BMW 3-Series Run Flat Tires

tturedraidertturedraider Member Posts: 159
I just read the message below on and it made me wonder what kind of opinions and experiences 2006 3-Series owners were having. Please share.

"I am driving a 2006 BMW 325 with the standard OEM Bridgestone run flat tires. These are simply the worst tires I have ever experienced (I must add that I have had many sets of Bridgestone Turanzas and Potenzas that performed extremely well on other cars). The run flat tires provide a rough jostling ride, do not corner well, and are incredibly noisy on rough pavement. I have only had the car a few weeks but I am going to switch out these tires with something else that will provide ride and handling that is acceptable. Carrying a compact spare and a jack is a small inconvenience compared to riding on this poor excuse for a tire. There is a long way to go on this technology and BMW should not have ruined an otherwise great car with these tires. -- Review Submitted 2005-10-10"


  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    You may want to try BMW 3-Series 2006+ or Tires, tires, tires.

    tidester, host
  • jeffhoujeffhou Member Posts: 23
    I've got a 2006 330I with run flats Bridgestone Potenzas as well. I have to admit, the tires are noisy on concrete roads - don't notice it much, if at all, on pavement. I am pretty picky and could tend to get upset with them, but I actually think they handle incredibly. I will tell you that I checked the tire pressures - cold - about a week after having the car and found that all of the tires were at least 7-9 pounds higher than recommended in the book (be sure you look at the correct page!). I reduced the pressure, reinitialized the flat tire monitor, and the noise was noticeably reduced - but still present. Just turn up the incredible sound system on rough roads!

  • yaajeryaajer Member Posts: 5
    I have to agree. I have the 18" OEM Bridgestone RF's also on my sport tire. I'm in the process of putting winter tires on my style 162's and then I'll be selling my RF's for good.

    New wheels in the spring!
  • barnesdhbarnesdh Member Posts: 2
    I just bought this car and have some long-term concerns re the RFT tires... that's what brought me to this web site. I wanted to see if anyone else had problems. So far I have no issues with these tires. My daughter has a 2005 325xi w/std tires and the ride in my car is better than hers. We took a 600 mile trip this past weekend over many different road conditions and I didn't find the ride or noise objectionable... although the noise was more noticeable on some roads. I also have a 2004 Mercedes E320 and the ride/road noise is about the same. Watch the tire pressures faithfully. Be sure they are set to the mfg recommended tire pressures. My 330xi tire pressures off-the-lot were 5 psi higher than the recommended. As I get more experience, I will report back to this forum.
  • rhmassrhmass Member Posts: 263
    After two thousand miles on the 06 with RFT, I have worked through my initial dislike of these tires and come to understand it to be the total weight reduction program as the BMW corporate goal. However they certainly could have chosen better RFT than these Bridgestone RL42 which is standard for all 06 series coming to the US at least at this time. These tires do fine on smooth surface on the turnpike. Any variation of pavement other than smooth becomes challenging and the handling deteriorates. Particularly on wet surface, these tires are horrible and sometimes downright dangerous in not keeping on track. I wonder BMW did thorough testing on various road conditions before deciding on these tires. Now I don't even worry about the alleged short tread life of these tires as I look forward to replacing them ASAP. These are the worst performing tires BMW has ever put on their cars! Really a shame as the E90 is such a superb driving machine!
  • jeffersonkjeffersonk Member Posts: 6
    I've got more bad news about the run-flats on the 3-Series. We have a 2006 BMW 330 with the stock Bridgestone run-flats and in addition to all of the other problems that they have, they are also extremely short-lived. My wife’s were toast within 6000 miles. When I complained, Braman BMW asserted that she had probably been doing donuts. We have an infant (he is often in the car) and she is not really the donut type. The head of service for all Braman called be to apologize that they are really made to last all that long – maybe 10,000 to 12,000 miles tops and he admitted that we will probably not be the last to complain that they wear out so quickly.

    Get used to a $4000/year ($500 x 4 x 2 sets/year) tire budget on a car advertised as having all free maintenance included. Or buy a C-Class. I don’t have the energy or time to sit in the tire department every 6 months. Fall back, get new tires. Spring forward, get new tires. Fall back, get new tires. It’d be ridiculous and exhausting. How weird is it that with this projected lifespan, you might want to rotate them every 5-6 weeks?!?

