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BMW 3-Series Run Flat Tires



  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,613
    I saw all 4 tires on a 2004 Volvo C70 mostly driven in NYC with bubbles on every tire, both sidewalls. The car had around 20-25K miles. They, indeed were low profile tires, as you pointed out, but I do not recall the brand. There was at least 40% tread life on those tires. It was the first and last time I saw anything like that. These were GFT's.

  • So here's the deal my the runflats on my 330i:

    1. I haven't inspected the INSIDE sidewalls, so don't know what's going on there.

    2. Spoke with the nearby BMW dealership and they tell me bubbles are likely impact damage and, in all events, the tires are not covered by the BMW warranty, and instead I need to talk to Bridgestone.

    3. Spoke with BMW corporate and they tell me that I need to talk with Bridgestone.

    4. Spoke with Bridgestone and they said only 1% of tires are defective and that therefore my bubbles are cause by either impact damage (curbs, potholes, etc.) or mounting damage. They said I would have to take the car to a Bridgestone dealer and have the tires removed and inspected, but most likely they would determine that they are not covered by a warranty.

    This strikes me as ridiculous. I have four tires with bubbles. My coworkers who drive the same roads do not have damaged tires. Obviously something is wrong with these tires.

    Has anyone been successful in dealing with a situation like this?
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,613
    IMO, its probably not worth your time/stress...replace with Continental SSR's. These are good tires I have 10K on them now and they are quiet, handle better than the BS and wearing very well and even. $146 at SR

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    The 330i that milesontime has the problems with has the Sport Package, and I don't believe that Continental has a low profile RFT that fits the rear wheels of that car.

    Best Regards,
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,613
    My bad. I would hate to recommend the BS again...any other options?

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "...any other options?"

    Well, as you and anybody who's even partially followed this discussion for a while knows (I assume that milesontime is a relatively new member which is why I'm making this post), I would suggest that milesontime buy four new GFTs and a can of Spare Tire in a Can or the Continental ContiComfortKit.

    I don't know if this is a solution that is acceptable for our new member, but there it is. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • I'm not a fan of the Bridgestone RFT, as some will know from previous posts, but I do come to the defence of the need to check if it is 'impact' damage. Having spent time with a Bridgestone engineer, it is clear that many users run the tyres 'low' on pressure, to try and improve the ride quality. This is a main cause of premature wear and also can contribute to impact/pinch damage. So it can be common for more than one tyre to be damaged on a particular vehicle. What pressures are you running?

  • dkg42dkg42 Posts: 11
    BMW is replacing defective bridgestone EL42 RFT's no charge for tires with less than 10k miles..50/50 split 10k-20k. It cost me $350 for 4 new EL42s..

    Keep screaming at the dealership, keep calling BMW corporate to complain and file a complaint with you State Attorneys General, consumer afairs fraud division..make noise it helps
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    In this case I'm highly skeptical that it will help. The fact of the matter is that milesontime does NOT have the defective EL42s. The other fact is that low profile tires are far more susceptible to road damage than the touring tires you have on your car, BMW even says so in all of their sales literature. More or less their warnings say that by buying the SP, you will get better handling at the expense of being far more vulnerable to tire and wheel damage from road hazards.

    If, and I need to stress if, there are signs that these tires were damaged due to road hazards, and/or low inflation pressures, there is no way BMW or Bridgestone should be on the hook for new tires. You pays your money, you takes your chance.

    The flip side of course is that IF both the inside AND the outside sidewalls are blistered (if it's just the outside sidewall, then that indicates encounters with curbs and such), AND IF the inside blisters aren't directly across from from an outside blister (which would indicate an encounter with a pot-hole or other road hazard), then anybody would have a very difficult time convincing me that these tires aren't defective.

    Best Regards,
  • badbeatbadbeat Posts: 5
    These may indeed be impact bubbles.

    On past cars I've owned, I've had situations where large potholes caused bubbles on two tires at once, especially on those with low profile tires. I don't know if you hit a lot of potholes, but it very well could be impact damage and not defective tires.

    That said, I think these tires are crap, but the complaints that I've been hearing on these are related to premature tread wear.
  • dean112dean112 Posts: 2
    I could use a little help with the purchase of new tires. I have a 2006 BMW 330xi with 28,000 miles and currently have Bridgestone Turanza RFT 225/45/R17. I hate my current tires as the noise is awful and any pot hole or crack in the road feels like the world is going to end.

    I live in Chicago and this is my only car so I definitly need all season tires. I'm not a car guy but I would like my new tires to not make any road noise and a softer ride so I don't feel like my car is going to fall apart when I go over a bump.

