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Run Flat Tires

Discussion in 'Wheels & Tires' started by Shyatt, Mar 6, 2008.

    Dr Obnxs guest

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    Some thoughts....

    Run flats only help with tread punctures. Sidewall issues can leave you stranded with run flats, just the chance of getting stranded is less.

    Watch out for the goo. It coats the inside of the tire, and if I were to track my car, I'd never use a tire that had been fixed with it for high speed driving, that's for sure. One local performance shop won't do a good patch repair on tires that have had the goo used. Also, if you don't drive a lot with the goo in the tire right after you put it it, it can puddle and throw off the balance. I use a AAA card and a cell phone.....

    There are lots of good tire choices out there for high speed driving that are less than some quoted here.
    The Yoko ES-100 is a very cheap good high speed tire. The Goodyear F1 GS3D is an excellent tire that is less than the F1 Assymetric and has some of the best wet traction numbers around if you live where roads are damp. Lots like the Toyo Proxis T1s and T1r, but tire rack doesn't carry them. Whatever you do, make sure that the tire is matched to your driving style and location. I live where there is fog and I'm in hills that have damp turns no matter the weather, so wet traction is a must. But I don't get any snow here, so I can live with (and always buy) tires that don't stick at all on snow. Maybe you live in a different climate and have different needs. Check this out for sure before making your purchase.

    Yes the stock suspensions are "tuned" for the stock tires, but changing to a non runflat isn't going to screw the handling. And no there is nothing the dealer can do to change the tunining of the stock suspension unless you have really fancy multi-adjustment suspension from the factory. But remember, any factory suspension is a bit of a compramize anyway, you're just shifting the compramise to a little bit softer. With wide low profile tires this isn't going to be a ton more body lean or anything. And you can run the tire pressures a bit higher if you like to get them to act stiffer. There is tons of suspension tuning you can do with tire pressures.

    The sidewall blister is from a separation between two of the layers of the tire when it is pinched. This will happen on runflats and non-runflats alike. Blow-outs are very rare, and while it's impossible to know for sure, it's really unlikely that you would have had a blowout had you hit the pothole in non-runlfats.

    There is more than just the cost savings that is driving the trend to non-runflats. There's weight and space. To go back to a spare tire configuration you're talking about adding 50 lbs or so, and loosing some trunk space. PErsonally, I don't care if there is no spare. Drive the crap out of the run-flats, ditch them and use your favorite back up plan (cell, or goo kit, whatever).

    Run flats are getting better and better. But to me, I like the stickyness of high performance conventional tires. While they don't last as long, that 100 square inches of contact patch is everything that keeps you out of the ditch, and gives you the feel of the road. I'm happy to sacrafice some tire life to improve braking and tractioin limits. It safety, not just performance. (At least that's what I tell my wife....)

    Anyway, if you live where there is good cell reception, living without run flats or goo kit isn't that much of a hassle.

    • Member


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    +1 to Matt--insightful informative post.

    :D Rick

    06330i06 guest

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    Rotation of Potenza RFT Tires

    BTW - My BMW Service Center Service manager recommended NOT rotating the tires when I suggested this a few days ago. I then decided to contact Bridgestone. This all came about when my 18" Potenzas started making a lot noise almost overnight at the 15k mark. They still have a lot of tread left. I rotated my own tires last night, but the engineer indicated it may take at least a thousand miles to reverse the "feathering" wear pattern. I did not notice any negative effect on handling which I was concerned about.

    I find it interesting that Bridgestone recomennds rotation from side to side but BMW has never suggested it. I plan on taking this matter up with my Service Center.

    Please see the message from Bridgestone below:
    ( I have deleted the engineer's name)

    Your email was forwarded to me for response.

    From your description of the situation you are experiencing with your
    BMW tires I would conclude that your tires have an irregular wear
    phenomenon we call "heel-and-toe" wear. Excessive heel-and-toe wear can
    lead to the noise you mentioned. Irregular wear can happen when tires
    are not rotated and the direction the tires turn is not reversed
    periodically. Tires that are not rotated tend to wear more rapidly on
    one edge of each tire element or "button" causing a saw tooth type wear
    pattern. As tires are rotated, wear evens out.

