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BMW 3-Series Run Flat Tires



  • OW,

    do you feel comfortable giving the name/state of your dealer? i'd like to reference it when i approach mine for added leverage and an example of someone that "did the right thing".

    many thanks,

  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,608
    I will give you the town - Eatontown, NJ

  • Hello everyone. I have a 2007 330i I took delivery of in September 2006. I have the same noise and cupping as everyone else which was first noticed by me at about 12,000. I am a fairly conservative driver so the car has been babied. I started complaining to my local dealer but got little response except for their offer to replace the front tires by having me pay for one and they give me one. Not satisfactory. I then called BMW National Customer relations to complain. About all they offered was that they don't warranty the tires and that if I have problem I should call Firestone/Bridgestone. they even gave me number.

    I called Firestone and they offered to have me come in to one of their Company Owned service centers near my house so they could evaluate the tires. I did this yesterday. They put my car and checked all the alignments and said all was OK. They then offered to replace all 4 tires. Not with the OEM EL 42 Taurenzas but with higher performance Potenzas providing I pay for mounting and balance and road hazard warranty etc for a total of $189. I was not super happy with this since the Potenzas are a softer rubber compound and will wear out fairly fast compared to the EL42s. But the thought of four new tires wa enticing so I did it. They suggested that i run the tires with higher pressures that the BMW recommended pressures. He said the tires will wear better but will ride harder. They also strongly recommend rotating every 5000 miles using a 4 tire rotation. Firestone will do this for free since it is their tires. Backs come straight forward and the fronts go to the opposite rear wheel. I think this may help since the tires will wear more evenly since the edges will be reversed eventually.

    I then went to a large chain local tire company (Discount Tires) to talk to them and ask questions about Run Flats in general. The sales rep says that BMWs have a fairly aggressive camber which results in the front edges wearing unevenly and he too suggested that rotating every 5000 will help. He also says that it is not the tires fault but rather the agresive suspension and camber and toe in that cause the cupping. He also says that RFs are causing problems on other cars than BMWS. So we are not alone.

    I suggest no following BMWs advice and to rotate tires like we have always done and to increase the tire pressures unless the harsh ride will be to much for you. Increased tire pressure will result in slightly less road adhesion so be careful!

    I am really hoping that by the time these Potenzas wear out that there are some Michelin RF tires available. They do have some now but are not available in the size we need. They are available for Corvettes right now.
  • nkeennkeen SE PennaPosts: 316
    Just purchased Bridgestone LM22 RFTs on ASA JH3 16x7.5 rims for winter from TR -- 2006 6-spd 325i with ZSP. I'll be interested to see how they fare on SE PA's rutted, buckled and pot-holed I-95. I am very pleased with my RE050A RFT summer tires -- superb handling and not too stiff with the 17" rims on my car. I went with 205-55-R16H on the winter tires for a taller sidewall and narrower footprint. I'm interested to see how they handle the snow -- have been reading good things, but I'm used to FWD on all-seasons, so we'll see.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,608

    I believe the date is included in the serial number next to the DOT number. It is on the inside sidewall so it will be hard to see unless the car is up on a lift or the tire is off the car. The last 4 digits are month/year.

    My 2006 which arrived in December 2005 had EL42's that were produced in July 2005.

    I assume that Bridgestone (Firestone) changed the rubber compound by now since the new '07's I saw at my dealer on saturday included EL42 Bridgestones on all the 3 series they had on display.

  • cbanctcbanct Posts: 17
    Everyone interested in the RFT issue should read Edmunds long term BMW 330i review posted on 11/27/06.
    The Edmunds editor compared a 330i with all season GFTs ( Get Flat Tires ) with a 330i with RFTs.

    Many thanks to the Edmunds fan who provided his car for this comparison.