    Any help would be appreciated.
  • dglassmdglassm Posts: 9
    I would recommend the Michelin Pilot Sport or Axalto great tires , in fact being used for the 2008 M3 (Sport). Why BMW insists on putting these bogus tires (rft) on the 3 beats me .
    If these tires and its associated spareless world are so great then why no rft in m3 and 5 series ?
  • rflrfl Posts: 100
    I put a set of Conti Pro Contact's on my 2006 330xi and am totally pleased. Quieter, don't lose nearly as many fillings when I hit a bump and they're going on 17000 miles with little tread wear showing. Best of the evils ! BTW...will NEVER buy another car with RFT's and no spare. I hear rumor that BMW is going to make them optional on the 2009 model year... it would be the ONLY reason I'd ever reconsider another BMW. dealer replaced the horrid Bridgestone's at 4000 miles at NO CHARGE.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,613
    Ditto on the Conti's. Actually, because of the performance of these tires, I am having less of a problem accepting the run flat scenario. Believe me, I know where you are coming from. My first flat when the car had about 5K miles was a horror show that cost me over $300 when all was said and done.

    Continental RFT replacements for the 3'ers with 17" rims have comparable cost with GFT for the all-season tires.

    I do completely agree that ALL car companies that adopt this should have an option to keep the spare tire if so chosen by the customer. I assume RFT's will grow more prevalent throughout the auto world quite soon.

    Hopefully, they go back to dip sticks at BMW as well! :cry:

  • badbeatbadbeat Posts: 5
    I would highly recommend the Nokian WR. I have them on my '07 328xi. They give great foul weather performance and have significantly cut down on the shocks from bumps that I experienced with the Turanzas. They're somewhat expensive (around $180 per tire on, but worth it.
  • bemerbemer Posts: 20
    Do you have RFT or GFT? RFT's are $244.00 for 225/45R17....
    Does anybody has any expierience with Nokian RFT?
  • dean112dean112 Posts: 2
    Everyone seems to think the continental tires are the way to go. Most people have suggested the contipro-contact or the contipro-contact SSR, which is the RFT model. Does anyone prefer either model or have experience on either one?
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,613
    Conti RFT's are great by me. I would buy these again, No question.

  • jasondjasond Posts: 28
    I'm posting here even though my question is not about RFT. I could not find another active site for BMW tire discussions in the forums. I have a 2003 BMW 330xi without the sports package. It has about 14,000 miles on it. It came equipped with Continental ContiTouring Contact CV95 tires (205/50R 17 93V). I have been satisfied with the ride. The tires have not worn too well, however, and my BMW dealer recommends replacing them with the same tire now (i.e. after about 4 years). When I have looked up reviews at Discount Tire and Tire Rack most buyers have found that these tires (i.e. the Continentals) don't wear well, as has been my experience. The Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S Tire is very well reviewed by buyers. Tire Rack offers it for the BMW, but Discount Tire does not even list it for the BMW. My BMW dealership states that the Michelin is not a recommended tire for my 2003 330xi and that I might not be satisfied with how it runs on the car despite all the good reviews with other vehicles. Does anyone have any thoughts on this matter? Should I stay with the original tire that came with the car i.e. the Continentals or try a Michelin or any other tire that you can recommend? Thanks, Jason
  • kod1kod1 Posts: 2
    I just took my BMW in for service with 21000 miles stating it was very loud riding. They explained that my run flats are due to be replaced. The cost of replacing them is $995, This is a crime, I am advising anyone who looks to purchase a car with these tires DO NOT DO IT.

    They are loud, offer less mileage, can not be plugged you must purchase new ones. The will however sell you a warrantee for them for $779!!!! normal wear not included.

    I guess my questions when looking at a new car and it will not be a BMW ( Owned 7 and now done )will involved they tires.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Actually, you did find the right place! All it takes is one post to wake up a discussion and that's what happened. ;)

    Let's continue this thread here: jasond, "BMW 3-Series Tires and Wheels" #63, 7 Aug 2007 11:25 am.
  • kod1kod1 Posts: 2
    I just took my 06 to the BMW dealer with 21K miles on it they told me the Bridgstoone run flats need to be replaced... $995... the tire are terrible Turanza EL 42 205/55 R16 91 H. Any recommendations on another brand or model?
  • badbeatbadbeat Posts: 5
    I have RFTs, though my tire size is different. I went for the base wheels, so my tires are 205/55 R16. I guess the choice depends on how important bad weather traction is to you. These tires are a dramatic improvement over any all season that I've driven, but if you tend not to go out in all temperature conditions, it may not be worth it to pay the premium over the Contis.