    The tires on your BMW are Bridgestone Potenza RE050A RFT ultra high
    performance runflat tires developed specifically for BMW. These tires
    use an asymmetric tread pattern to provide the wet and dry grip required
    by BMW. Asymmetric tread patterns have one side that should always be
    mounted outside (identified by the 'OUTSIDE' marking on the tire
    sidewall), but still allow rotation. Also, your tires are different
    size front and rear, so the recommended rotation pattern is to cross the
    tires on an axle (i.e. Left Front to Right Front; Right Front to Left
    Front; and the same for the rear axle). This will reverse the direction
    of rotation and even out the heel-and-toe (saw tooth) wear. Our
    experience is that it may take a couple of thousand miles to completely
    even out the irregular wear, but that you should start hearing a
    difference within a couple of hundred miles.

    Further, by way of prevention, I would recommend rotating any new set of
    tires every 5,000 to 7,000 miles. This will catch that irregular wear
    earlier in the process and eliminate it building to a noise issue.

    Director, Consumer Products
    Sales Engineering
    Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire

    wtbrown guest

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    Where did you buy the wheel/tire insurance as I cannot find it.

    mose121 guest

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    I love how everyone bashes BMW for using rft's when they only did what our gov. told them to do. RFT's were supposed to be federally mandated for all cars manufactured by the end of 2006. Smaller manufactures complained that R&D costs would get too high too fast to implement such a requirement, so the GOV. has moved the deadline to 2009 as of last notice that I saw. BMW, already having TPM/FTM systems in place for models currently being produced they just made it standard right away and had no R&D/production delays.

    And lets not forget that the whole reason for this whole situation is b/c Ford tried to compensate for SUV Explorer rollover tendency by recommending a lower tire pressure that was too low for the tires they put on the car (firestones) causing high speed blowouts. It was Ford's fault, not BMW's. If you want to bitch at someone call you local gov. rep. and bitch. Don't call BMWNA.

    Ramdol guest

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    Are you sure we're talking about the same mandate? I could not find your reference only the mandate for tire pressure monitoring. Also came across an article about a year ago via Consumer Reports which follows:

    A punctured run-flat tire may provide extended mobility, but with routine run-flat tire ranges of just 50 to 100 miles, it's far more limiting than having a conventional spare tire. One person had to spend an extra night at a town in New Mexico to get a tire from a local dealer the next morning. Another letter was more direct: "...50 miles is completely worthless..." (referring to run-flat tire capability). "I would not put my wife and kids on run-flats."
    Limited availability and accessibility were common concerns, but the high cost of replacement of a run-flat was a common comment. Additionally, a few letters noted that not only did people have to replace the flat run-flat tire, but that the wheel was damaged and had to be replaced, too.
    Underwhelming tread wear life was noted by a few, with a few harsh words about tires lasting just 18,000 to 20,000 miles. Plus, the high replacement cost rankled many.
    Interestingly, some run-flat tire makers do not recommend repairing a run- flat tire given its uncertain condition after running flat even for a short period of time. This rubbed a few readers raw, and some noted that standard conventional tire punctures can often be repaired.
    One reader noted that he was not informed of the limitation of run-flat tires by his new-car salesperson. He claims to have only been told about this after he had a tire problem with the new vehicle. Apparently, the dealership discourages buyers from purchasing that model car with the run-flat package. But the horse was already out of the barn.
    Undoubtedly the letters will continue, and we look forward to reading them and post in our Tire Talk forum (available to ConsumerReports.org subscribers). Few readers/subscribers ever write to us about the positive aspects of a product, but we'd be interested in hearing from those folks, as well. Run-flat tire technology may be sound, but readers are clearly saying there is much room for improvement. Will run-flat tires succeed in the market place, or go the way of Oldsmobile, Plymouth, and DeLorean? So far, the jury's out.

