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BMW 3-Series Run Flat Tires



  • johnsamjohnsam Posts: 55
    For 2 Bimmers (both 3 series) I have run RFTs as they came with the car when purchased new.
    In both caese, I equip the car with a "donut" spare / electric jack (lighter plug in type) / tools etc.
    YES. There is truck space loss but we have not notices that we cannot pack all we need because of it. A day's shopping is the worst situation (more that a weekend's traveling).
    After all, the "donut" sits neatly and quietly on the truck's floor.

    Have a great day!

    JOHN - Springfield, Oregon
  • xeyexeye Posts: 168
    My wife has a 2008 328xi with RFTs. With all the junk she carries around in her trunk, there's no way she could carry a real donut let alone a spare tire of any size. The trunk of my 2011 335i xDrive has my golf clubs, a NOAH car cover and a California Car Duster and, with the notable exception of the golf clubs, I have been able to put all of it to good use.

    My (traded-in) 2007 335xi has 29,150 city and highway miles and 3 New England winters on the Continental ContiProContacts. My wife has about 25,000 miles on the OEM Bridgestone EL42s and my new ride has the Continentals again. Neither of us has had any trouble or complaint whatsoever with the tires. In fact, the OEM tires on the '07 are in such good shape that the car is now on sale at my dealership as a CPO vehicle with the original ContiProContacts.

    Someone will undoubtedly retort that the handling would be better with GFTs but the risk of a serious accident at highway speeds if a tire suddenly goes flat is a far bigger issue than a slight reduction in handling. Since I've never driven my car on GFTs, as far as I'm concerned, there is no difference, and I have the use of the entire trunk all the time.

    Unless, or perhaps until, I have any issues with the tires, I wouldn't have it any other way.

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    A couple of points:

    -- Both of your cars apparently have the All-Season version of the RFTs, a longer lived (from a tread wear perspective) and a rather more compliant (but still stiff) tire than the ones mounted on the cars with a sport package.

    -- Cars in general and BMWs in particular have been running around for decades with GFTs and even in the event of a high speed blowout (something that is exceedingly rare), a serious accident is an extremely remote possiblity. Remember, we're not talking about a Ford Explorer here, we're talking about BMWs. Think about it this way, back in the pre-RFT days (which in the case of most manufacturers is today), running down the Autobahn in Germany at 150+ and suffering a tire failure is still very unlikely to result in an accident. Said another way, given the sophistication of modern stability control systems, having a catastrophic tire failure at only 80 mph or so will be no more dramatic than suffering a loss of pressure in RFT tire. Simply pull to the side of the road and have the tire changed.
  • yep, there's virtually no room left after the full size spare. but, then again, i don't use my car for vacationing with the family. that job falls to our suv. I use my car for commuting, running errands, and the occasional grocery. I can also use it for weekend getaways with the wife. just put the bags in the back seat.

    the go flats make the ride so much better, it's worth hogging up the whole trunk with an extra wheel. :)
  • xeyexeye Posts: 168
    All the same, I like not having to change my tires twice a year and having the trunk space. I also like the decreased likelihood of having to change my underwear after a front tire blowout at high speed, resulting accident or not, even in a BMW.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Just messing with you here. ;)

    "All the same, I like not having to change my tires twice a year..."

    Last time I checked, GFTs were still available in the All-Season variety. ;)

    "I also like the decreased likelihood of having to change my underwear after a front tire blowout at high speed, resulting accident or not, even in a BMW."

    If you suffer a spontaneous "blowout" (something I haven't heard of happening in decades, especially with speed rated tires) as opposed to a catastrophic tire failure due to impact, there may be some difference in how the car handles, but at the sedate speeds we travel at here in the States, any difference will be negligible. As for the catastrophic tire failure due to an impact with road debris or a curb or a pot-hole, I seriously doubt the RFT will behave any better (and possibly worse) when it comes to safely getting your vehicle over to the side of the road.
  • xeyexeye Posts: 168
    Most of my driving is in the 'burbs west of Boston or on the highways trying to get out of Boston. I try to stay away from Storrow Drive (rush hour race track for lunatics!) and the more insane areas where the roads go in every direction at the same time. If you're first in line when the light turns green and remain motionless for more than 1.2 nanoseconds trying to figure where the heck you are, the morons behind you get on the horn and will not hesitate to pass you on the sidewalk.

    I've been here 7 years. The thought of having to struggle to get out of the way should the unfortunate flat happen and leave me vulnerable still makes me very uneasy. In this asylum of pseudo-drivers, they can spot injured prey like a lion can sniff out a bleeding antelope from miles away.

    Give me 300 hp, 300 lbs-ft of torque and the Run (-away) Flats any day!

