Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

BMW 3-Series Run Flat Tires



  • dkg42dkg42 Posts: 11
    Can you back up this statement?
    "8) Contrary to what you may have heard, RFTs can be repaired in the same manner as GFTs, assuming of course you don't drive too far on the tire with the low pressure.

    BMW and Bridgestone clearly state the opposite position

    ..I had a nail in one of the replacement RFTs after 4500 miles., the orignals were from the defective batch, still had to pay $350 to the dealer as they had more that 10k miles.

    When I found out I was going to have to buy yet another tire due to the nail, I hit the roof. However ,I was luckly as the dealer scored the hell out of the rim replacing the the dealer to pay for it and they have to repair the damage to the rim.

    I want non-RFT tire and BMW should be forced to provide the spare,rim and jacks for all of us who got ripped off by their stupid experiment starting with the 06 models
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Yes, GFT is Go Flat Tire. You might read back in this discussion to see how some members approach the no-spare issue when replacing the RFTs. Shipo addresses this just a couple of posts ago, and others have discussed it over time. The search feature would help you pinpoint the posts.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "Can you back up this statement?
    "8) Contrary to what you may have heard, RFTs can be repaired in the same manner as GFTs, assuming of course you don't drive too far on the tire with the low pressure."

    Check back through this very discussion, there are a number of accounts where folks have had their RFTs repaired.

    Best Regards,
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "Ok I know RFT = Run Flat Tire so does GFT = Go Flat Tire?" :D

    I coined the abbreviation a couple of years back and at the time I was using "Gets Flat Tire", however, "Go Flat Tire" works equally well. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    While recent posts of mine might give the casual observer that I am defending BMWs choice to experiment on their customer base with RFTs, nothing could be further from the truth. I am NOT a fan of RFTs in any way shape or form. On the 3-Series, BMW chose to compound that lapse in judgment (IMHO) by not including space for a spare tire. Dumb, and dumb again (IMHO).

    With the above in mind, why would I then write some of the things that I've recently written? Simple, to clarify the actual facts of the situation. So, would I buy a new RFT shod BMW? Possibly. Were I to buy one, would I immediately replace the RFTs with GFTs? In a heartbeat.

    Best Regards,
  • actualsizeactualsize Santa Ana, CaliforniaPosts: 124

    I agree with most of your 10-point answer. Except this one...

    7) There is no special training required to mount an RFT on a BMW rim as compared to the training required to mount a GFT on the same rim. Said another way, any place capable of mounting a tire on a BMW rim can mount an RFT on the same rim and NO special machines or training are required.

    RFT tire mounting machines (and I'm not talking PAX) are different. Hunter, Coats and all the others sell higher capacity (and more expensive) units designed to deal with the stiffer sidewalls found on RFTs. Because of the popularity of "dubs" and ultra-low profile GFTs, these machines are common in certain geographical areas. But they are by no means EVERYPLACE. Dealers and high-volume stores will be so-equipped, but smaller outfits might not have the right equipment.

    As for the training, there is some, but it is minimal. When I bought my RFT-compatible Hunter, the Hunter representative conducted a 90-minute hands-on training session - most of it dealing with the the subject of RFTs and ultra-low profile tires.


    Twitter: @Edmunds_Test

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    My point was that most if not every shop that is capable of mounting GFTs on BMW wheels (without tearing them up that is) is also capable of mounting RFTs. I checked and even my local BMW indy shop has the necessary equipment to mount the low profile GFTs and RFTs.

    That said, your point is well taken, if a shop has older/lesser equipment that was designed for mounting rubber on a Tarus, mounting low profile RFTs could be problematic. The question I have then is, "Would you allow that same shop to mount a 255/35 R18 (GFT or RFT) on the rear rim of a 335i SP?"

    Best Regards,
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,405
    I think Shipo is right. If the shop is competent and has taken the time to do the right procedure, there's no problem and they don't have to go to college to do an RFT; but like a friend of mine used to say about incompetent shops: "That place could screw up a paperclip".

    So I guess it's less than "special training" but more than base-level tire knowledge, that's required here.