    --Gene Petersen[/I][/I]
    • Member


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    Five years from now we'll be reflecting on how bad those 'first generation' run flats were. The truth is they are bad. I work at a dealership and have to listen to the constant harping from customers about the cost of replacement run flats. We aren't allowed to patch run flat tires so they must be replaced. We sell a lot of them for this reason. We do have customers that have replaced their run flats with normal construction tires and they're always happy with the swap. I've driven these cars and have to say they do ride much better. One customer has a 2006 Z4 and installed 19" BBS rims with Toyo tires and that car rides awesome. I noticed it while driving around the block and then got out and looked at the tires. BMW says the suspension on run flat cars has been calibrated for the stiffer sidewall tires, but, they sure ride better with regular tires. As for longevity, if you get 20k miles out of those Bridgestone's, and can stand the noise, you'll be lucky. They're usually noisy at 10k miles especially on the E90 3 series. I'd venture to say they even wear quicker, and get noisier sooner, on the Sport Package cars. I just leased a 2008 Z4 with Sport Package and the infamous Bridgestone's and the ride is pretty stiff. Makes me want to buy a set of 19" rims with normal tires and use them for the next two years. Might do that too.;)


    06330i06 guest

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    RFT follow up

    You're right in the fact that we are stuck with trying out a newer technology whether we want to or not. I do have the E90 w/sports pack that you menrtoned is especially prone to problems with the RFT 18" Bridgestones. 17k on them now with lots of tread, but also with lots of noise. Dealer is replacing them this week with Michelin RFTS this week at 50% cost. They will not replace them with conventional tires. It also took several weeks of haggling between the dealer and BMWNA to get this deal done.

    Interesting that BMW will not repair RFTs, but Bridgestone itself says they can be repaired just as conv. tires. Repair shop has to consider how long they were driven at low to zero pressure, but they are definietly repairable.

    If you were to stick with the OEM rims and tire sizes what non RFT would you recommend for an E90 ? I was leaning towards the Conti 3s. Your thoughts?

    Thanks for you input.

    • Member


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    I generally like Conti's but the soft compound versions are usually all in by 15k miles and noisy at 10k miles. I guess it depends upon you priorities, tire longevity or the performance aspect (sticky). There is really no middle ground with the sports tires. If you want a compromise tire that wears well and performs equally well I think the Michelin Pilot's are a good tire. My least favorite tires are the Dunlop's that come on the 5's. We have replaced a lot of those on Sport Package 545's with BMWs blessing so there were problems. When it comes to giving tire advice it's sort of like telling someone which audio speakers sound the best. Everyone has different ears and everyone has different expectations for their tires. I lean towards what's cheap and gets the job done. On my 92 525iT (M3 engine, M5 suspension & wheels) I use Kumho ASX's because the cost was reasonable, they have a high wear index, are all season, aren't directional, and perform up to my needs. The only down side to the Kumho's is they take a couple of miles to get them round after sitting overnight. I see a lot of customers use the Toyo's and they do seem to wear evenly across the width of the tread. I'll probably try them next.

    You'd really be suprised how many Sport Package cars, with wider back rims than the fronts, come in with the wrong wheels on the wrong end or the wrong tires mounted on the wrong rims. Seems like tire stores just aren't careful when mounting new tires and owners often aren't aware of the differences either.


    Ramdol guest

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    I too would be interested in what you'd replace with. Many who lease remove tires and rims, store and re-mount at lease expire time. I recall hearing Michelin Pilot PSD 2 plus a "mobility" kit (glue in an aerosol can) in lieu of a spare. If you have to throw away the tire at that point, better it's a conventional and not the pricy RFT.

