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BMW 3-Series Run Flat Tires



  • Hi there! I'm new to edmunds and this is my first post here.

    My wife and I live in a mountain community in the Los Angeles area, both drive BMWs.

    My wife's 2007 328ix wagon w/sport package 225/45/17 conti RFTs

    No major issues with handling, or noise. I noticed that the shoulders on the front tires were wearing more.

    When we took the car in for 15k service, and asked them to rotate, and align. BMW service rep stated that BMW does not recommend tire rotation? I suppose with many BMWs having staggered fitments that is their S.O.P.

    She recently had a low tire pressure warning. Upon inspecting the tires I found one low. I plan on taking to my tire shop to see if it has a puncture. The tire was only low, never zero PSI, hopefully it can be repaired if needed.

    I'll update after I have the tire checked out.

    Overall I'm glad we got one with Conti's after reading all of these issues.

    My BMW dealer tries to pimp nitrogen to all of their customers, unsuccessfully to me. I'm curious if that has anything to do with the Bridgestone RFT blister problems.

  • I have 06 325, never had a flat (jet). But long drives make me nervous.
    To me solution for RFT is full size rim with RFT in the trunk.
    Is there in the market a chip rim (aftermarket) that is interchangeable with a regular BMW rim?
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,608
    Hi Shipo. Hope you and yours are well. As you know, I am not a proponent for RFT's but the Continentals gave me good service and virtually no noise as well as extremely even and long lasting wear. Of course, that includes tire rotations that you recommended way back.

  • lokkilokki Posts: 1,200
    BMW - as a company- has been indifferent to tire rotation for at least a decade now.

    They say, probably correctly, that the rotation costs enough to offset any money you'd save by rotating the tires.

    The dealers are a different matter. They want the money from rotating your tires, so they sing a different song.

    My experience is tha the rears wore faster on my E36 and E46, but not enough to get excited about. I just replace all 4 at the same time anyhow. I might get some thousands of miles more out of the fronts, but not enough to offset the costs of rotation.

    My 2008 3 Series (E90) doesn't have enough miles yet for me to be sure, but I'd speculate that the trend wear pattern will be the same.

    Now, if the rotation was FREE, (say as when purchasing replacements) - then I'd do it.
  • jlbljlbl Posts: 1,333
    I'm so/so about RFTs. Not the best tires I have ride on, but far from being upset by them either. However, having put only 7,500 miles on my 2008 BS Potenza, I cannot say how happy I will be when time goes by. No possible rotation in my car (335d). On the positive side, I consider RFT could prevent bad consequences if a blowout happened.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,371
    Okay, that's a pretty fair assessment, thanks. Keep us posted as you put more time on those tires.


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  • What tires came on your '08 3 series? It seem like the majority of ultra poor RFTs I have read about are Bridgestones. It seems many people are walking away from a great car do to all the talk about RFTs.

    GFTs have many of the same problems as RFTs. I rarely got more than 12-15k out of my performance tires. Any tire that has stiff side walls, or a solid center tread, will tramline. I replace performance GFTs upon damage, as I feel they won't be reliable at speed.

    Now BMW not owning up to OEM faulty tire(s) is bad. It sounds like many have had them replaced by BMW, if the problem was brought to their attention in a reasonable amount of time.
  • I have an 08 528xi and just replaced my rims with the style 189 from the 3 series (which look just like the style 246 sport pkg rims for the 528xi - except that the offsets are a few millimeters more aggressive). I have regular toyo (non run flat tires) on them with no problems. Just change the tires. If you don't have a bmw mobility kit (includes tire sealant that is not supposed to gunk up the tire pressure sensors and also has an air pump) or you could get a donut tire in case of a flat. My car didn't have run flats so I have a spare in the trunk.

    Hope this helps,
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,608
    It's free for me...I do it myself in 20 minutes.

