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BMW Z4 Tires and Wheels



  • Has anyone encountered any wear-related problems with the Bridgestone Potenza RFTs (Run Flat Tires)? I've got a 2005 Z4 3.0 with the sport package (18" wheels) and after 22k miles my tires are bad. The inside edge is completely worn down while the outside edge looks fine. I'm guessing that this is a problem with alignment (camber toed inside) but the problem is consistent with all four tires. I bought the car new from the dealership and it seems like this was "perfectly misaligned" since the beginning.

    Of course, the dealership (Classic BMW in Dallas) will have nothing to do with me over the matter and a new set of exact replacements is $1700 from Firestone (including install & tax). I'm hestitant to get non-RTFs because of the problems I've heard and because there is no place to put a spare.

    First, has anyone else experienced this type of problems with their tires and/or alignment? Second, make sure you know what you're getting yourself in to before you purchase this car -- it's a great ride by VERY expensive to fix ANYTHING (including tires).
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    All BMW's have the tire wear that you describe to some degree, regardless of tire brand. I have read many letters to the editor in the BMWCCA magazine "Roundel" about this issue. It has to do with how the suspension is configured, so you can drive the car more aggressively on the road. I believe its called "negative camber setup", but I could be mistaken...It gives the car a "squatty" look when cornering. Compounding this issue is that performance tires are made of a softer compound, which gives better traction, but poor tread-life.

    See if you can obtain a few issues of ROUNDEL and you will see that others have the same "Issue" (I hesitate to call it a complaint, only because many buyers prefer the BMW setup so they can enjoy the "Ultimate Driving Experience"). Of course, this little "item"is seldom brought up by the car salesman...

    Good luck!
  • drtkdrtk Posts: 2
    I have the same car 2005 Z4 3.0 with the sport package (18" wheels). I bought the car as a certified used BMW 4months ago. It has 26K miles on it. At the time of purchase the dealership had replaced the back tires, but the founts were good as the previous owner had recently replaced. Shortly after I got the car I noticed it was very squirrelly on uneven road surfaces to the point I thought it was dangerous to drive. I documented the issue and took it in for service. At that point they did an alignment, but told me they were not satisfied with the results. They got approval from BMW to do what was called a steering column replacement. It took about a2 days to complete. 90% of the problem went away, but occasionally depending on road surface the car would want to pull to one side or the other. I'm talking a quick darting type pull. This weekend I noticed the inside treads of only one of the front tires worn smooth about 1 1/2 inches across the tire. Tomorrow I am planning on replacing the Potenza RE050A's with Mich Pilots $236 each, and buying an auto air compressor with tire sealant. This should guard against anything but a total blow out. It seems several people on this post have done the same thing with very good results. BMW sells the inflation kit or you can buy a good one at an auto parts store for 50% the BMW price
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    That twitchy, tugging steering on grooved pavement is called tramlining. It's not unusual with high performance tires.
  • drtkdrtk Posts: 2
    Some will say tramlining is more pronounced with run flats. I also was told the stiffer sidewall of a runflat can affect the tracking characteristic in cold weather. Do you know if tramlining is generally better or worst with a run flat?
  • esfoadesfoad Posts: 210
    OUCH! Sorry for the delay but this is what I bought from Tirerack based on their recommendation.
    4 - 205/50VR-17 Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D Tires
    4 - 17x7.5 Sport Edition A7 Silver Wheels
    4 - BMWSEN1 Tire Pressure Sensors

    They are perfect.
  • dvp16dvp16 Posts: 15
    I have the sport package also. The Potenza's are only good for about 20K then they are trash. That is the catch to run flat sport tires. The run flats I had on my Corvette lasted about that long also. These tires are also horrible in any type of foul weather.Try replacing them with the pirelli all season runflats. Or you can replace them with non-runflats and keep a lot of goo and a small compressor in the trunk.
  • dvp16dvp16 Posts: 15
    The Z is for driving and hence you can drive the tires right about 20K. My experience with these runflats (Potenza) and other runflats (on Corvettes) is that they are sport/performance tires which means they have a very soft compund that lasts 20-25K then they are shot. So if you are buying a performance car you have to be prepared to deal with the fact that you will be replacing tires on a regular basis. That being said, most of the runflats I have had wear quickly but most hold their composure. The potenzas seem to twist and cup excessively with time. My personal opinion is that they are trash. I would try either another brand of runflat or a regular tire and keep a small compressor and goo in the trunk if it is time for tire replacment.
  • Can somebody tell me what are the stock tires on Z4 M Roadster? Are they summer or all-season?
  • I was the fortunate second owner of the most pristinely new, babied 2004 BMW Z4 2.5i convertible. After 2.5 years with the first owner, it was only driven 11,400 miles. It was kept in a garage at home and at work. Distance to work? 5 miles. The car seldom saw speeds above 40 miles an hour. It got garaged for the winter months. It seldom saw a drop of rain.