    All of what I hear does not speak too well of BMW. My local dealer seems to agree but argues eventually all cars will have RFT's. Given the hard ride let alone cost and road hazzard vunerability, it's hard to figure out where's its going. Meanwhile, I'm holding up buying new or newer model.

    elto guest

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    Saga of RFT - 2006 E90

    they do what they're supposed to do
    when the tread on the left rear of my E90 2006 with sprt pkg
    wore out prematurely-it got me home with only 5 psi left in the tire

    the tire warning lit up on the dash
    and knew I was in trouble

    53 K
    got E 90 with 19 k - BMW Certif car
    Boston winters take their toll - pot holes galore
    I actually used my Blizak snows for 6 mo last year
    So maybe I have 30 k total on these tires

    lost 1 rear tire yesterday
    looks like premature wear on the inside edge
    now the other tire looks bad as well
    $ 300+ for 1 installed

    1. Tires are noisy - especially after some wear
    2. They do work
    3. Ride is rougher after some wear
    Spoke to the dealer - he says they are all noisy
    Some people swtich the Cont;l version - claiming they are
    4. Maybe I have R end alignment issue
    or is the wearing out- just that bad ?
    5. I had to change to one of my mounted snows
    to get to the tire dealer today
    6. No spare -means no tire tools and no jack
    7. I couldn't change the tire myself
    good thing I have AAA - to change the tire for me
    8. What choice do I have- replace 1 - maybe 2 tires ?
    9. Front tires look good
    after 53 k- maybe only 30 k - with other miles on snows
    10. Best to have 4 mounted snows
    it saved me a lot so far
    11. Hopefully when I get a 2nd new rear tire
    and check the alignment - the noise will quiet down
    maybe the ride will improve a little
    12. Ride ok - but not great - softer pressures do help
    I tend to run them on the hi side for better gas mi
    E 90- 215 HP - 24-28 everyday
    28-35 long trips
    13. The ride is much better than my last car
    Nissan Maxima 2001 with sport suspension and Bridgestones
    it was a ROUGH riding car - my wife hated it
    14. Are we all stuck with this RFT issue ?
    hate to rely on no spare with reg tires
    depend on goo and pump ?
    on RFT ?:confused:

    elto guest

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    Part 2 RFT Saga

    Saw dealer - today
    no help except for sugg 4 wheel align
    No longer the Ultimate driving machine
    RFT don't last more than 10k under hard driving
    I guess I should be lucky to get 26 k
    now have to buy 4 tires total - upon close inspection
    since fronts are also worn down to wear bars
    2nd rear will also shred itself soon
    never again -for RFT
    will go for donut spare and 4 reg tires next time
    and lose trunk storage
    looks like RFT mandated tires - since Firestone-Exployer debacle
    have made driving :
    **an awful expensive experience
    ** hard riding
    ** poor wear
    ** lose trunk space since - if you choose to have reg spare or donut
    since there is no space under the floor
    ** you can't change tire yourself
    no spare - means no tools included in trunk
    no jack or wheel lug wrench is supplied
    ** So if you do get a flat with RFT - you ARE out of luck
    you should be able to limp home - but that's it
    ** ::eek:But -They do work in case of a blow out or sudden loss of air

    Ramdol guest

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    No longer the Ultimate driving machine due to run flats

    I'm an ' 02E39 owner with cash in pocket searching for a new or newer model. The ' 04 5 design eliminated that series for me. Gag, what a way to ruin an experience complete with toyota camery headlights.

    After test driving a new "larger" 3 series, experiencing and then reading all the problem posts about run flats, I tried a G35 and came away even more disappointed. While recent bimmers may have suffered, it's still the Ultimate driving machine in my view providing one solves the RFT delima. I'm still trying to rationalize buying either a 328/335 coupe or a Z4 but unwilling to forego having a spare and trunk tools as golf clubs or luggage space isn't a necessity.