    I also only mentioned the all-seasons because you did. I thought the EL42s and the ContiProContact were the only RFTs available on the 3-series, and they're both all-season tires?

    Your turn. ;)
  • jagostjagost Posts: 13
    I had 23000 miles, and I had thread life remaining, but I got a nail in my tire. So every third day I had to put air in the tire. I was stuck with the following choices, I only needed one tire, but I have to buy the pair for balancing and alignment purposes. But why not replace all for at once. But what happens if I get another nail on my new RFT at 5000 miles, do I replace two tires again for balancing and alignment purposes. I telephone BMW, and they quoted me $1600 dollars for four run flat tires, installed and balance. I called a local tire dealer and I was quoted $800.00 for four regular tires, installed and balance. And if I get a flat, I can patch it for 25 dollars. The ride does feel better.

    On another note. I may have brought another set of run flat tires, if the new 3G RTF tires were out. But Bridgestone and BMW missed up. They announced this new tire technology almost 15-most ago, and as of date, nothing. BMW advises the new 3G will be out next year. Why announce with fan fair a technology that will not be available to the public for almost three years, and make it sound like it is right around the corner.
  • Did you save your 3 RFT tires which you could still use or sell for lease return purposes.

    What non-RFT tires did you end up getting, and did they re-use the tire sensor from the RFTs or did you have to buy new TPMS sensors for 4 tires?

    Did you buy some patch kit in case you get a flat on the road?
  • I put a set of Michelin HX MX M4 tires on my 06 325xi sport wagon about a year ago. Wundebar! Very quiet and great handling.
  • bigkevbigkev Posts: 33
    I have posted previously from 'down under', and have persevered with these bloody runflat tyre problems.
    I only use the car on local suburban roads, and on the highway occasionally. My previous (07) 3 series had Bridgestones and I changed to non runflats and bought a donut spare kit after 1000 kms.
    My 09 model has Continentals and they are 100% better, but the cars still rides bumpy over our roads.,
    I finally talked to somebody (Fred ?) from our biggest Continental depot in the state who told me this: deflate the tyres to 25 PSI and drive with that pressure. I did, and the ride is miles better. Like a 'normal' car. Maybe they'll wear out a bit quicker but i don't do many miles a year. I had a flat in one of the Bridgestones and didn't even notice it. Drove around for about a week wondering why the dashlight kept coming on. (I'm 66, and getting a bit vague) Anyway, the moral is that they are designed to run FLAT. So, if they are under inflated a bit so what. I know, I'll stir up a hornets nest with this but I'm sick of being told by idiot tyre fitters to over inflate the tyres, otherwise the sky will fall.
    Let em down and be comfortable! :mad:
  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 855
    "........they are designed to run FLAT......."

    They are designed to run flat for 50 miles at 50 mph! The problem is the way they will fail. The actual failure will occur under the sidewall support and you won't be able to detect it until it actually loses structual integrity. I'm just glad you're half a world away so I won't be anywhere near you when it happens!
  • bigkevbigkev Posts: 33
    I dont mean drive with them flat - just a few pounds under the recommended inflation pressure which is 29 PSI (BMW figures) to make the car more comfortable :) . Continental should know, and they said it! Anyway, glad to know somebody reads our posts.
  • When you changed from run flats to regular tyres, did you inform your insurance company, or do you need to? I'm considering changing to regular tyres on my '07 335i.
  • bigkevbigkev Posts: 33

    Yes, I checked with ALIANZ and they said it wasn't a problem because tires aren't considered a modification to the car. I double checked and got the same answer. I also checked with BMW and they said it wouldn't affect my warrantee in any way.
    If you do this, you will think you've got a new car! Amazing difference!
    The other thing is you can buy a "spare wheel kit" from BMW which is a donut spare, jack and a zip up bag to store it in. I found out that by buying the same items separately from the dealer spare parts section worked out over 1/3rd cheaper. Check that out if you do it.
    let's know sometime ahead if you changeover . regards, Kev :)
  • Cool, thanks.