  • nkeennkeen SE PennaPosts: 316
    Interesting read. The stiffness is there no doubt. The distinction between the EL42s that come with the std suspension and the RE050As that come with ZSP is clearly a factor. I suspect, also, that the 17" ZSP rims on the 325/328i may be a better compromise than the 18 inchers on the 330/335i. As to why BWM went with RFTs, there's no doubt that they are the future, and I really believe in the safety advantage of having a tire maintain integrity during a high speed loss of pressure. Also, Western European highways generally are built to finer tolerances, and are well maintained, so that the hard jolts delivered by pot-holes, buckled concrete underlays, sloppily assembled or collapsing expansion joints, uncleared tire debris, garbage, and discarded household goods are simply not the factor they are in the land of PENNDOT. That said, the non runflat EL42s are not great either.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Unless told otherwise, I'm going to assume that our fellow TownHall member blueguydotcom should get credit for suggesting the back to back test and then offering his own car for said test. Good on yer BlueGuy. :shades:

    Best Regards,
  • nkeennkeen SE PennaPosts: 316
    Crossed my mind also. Thanks -- great suggestion and contribution to the discussion.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,608
    nkeen, I agree rft's or nft's (no air needed) is the future.


    Thanks for your contribution. Guys like you advance the cause for positive feedback to get results.

    My question to BMW is why continue using the EL42 on 2007 models? Is it just being thick? Or did something change that we do not know yet!?

    If I were a potential/returning 3'er customer and I stopped at this board, it would swing me to the competition just from the level of concern. Even a UK poster found this space and voiced concern from there as well so it isn't a local problem. At least offer the choice to include GFT option to satisfy the concern.

  • actualsizeactualsize Santa Ana, CaliforniaPosts: 432

    The date of manufacture is molded into the sidewall of every tire sold in the US. Look along the sidewall for a number sequence about 1/4 inch high that starts with "DOT" molded in, followed by 9 or 10 characters branded or molded right after. The last four in the sequence are the date code. 3504, for example, stands for the 35th week of 2004.

    Note: some tires have this stamp on the inner sidewall only, so you may need to throw a towel on the ground, crank the wheel to one side, and get a flashlight. But I think our 330i 18" Bridgestones had the DOT stamp on the outside.

    Twitter: @Edmunds_Test

  • Can you post the URL please. I searched in Edmunds site and could not locate this article.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,608
    actual, the EL42 has the DOT number on the inside only.

    I posted my original mfg. date for my old EL42's off by your date formula, originally thought "0705" was July 2005 but really is 3rd week in Feb. '05.

    Thanks for the clarification.

  • I am so feed up with my RFT tires. I cupped a tire after 10k miles. Found out the pressure was low. Why did the tire monitoring system give a signal? BMW would not do a thing about this. I had to replace the tire at my cost. I am really tired the way BMW north scottsdale handled this problem. A friend was driving with me this week and told me his 1995 truck does not make as much noise as my 2006 BMW does!!! I am at a point that I will park myself infront of BMW north scottsdale on a week end and have a sign on my car letting everyone know how BMW handles problems. All they care about is you giving them a 5 when you get the phone call form BMW NA.

  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,608
    llicht, what did your service rep say? I complained to my sales rep who transfered me to a service rep.

    I was told they would verify the noise but gave me no problem and changed the tires at 12K miles.

    Between the time I made the service appointment, the sales rep sent me an e-mail to remind me to make the appointment!

    I assume all dealers are not the same but try calling a few dealers in your area to see if they are willing to help you.

  • Dear Members,

    Good afternoon. After spending about an hour reading through the avalanche of posts regarding the run flats with the Brightstone, I felt dishearted to allow my girlfriend to buy 2 new tires to replace her old ones.

    Clearly, complaining to the dealer about the tires did nothing to resolve her tire noise issue. Granted, she did complain long before she had 28k on the car. However, now that she is straddled with having two buy 2 new tires, I have decided to buy her 4 new Pirelli PZero M&S RFT.

    Unfortunately, only has one person rating them, and after checking on this site did not find many people using them. So, if anyone has any experience with these tires (I've had the PZeno M&S on my 03 325 Cic and loved them!) would like to know how these run flats compare.

