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BMW 3-Series Run Flat Tires

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Comments

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,954
    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.

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  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    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: 3,490
    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.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,954
    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.

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  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    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.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,954
    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?

    1%

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  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 31,090
    Hey, can you guess what PERCENTAGE of *everything* we buy REMAINS in our possession after 6 months?

    1%


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

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  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    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.
  • boston303boston303 Posts: 35
    Well, if someone informed you that the tires cost twice as much as other GF high performance tires and that they only last 30% of the life of GF tires I think that equates to a muiltiplier of 6 times more expensive than normal tires.. That wouldn't cause you a double take? I suggest few buyers had any clue of the poor performance and true expense of these tires. Shameful of BMW. Add to that BMW's insistence that you cannot replace the tires with normal go flats and again we have a car once heralded as the Ultimate Driving Machine being relegated to simply just another car with an tires that do not perform particularly well (I will except "M" series) and served up with an automatic transmission for drivers who would prefer to choose a car for it's color and not its performance elements. I know of many people who have purchased a car but had tires swapped out for another choice. Unfortunately that is not a true option with BMW. "Bimmer's" have gone to the "Beemer" crowd I fear...
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "I know of many people who have purchased a car but had tires swapped out for another choice. Unfortunately that is not a true option with BMW."

    Why is it not a "true" option? Simply yank the RFTs and wrap on a set of GFTs the day you bring the car home. If the car is leased, store the RFTs until lease end and put them back on. If the car is purchased, peddle the RFTs on Craig's list and be done with them. :confuse:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,954
    This might be somewhat relevant...I was reading about the history of bicycles, which of course had a tremendous influence in America on the history of the automobile (bikers demanding better roads, bike manufacturers becoming car manufacturers, etc) and I read that when pneumatic bicycle tires came out, the switchover from hard rubber tires was almost immediate. In a couple of years, the rubber tire was dead, dead, dead.

    I'm sure not seeing this with RFTs. If there is an "improvement" over GFTs (debatable), then it is incremental at best.

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  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "I'm sure not seeing this with RFTs. If there is an "improvement" over GFTs (debatable), then it is incremental at best."

    Let's see, in exchange for being able to drive (and potentially ruin) an RFT following a pressure loss event (both a positive and a negative), you get a tire which is heavier (a negative), rougher riding (a negative), louder (a negative), and with a shorter tread life (a negative). I'm not seeing the attraction. :)
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    You should really get your facts straight. There is absolutely ZERO requirement from BMW that any owner stay with RFT's.

    I understand you dislike RFT's to the max, but you really don't seem to know much about them or BMW (can't repair RFT's, can't replace them with GFT's, etc).

    In fact, you seem to have a general dislike of BMW in general.

    Or, anyone who doesn't share your opinion of the company.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,954
    Well that's not *entirely* true, because if you leased a BMW with RFTs, I believe the leasing company would require that RFTs be on there when you return the car.

    To give you an idea of how desperate BMW/MINI owners are:

    image

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  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 800
    If you want to convince BMW abot RunFlat Tires, you need to get in sync with their thoughts or they will ignore your input:

    RFT are more expensive. BMW would agree with that.

    RFT ride harsher. BMW would agree with that

    But BMW would not agree that RFT are noisier - in and of themselves - they can be made to be quiet just like GFT.

    And BMW would not agree that short treadlife is a property of RFT. They can be made to wear as well as GFT.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    While BMW might well believe RFTs can be made to last as long as GFTs, the current crop of tires on the market suggests otherwise. How? The highest UTQG rating I can find for an RFT in a size which would fit a late model BMW is 400, that said, there are many GFTs in that same size which score 500 or better, 600 or better, and even a few which score 700 or better. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the lifespan of RFTs. :P
  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 800
    But there are GFT tires with lower ratings than RFT, so what does that prove? You need to compare apples to apples. If you compare like tires, you'll find they have the same UTQG rating in both GFT and RFT:

    Examples: BS RE050A 140 A A, Michelin PS2 220 AA A, Pirelli PZero 220 AA A, Yoko Advan Sport 180 A A..... OK I'll stop now, but you get the idea.

    There is nothing inherent in a RFT that affects the wear qualities.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,954
    Well when I saw all four RFTs on my friends 2007 BMW 328ix melt before our eyes at 18,000 miles, I had to think something was up that was not mechanically related.

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  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hmmm, I'm thinking we're going to have to agree to disagree. My personal belief is that even though there are two tires called say "Michelin PS2", one in RFT form and one in GFT form, those two tires are essentially separate and distinct. True, they may have a similar or even identical tread pattern, but the carcasses of the two tires are completely different as are the driving characteristics.

    From my perspective, it is just as valid to compare tires from different manufacturers (or even different models from the same manufacturer) for tread life once you distinguish between RFT and GFT types.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    Well that's not *entirely* true, because if you leased a BMW with RFTs, I believe the leasing company would require that RFTs be on there when you return the car.

    Yes, a leased car usually must be returned in the condition in which it was leased, less reasonable wear-and-tear. However, nothing in any lease I have ever seen even suggests that RFT's can't be replaced with GFT's, just as long as the car is returned with like-original equipment tires on it.

    While I understand what you are saying here, it really doesn't apply to any BMW policy regarding the requirement of RFT's on its vehicles. The choice of GFT's or RFT's are entirely up to the owner/lease holder, and no warranty issues are tied to the use of non -OEM equipment tires, as long as the tires are reasonably sized for the car.

    Off hand, I know 4 BMW/MINI owners who have moved to GFT's with no reactions from BMW or MINI.

