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BMW 3-Series Run Flat Tires



  • actualsizeactualsize Santa Ana, CaliforniaPosts: 124
    Our long term 330i, which has 18" Bridgestone (B/S) RE050a RFTs, is at the end of its year with us. Except for one tire that was replaced early-on due to damage, the tires are original. Here is a peek at the results:

    One of the things we measured was road noise while cruising at 70mph. We did it when the car first came to us, and repeated the test after our one year and 25k miles came to an end.

    New: 65.2 decibels
    25k miles: 65.3 decibels

    No change in noise, reasonable measured levels, and no unusual wear. Based on these results and what many of you have reported, the unusual wear/noise seems confined to the 17" all-season B/S EL42 tire.

    Other tire-related results, measured by the same driver at the same test location:

    Braking, new, from 60 mph: 112 feet
    25k miles: 116 feet

    Lateral grip, skidpad, new: 0.88g
    25k miles: 0.89g

    Slalom speed, new: 68.6 mph
    25k miles: 69.1 mph

    Say what you will about BMW RFTs, but our 18" B/S RE050a summer RFTs generated some impressive numbers. The differences are within what we would consider normal variation for tests conducted on different days.

    But if we assume absolute repeatability, a dubious proposition, the directional trends of the admittedly small differences make some sense:

    Slightly longer stopping distances are to be expected with our thinner brake pads and experienced rotors.

    Higher skidpad and slalom times jive with worn tires having shorter tread blocks and less tread squirm.

    Twitter: @Edmunds_Test

  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353

    Thanks for the info. RE050a's seem to be a real good tire. Can I ask if you rotated the tires during your test and if you had any issue with pressure loss?

    I do not think this model is available in all-season variety. Can you advise is you tested any vehicles with Continental SSR RFT's?

  • actualsizeactualsize Santa Ana, CaliforniaPosts: 124
    Can I ask if you rotated the tires during your test and if you had any issue with pressure loss?

    The front and rear tires are different sizes, so only side to side rotation is possible. We took it in for service two or three times, but did not specifically request rotation, and it is not noted on either of the service tickets.

    As for pressure loss, we had no trouble. But drivers are encouraged to check pressures around here, and they generally do. I have a real compressor at home, and use it when needed. But no, nothing chronic with our 330i.

    I do not think this model is available in all-season variety. Can you advise is you tested any vehicles with Continental SSR RFT's?

    Right, the RE050a 18" RFT tires are summer-only. I have no Conti RFT experience, 3-series or otherwise.


    Twitter: @Edmunds_Test

  • My BMW 325 has the Bridgestone Run Flats and the NOISE started at about 10K miles. Initial handling was O.K., but much short of my previous two 3-Series BMW's. Now have 31K miles after 14 months and the NOISE is unbearable, especially between 40 and 48 mph on good roads. My passengers complain that they cannot hear on their cell phones! Dealer tells me it is time to replace the tires.
    BMW Customer Satisfaction claims to have not received my first letter when I called them. They provided no satisfaction and when I suggested I replace these tires with conventional high speed Michelins, they advised against it as the suspension is tuned to run flats??!! Is that true? If that suspension is tuned, it is dissonant beyond belief! What are the alternatives? I am not worried about a flat. Will carry a can of Run Flat.
  • cbanctcbanct Posts: 17
    Thank you Edmunds.

    The use of data to review concerns is why I love this website so much. The B/S 18" RE050a summer RFTs proved to be a very good tire.

    If I do get the 335i though, I will still seriously consider replacing these tires when they wear out with Michelin Pilot Sport PS/2 tires.

  • owner6owner6 Posts: 89
    Whats the current mileage?
    Are they Quite?
    How do they ride compared to the harshness of the Bridgestone EL42?
    Are they Run Flat?
    Whats the Conti Tire model number/name?
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353
    current milege on the Conti procontact ssr rft's is about 700 miles now. Ride is noticably less intrusive than the el42's. handling performance excellent. contiprocontact ssr rft. 225/45/17 all 4 corners. (car has 13,500 miles now -'06 330xi)