  • actualsizeactualsize Santa Ana, CaliforniaPosts: 124
    This comment highlights a run-flat reality that most consumers are not aware of:

    On the 3-Series, BMW chose to compound that lapse in judgment (IMHO) by not including space for a spare tire.

    Consumers are drawn to RFTs because of the promise of never ever being stranded in a dangerous neighborhood with a flat tire. Water cooler conversations I've had with other married men at work usually start like this: "I wouldn't want my wife to have to stop by the side of the road..." A very compelling and gut-level point of view.

    Car Manufacturers usually specify RFTs to solve certain design/packaging problems. I've personally talked to product planners for three of the examples below.

    In one case, I was employed by the company and directly involved in the advanced planning meetings. In that discussion actual safety was a "bonus" - not the primary driving factor. All of the negatives that people complain about on this forum were aired-out in that meeting but ultimately ignored because those fears were considered speculative at the time.

    MINI wanted to use a center-exit exhaust design on the Cooper S. Center exit here = no room for a spare tire well.
    VIPER (and other) designers simply didn't make room for a spare.
    SIENNA AWD minivans lost the spare-tire location because of intrusion by the rear propeller shaft. The spare location was already compromised due to the disappearing third-row seat.
    BMW (and just about everyone else) wants to save weight.

    In few cases is the RFT decision made by a manufacturer for the same reasons as their own customers. This point-of-view disconnect is the main reason why so many consumers are unhappy (or become unhappy later on) with their RFTs.

    Even though most of use would warm up to the idea of a RFT vehicle with a spare (or a spare tire location), manufacturers fail to see the point (or reject the point outright) because it doesn't match-up with their own justification for installing RFTs: They need the space for another purpose and they want to save weight. (Saving weight is not to be sneezed at, because if a car can be dropped into a lower EPA weight class, it positively affects the parameters of the emissions and MPG rating tests.)

    Twitter: @Edmunds_Test

  • actualsizeactualsize Santa Ana, CaliforniaPosts: 124
    That said, your point is well taken, if a shop has older/lesser equipment that was designed for mounting rubber on a Tarus, mounting low profile RFTs could be problematic. The question I have then is, "Would you allow that same shop to mount a 255/35 R18 (GFT or RFT) on the rear rim of a 335i SP?"

    I understand. But you don't always have a choice where you have a flat, do you? I can think of several western US locales where you wouldn't be in the RFT range of a suitable dealer. And the greater RFT discussion ranges far beyond the BMW case this thread covers.

    Twitter: @Edmunds_Test

  • I'll support the issues stated....

    -Sound problems with the tires. YES
    -poor handling, YES
    -low life cycle just 15K or less miles, YES
    -no repair buy a new one if damaged, YES, read comments attached
    -few places can replace such tires YES here in the UK very few approved stations. Exploding rims!!!!
    -special machines and training are necessary , if stuck in the middle of nowwhere you can't find such tires. YES & YES
    -Problems in dealing with tire manufacturers and BMW dealers.DEFINITE YES
    -EXPENSIVE proposition in replacing the tires. YES

    I can add 'evidence' to all the above points as identified here in the UK.

    But on the repair issue... there is total confusion here in the UK from all bodies involved. Start with our Tyre Industry Council!!!!!

    I add 2 example quotes.

    Repairing run-flat tyres

    Run-flat tyres have specially reinforced sidewalls enabling them to perform whilst deflated for a limited distance and speed as already mentioned. In the course of running in a deflated or significantly under inflated condition, the tyre structure is subjected to high stresses and therefore may become weakened and permanently damaged rendering the tyre both unsuitable and unsafe to repair.

    When a standard tyre is run in a deflated condition there are visible signs which indicate that damage to the tyre's structure has occurred. Because of the reinforced sidewall structure of a run-flat tyre these telltale signs are likely to be masked and not visible even if they are present. Even a fully qualified tyre repairer may not be able to detect run flat damage to a tyre. For these reasons alone and in the interests of safety the British Rubber Manufacturers' Association, the body representing the major tyre manufacturing companies, does not recommend repairs to a run flat tyre. The advice from individual manufacturers of run flat tyres may differ however and motorists are advised to check with the tyre company for any different advice.