    I’m getting new ones because I need my car back, but next time they’re bald I’m trading this rubber-whore on an E-Class.
  • rhmassrhmass Member Posts: 263
    I am a little puzzled as to where you are coming from in your posting. While it had been alluded that the Bridgestone OE RFT comes with E90 3 series has a relatively shorter tread life, I have never heard it would go bald in 6,000 miles particularly in less than aggressive driving. After over 2,000 miles I have on the E90, these tires still look new to me and I have no doubt it will go at least another 12,000 miles, if not more, despite the fact I don't really like these tires. I think your projection for $4,000 tire cost/year is way out of line as an estimate.
    As a matter of fact there are quite a few RFTs on the market now with some getting good reviews in handling along with good durability and the replacement cost is averaging $200 or less per tire rather than the $300 you have mentioned.
    If interested, go to Tirerack website and you'll find many replacement possibilities with many rated superior to the Bridgestone RL42.
    To trade in a car because of the tires seems drastic to me unless you really dislike the car. Also remember this is the trend for all cars, at least those high scale ones, to be equipped with RFT now.
  • jeffersonkjeffersonk Member Posts: 6
    BMW should match a car with tires that work with the car. I thought all was well and happy at 2,000 miles as well. Just be patient and you too will experience the joys of getting new run-flats by Easter. Undoubtedly the price will come down as demand should trend up dramatically when all of these new 3-Series hit 6000 miles.

    You are certainly correct that it will cost less if you buy $200 tires and install them yourself. You might even bring your tire budget down to under $2000/year. Yay! That seems reasonable! Yay!
  • jeffersonkjeffersonk Member Posts: 6
    If you do want to replace them with OEM Bridgestone Potenza RE050A RFTs, you can get a new set at (which often has great prices) for $1106.00 + installation. I should probably just go ahead and set up an account with TireRack. For Christmas this year, I'm signing the wife up for the TireRack "Tire of the Month Club."

    They are $330 each at Braman, my local BMW hucksters, plus installation.
  • rhmassrhmass Member Posts: 263
    I won't replace these tires with Bridgestone. Hopefully in a year, there will be more RFTs options available to choose from as its usage spreads across auto manufacturers. I am sure the current set on my car will at least last for that long. It is regretable that BMW has selected these tires in a otherwise great new 3 series.
  • airbob1airbob1 Member Posts: 1
    I bought my 2006 330i in August. This past weekend was the first chance I had to experience snow driving. The fact that I am writing this response is a miracle. As much as I love this car (my previous was a 2001 330i with all weather tires) that's how much I think these tires are VERY dangerous in anything but a dry road. I felt like I had no control whatsoever. I could barely back up in ONLY 1 inch of snow. What are my other options for tires here? Do I get winter tires and change them back every spring or do I get All-Season tires and keep them on for good?
  • rhmassrhmass Member Posts: 263
    Indeed these tires on the 06 3 series are not fit for driving other than on smooth/dry roads. I would suggest you pick up a set of winter tires/wheels package for your car. You'll definitely notice the tremendous difference in snow and ice. Since they don't have steel wheels for the 330i (the brakes are too large for the steel wheels), they will include the alloy wheels of your choice. It will amount to a bit over $1,000 with the least expensive wheels the last time I priced the package at Tirerack. I plan not to drive my 330i for the winter as I have a wagon with a set of winter tires.
  • gordonwdgordonwd Member Posts: 337
    Does your car have summer "performance" tires, or all-seasons. That is really short life if they are all-seasons!
  • ckm1515ckm1515 Member Posts: 52
    Last week, I picked up my 06 330x with prem pack and cold weather, no sport. No sport package - if I wanted the 18" inch rims that typically come with the 330i, I would have to pay extra as the 1" difference in rims makes a huge difference in the snow.

    It recently snowed here in the NE and I haven't experienced any slippage on snow/ice. I find the tires a bit "stiff", especially if you hit a bump/small pothole.

    Are the standard RFT's on the 330xi different than the standard RFT's on the 330i with no sport? Just curious....
  • pdx330pdx330 Member Posts: 5
    At 2000 miles with my 330i SP the front tires are not showing any measurable wear and the rears are down a little less than 1/8 inch. As they are staggered tires I will have to replace the rears probably at 10,000 miles, maybe before. In general I don't like the tires although it's a little hard to tell as I haven't experienced any other tire on the car. I do notice that every and I mean every bump in the road is transmitted into the car although they are muted well by the suspension. I have the sports package and 18 inch wheels and so acknowledge that there will be a tradeoff in ride compliance. The more objectionable quality which may or may not be due to the tires is an instability on freeways which are not perfectly smooth. The car does not feel "planted" and stable wanting to follow the irregularities. This may be due to the width of the tires but I'm anxious to hear about other people's experience with replacement tires, especially non-runflat tires such as Pilot PS-2's in this regard.