    I'm insured with Allianz as well. I've just changed one tyre, so now I'll wait until these tyres ware out and will seriously consider using regular tyres. The run flats are ridiculously expensive and in my experience, don't do what they're meant to, that is, let you drive long enough to get to a tyre shop to get them replaced or repaired. I'll let you know what I do when the time comes. Do you recommend any tyre in particular? Cheers.
  • bimmer4mebimmer4me Posts: 266
    how much did you pay for the "spare wheel kit" from BMW? Doe's it take much space in the trunk?
  • Aren't you losing quite a bit of mpg running 25 PSI? What was before and after mpg?
  • bigkevbigkev Posts: 33
    I can only tell you in Australian dollars because that's where I am. We pay almost double for imported cars compared to you guys in the US because they (Govt) claim it protects our local manufacturers. It was about $450 (near enough the same in US$)
    It takes up some room but not as much as i thought it would because it ties down with the hooks just behind the back seat. We don't travel much so don't use suitcases etc. OK in general
  • bigkevbigkev Posts: 33
    Suprisingly it's exactly the same. My car is a diesel, and uses 7.3ltrs/100km. In 'real measurements' i.e. miles per gallon which we used to have before the idiots in the govt decided because the hundreds of thousands of 'public servants' (ha, ha) didn't have anything to do they would change half of our system to metric, its about 37 mpg.
  • abby31abby31 Posts: 2
    Did anyone consider a petition or litigation against BMW regarding the spare tire? I am infuriated with BMW because I did not know the car did not have a spare. The ride is atrocious and I am afraid to travel without a spare. I know a lawyer somewhere is willing to pursue this case and determine the validity of this dilemma. :mad:
  • taxesquiretaxesquire Posts: 681
    If the ride is "atrocious," why'd you buy the car? It was pretty obvious from looking at the trunk that there was no spare.
  • abby31abby31 Posts: 2
    First, BMW has a reputation for delivering a great product (That is not so now) so I did not see the need for an extended test drive. Second, why would I look for a spare tire? I had my previous BMW so long I never thought to look for a stupid spare tire. I assumed it was present. If you notice the trunk space has not diminished. The new models have a smaller storage space in the location for the spare tire. I changed to traditional tires and the ride improved which is why I called the run flats atrocious. By the comments on this site and others I am not alone regarding my sentiments.
  • I bought a used 2008 328i with Pirelli runflats in October of 2008 with about 16,000 miles on it. Those tires got progressively worse, rougher, and louder, but they did last 25,000 miles, which is longer than I expected.

    I finally got Continental Conti Extreme Contact DWS tires yesterday. The ride is much improved. However, I have a question regarding psi. The people at Discount Tire filled the tires to 35 psi claiming that was the appropriate amount because these are performance tires. The door sticker and manual for the car state 29 psi.

    What is the appropriate level?
  • bigkevbigkev Posts: 33
    How many cars has the knucklehead in the tyre dealer designed and built? BMW know. the correct pressure is 29 PSI. I have been through this so many times...drives you crazy. I have (on the advice of Continental) deflated mine to 25 PSI and the ride is even better. It's interesting that I live in Australia and everything is the same as US. They always over inflate tyres and tell us that the manufaturers are wrong. Maybe mine will wear out a little quicker at 25 PSI but it's so much more comfortable it's worth it.
  • Thanks for the reply. I also found an answer on Continental's website. Its website says to stick to the manufacturer's recommended psi unless you are switching between light truck and passenger tires.
  • bigkevbigkev Posts: 33
    I fell for a similar thing when bought my first ever BMW. The test drive around the local suburban bumpy roads was hard but the salesman said it was because they always pump the tires up higher than usual because they usually sit in the showrooms for a while. I know that's true because I've bought lots of cars in my 65 years. OK I thought, I'll just let them down if we buy it. Wife loved it and we did. It never occured to me to ask if it had runflat tires because no other cars sold in Australia has them, and to be honest I'de never heard of them. I assumed the spare was in the well under the mat as usual. It was only after I got it home that I found out about the runflats etc. The car handled so badly it was almost dangerous on a wet, bumpy road. After a lot of arguing with the dealer without any success, I just went and got non runflats and it was a different car.
    I've had lots of cars, and in my younger days was a Police driver training instructor, and also drove 'open wheeler' junior formula race cars. If anybody should have thought of this I should have but I didn't, so you are not a 'stupid woman' --- the idiot who came up with this scheme in BMW to save a few $ is the stupid one. So there! :mad:
  • rprice1rprice1 Posts: 9
    I had exactly the same experience. Bought the car not knowing anthing about runflats and expecting a spare. Car handled atrociously. Replace runflats with regular tires and my 325 handles like a different (and terrific) car!
  • Bigkev, Please tell me more about the spare wheel kit. I have called two BMW parts managers and they have never heard of it. I think, for me, if I cannot find this kit, I will pass on the 335d because of the run flat tires.
  • Best thing is to sell the BMW and go to the local Lincoln dealer and get an MKZ with all wheel drive. 328 Vs this car is a no brainer given the technology of AWD, but then Lincoln moves WAY ahead in the cabin tech area. BMW cannot even come close. Automatic transmissions in both cars? the case gets stronger for Lincoln all the time. Fine jump to a 335 and you have a fire breathing rocket ship, but again if it is with an automatic transmission you have to ask why the heck you even want the car?? Straight line acceleration? Highway thrills? Not a chance of being a driver's car. Gone from being the Ultimate BMW is now full of joy.. I would suggest full of something else.
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