    Ah, the tires. Standard Potenza's High Performance ZR Run Flat Tires (RFT) with little to no wear. I have been driving the car between north of Baltimore to south of Washington DC at a 2000 mile a month pace. I picked up the car Oct 06 and dry docked it for Dec, Jan, Feb. Tire wear for highway miles was negligible. It rain straight and true as the most perfect balance of roadster and performance tire I have ever experienced. That was my first 10,000 miles.

    Around 22,000 miles, i picked up a small steel filament puncture in both driver side tires (months apart - Spring of 2007 and late Summer 2007) and both near the inner side wall on the bottom tread. Finding a place to plug a RFT is next to impossible. They want to sell you that $200 and up replacement tire in the worst way. "We were going to fix it for you, but ooops, its near the part of the tread near the side wall. Sorry - we won't touch it." So I squirted a couple of cans of fix flat goo into each tire and got easily another 10,000 miles out of these tires. I heard so many neigh sayers, "It will make the tires run unbalanced" or "It will ruin the tire." Poppiecock and bulltwinkies - if I couldn't use the fix flat goo, the tires were shot anyway. They are riding fine and holding tire pressure no problem. What's more, they are wearing evenly!

    Where I think I goofed was I didn't dry dock the car again for the winter months (2007 to 2008). I drove it all of December 08 and January 08 as they were abnormally Northeast mild but a specially snow and ice free. What I experienced could only be compared to the exorcist on mornings below freezing. The summer RFT's take a set while the car is parked over night. The first 10-15 minutes are a challenge of every fiber in ones' body. At speeds under 25-30 mph, there is a subtle wub-wub. At speeds of 40 mph and up, the steering wheel begins shaking violently and doesn't stop until the tires have warmed.

    As it turns out, I had to bring the car in for only its second service, an oil change early Feb 2008. Low and behold, with nearly 32,000 miles on the tires, they are beginning to get close to the wear indicator marks for the rear tires. A few wet cool morns, accellerating into traffic, the back was breaking free a bit with ever increasing frequency. I think if I baby the car, don't jump on it ever and only drive it when temps are over 40 degrees F, I may get another 5,000 miles out of them. The most beautiful thing is the wear has been totally even with no inside or outside wear deltas. If someone has wear only on the insides, it sounds like a definite toe, balance. alignment, or driving consistently at excess speeds on consistenly windy roads issue. I've dry docked the car now and won't drive it until late March.

    Because of the "unrepairable" punctures, instead of just replacing the rear tires, I'm thinking of getting an entire new set of 4. Problem is, even with internet tire purchase, the Factory OEM as everyone knows are freaking expensive. I'm willing to try Non-RFT, but haven't heard anything good about them on the Z4. I've hear that GoodYear are a solid replacement, but don't wear as well.

    I would even consider going with something less than ZR rated because I seldom even drive over 80 mph. I like the idea of All Season High Performance because odds are I will not have the luxury of dry docking her in future winters (my son gets his license and will take my non-Z4 set of keys).

    Does anyone have any recommendations on off brand RFT or non-RFT replacements they have had good luck with?
  • i've got a set of 4 wheels for that i wanted to sell. they are authentic BMW alloy wheels 16x7 10-spoke wheels. 5 bolt, great condition. they've been driven on for about 29,000 miles.

    they come with a set of bridgestone potenza runflat tires RE050. the tires are in driveable condition. the two on the rear are low on tread, but the tires that were on the front are in good condition. tires have been driven on for 29,000 miles.