    If the runflats are compromising handling with this car it is really unfortunate as I love everything else about it.
  • SylviaSylvia Member Posts: 1,636
    Our Editor-in-Chief, Karl Brauer has a few comments on this as well 2006 BMW 3 Series Run-Flat Tires leaving Owner's Flat?

    Be sure and tell him (on the above link) your opinion and concerns.
  • smwls8smwls8 Member Posts: 103
    I have 11,000+ miles on my 06 325, and I not only will not be putting on the Bridgestones, I am going to purchase a mini-spare and place it in the trunk, and go back to non-RF Michelins. The reason? These have got to be the loudest tires I have ever had on a passenger car. The roar/whine from them caused me to go to a Bridgestone dealer, who stated everything was fine with them. Wrong answer. My next question is whether Tire Rack sells mini-spare tire wheel combo's the same diameter as my factory full size tires, and what would this cost be??????
  • pdx330pdx330 Member Posts: 5
    Check out They sell a spacesaver spare and BMW jack. I called them and they said the spare will fit the E90. Keep us posted on the Michelin non-RFTs you go to.
  • mwhittmwhitt Member Posts: 69
    Thanks for all of the feedback on these tires. I am glad I checked this out as you saved me a great deal of aggravation. I was set to pull the trigger on a 330xi, thought I had the makings of a good deal.. Something told me to check this out.

    I drive 40K miles a year and this type of rubber set-up is not for me. If they truly tread out in the 15-20K miles range, I am going to spend $2-3 grand a year on tires - if not more. What the &&#!@ was BMW thinking? There are a lot of high-volume mileage drivers out there like me who love these cars, but I won't afford this - and trunk space being limited, well nothing more to say.

    way go to BMW, that's thinking ahead. i guess they think everybody drives 10K miles a year that used to buy one of these things. Chalk up another sale for Infiniti.
  • 03accordman03accordman Member Posts: 671
    Man, just as I thought I would be able to think about the 3 this Jan comes this run flat nonsense. Are normal tired 3s available?
  • mwhittmwhitt Member Posts: 69
    don't think so, at least i see no option for them. you can buy conventional tires and some posters say a donut and jack is available that will fit in the trunk, but not sure what trunk space that means you have left. i need to be able to get a few things in the trunk besides the spare.

    if they told me i could get 30-35K on the things, i might go ahead, but this bull about 6K, 12K or 15K miles to a set of tires that cost over a grand to install, forget about it. i'm sure the price will go down and durability will improve. by then, i would probably 5 or 6K in the hole.

    there are a lot of 3's on the road so maybe it doesn't bother everybody, but when you drive 40K miles a year and the car is a tire and premium gas whore :(
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    can buy conventional tires

    I'm guessing you have to buy new rims too? Seems like that came in the blog entry the other day.

    Steve, Host
  • mwhittmwhitt Member Posts: 69
    seems to be some debate on whether you need new rims or not. i went over to bimmerfest to see if there were any other opinions on the things and there were people on the 6 forum going back and forth on the need for new rims or not.

    owners said no, but one guy said a BMW rep told him you did...
  • best4best4 Member Posts: 26
    I just ordered a 330I sport. I did check out run-flat options and there are other non-runflat tires out there. Some Corvette owners are switching to regular tires. I am not sure why you would have to change wheels since the flat tire monitor uses the wheel speed sensor and nothing is mounted in the wheel itself. Unless the diameter of the rim is different than a regular 18" rim. I bought the tire and wheel warranty which should pay for any unexpected replacements other than wear outs. If they wear out at 10,000 miles I am going to love every mile!! I only drive 10K a year so once a year may not be that bad. We will see when my car arrives in February.
  • corvettecorvette Member Posts: 10,043
    As I think I noted previously, I drove 8,000 miles on my 325i's summer run-flats, and based on the wear patterns, they should last at least 25,000 miles.
  • best4best4 Member Posts: 26
    Do you think the 330 and the 325 will have the same wear patterns? Different tires may do different things plus the 330 has another 35 ft/lbs of torque. We will see.
  • u2jrmwu2jrmw Member Posts: 14
    Is it just me or does 25,000 miles not sound like a lot for a set of tires?