    I've read about people loving the Continental run flats that replaced their Brightstone. However, due to the fact that my older car burned through them in less then 15k, I want to get her Pirelli's instead (which I'll admit I loved). If anyone can offer any advice, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and patiently await replies so she doesn't kill me for getting her another train wreck (I convinced her to get the 06 330xi :( )

  • If by rotate you mean rotating the car for another, yes :shades:
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,608
    Dear George,

    I too have the 2006 330xi and love it. I really like the conti ssr's so far but I assume the michi's would be great also. I do notice I need to maintain inflation pressure about every three weeks with the old tires and will keep tabs on the conti's. If pressure runs low, beware the shoulder ware!

    Take a look at the utqg standard. The conti's are 400 treadwear so assume 7,200 mile test x 4 = 28,800 miles for the conti's.

    Hope this helps.

  • Perhaps it was me. ;)

    Glad you guys liked the write-up. :)

    I know if I opt for a 335i I'll spring for straight performance tires next time. Knowing my current car is a lease and due back by Mar/April of 08, I didn't see any reason to spring for tires that would need replacing in 12-14k miles. Hopefully, I'll get another 18k out of my current tires.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,608

    You have the rft's that you will put on at lease end, correct? I thought that was a great move and considered that.

    The conti ssr rt's are much quieter for the first 300 miles.

    I know you will most likely go with the 335i at the end of your current lease. Have you test-driven the current 335 yet?

  • RFTs are in my garage rafters.

    I have not driven the 335i for fear I will desire one keenly and loathe me car for the next year (when I will re-order). I'll hold off driving one until November 2007. Unless my sister tells me this month that she wants me car. Then I'll gladly let her take over the lease and go grab a 335i.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,608
    OK, then I guess I'll have to do it. I really am interested in the tire performance and plan to stay keen on that during the test.

    I also am interested why some dealers around the U.S. are not customer-centric on this issue and some replace with no hassle.

    I'll let everyone know what I feel after the test drive but promise not to rave too much an anything that will push you over the edge.

    Does anyone with a new 335i have any feedback of the tire performance on this board?

  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 4,041
    Be careful of putting too much credence into what you see/feel with tires on a test drive, unless the car has at least a hundred miles on it.

    I've been fooled more than once (the first time I thought it was a fluke) trying to push a new car and/or new tires.

    Sadly, tires are very difficult to evaluate before they have several hundred miles and quite a few thermal cycles on them. New tires slide like the dickens.

  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,608
    Thanks, cdnpinhead, I was thinking about that after I posted because the dreaded noise did not show up when my car was new and the tires had not logged any real miles.

    Your point goes far in lending light to the fact that the EL 42's were used again on the 328 and 335 for 2007. We did not notice problems on the '06's until after thousands of miles!

    I assume we will need to wait for delayed feedback on the 335 as you have enlightened us to this fact.

  • skobolaskobola Miami, FLPosts: 207
    Re to "I also am interested why some dealers around the U.S. are not customer-centric on this issue and some replace with no hassle."
    I believe that depends on how good some dealerships have it. For example, there are 2 BMW dealerships in Miami, and buyers are waiting in lines to get Bimmers from them. Therefore, they are not that attentive to them! I got myself a Bimmer about $80 discount per month by buying it in New York instead in Miami. However, now I have to wait for some official move by BMW NA in regard to the tires, because I cannot afford to go to NY just to possibly change the tires, and as you may guess, the dealers in Miami will not entertain any change on their own, especially when I did not even lease the car with them. Therefore, I also believe that there should be much more initiative by BMW NA, and them not giving too much power to dealers, but that could be a completely new discussion...
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,608
    I would like to know what everyone thinks about an attempt to get BMW to recall the tires through a request to the I.I.H.S. or N.H.T.S.A.

    The members on this board have shared some good feed back to present to these organizations to open a case that would investiigate our claims based on perceptions that this could lead to a safety issue similar to the Explorer/Firestone case.

    As others have mentioned, since this is a fairly new product, it does not seem to be a fully tested effort based on the feedback.

    This would be a good way of presenting to BMW/Firestone (again) that they need to follow the lead of other upstanding firms like McNeil Labs who recalled the entire product during that case.
  • After so many complaints I think the N.H.T.S.A should investigate the problems with RFT tires.
  • owner6owner6 Posts: 89
    Check with the Board and see what type of Form we need to fill out. Than post on this and any other site and we can start flooding the NHTSA with complaints.
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