    i was wondering, what is a good price for me to sell these wheels at? is $1250 (tires included) a decent price?
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Check e-bay and see what they are selling for.
  • I just bought a lovely Z4 and it came with 4 Michelin Pilots. The tires are awesome, after 2,660 mile trip no noticeable wear. Heavy rain and no hydroplaning!
    I treat this car like a motorcycle, so when winter hits, it is parked. Besides where I live, we get winter 8 months of the year and they don't even plow the streets so this poor toy car would be instantly high centered!
  • bevscarbevscar Posts: 2
    first bmw. tire light was on at dealer. they fixed. 5 days later light on again. bought used 9,000 miles. 225/35 R18 90W on back and 225/40 R19 88 on front. Bridgestones. know nothing about tires and why light keeps coming on........ Help please
  • markwellmarkwell Posts: 13
    Hmm, The factory equip tires are definitely the finest for grip and are great if the garage is where you want to keep your car. Personally, I drive the puppy 11 out of 12 months a year and love it. I lost maybe 5% grippiness by going with the Yokohoma equivalents, but I have to tell you, the grip better when wet, drive in all temps, last 50,000 miles instead of 20,000 and give a smoother ride. I've never been happier.

    As for the low tire pressure light. It means you have a slow leak in one tire. You need to check the tire pressure regularly to determine which tire is you culprit. Get the leak repaired. If its too slow or near the side wall for them to fix, use a can a flat fix, maybe two, follow the directions on the can. I got an extra 10K after the first 20K by employing that technique. (another reason why I went with non RFT's for my first replacement set. Non-RFT's are easier to repair and about 33-50% cheaper for the same performance specs. I've heard both sides as far as whether RFT's pick up small leaks quicker. I think the tires wear quicker and closing on 20K miles, you find small leaks crop up frequently. Don't toss your tires so quickly though, sometimes the "slow leak" can come from a dirty/faulty staitor value. Good Luck
  • bevscarbevscar Posts: 2
    thank you also is it worth it to buy tire insurance????
  • markwellmarkwell Posts: 13
    For the run-flats, I think its definitely worth it if you do any kind of hard cornering. The tires are prone to pick up any small debris puncture especially if you don't like slowing down for the twisties. They hold the road like no bodies business, but the also are magnets for any kind of puncture material.

    For non-run flats, probably not worth it. You shouldn't be pressing the limits as much, the tires are a lot cheaper to replace and repair. They shouldn't pick up the small leaks as quickly. Generally speaking, I always lose the damn insurance receipt for the tire repair/replacement and while I have purchased it several times in the past, only once have I cashed in on it and it was for repair only. So for me, it has never been worth it.

    Incidentally, I have 7K on the Yokohama's and am in heaven. I did lose a hair off dry cornering hold, but made up for that in spades in wet and cold adhesion. I'm extremely happy with them (so far).
  • jamie15jamie15 Posts: 1
    I know about as much aobut tires as Bev. Can you give more specs as to the Yokohoma tire and where I find them?
  • asking for help for z4 winter tires.
    live in dover delaware and still undecided if i am to get winter tires
    or change my tires to all season
    drive a 3.0 sport so clearance sometimes could be an issue but snow here in delaware
    not as bad
  • esfoadesfoad Posts: 210
    I'm in NJ. Probably a little more snow than you. I recommend winter tires over all season tires. I got a set from Tire Rack with rims for a great price and the feeling of security is worth the money. Also, these cars are light and rear drive so even a little snow or ice will affect them badly. Here in northern NJ, last year the car handled perfectly and the tires were not noisy at all.
  • thanks for the help
    will go ahead and order a set from tire rack
  • Wondering what model Z4 you're driving and what snows/rims you bought. I have 3.0 with sport package and I'm concerned about clearance issues. Thanks.
  • esfoadesfoad Posts: 210
    Sorry for the late reply. I have a 3.0Si non sport package. I bought the recommended size from Tirerack including the TPMS sensors. I believe they are 205/55/17's.
  • candy9candy9 Posts: 1
    Just purchased a Z4 and need help understanding the run flat tires that came on vehicle. Do I understand correctly that there is a tire made by Yokohoma that is a run flat that gives you longer wear, or is it a tire that you can use to replace run flats. If I replace my tires with non run flats will this void my warranty, or cause stress on the rims in any way?
    Thanks for any help you can provide.
  • markwellmarkwell Posts: 13
    1. No. You won't void your warranty by using non-run flat tires. What's more, your low tire pressure warning will work with non-run flat tires too because it is based on a change between the rate the wheel spins compared to the speed of the other wheels. The wheel of a tire that is getting low on air pressure spins at a different rate. Bingo, low pressure warning still works.

