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BMW 3-Series Run Flat Tires



  • :mad:
    After being tossed around, (dealership to bridgestone to dealership) I'm finally told that the dealership will replace my tires...YAY! NO...they will prorate the purchase of new tires by $700. (I have over 20k miles on my car)
    So they want me to shell out money on new crappy tires.
    The road noise and vibration has gotten so horrible, that I don't even want to drive my beloved car.
    I never thought I'd have problems like this with BMW.
    I and sure as hell never thought I'd regret buying a BMW.
    If anyone has info on a form to fill out to have these non-gripping, air loosing, square wheels recalled please let me know!!
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,619

    I have requested the host set us up with the format to use to register complaints from this board and others. The goal is to flood the N.H.T.S.A. and the I.I.H.S. with enough fuel for them to open a case with the tire mfg.

    I know you will feel a little better when the Continentals are installed. They should last around 30K and the noise does go away. We just don't know long term how these tires will perform as wear-in progresses.

    I hope you are satisfied and thanks for offering to submit a complaint.

  • lipplipp Posts: 58
    I had the same RFT problems with my Bridgestones as have numerous others on this message board. I replaced them with Conti RFT's and the difference was great for the first 9,000 miles. Now they are getting noisy. I am scheduled for my 30,000 mile service on December 14th, and I will have them rotated at that time. Hopefully that will help. Overall I am pleased with the Conti's. They are much better than the Bridgestones but the jury is still out on the noise problem. If the noise worsens then we are back to the same issues as with the Bridgestones.

    I am seeing more and more dissatisfied BMW owners on this board. Every time I open the message board I notice the consumer rating for the BMW 3 series is 9.6. That's very high. Only 37 people have rated this vehicle. If you are that dissatisfied with your dealer, BMWNA and your car in general, take a minute to rate it with Edmunds.

    As I have noted on numerous postings in the past, "we are dealing with the least consumer oriented company in the automotive industry." They really have done nothing to address or to resolve the RFT issue. They keep running and hiding. Sooner or later they will have to address the problem.

    The result of my experience with BMWNA, and with their dealerships in general, have helped me make a decision to never buy a BMW again.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I've been following this thread for quite some time and have a comment/personal observation that might could well be helpful.

    Premise: Unless I'm missing something, most of not all of the noisy tire complaints come from folks who have non-SP equipped "i" models and all "xi" models. Yes, no?

    Assuming that my premise is correct, there is a very interesting correlation to my 2002 530i SP. Yes, I know we are discussing non-SP cars here, however, hear me out. My 530i was one of the last (if not the last) BMWs available with a true Sport Package (i.e. summer tires and lowered/uprated suspension) that was equipped with the same size rubber both front and back. Given that summer tires typically last only a third as long as All-Season tires, they will tend to exhibit the same wear characteristics (both visible and auditory) as All-Season tires, only in fewer miles.

    On my car and after only maybe 8,000 miles I started hearing the first vestiges of the helicopter noises. Right about then I switched to my winter set of tires (I live in New Hampshire after all) and the noise immediately went away. Come the next spring I remounted my OEM set in the same position as where they were from the factory, and the noise immediately picked up from where it was the previous fall and continued to worsen. By ~9,000 miles I'd had enough and rotated my tires, contrary of course to the BMW recommendations. Problem solved. From there on in, I just used the helicopter sounds as my queue to rotate my tires.

    While I don't doubt that the Bridgestone tires (and to a lesser degree the Continentals) suffer from premature noise, folks who have these RFTs might well be able to extend their usable quiet life by rotating them from front to back.

    And another thing:
    While I don't have any idea what the future will hold for my commute, should it come to pass that I opt for an E90 (I'm thinking something like a 328i Sport Wagon here), I'll order an "i" model with the Sport Package and drive the factory tires until they get noisy (or they get to 5mm of tread depth, which ever comes first). By that time I should have been able to pick up four 17x8.0 Style 161 wheels off of E-Bay from folks who've upgraded their wheels and will then mount the same sized rubber as I had on the 530i, namely 235/45 R17 GFTs (probably Kumho ECSTA ASX). These I'll run for as long as I keep the car. Should I decide to lease (a distinct possibility for business reasons), I'll put the factory wheels and tires back on just prior to lease end and then sell the second set (as well as the third set of winter wheels and tires which I'll almost certainly buy from TireRack).

    I hope this helps. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Those 37 reviews apply to the 2007 model year only. But still, you are right - if anyone has not reviewed his/her 3-Series regardless of MY (or feelings about RFTs), please take this opportunity to do so by following the link above.

