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BMW 3-Series Run Flat Tires



  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,693
    edited July 2011
    Her parents lets a 16 year old drive at night by herself? :surprise: This is a problem way beyond RFTs IMO. I don't even think that's legal, without an adult to accompany her.
  • boston303boston303 Posts: 35
    ...Correction. They don't know until they have to replace them at 15-20,000 miles at the tune of roughly $250 per tire. I can guarantee that they know then. Then they are shell shocked with the very poor performance and unreasonable cost.Did they know this when they bought the car? Clearly not. They bought this car for it's reported status and no longer because it actually functions better than a Ford. (oh, fine pick another car).. The point is those people would hardly no the difference. The ultimate driving machine with an automatic (which the vast majority of cars sold in the US are) is an oximoron; sad to say. BTW my daughter is on her way to a THIRD set of run flats for her Mini which has onlt 46,000 miles on it and has run snow tires for three winters since 2006. So her tires did not even average 15,000 miles. I no of no other way to say it than this is simply pathetic. BMW and Mini should be totally ashamed of their design and decision. Of course it takes forever for German engineers to admit they are wrong....
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,455
    edited July 2011
    Who has had a flat in the last 5 years? Not me. Sure it happens, but when's the last time you saw anyone on the road changing a tire?

    Yesterday. On I-85, in SC.

    Ove the last 3-4 years, my wife has had 2 flats (on RFT's-repaired in both instances) and my younger daughter had a flat within 2 weeks of me buying her a new set of tires... Fortunately, it was repairable as well.

    Years ago, when I was much younger, my father told me to never stop along the side of the road to change a tire... just drive on the flat to the next parking area/exit ramp and change the tire. Back then, most cars had inexpensive steel wheels, so ruining a wheel wasn't too pricey.

    On a modern car, especially such as a BMW, a replacement wheel can easily run $500+ alone, and adding a replacement tire can add $150+ to the mix, so in many cases I would suspect the car owner to be reluctant to continue onwwards with a flat. Of course (to me, anyway) my life is worth $750-1000.

    Fact is, most buyers don't even KNOW their car has run-flat tires.

    I agree... Overall, we probably have the least educated car-buying-public that I can remember in my lifetime.

    For the majority of new car owners...As long as it starts, and the ride is smooth, nothing else matters.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,455
    FWIW, my wife got 50K miles out of the original RFT's on her 2005 MINI, so I know its a reasonable possibility.

    And, no, she doesn't drive like a blue-haired grandma, either.

    But, I also know that many drivers get far less mileage...
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,693
    Do you live next to a nail factory? :P
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,455
    edited July 2011
    No, but my wife works at a local hospital, and it appears that they have been doing non-stop construction there for the last 25 years.

    While I can't be sure, I suspect that's where she found (finds) the tire stabbers...

    The SC DOT has a mobile car repair service that runs along I-85 between Greenville and Spartanburg, SC (where I live, very close to the BMW plant). Its very common to see (in fact, its probably more rare NOT to see) the techs out changing someone's flat on a daily routine, especially during rush hours...

    Personally, I think the local tire centers pay someone to go out casting nails, screws, etc. along the highways... Brings in a lot of business...LOL!!!
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    edited July 2011
    Well, I've had maybe 5 tires go flat on me over that last 5 or 10 years, though only 2 required a changeover on the side of the road.

    1. One was piece of metal (looked like part of a seat belt clasp) that tore a slit in the tread. Had to replace the whole tire.
    2. Second one was when I rubbed a section of broken/jagged curb leaving the plant and cut the sidewall. Again the entire tire had to be replaced. (I think was was when I started paying for road hazard warranty).
    3. The other three or so incidents were caused by nails or screws that caused slow leaks, so I noticed the tires losing air and was able to get them fixed before they went flat. In fact, one of them was on my 2009 G37 which came from the dealer with a slow leak (nail or screw).

    Even with all those, I'm still not a fan of RFTs.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,455
    Given the option of RFT's or GFT's (with spare) on my 328i, I probably would have opted for the RFT option, but I would also have purchased a spare as well.