  • I just picked up my '08 328i sedan two weeks ago. It was brought in from another city so I didn't know what would be on it. I was surprised to find it had Continentals. The dealership had Bridgestones on most of their 328i's in stock so I thought I would have those. I was relieved. :)

    From the posts on this board and my experience, the Bridgestones are the culprit. Continentals are generally good in comparison. I had two sets of BS's on my 2006 325i and they were awful. Had noise at about 10,000 miles. The dealership did replace the first set at their cost, which didn't take much persuasion. I think they were tired of the complaints. But...they were replaced with another set of BS's. Same problem with those. If you want to stick with run-flats, try to get the Continentals if possible.
  • xeyexeye Posts: 168

    My wife's '08 328xi (2 weeks old) came with the BS R/F tires while my '07 335xi came with the ContiProContacts (12,000 miles). Ironically, the BS tires seem to be quieter (for now) than the Conti's were even new. Neither is annoying, but I could always detect more low-speed rumble from the Conti's. From all appeararances, I expect to put at least another 12,000 miles on the Conti's, and probably a lot more.

    Time will tell, of course, but I am also hearing a lot fewer complaints from owners of '07 and '08s with the BS R/Fs, so hopefully the changes that Bridgestone made are helping. Although I had no issues driving out of fairly deep snow last winter, I have one more summer of tread wear and it also looks like the BSs have a better snow pattern. We'll see which ones perform better. I'll report back in March '09!

  • thanx for the info. More people than me will also thank you.
  • Thanks to all for answering my post the other day re: being able to replace RFT's with regulars on the same rims. My 328i is spankin' new, so replacing the tires is down the road a few miles, but I wanted to ask one more question... Will putting "non-standard equipment" on the car void the warranty? :sick: I only have 5K miles, so the warranty has a ways to go.

    Thanks for any input!
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 4,043
    will NOT void your warranty. It's becoming pretty clear that BMW is using every possible tactic to scare people into using these heavy pieces of, well, whatever.

    I'd be very interested in hearing how anyone could justify a case where using lighter tires on a car could cause some sort of warranty repair that wouldn't have been required otherwise.

    There have been interesting letters to the editor in Roundel regarding unsprung weight & how the stupid RFT tires cause a 2X increase vs. the high-dollar brake caliper package that's in an advert.
  • I believe that some times, depending on the dealer, you can get away with it. But personally I am intimadated. So I won't even put a K&N filter on the car.
    Also I ordered a 2009 335xi with everything except the pakge with the different sized front and rear tires. (pita changing to winter tires and back in spring) barbera red with black int/grey poplar trim, tip, prem, sport, cold weather, comfort access, sat. radio, hd radio, whatever that is, heated steering wheel, navigation, rear backup whatamacall it. and what ever else who remembers., Build is scheduled for end of Sept. I should get it by end of October. Yea, I know, even with rft"s.
  • The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act protects consumers in areas like this. There are many areas where you can make changes and it is perfectly legal and will not void your warranty. It doesn't depend on the dealer at all.

    While I do not have any complaints about he RFT's on my '08 335xi, I can understand that some do. I know the early versions of many of the RFT's were awful as far as road noise and wear.

    I have not decided on whether I will buy RFT snow tires or standard snow tires. It really depends on whether or not I buy an additional set of wheels. I am leaning towards an extra set of wheels and tires. If i do that I will buy regular tires but i have not made up my mind yet. In part because it is a bit depressing to think about snow tires :-)
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    The sport package tires cannot be rotated since they have different sizes front and rear and may be directional.

    I don't think they care to recommend rotations on the regular tires because it would mean more cost to them since they have free maintenance and the tire rotation schedule does not line up well with their extended service intervals.

    To solve this issue, they simply don't specify tire rotations in the recommended maintenance and then exclude the tires from the car's warranty, So, if the tires wear unevenly or early, it is your problem and they get to say "all" recommended maintenance is covered for 4 year 50,000 miles, but no warranty on tires.

    The tire manufacture has a warranty, but I bet if you had uneven wear at 15K or 20K miles, the tire manufacturer would tell you it's not covered under their wear guarantee because you "should have" rotated the tires to prevent the damage. So you are out of luck.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,608
    I rotated MYSELF every 6K miles and the Contis wore perfectly. Just some feedback.

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Funny thing, BMW recommended against tire rotations BEFORE the whole "Free Maintenance" thing came about.