    2. Depending on if you have BMW install your non-run flat tires, or Joe Schmoe's Tire Shop, will depend determine to a large degree if your rims get scratched when the new tires are put on the rim. BMW service shops have a special tire machine and/or they take far better care (generally) when replacing your old tires with new and are much less likely to scratch your rims (so I was told).

    3. The BMW factory Run Flats are the finest match for road grip - bar none. The down side? They only go about 20,000 miles before you start experiencing a lot of tire leaks and then losing your grip on acceleration or wet roads. If you try to drive on summer tires when the temps dip much below 37 F or especially 32 F (freezing), your car will drive as if possessed in the movie 'The Exorcist' until they warm up in 5-10 minutes (which accelerates wear on the tires - lord only knows what it does for wear on the suspension and steering linkages). I'm talking about the end of the world violent shaking of the steering wheel at any speeds over 10-25 mph. Perhaps she smooths right out at speeds over 100 mph, but I never wanted to test it - I never got over 35 mph like that (lol).
    I bought a pair of non-run flats after 32,000 miles on my Factory Equipped run-flats (and they should have been replaced around 22,000 miles). But the non-run flats have about 95% of the grip on dry roads, twice the grip on wet roads and double the service life. I have 25,000 miles on my non run flats and not one single tire leak (knock on wood). I'm just getting ready to rotate them for the next 25,000 miles. Plus, they are all season radials and they go in snow (unlike the orginal BWM summer tires). I absolutely love them.

    My advice, wait until you really need a new set of tires before making the switch to non-run flat. When you do, you will never look back. (oh, did I mention I got the entire set for $400 and mounted for $10/tire!). I can't tell you what a pain in the butt it was putting air in the run flat tires every few days, then using flat fix to get me through another few months. Plus, you get to laugh at the service rep at your 15,000 mile service interval that trys to sell you "Nitrogen Air Fill" for your tires to stop the likelihood of slow leaks. Since changing to non-run flats, I haven't had a single slow leak, a single problem and will never go back again. (half the price and zero of the worries - teehee)

    Okay, again - if you keep "your baby" in the garage 9 months of the year and only take it out on Sundays and wipe it with a diaper - stick with the Run Flats. But if you are in the snow and ice belt and want to drive your car year round - go with non-run flat all season radials. I still take curves at twice the "suggested" limit and never have a problem (knock on wood).
  • calvinc22calvinc22 Posts: 1
    edited August 2011
    Hi Markwell,

    I ran over a ***** pothole today and the sidewall of one of my front tires blew a hole (or tear). I'm considering a non-run flat because it seems like they perform better...(I agree...when it rains I actually don't always feel confident about the traction).

    Which brand tire did u buy and I'm assuming you took it to some body shop to replace?

    thanks so much!

  • Excellent Tip Markwell.

    I have an 05 Z4 Sport w/18 wheels. I live in Northern VA so we do get the best/worst of weathers here. Had to replace the factory RFT's (which are summer tires) recently thanks to a flat. I replaced them with All season performance Non-RFT's which were a fraction of the cost and the ride has improved tremendously. I now have Falken ZIEX 912 in the front and ZIEX 512 for the rear tires.

    1) The first tire dealer I went tried to sell me All season Michelin Sports tires which were $250-$350 Front/Rear bringing the total cost to $1450 (Incl.a Difficult Installation charge of $60 for all 4 tires?! given they had to remove RFT's). I told them I would get back to them. I then proceeded to call Tires Plus.
    2) Tires plus has Falken's for $140 (front tires only).I decided to take a chance with them, I had both tires replaced and discarded the RFT's. I decided to research online for the rear tires and found the Falken ZIEX 512's for $160 each plus free shipping at

    I'll admit I had never heard of Falken prior to purchase but having made the switch I couldn't be happier. The OEM Bridgestone RFT's were ridiculous with me having to pump air every week at least once in addition to them being prone to damage easily. The switch to Non-RFT's were definitely worth it without breaking the bank.
  • Calvin asked what brand of tire?
    Answer: YOKOHAMA Avid 4's
    Size: P225/50R16 91V
    Car: BMW Z4 2004 (2.5 liter) still like new and I'm still milin and smilin.
    Cost: $89 a tire from tire rack
    Mounting and Balancing: $10/tire cash paid to one of the service guys at BJ's Wholesale Club. Satisfaction with putting the new tires on? Ya get what ya pay for. 2 of the 4 rims have a thin scratch because they didn't have the special "BMW" tool. But I was able to get 97% of the scratch off with a magic eraser pad and some heavy elbow grease.
    Satisfaction with the Tires: AWESOME!!!!