    Be sure to evaluate the car as a whole. If you spend your whole review fussing about the RFTs with no other constructive comments, it probably won't go up. Review your total experiences with your car, positive and negative (not the salesguy, not the dealership, not the service department, not the other cars you compared. just the car itself). Include your complaints about the RFTs, certainly, but just don't make that your only focus.

    Hope this helps. :)

    (Yeah, I'm also a CRR moderator. ;))
  • I brought my car in for service as the tire noise from the Bridgestone tires was so loud I couldnt hear myself think. I complained to the service people who told me that, at 30,000 miles my tires were worn out and needed to be replaced. when I bought the car (325xi) I asked about the run flat tires and was told that they would last around 50-60,000 miles so I wasnt that concerned that it would cost me $1,800 about every 2 years. To add insult to injury I purchased at tire and wheel guarantee for $695. what a waste of money.BMW should be ashamed and so should Paul Miller BMW in Wayne NJ. I'm going to put non-run flat tires on the car and purchase a spare. Based on the indifference from Paul Miller BMW I will never buy another BMW.
  • You bought a sport sedan and expected to get 50-60k miles out the tires? :O

    30k miles is a crazy amount for a BMW.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "You bought a sport sedan and expected to get 50-60k miles out the tires? :surprise:

    30k miles is a crazy amount for a BMW."

    Oddly enough, before brave1heart and I swapped cars (for a couple of days) and I had a chance to truly experience and appreciate the capabilities of BMWs Sport Package, I ordered a 1999 328i non-SP. When I turned that car in at lease end with 45,000 miles on the clock, the factory All-Season tires had an EASY 15,000 miles left on them. That said, most of those miles were consumed during my daily Tappan Zee grind, a commute that isn't exactly challenging to the tires. :-/

    Best Regards,
  • owner6owner6 Posts: 89
    I read all the reviews and it seems to me they were all done within the first 1,000 Miles or less. Only two or three tire complaints.
    Everyone I know with the Non Sport package RFT,s have had the problems. Starting anywhere from 5 K miles and above.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Well, we can't help when people file their reviews, but I know that for me, a review by someone who has driven their car for a good length of time carries a lot more weight than one by someone who is barely off the dealer's lot.

    Do you own a 3-Series? Have you filed your review?
  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 859
    I think you will find that the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) are only interested in things related to safety - like tires failing. Noise, vibration and wear don't qualify.

    I would suggest energies be channeled into areas that might have a chance of reaching sympathetic ears - like the Federal Trade Commission.
  • owner6owner6 Posts: 89
    Yes I have a 2006 330I. No i haven't filed a review. Ill do so in the near future.

    PS: I had a 2002, gave to my son. It has 65K miles and except for Brakes and Rotors it has had no mechanical/service problems. Tires were replaced at about 40K Mls.

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Good, I'll look forward to seeing it! :-)
  • kirkrkirkr Posts: 17
    Have been following this forum since purchase of my 2006 325xi non-SP in April 2006. Had El 42 GFT on my 2004 Acura TL. They were noisy with mediocre handling. Switched to Bridgestone Turanza LH and things improved immensely. Currently have 15,000 plus miles on EL 42 RFTs. Same problems as Acura. However, I ignored BMW's recommendation not to rotate tires (sounded stupid to me) and rotated tires every 5,000 miles. Unfortunately, the tires are wearing evenly and well. Will easily get 30,000 plus from the tires. Not sure yet if I will stay with RFTs when these do finally wear out.
  • Guys the solution is to rotate tires just as we have done in the past. DO NOT follow BMWs recommendation not to rotate. Rotate by moving the rear tires
    straight forward - no not cross over. Take the fronts and cross them on the way back. Right fron to left rear and left front to right rear. Do it every 5,000. This will result in even wear and cause the cupping to cancell out when you move the old fronts forward on the second rotation and all subsequent. The cupping is on the outside front tires and it gets worse as time goes on.I got my EL42s replaced by Firestone by dealing directly with Firestone National Customer Relations. All it cost me was mounting and balance and road hazard and stems. 4 new tires free! :D
  • Wow, if one were to rotate back tires to fronts, that'd make for a very odd handling car given the rears on 330/335is are wider than the fronts.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "Guys the solution is to rotate tires just as we have done in the past."


    "Rotate by moving the rear tires straight forward - no not cross over. Take the fronts and cross them on the way back. Right front to left rear and left front to right rear."

    Not advised. While I don't know about the EL42s, many tires these days are directional and crossing over would cause directional tires to rotate backwards. Even when tires aren't directional, I don't believe that I've ever read a manufacturers recommendation to cross radial tires. Simply put, rotate tires front to back, keeping them on the same side, is the proper method of rotating radials.