    You might try talking to a local tire dealer,as mine was able to give me the tires for the same price as Tires by Web, with full installation and balancing included.
  • i am thinking of buying an bmw 328i wagon. from what i hear and read the tires are run flats and junk. they will wear out fast and possibly ruin the wheels and on top of that neither the dealership or the tire companies will do anything about this other than make you pay for whatever is wrong.
    will the dealer swap tires on the new car before leaving the lot? can the run flats be replaced with more traditional tires? or must i always use run flats on this car? does one need to put a spare in the car somewhere at that point? does anyone know if there is a cavity in the wagon where a spare can be put? should i keep the 16" standard wheels or move to the 17" wheel/tire? which is less susceptible to damage and more of a comfortable and long lasting tire? this will be a daily driver in pa. and in winter as well. i'm just looking for ideas as to how to make this car/tires work in my situation. sorry to not be so well informed but i don't want to spend alot of money and then in a few months be on the hook for hundreds or a thousand more. any help or ideas will be greatly appreciated. thanks
  • shangtishangti Posts: 3
    I bought a bmw 382i three months ago from Valencia BMW (outside of LA). On Monday of this week, I ran over a nail. I took the car to the dealership for replacement. The dealership did not carry a 328i Sports edition run flat tire (which makes no sense, since they sell the car) and so I had to order the tire from a 3rd party vendor, send it up to Valencia BMW and have them install, rotate, etc. which cost me $382, incl. tax - the tire was $328 and the tire was the passenger back right tire.

    On Wednesday of this week, less than 48hours later, I ran over a screw with the new passenger back right tire (although, we wondered if the dealership accidently ran over the tire with a screw, prior to re-install). After the screw issue, I drove to the dealership. The service advisor tested the pressure of the tire - and it was at ZERO - how is that possible for running over a tiny screw? I asked the dealership to replace the tire - at their cost - and thus no charge to me, since it was less than 48 hours and the dealership and BMW stressed unparell service. They declined and the service manager blew me off after saying he would call me back.

    My option - buy another run flat tire. I know my story is not directly tied to the short life tire - but, I have never had a superior tire with a tiny screw drop to ZERO pressure - oh the drive to the dealership was less than 20 miles from where it happened.
  • actualsizeactualsize Santa Ana, CaliforniaPosts: 433
    OK, so its not a BMW 3-series. But it is a BMW product. We added a 2007 Mini Cooper S to our long-term fleet, and even before the test officially began we picked up a nail in its right-rear Dunlop RFT.

    Tire unavailability, high prices - the issues are the same. The full story and responses are here.

    The TPMS system worked great, though. That's the must-have part of the equation for me.

    Twitter: @Edmunds_Test

  • adethieradethier Posts: 16
    the quick answer here is that there is no cavity for a spare. We were anxiously waiting for the new convertible, but after our mishap with the run flats ( , we decided we'll wait until BMW decides to put spares back into their cars ... at least donuts.
    If you do plan on long trips, such as in the mountains or between cities (such as driving from LA to San Francisco) i would stay away from these cars as there is no support infrastructure. Read my story and you'll see that the flat bed tow truck driver confirmed that the new 3 series was its best customers. Digging into these forums will only confirm this.
    On a side note, I've been checking out Audis (and been quite pleasantly surprised by how good they've become) as we get ready to unload or 325.
    Good luck to you.
  • rhmassrhmass Posts: 263
    The sad part of your post is that you are so right in feeling unsafe driving the RFT for fear of getting stranded.
    We have a '06 3 series and a '02 xiT. The former becomes our daily driver and the latter is the car we take for vacation and long stretch drives. BMW did us right by replacing the four RFT with the Continentals free of charge but it doesn't take away the worry of having a "flat" without ready replacement. I think BMW might lose some business due to this factor. I know when we need to replace one of our cars, the car will not have RFT unless such tires become prevalent in availability. Not a chance in the next couple years.
  • be325be325 Posts: 91
    Perhaps I misread some posts (about a flat with RFT) but I wonder why would I have to replace/buy a new (RFT) tire if the problem was a nail? Am I missing something?
    When I got a flat (GFT but I think it should work on RFT as well), I got a can of a Fix-Flat from my trunk, inflated the tire enough to drive to a place that put a 'plug' and then we continued on our trip. This was faster and easier than putting the spare on. I also cary a very small 12V ($25) compressor which I use at home to keep the recommended pressure in my tires .... it works for me. I never had a big whole in the tire though.
  • is it possible to replace run flats with "normal" tires or are the cars (bmw 3 series) just set up to accept and use run flats? are there runflats that are durable and long lasting? i was all set to go and get the wagon but after hearing the horror stories and the expense associated with it i will have to wait. do you think this is a problem (durability and expense) that will be correct in the future and the industry advances or not? thanks
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