    Very Happy, so far....I will rotate front to back on each side at 5,000 mile increments.
  • lipplipp Posts: 58
    I replaced my Bridgestone EL42's with Conti Pro Contact SSR Run Flats 9,000 miles ago. I am driving an '06 325i with 205/55R16's on all corners. They are just starting to exhibit a bit of noise but nothing like the EL42's. Dealer rotated them yesterday, front to rear, rear to front with no crossover. Noise level was the same after the rotation, as before. Again, I want to emphasis - a bit of noise. Nothing like the EL42's. The tires are wearing very well and very even. They still look new. They ride much better than the EL42's. Smoother and quieter with no sacrifice in handling. My only concern is "will the noise level increase?" Time will tell and I will keep all posted.
  • webby1webby1 Posts: 209
    Any experience with appears ( at least in Canada ) that most are going to Nitrogen. My BMW dealer switched to Nitrogen this week and my Honda dealer 2 months ago.
    I switched to Nitrogen on my wife's Accord today....will drive a few days and see if any difference in ride.
    Everything written so far appears to be all positive.
    Please comment.
    Thanks and Regards,
  • Nitrogen just stays in the tire longer and is less susceptible to temperature change. That's all. Nothing special about it.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353
    Pressure is pressure. Nitrogen is just air minus oxygen. It's an inert gas an just costs more because of the cost od filtering our the oxygen.

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Cannot say that I've ever seen any conclusive evidence that suggests that nitrogen is any better or less volatile good old free air when it comes to automobile tires. Me? I'll use air and check the pressure often. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • webby1webby1 Posts: 209
    Agree...therefore less chances for under - inflation.
    The risk of under - inflation, which stresses tires by causing their sidewalls to flex more and the air temperature inside to rise.
    I suppose in areas where the temp fluctuates a lot it makes sense to use Nitrogen.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353
    Check this out.

    The first automobile to use air-filled tires was a race car built by André and Edouard Michelin in the early 1890s. More than a century later, the French company founded by the Michelin brothers is so identified with pneumatic tires that its mascot, Bibendum, is a man made of little else.

    Now, after decades spent persuading the world to ride on air, the company has begun work on an innovation that could render the pneumatic tire obsolete. Engineers at Michelin's American technology center are working on what they call Tweel, a combined tire and wheel that would not go flat
    because it contains no air.

    link title
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    I kind of look at it like bottled water.
  • Hi there,

    So glad I found this forum, I have a 06 330i (no sport package) bought in July 2005, have 17500 miles on it. Did notice some noise after a year, but didn't pay attention. Now the tire pressure monitor warning came on lately, sure enough the tire pressure is low, and I'm going to the dealer tomorrow. Any advice on dealing with the dealer or the tire manufactor? The SR at the dealer told me that RTF are fixable, but tire shop people told me otherwise? Has anybody successfully got replacment tire for free from the dealer or Bridgstone? Would getting non-RFT tires void my BMW warranty?
    Thanks in advance!

  • owner6owner6 Posts: 89
    My free from dealer second set of EL42 RFT's goes bad. I have 16,000 miles on my second set of Bridgestones. I rotated at 5K, Rotated and balanced at 10 K and 3rd rotation at 16K. They have been noisy from about 13 to 16K. Not as loud as the original set. However the inner and outer edges are cupping. My local Tire dealer says I have about 8K miles left however the cupping may require a new set at 21K. I have maintained the Air per dealer and yellow sticker on my door at 29PSI Front and 36 Back. This is a 2006 330i non sport package. i am really #$%^ off at BMW for subjecting me to this dilemma, Ruining an otherwise great car ownership experience. I am seriously considering a 2008 Mercedes Benz.

    However I need to start deciding what I can do in the interim. The Contie tires seem the answer however the last post response person only had 700 miles on them. Can everyone who switched to a replacement to the EL42 RFT please respond with your tire, make model, current miles and noise experience.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353

    The treadwear on the el42 is 300 which means a rating on about 22,500 miles. If you drive like there is an egg under the accelerator, you could probably stretch it to 28 - 30K.

    The conti's are rated at 400 tread wear or about 30 K. Typically performance tires do not have high tread life since they are made to stick better and thus wear more.

    You might want to go with these and winter rft tires which will give you more winter traction and extend life to the fair weather tires.

  • lipplipp Posts: 58
    Read my UPDATE. Message #643.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353

    Thanks for the info. Do you you have any visible cupping or signs of wear?
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