    Also is there any kind of warranty on those tires?
  • dl7265dl7265 Member Posts: 1,381
    Well,If you look at any Summer performance tire, Run flats or not with a 180 treadwear rating 25K is very good. I get the feeling that all these complaints are from ppl comming from an accord or something not a Performance vehicle.

    They might be better served just buying a "L" , If a Nameplate is more important that a Driving experience.

  • corvettecorvette Member Posts: 10,043
    25,000 doesn't sound like a lot if you're comparing them to factory all-seasons on something like an Accord or Suburban. I would expect 40,000-60,000 miles out of the OEM tires on those cars.

    On a sports car, I would expect 30-40,000 miles from all-seasons, about 20-30,000 out of summer tires, and about 15,000 out of winter tires. In exchange for the lowered tire life, I would also receive superior handling.
  • 03accordman03accordman Member Posts: 671
    the problem here is that people are alking about 5-10k miles (dealers included). Hopefully these are one off cases. For me, changing tires every 5-10miles is becoming a dealbreaker. And yes, I am coming from an Accord, but I do not expect those kinds of tire lives on a performance car.
  • corvettecorvette Member Posts: 10,043
    Sounds like a tire manufacturing problem if they are inflated properly, not track driven, and wearing to the wear bars that quickly--aren't the affected cars mostly using the Bridgestone EL42 all-season tires? Acura had an awful problem of flat-spotting with the same Bridgestone model (non-runflat) on the TL... Also, the early-build 1999.5 VW Jettas with Goodyear tires reported bald tires after approximately 8,000 miles (on tires that should have lasted about 40,000), also due to a tire manufacturing issue.

    I have not experienced this problem on my car. 8,050 miles on the summer Pirelli tires, which are, at most, 1/4 worn, and 2,150 miles on the winter Dunlop tires, which are just beginning to show any noticeable wear. Too soon to tell for sure on the winter tires, but from what I've seen so far, I expect at least 10,000 miles out of them as well.
  • best4best4 Member Posts: 26
    I am still waiting on my car to be delivered in mid Feb. and am currently driving a 2002 Miata that gets about 25,000 miles out of 45 series summer performance tires. The limited slip on this car seems to be very hard on the rear tires when going around corners under part to full throttle (spinning of the outside wheel trying to keep up). I could live with 20,000 miles from a set of tires. 10,000 seems to quick. Last I checked no tire manufacture offers a treadwear warranty for OE tires. I thought the wear rating on the sport package tires on the 325/330 was "140".
  • ricksterqricksterq Member Posts: 45
    I'm considering purchasing a 325xi. My other alternative is the IS250. Right now I'd say the BMW is leading the list, but I have some concerns over the cost and logistics of these run-flat tires. First off, I understand that these tires are typically unrepairable, so if you have a problem with one getting a flat, it'll need to be REPLACED, not repaired. That would probably lead to a situation where I would have a new tire mixed in with some significantly worn tires. Is that a good thing? Also, it seems that these tires are not widely available right now. How difficult is it to find these tires at local tire stores (discount tires, Big-O, etc)? I can see a problem occur where you have to replace a flat and they don't have your particular manufacturer's tire in stock. I guess that means I have to replace all 4? Other than these concerns, I love this car. I'm not willing, though, to deal with the potential high costs of tire technology, though. Am I worrying too much?
  • david22david22 Member Posts: 20
    I'm picking up my 330i with Sport Pkg this week. Should I get the tire warranty deal? What is a good price? Any words of wisdom appreciated.
  • best4best4 Member Posts: 26
    I think I am buying the tire and wheel warranty. The dealer said it is 589 for four years including the wheels. That way when my wife scrapes the curb I can get a new wheel. This way BMW has to replace it and will give me a loaner while waiting. I know that Tire rack has the tires in stock and can ship them in 2 days. That may seem to long but you could always have one in your garage waiting.
  • rhmassrhmass Member Posts: 263
    Read the fine print carefully and check under what conditions they'll cover the damage to your rim. When I was considering tire/wheel warranty, I realized they only replace the rim if it no longer holds air. This means any cosmetic blemishes won't trigger the coverage. I decided against buying it. Although tires will be covered. You almost have to get two flats to get your money back and three to make out during the period of coverage!
  • ricksterqricksterq Member Posts: 45
    So, what's the coverage on this tire warranty? Will they replace any tire for free or is it a depreciation thing? Is labor included? If that's the case, it might be worth it if the life of these tires is only 10-15K. When you add in the fact that a flat somewhere in there means tire replacement, that might pay for itself.
  • rhmassrhmass Member Posts: 263
    The coverage will include replacement for your damaged or punctured tire. Since BMW doesn'r recommend tire repair or patching, you'll get a new tire when your tire is damaged. I think you need to read the policy to see if labor is included. In any event, I don't think RFT and its associated disadvantage, as perceived by some, should be in anyway a factor in selecting your car. I'll never settle for a second rate handling car just because it has a spare in the trunk!
  • best4best4 Member Posts: 26
    I will read the fine print before signing on the dotted line. If the wheel needs to be unservicable then the only reason to buy it would be for the tires. But if the tire replacement is on a pro-rated basis then the whole thing becomes less attractive. Especially if the tire price is based on the BMW center retail tire price which is much higher than tire rack's pricing. Has anyone done the research on this yet? My car is arriving Monday the 13th.
  • rhmassrhmass Member Posts: 263
    Congratulations for your new BMW. You'll enjoy this car. Don't let your concern for the RFT distract you from enjoying the driving.
    My impression from the last time reviewing the tire warranty package is that it pays for the replacement tire (basically giving you a new tire) without pro-rated clause.
    I just don't think it is worth it for the price. It amounts to buying insurance and if buyers always make out, they won't sell it, right? So I decided to self-insure. I only lose money if I have to replace three tires, not quite likely based on my own experience.
  • rpatreirpatrei Member Posts: 2
    02 325i, 03 330ci and my '06 330i all had sport packages. The mileage is due to the soft composition of the tire not the run flat properties.