    Best regards,
  • I rotate on a regular schedule of 3/4k. My 2005 330xi went for over a year until I traded it in for an 06. The tires looked like they were just put on. The 06 (spit) went for 22000 miles and i couldn't stand the noise and vibration any so i dumpted them and put a set of avo's? on. Whe warehat a difference. They rode with no noise and much smoother. Of corse I sacrificed a bit of the handling aspec because the walls are softer but I don't drive on a track so who cares. The tread at 11000 miles is not showing at all. And would you believe that with 500 miles I hit a pot hole and blew the right front tire. The garage owner where the car was towed to asked me if i wished I had rft's on as he was mounting a new tire. NO WAY.
    But thats in the past. The 2006 is gone and I am waiting for a 2009 335xi.
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    Well, is there anyone here who did NOT ever rotate the standard tires and still got the entire rated wear life of the tires with no uneven wear or other related problems?

    If these are magic tires that don't need rotation or if the 3 series always puts even wear on the tires, then why waste time needlessly rotating the tires?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I didn't rotate the tires on my first BMW (a 1999 328i), and while I had no noise or other unusual wear patterns on my tires, I will say that the rears did wear a bit faster than the fronts. When I traded it in on my 530i SP, the tires on the 328i had almost bang on 49,000 miles on them (yes, this was a non-SP car with all-season tires), I'm quite certain that the rears could have safely seen the 60,000 mile mark, and the fronts were probably good for more like 75,000 miles.

    My 530i SP was a different story. Given the softer nature of the performance rubber, they were getting quite noisy by about the 12,000 mile mark, and so the following spring (when I was removing my set of winter wheels), I mounted the OEM rear wheels and tires on the front, and the fronts on the rear (same side in both cases), and the tire noise immediately went away. Given the success of that rotation, I continued to rotate the tires every spring from there-on-in.

    Long story short, when I pony up for my next BMW, it will most likely be purchased with the Sport Package, and nowadays, that means staggered RFTs (i.e. wider in the rear than in the front), and that in turn means that rotations are basically impossible. With that factoid in mind, I'll probably spring for another set of front wheels, and then buy a set of four same-sized GFTs and run that set-up while I have the car (which will allow me to rotate the tires). When I dispose of the car, I'll remount the factor RFT rubber on the front wheels, and put the wider factory rear wheels/tires back on. That will leave me with two extra front wheels and tires, two extra tires off the rim, and most likely a set of four winter wheels and tires to dispose of. Hello? Craig's list? ;)

    Best regards,
  • laurasdadalaurasdada Posts: 3,094
    "I rotated MYSELF every 6K miles ..."

    I hope you didn't drive after rotating yourself. You must have gotten very dizzy... :P

    '13 Jaguar XF, possibly my favorite of all the cars I've owned. But, my '09 Jag XK was a beauty, as was my '05 Acura TL, '88 Acura Integra, '84 Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo & '78 VW Scirocco (my first!). And, of course, the '92 Nissan Sentra SE-R and '95 Saab 900s I bought for the ex... Ok, I like a lot of the cars in my life.

  • hi, much needed answers!
    I have a '07 335i stock runflats with 3 bubbles. do i need to purchase stock run flats when im returning my lease? mavis is telling me i do but im wondering if i can just use another non run-flat brand? thanks for the help.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,608
    Not any dizzier than the posters over on that Cadillac board! ;)

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    If you have a BMW-FS lease, then yes, you need to return the car with RTFs on the rims.

    Best regards,
  • laurasdadalaurasdada Posts: 3,094
    Well, maybe we can declare Cadillac the "Standard of the GM World!" CTS doesn't seem too bad a car, the rest of the lineup currently, feh... Yes, even the XLR I have irrationally considered pursuing...

    '13 Jaguar XF, possibly my favorite of all the cars I've owned. But, my '09 Jag XK was a beauty, as was my '05 Acura TL, '88 Acura Integra, '84 Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo & '78 VW Scirocco (my first!). And, of course, the '92 Nissan Sentra SE-R and '95 Saab 900s I bought for the ex... Ok, I like a lot of the cars in my life.

  • I have 26K on my 2007 328xi , did not rotate and so far they all look good.
  • bemerbemer Posts: 20
    I newer rotated any tires with BMW (3 series). No problem ever !!!
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