    After all, doesn't the M3 come with GFT's and a patch/plug/repair kit?
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,310
    . . . no warranty issues are tied to the use of non -OEM equipment tires, as long as the tires are reasonably sized for the car.

    While what you say here is entirely accurate, there are numerous reports of BMW dealers telling people that replacing RFTs w/ GFTs will "void the warranty" and/or that it "can't be done."

    Balderdash for sure, but it does happen.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    Oh, I'm sure it happens...

    But then again, there are dealers across the spectrum of manufacturers that tell owners having a non-dealer entity service their car (or even perform an oil change) will void their warranty.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 31,090
    Leased BMWs that come with run-flats, have to be returned with run-flats...

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  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited July 2011
    Leased BMWs that come with run-flats, have to be returned with run-flats...

    I think everyone is in agreement with that statement.

    The specific question at hand was whether or not a lease-holder could swap the RFT's out for GFT's and run GFT's during the term of the lease, then return the car with the original RFT's re-installed (or a tire like the OEM RFT's). And the answer to that question is a definite "yes".

    As in any lease, the car is to be returned at lease-end in the delivered condition, minus accepted wear and tear.... unless wording in the lease specifies otherwise.

    There is no prohibition against running GFT's on any model BMW sold in the USA (at least, none that I am aware of...).
  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 800
    Shipo,

    You may have inadvertently gone somewhere where we have an agreement!

    The RFT's we are discussing have 2 common characteristics - aside from RunFlat capability: They are high performance tires and they are OE (Original Equipment) tires.

    High performance tires are noted for their grip and they do this by sacrificing treadwear - and this is a common complaint about HP tires.

    OE tires are designed to the vehicle manufacturer's specs and that usually puts an emphasis on rolling resistance, and that is done by sacrificing treadwear and/or traction - and clearly traction is not one of the options in a BMW! Treadwear is a common complaint about OE tires.

    So it should be expected that OE HP RFT's - like the ones we are talking about - should have some complaints about treadwear - simply because they are OE and HP.

    Further, we should expect tire manufacturers to do something different for their OE tires to get them to have better RR - and that was where you wound up - a separate and distinct tire for each OE application - and that would include the tires under discussion.

    Further, the "separate and distinct" part would apply to both GFT's and RFT's - which muddies the waters even further - making separating out what is causing what very difficult to get a grip of.

    We know that OE GFT tires sometimes have wear issues and we know that replacement market GFT's generally don't. We also know that OE RFT's sometimes have wear issues, but what we DON'T know about is replacement market RFT's (at least ones designed for good wear qualities!) So while we agree that the tires under discussion are separate and distinct, we disagree over what is causing the wear issue - and we are missing some information that would be very helpful in sorting this out. We need to approach this problem from a different angle - and I would suggest we look at how these two types of tires are designed.

    The one over-riding design feature in a RFT is that there is something in the sidewall that greatly stiffens it. This certainly has implications on ride qualities and cost, but there doesn't seem to be a connection to treadwear. Wear rate is pretty much determined by the tread compound. And since rolling resistance, traction, and treadwear are affected by the tread compound, this would account for the differences seen in GFT's. That principle shoudl apply top RFT's as well.

    There are a lot of things that would adversely affect treadwear, but there is no inherent characteristic of RFT's that precludes good wear.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    There are a lot of things that would adversely affect treadwear, but there is no inherent characteristic of RFT's that precludes good wear.

    Disclaimer: I am not an automotive tire engineer, so this is only an observation...

    A tire maintains traction (grip) by several factors, including tread rubber compound, tread design, and flexibility.

    Inherent in that flexibility characteristic is sidewall "mobility". For example, one would expect to see better traction (and, by default, the ability to go at a faster rate of speed in making a circle) in a car equipped with a modern GFT (say 185/75 R15 sized tire) than the same diameter wheel surface that only had 1/2 inch of rubber surrounding the outer surface of the wheel.

    Why? Because we live in an imperfect world, and there are no uniform surfaces, so the tire surface must continually modify its section that is currently meeting the road surface.

    So, it would seem to me that sidewall stiffness does indeed play some part in traction, and in that regard, the easiest way to enhance traction is to use a softer rubber compound, which in turn, usually translates into less tread life.

    Now, as to what that differential might be, I couldn't say.

    But, I suspect that is the reason some RFT owners can get virtually the same mileage out of a set of RFT's as GFT's, because they don't get anywhere near pushing those limits (my wife and her MINI fit in this category, and she easily got 50K out of her OEM RFT's)....whereas, other RFT owners are more "spirited" drivers, and often have a driving style that enters that realm of traction "testing".

    Just my opinion and observations.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    edited July 2011
    I managed to get more than 50,000 miles out of the OEM All-Season GFTs with a 400 UTQG which came on my 328i (and I never took it easy on those tires). Granted this is going back to before the RFT issue ever reared its ugly head, but not all OEM tires suffer from limited tire wear.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    ...not all OEM tires suffer from limited tire wear.

    I agree, but it can appear to be model-specific.

    For example, I have a daughter that has a 2008 Nissan Altima which came equipped with Continental Conti Pro Contact tires. After almost 40K miles, there is excellent treadlife left.

    My other daughter owns a 2009 Nissan Versa with the same tires (different size) and the tires were almost bald at 35K miles.

    Both cars were purchased new, and neither daughter is an aggressive driver. The only significant difference that I can identify is that the Versa went on a cross-country trip and back whereas the Altima didn't.

    Beats me why the same tire had such different wear results on the 2 cars...
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