    The run flats are expensive but I will take the safety!
    A rear cost me $455 thanks to two nails. By this time next year the supply of run flats will dramatically lower the cost.
    For a smoother ride avoid the sport package.

    BMW Client Advisor--Rich
  • best4best4 Member Posts: 26
    The last time I checked only Michelin was developing tires for a 330 sport package. That might be more expensive.
  • seebeyondseebeyond Member Posts: 1
    Question please:
    I have a BMW 328 convertible.

    Would there be any issue with replacing the existing set of tires in size 205-60-15 to 225-50-15. The tire guy says it is no problem and the new size/tires are wider so it hugs the road more, he says it is the same or very close height wise... I am concerned about what that may affect -- the ride, aligement, etc.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 227,780
    I'm not an expert... but, the new size just seems too far off.. The 225/50-15 would be 0.8" shorter than the 205-60-15..

    I doubt the extra width would be an issue, and he is correct... It might improve handling slightly... The correct "plus zero" size would be 225/55-15... though that might not be a very popular size...

    It sounds like this guy doesn't have your size tire in stock? I'd just say no... If you really want to improve handling, you'd probably have to get new 16" wheels and move up to 225/50-16.. I think in this case, I'd stick with the stock size..


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  • rpatreirpatrei Member Posts: 2


  • bryncerddbryncerdd Member Posts: 29
    Concerning message #35 above, these same concerns about run-flat tires have kept me from buying another 3 series. As I have noted on other forums before, the run-flats save BMW money in that they need to provide only four wheel/rim combinations instead of five (four plus spare in trunk). Good for BMW; maybe they could pas the cost savings along to customers? Well. . . . On the positive side, there's a bit more room in the trunk, but it seems to me the problems cited in message #35 need to get more attention from the driving enthusiasts. The disadvantages of these run-flats out-weigh the supposed advantages, IMHO.

  • gordonwdgordonwd Member Posts: 337
    One issue for me is the fact that I have not had a flat tire on a car for about the last 20 years. On the other hand, I keep my cars long enough to occasionally have to replace the tires all around, but I still expect about 40K miles out of a set of all-seasons. So if I were to be shopping for a new car and find that it came with run-flats that cost twice as much to replace, with a shorter tread life and a harsher and noisier ride, I'd really have to think twice about it.

    My only hope is that, by the time I am in the market for my next car, the early problems will be sorted out and these tires will be cheaper and available in a wider variety of tread compounds.
  • dmabramsdmabrams Member Posts: 4
    All this is scaring me a little bit. Before I buy couldn't I just have the dealer switch out RF's for regular all season? :confuse:
  • best4best4 Member Posts: 26
    The cars do not have a spare, jack, etc and the dealer will not do it. I bought the tire and wheel damage warranty for $500. They came down on the price. If there is no tire in stock they give me a loaner until the car is ready.
  • turtle2216turtle2216 Member Posts: 1
    Does anyone here have the Pirelli run flats, I have an 06 3 series and it has the sport package with the Pirelli's. I hate them, they are noisy and sound like they are warped or something, is there anything I can do about this? :(
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