    Following the announcement last week that ATS Euromaster (ATSE) plans to launch a nationwide run-flat fitting and puncture repair service the company has issued a statement clarifying their position.

    The main point that ATSE clarified is the fact that it is referring to the latest generation of self-supporting run-flat technology tyres manufactured by Bridgestone, Dunlop, Goodyear and Michelin. These, says the company, are “approved for minor repairs, subject to strict criteria.”

    Before any repair can be carried out, the tyre technician must check with the customer how long the tyre has been in a deflated condition. If it has driven over 50 miles, or exceeded 50mph, ATSE says it cannot be repaired.
    Technicians must also verify that the tyre is approved by the manufacturer to be repaired and that the repair is then performed in line with the British Standard for tyre repairs - BSAU 159f. If the tyre fails the thorough pre-repair examinations then it must be replaced.
    What are the minor repairs ATSE is referring to? A typical minor repair would comprise a nail which has pierced the central area of the tread. If the inspection process highlights any more serious damage, including any of the aforementioned abnormalities, then the tyre must be replaced.
    According to an official statement on the subject, ATS Euromaster’s repair policy is “in agreement with both the National Tyre Distributors Association and the British Tyre Manufacturers Association on the positioning of repairing run-flat technology tyres.”
    In an effort to clarify the position for both the trade and consumers the NTDA warned that the repairing of run-flats was a ‘complicated issue’ that needed revisiting by key trade bodies.
    Richard Edy NTDA Director said:-
    “Whilst the Tyre Industry Federation (TIF) has not yet considered this matter, the British Tyre Manufacturers Association (BTMA) have issued a statement on behalf of their members, recommending that repairs are not carried out on run flat tyres except where the history of the tyre is absolutely clear and that the manufacturer condones repairing,” NTDA director, Richard Edy explained.
    He said the view of the NTDA is to comply with this statement. “However, we appreciate the right of any member to decide whether or not to repair a tyre. Of fundamental importance is the detailed inspection of the tyre and clear knowledge of the distance and speed following deflation.
    “Because of the unique construction of all run-flat tyres it is extremely difficult to identify secondary damage caused by running the tyre in the deflated state, therefore extreme caution needs to be taken when considering repairing any run flat unit,” he added.
    In its statement, the NTDA, as a core member of the Tyre Industry Federation, has called on the TIF to give commercial and environmental consideration to this whole subject and provide “more clear workable guidelines for retailers.”
    Repair materieal suppliers have also joined in the debate and the following statement was issued by Apaseal:

    ‘As a leading tyre repair material manufacturer Apaseal repair materials have been subject to exhaustive tests in relation to the repairs to Run Flat tyres, in both the UK and Overseas markets.

    'As a provider of a complete tyre maintenance programme, our aim is to provide the Tyre Technician with the material and training that will enable his customer to maximize the return on his investment in tyres, and provide longevity safely, with minimum effect on the environment.

    'Repairs can be carried out in accordance with British Standards and the Tyre Manufacturer’s recommendation, strictly following the detailed inspection process that is critical if the tyre is to be safely repaired and returned to service.’

    A special edition of the NTDA Technical Bulletin featureing run flat repairs is currently being produced for ciirculation to members next month (February) and the Association is also hosting a meeting of all interested parties to discuss possible revision to the currently British Standard on Tyre Repair BSAU 159.

    That's just a start....

  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353
    Your point on the decision making process is well taken.

    Even with the extra weight, a space-saver spare would do well to return some of the customer satisfaction lost by this decision. The engineers can do it...the question is will the bean-counters let them.

  • adethieradethier Posts: 16
    Our RFT shredded after 30 miles! talk about a 'safe' technology. 3 hours of waiting and towing. All for what??? save a little weight on the car... to save fuel? (quickly made up by the tow truck diesel bill). If BMW claims they can design the best cars, do it with room for a spare -- challenge your designers a little instead of creating inconveniences for customers.
    We passed on the new 3 series convertible because there is no spare -- actually not even room in the trunk for a donut.