    Has anyone solved size and type of spare tire & rim? How is it secured so it doesn't decapitate the driver in an accident? Aside from tools, do the newer models have adequate tool bearing frame surfaces to support tire changing oneself or AAA hackers?
    • Member


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    deleting prior msg as problem solved...
    • Member


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    So a bit of advice for anyone looking for tires. Let me say i have enjoyed working with the tire rack, their customer service department is EXTREMELY helpful. I had ordered the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S for my 328xiTouring to replace the Turanza run flats. On the way home from my BMW dealership after the install, the initial impression was amazing, the tires took bumps in the road very smoothly. What i hadnt been told when ordering them however was that i was "upgrading" to a Z rated tire, while i should have ordered an H or a V rated tire. This became a reality once i hit 60mph on the highway and my vehicle became LOUD and shook violently in the steering wheel, dash, and floorboards. Im waiting a call back from Tire Rack this morning, it sounds promising that they are going to take care of my situation and replace these tires with something more appropriate for my vehicle. A "Z" rated tire is probably terrific for you guys with the M3's out there, not so good for us family guys with wagons...
    I just got an email back from the Tire Rack. They have spoke to Michelin on my behalf and have agreed to take the tires back, and credit me $20 per tire for installation (i originally paid $35 but whatever, close enough). They are moving me into a H rated tire, the Michelin Exalto A/S. Hopefully this will be a much much better ride. The tire rack had no responsibility to take these back, but they have proven extremely honorable. I highly recommend them to anyone out there.
    I now have the Pilot Exalto A/S on my vehicle and they are like heaven. Soft touring ride like I wanted, amazing in the rain, and they take corners like a Z rated tire. I would highly recommend this tire to anyone looking to soften up the ride of a vehicle with the sport pkg and run flats.

    alanking37327 guest

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    OK, but why are the alternatives better for you?

    My first BMW is a 2007 335 with run flats. Like most things in life there are facts, opinions and religion, and I have neither so I am trying to sort out what is best and cost effective.

    There are many discussion I have read that say BMW knows what is best for the vehilce and what it was designed to use. I read that not using their recommended tires affects handling

    I am asking totally out of ignorance, are there any imperical studies or road tests on the differences, if so where

    • Member


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    The run flat tires produce a harsh ride over bumps, they are loud, and expensive to replace at about $250 installed for the size for my vehicles. Instead, i was able to put on regular tires which last 2-4x as long, buy a spare BMW wheel and 5th tire, and still have money to spare. The downside is that when we take road trips part of the cargo area is taken up by a spare. The upside is the ride is incredible. The tires suck up the road bumps, the handling is not compromised 1 iota, and in my opinion the wet traction is MUCH safer in the aftermkt tires we went for. There are people who will agree, and some who will disagree, but i think most would agree that BMWs decision to put run flats on their vehicles was a poor one.

    alanking37327 guest

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    With your change from run flat to the goodyear tires was the wheel replacement required or just desired? Are the stock 335 sport wheels compatible with standard tires (non run flat)
    thanks, I am just a newbie on all of this and my 2007 335 coupe (Dinan Stage 2) is my first BMW

    I am trying to do the research now so I can make an informed choice
    See I thought the hard ride was normal for this type of vehicle, but you attribute it to the stock run flat tires
    tell me more

    dale512 guest

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    Did you read the Nov 2005 Road and Track tire technology test? More recent studies may have found different results, but this article found that with RFT's "it was more a matter of enhanced communication, rather than increased noise or harshness." You may find the empirical data you are looking for here.

    alanking37327 guest

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    Thanks you, I read the Road and Track article, but that was over 2 years ago, and according to Consumer Reports these tires are getting better (I have no idea what that means)

    I guess that the real issue I am dealing with is that I purchased this vehicle from a dealer, as it was coming off a 2 year lease. I knew original owner/driver so it made sense to buy something I knew, especially since the owner added the Dinan chip and exhaust.

    The dealer's finance manager did a hard sell to have me purchase a 3 year extended warranty that covers wheels and tires for road damage, road side assistance and towing to the nearest BMW dealer when using the RF tires ($600+ contract).

    This contract has a 60 day cancellation that provides me a full refund. With 15K on the original tires I assume it will not be long before they need replacement. The $600 will almost purchase a full set of non run flats. I have a friend with a 2006 M6 and it did not come with run flats. He said non of the M cars use run flats (I do know know if this is accurate), if so there must be a good reason BMW did not put them on that class of car

    With this being my first BMW, first experience with RF and no clue what I am doing, at least I can ask the questions to a group of experienced individuals as yourself.

    Thanks again for your assistance

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