    Caution: The above comments are applicable to cars that have the same sized tires both front and rear, unlike all "i" model E90s with the SP. For SP equipped 3-Series cars ("i" models only), your only options are to A) put up with the noise, B) replace the tires early, or C) buy wheels and tires that are symmetrical for both front and back.

    Best Regards,
  • kirkrkirkr Posts: 17
    I agree with Shipo. Radial tires should only be rotated front to back on same side. Separation of rubber from belts is a strong possibility (personal experience) reversing rotation direction after tires have been driven awhile.
  • lipplipp Posts: 58
    HELP! I am scheduled for service in a week and I had planned to rotate my Conti RFT's that are beginning to exhibit a bit of noise after approximately 9,000 miles. I replaced my Bridgestones with the Conti's. BMW does not recommend rotating so how can I ask them what the proper method of rotation is?? When I had Bridgestones they were rotated by a Firestone dealer, rear to front and crisscrossed front to rear. Now I read differing opinions.

    Help me out. Who's right and who's wrong???
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I've been rotating radial tires front to rear for over 30 years, per the recommendation of most manufacturers. Crisscrossing really won't buy you much if any benefit and could be a huge detriment if your tires are directionally sensitive (you'll know if there is a rotational arrow on the side wall).

    Basically, relax, rotate front to rear, same side and keep on truckin'. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,619
    Shipo is right - do not cross fronts when moving to rear - go straight back on same side. If you have a floor jack, you can lift one side of the car so the process takes minutes.

    Again, make sure the ires are the same dimensions, 225/45 17 on all 4 corners, for example. If not, forget it.
  • kirkrkirkr Posts: 17
    Grew up in the tire business. Crossing tires pretty much ended when pre-radial belted tires came out. The belts would shift back a tad while driving at high speeds. Reversing direction after this seating would ofttimes seperate the rubber from the belt causing bubbles in the tire. Same problem with the belts in radial tires.
  • lipplipp Posts: 58
    Shipo,kirkr, circlew.............
    Thanks for the advice. It's front to rear and rear to front with no crossover.
  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 859

    You should have stayed in the tire business a little longer as the current recommendation for rotation includes "crossing". To verify this look at any tire manufacturer's web site.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "...the current recommendation for rotation includes "crossing"."

    By whom? Under what circumstances? Please provide references or links.

    Best Regards,
  • kirkrkirkr Posts: 17
    "You should have stayed in the tire business a little longer as the current recommendation for rotation includes "crossing"."

    Was my Dad's business. Glad not to have followed his footsteps. However, in 1995 had the separation problem by heeding advice that radials had "improved" and crossing was OK. It is possible that they have "improved" again. But I have always gotten excellent wear rotating "front to back same side" without "crossing". Like Shippo, been rotating tires for several decades.
  • This rotation was what the company owned Firestone dealership recommended for their tires for rear wheel and four wheel drive cars. ie. move the rear tires forward with no crossover. But the front tires should be crossed. For front wheel drive it is reversed. I. E. The rears are crossed when moving forward. It is in print in a tire maintenance and ownership guide handout they gave me as well as verbally from the manager.

    It is also useful to note that tires lose about 1 PSI a month plus they drop 1 PSI for each 10 degrees F the temperature drops. Under inflated tires are dangerous. They overheat plus they wear out faster, adversely affect handling, and decrease fuel consumption.

    So keep them pumped up and rotate them and I believe they will last longer and run smoother. :)
  • lipplipp Posts: 58
    From Tirerack:

    Four (4) Tire Rotation

    On front wheel drive cars, rotate the tires in a forward cross pattern, or the alternative X pattern.

    On rear wheel or four wheel drive vehicles, rotate the tires in a rearward cross pattern.

    Diagrams available on the following web site.
  • pearlpearl Posts: 336
    "30k miles is a crazy amount for a BMW."

    Shipo, I agree with you that this is not necessarily the case. My 97 528 has 155K on the clock and is on its FOURTH set of Michelin MXV Energy tires (including the originals). I have replaced the tires each time after approximately 45K of wear, with probably another 10K left on them. I don't drive like crazy, but don't baby it either. Also, these tires are consistently quiet. I tried some Dunlops when I replaced tires at around 90K but did not like the noise and the "slippery" handling, so took the car back in and had the MXVs put on again. Each car is different of course, but if you find a type of tire that works well on your car, stick to it. RFTs seem to have a ways to go before they solve the wear and noise problems.
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