    I've got 38,000 miles on these tires now. I rotated them after 30,000 miles and they still grip great and have plenty of tread left. Okay, the back tires do cut loose a tad more than when new if I tromp on it on wet roads from a stop light. Apart from that, I really think I'm going to get close to 60,000 miles off these and no complaints. I can't imagine a better tire for the long haul and all season too. Price, Value, Performance - unsurpassed by any other.
  • I bought a new '07 Z4 from a Denver dealer in July 2007. At about 3,000 miles, the dealer aligned the front-end. After that, the steering was sensitive to every bump, bulge or break in the road. Smooth roads at highway speeds were fine. But when driving in town between 25 and 50 mph the car was hard to handle.

    On a crowned road, the steering pulls "downhill". If I hit a bump or pothole, the steering abruptly pulls to one side then the other. If there is a seam that runs parallel to the direction of travel, the wheels grab onto the seam. The steering feels jittery, twitchy and unpredictable. It's impossible to drive in town without worrying that the car may lurch into a curb or a hit parked car. So I drive with a "death grip" on the wheel.

    I took the Z4 back to the dealer 4 times in 18 months, each time expecting the problem to be fixed. First the alignment was re-adjusted (apparently it was incorrectly aligned to M-model specs). On later service appointments, the alignment was checked again. Tire pressures checked. Nothing helped.

    Frustrated, I took my car to an independent BMW garage. After a test drive, the shop owner confirmed the problem. He asked if the run-flat performance-rated tires (Bridgestone RFT (225/45 R17 front, 245/40 R17 rear) had ever been evaluated as a possible cause. To my knowledge, "no".

    So I took the car to a second Denver BMW dealer. After hearing my concerns, the service manager said he thought the tires were causing the problem. So he swapped tires with another Z4 on the lot. After the swap, my car drove normally once again. Oh, happy day!!! But he had to swap them back. So I drove home with a jumpy car.

    Now I'm headed back to the original dealer to see if I can get them to replace the tires. I think I'm entitled to new ones. The original set was covered for defects by a $750 tire policy I bought when I took delivery. The dealer may try to weasel out of that. Plus I don't know what to do about Run-Flat Tires. Does anyone have enough experience with this issue to know that RFT's are (or are not) part of the problem. Or is it the "performance" design of the tire? Or is it because they are Bridgestone tires? Or is it just a bad set of tires?

    I would appreciate any advice, especially on how to get the dealer to "man-up" and take responsibility for replacing all four tires. I want to feel safe on the road and with spring just around the corner (maybe) I want to enjoy the ride again!
  • Twitchiness of the Z4 is built into the design. It is an unfortunate con to the tilt of the front wheels when you turn. The pro is that you can take tight corners at higher speeds. The con is that the car quickly pulls left or right when you get close to ridges or ruts. Once used to it, it's no big deal.

    I think the issue is made worse with the run flats. Run flats let you feel the road surface more, every bump, every pull and ridge. Its all trade offs. I have 50,000 miles now on my Yokohama's AVID 4 all season radials. They grip better than ever on clean dry roads, there's still an 1/4 inch tread left - but I can't take the car out if its snowing - I mean at all. It was fine up until about 40,000 miles, but no snow/ice handling at all now. I'm trying to get them to stretch to May. I hate getting tires more often than once every 2 years - but then at $500 for a set of 4 mounted and balanced - I have no complaints.

    I've got 80,000 miles on my 04 Z4 and have yet to need an alignment. I've hit some pretty bad pot holes and a curb once - but this car rides true and straight without pull or side wall wear. I think the car is a marvel of engineering perfection. Only the ridge affect is all I've noticed and it is minor since I dropped the run flats.

    Good Luck.
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