    That way, if I was displeased with the RFT performance, I could easily switch over to GFT's. As it was, that choice wasn't available...
  • boston303boston303 Posts: 35
    Yep, you probably also have an automatic transmission.. Didn't occur to you to ask about tread life, noise or cost when you bought the car, right? That would answer your comment about not caring. You never knew. Learning that tread life is 30 to at best 50% of go flat tires, yet replacement (and there is no fixing these tires as can be done on go flat tires..) costs are more than double the cost of go flats didn't even enter into your decision as you had no clue!! I bet you wear BMW logo clothing too.. The choice in tires is related to one's use of the car the climate conditions and comfort. BMW has relegated these factors to a one size fits all agenda which flies in the face of what BMW has represented since its' inception. The "M" series with stick shifts are perhaps still close to the roots of BMW... Anything less is as you said "not an issue" you buy the car for the historic rhetoric nothing more.. I'll send you an emblem..
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,455
    Wow! Someone has an attitude!

    Seeing as how my wife has owned a Mini since 2005, equipped with RFT's, I'm well aware of their characteristics and limitations.

    And, you should check your facts, along with that attitude you are sporting. She has had 2 RFT's repaired.

    But, why let little things like facts get in the way of your opinions?

    BMW builds what sells, like any other company. Just because you don't like the direction the company has taken in no way make it the wrong direction.

    I would bet most of the investors in BMW don't have any problem with their business decisions...
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,693
    I bought a MINI because it was such fun to drive. I threw away the RFTs immediately (and good riddance to noise and foul-handling) and fixed as many of the factory defects as fast as the aftermarket could develop the remedies. It wasn't the perfect car, but I worked to make it better. Had I wanted a trouble-free, worry free transportation module, we all know where to go for that.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,455
    edited July 2011
    I certainly understand your motives in swapping out the RFT's. The originals on my wife's MINI were also noisy, but the new RFT's she installed in late 2010 appear to be much quieter. I will say again... in a perfect world, a buyer would have the factory option of RFT's or GFT's.

    I also agree with your opinion of the car. No, it isn't perfect, but then again, anyone who buys a German-made vehicle with the intention of keeping it several years, while at the same time expecting low maintenance costs is, shall we say, a bit delusional...or at least, "uneducated" on German vehicles.

    For those who abhor RFT's, they have the option of going the M3 route by using GFT's and carrying a small tire repair/inflation pump kit. No, its not as good as a spare, but in most cases will be acceptable.

    What really cracks me up, though, is the few folks who think BMW (or any carmaker, for that matter) should cater to their specific desires, while disregarding the general market's desires.

    When I bought my Z4 coupe in 2007, I remember asking my sales rep why there were so few manual BMW's on the lot. His response was that manuals didn't sell, but automatics did sell. I jokingly mentioned that if all the cars they had on the lot were manuals, then they might sell more of them. His response: There are plenty of other competitors in the car business.

    You get the idea.

    Another one of his observartions was that, in his experience, most of these same folks that compain about BMW forgetting its roots usually don't buy new cars, but used ones. If they do spring for a new model, its usually "option-lean", which means less $$$ for the rep and the dealership.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,455
    Condensed from the Greenville News (Greenville, SC):

    BMW stated Thursday that it set sales records for both the month and the first half of the year, with volume up 137,000 units compared with last year's production numbers, to 833,366 vehicles (20% higher than the first 6 months of last year).

    Last month BMW sold 134,432 BMW brand vehicles worldwide, with BMW brand sales totalling 689,861 (17.8% higher than last year). MINI and Rolls-Royce had double-digit gains both for June and the first half of the year.

    Seems to me that all of these buyers couldn't be in the dark about RFT's. Surely, some of them are intelligent enough to know what type of tire their car has mounted on its rims.

    Manufacturers produce the products that sell, or they would be out of business in short order.... especially in a competitive environment as automobile production.