    In all, BMWs are great cars if you plan on driving around town. Forget long trips, forget the great driving adventure.

    BTW, will the new 1-series have a spare?
  • I've read of RFT's in the UK, virtually destroying within a handful of miles after the warning signal sounded.

    How ever good a technology, in its infancy it can be a pain to live with. I prefer options, I would 'pass' on the RFT's until they are really sorted.

  • stevecebustevecebu Posts: 493
    Yes, GFT is Go Flat Tire. You might read back in this discussion to see how some members approach the no-spare issue when replacing the RFTs. Shipo addresses this just a couple of posts ago, and others have discussed it over time. The search feature would help you pinpoint the posts.

    Ok I will try the search thing it didn't work for me before but maybe it will this time. It'd be nice if someone remembered a message # or something.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353
    Beg to differ but the EL-42 adventure I had was quite equal to the claim of 50 miles. I drove mine for 100 miles with zero pressure @ 65 M.P.H.

    I then got it plugged at the local Goodyear dealer so I could limp along for the 3 days it took to get a replacement.

    I still have the tire which I will keep as a museum piece. It is in excellent shape and I really could have run that thing with the plug, I'm sure...but,alas, I have no backbone for such wagering! :)

  • stevecebustevecebu Posts: 493
    I searched all the messages all the way back to the very beginning.
    From what I see you can buy a Donut tire from some place and you will also need to buy a jack and a lug wrench.
    You have to store these in the trunk and if you need room for anything else and your trunk is small then you are screwed. :sick:
    I'm more interested in the 135i and I don't think a spare tire will fit in that tiny trunk very well plus you have to lash it all down somehow and keep it from banging around. So if you get a small BMW you will lose most of your trunk due to wanting GFT's.
    I can see the topic went on pretty much throughout the entire length of the forum from beginning til now but nothing conclusive other than what I mentioned.
    Am I missing something here or am I spot on?
    I know the areas i will drive can change the flat on a 1970 pickup truck with no problem but a BMW RFT? I bet some places haven't even heard of what it even is, nevermind having the tools to fix it properly.
    So I'm looking for some suggestions or a link to some place that might provide an answer.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Okay, going back to your original post, I'll respond to the other half that I neglected to respond to earlier.

    I'd ditch the horrible RFT's and put on regular tires and buy 5 rims but what do you do for a spare and where the heck will you be able to keep it in a 1 or 3 series?

    I know you can use a can but in general the cans can only fix certain things if you lose a sidewall you're walking.

    Also what do you do if the tires in th front are a different size than the back?

    I like the idea of the 135i but hate RFT's.


    To all of those I'd still answer with the following suggestion:

    Will the above kit allow you to drive when a sidewall has been compromised? Nope. That said, let's look at A) how often side walls are damaged to such an extent that they are incapable of holding air in the tire, and B) what causes such damage and what else gets damaged in the process.

    In the seventy years of combined driving since my wife and I started driving (yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I said I was only twelve, but I was just kidding), we've only managed to damage a sidewall to the point where it wouldn't hold air, once each (one accident avoidance maneuver over a curb and one piece of road junk). Said another way, between the two of us we've driven over a million and a half miles, on roads all over the world, and managed to suffer two flat tire events where the sidewall was damaged.

    As for those two events, in both cases, both tires on one side of the car (right side both times) suffered similar damage and went flat. Yes, both tires, needless to say, the spare tire that was in the car didn't help much.

    With the above in mind, I submit that one would be no worse off or more at risk driving a car with 4 GFTs and the above Continental system than one would be driving a car with five viable GFTs, especially if one of the GFTs was a donut spare.

    Best Regards,
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152

    Would you click on my user ID and drop me a private E-Mail? I have a couple of questions to ask you that are off topic for this discussions.

    Thanks. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • idoc2idoc2 Posts: 78
    How much weight do you actually save by omitting a compact spare, jack and lug wrench? 30 1bs? Less than 1% of vehicle weight. From a consumer's point not a compelling argument.
Sign In or Register to comment.