, there was a study done a few years ago that looked at the handling aspects of various wheel sizes, and said study found that the sweet spot for handling was in the 15"-17" range (many weekend racers have actually downsized the wheels on their E-36 3-Series cars to 15” and gotten better lap times). Move to smaller or larger wheels beyond the range and handling starts to fall off. The flip side of course is that larger wheels allow for larger brakes, so unless you're going to upgrade your BMW with a Big Brake Kit, then you're likely to get better handling with 17" wheels than 18" wheels. Counter intuitive I know, but there you have it. :)

    Best regards,
  • so, it's a win, win, win situation for me then? sounds good to me. i get cheaper tires and wheels, better ride, better pothole protection, easier replacement, etc, etc. can't wait to drive my bimmer with the grandpa tires!! :D
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Win-win! Yup, unless you cannot live without the bling-bling 18s. ;)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    Nah, to be a real grandpa you'd have to switch to bias-ply tires with fat white walls!


  • larry175larry175 Posts: 68
    wait a second Grandpa. This grandpa has a 2009 335xi with all the trimming and a Porsch. And I don't have an white walls.
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