    Whether or not one likes or hates RFT's, its pretty clear that BMW is set on its RFT offerings and isn't going to change directions in that regard any time soon...
  • boston303boston303 Posts: 35
    The sheep rule. Form overcomes function. I simply have no interest in such an over rated car. My current 3 series is a total disappointment. As I do advise others on purchases, you can certainly get a feeling that BMW's are not on the approved list.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Personally I say form follows function; to that end I'd have no problem buying a new 3-Series of 5-Series, and immediatly swapping out the RFTs for a nice set of GFTs. Kind of a no-brainer.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,693
    I'd venture that not one in ten BMW buyers has a clue what RFTs are all about. And if they ARE aware that their car has RFTs, I'd venture not one in 50 could explain what they can, and cannot, do.

    (no, they are not solid rubber. No, they are not bullet-proof. Yes, you can destroy them by driving on them too long. Yes, they cost a lot more than the regular tire to replace. No, they don't last the life of the car).

    At least with "HD" TV (which we didn't clamor for either) we can SEE the difference----"oh, yeah, I get it".

    At best, RFTs are like ABS---people really don't know much about it, but it sounds good.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,455
    In reference you your HDTV comment, I think i would have used the 3D-HDTV format as the example.

    Many who watch a lot of sports know exactly what HD format gave them, and sports over all else was one of the primary driving forces (especially in Europe) for the introduction of large flat screen HD TV. It really was, in large part, demand driven.

    On the other hand, the 3D feature seems to be much more manufacturer driven, rather than responding to a huge demand.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,693
    edited July 2011
    Well we clamored for HD after we saw the difference (no-brainer) but I don't recall looking at my RFTs and saying "from now on, man, I want a piece of that for the rest of my life!" :P

    Yep, 3D is a perfect example of manufacturers wanting you to throw away your perfectly good TV set.

    Hey, can you guess what PERCENTAGE of *everything* we buy REMAINS in our possession after 6 months?

  • kyfdx@Edmundskyfdx@Edmunds Posts: 25,965
    Hey, can you guess what PERCENTAGE of *everything* we buy REMAINS in our possession after 6 months?


    Since we spend most of our money eating out..... that's probably the case after just two days.... :surprise:

    Moderator - Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,455
    edited July 2011
    ... I don't recall looking at my RFTs and saying "from now on, man, I want a piece of that for the rest of my life!"

    Up until the introduction of RFT's, I don't think I know of a single case in which a car buyer made a decision to purchase or not based on the tires installed on a vehicle. On the other hand, I have seen folks walk away from a car because of color schemes, stereo set-up, interior options/fabric style, seat style, transmission-engine type/size, etc.

    Probably because, at the time, spares were standard equipment and the buyer most likely expected to replace the OEM-equipment tires at some point during ownership anyway. He would then get his/her own tire of choice...

    But, I do remember a time when space-saver spares were becoming the standard, and a lot of older folks were unhappy that they couldn't get a full-size spare. Of course, radials and rotational "dedication" went a long way towards discouraging regular tire rotation (the reason they wanted a full-size spare), which used to be the norm on bias-ply tires. Today, I suspect much less than 50% of car owners have their tires rotated (when its a possibility).

    BMW just pushed the envelope a bit further, with RFT's and the suggestion against rotating tires, which in models with staggered front/back sizes, is impossible. BTW, it's my belief that the reason my wife was able to get 50K miles on her MINI's OEM RFT's was because I rotated them regularly at oil change intervals.

    Still, I suspect one of the driving forces that led BMW to offer only RFT's (with a few exceptions) was the gradual reduction of sidewall height. A 30 or 35 series sidewall GFT doesn't allow for much margin in the case of a sudden blowout against wheel damage, but a rigid RFT sidewall does. That's just a guess on my part. But, even with RFT's. there are a high number of damaged wheels, so I can only imagine what it would be if RFT's weren't standard equipment.

    If I was the "decider", I would always allow the option of either RFT or GFT. It just seems the best solution, and with today's assembly line technology, it wouldn't create any additional headaches for production.

    However, no one asked me how I would do it...

    And, judging by BMW's sales, they seem to be handling the issue to, if nothing else... their own satisfaction.

    On the 1% retention number, I must be way out of the normal distribution range. Other than food and disposables (ie., toilet paper and the like), once I buy something, I usually keep it for years. My wife would gladly testify that I have 2 garages full of stuff I should have parted with 25 years ago...LOL!

    Then again, I'm not part of the "video-game" generation.
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