Hello there and welcome to the BMW Car Club of America.

If you are a BMW CCA member, please log in and introduce yourself in our Member Introductions section.

Winter tires for 540i Sport

Discussion in 'E39 (1997-2003)' started by mtudude33, Jul 27, 2009.

    mtudude33 guest

    Post Count: 4
    Likes Received:0
    I'm looking at buying a 2003 540i Sport 6 speed with 18" M wheels. It has a new set of Pirelli all season 35 profile tires (can't remember the specific model). Anyone have experience with "all season" tires in this size in the snow? I'm wondering if I need a set of snow tires here in Minnesota, or if I can get by with the current tires year-round.

    The 2002 325cic stays snug in the garage in the winter.
    • Member

    TeamStowell We love driving!

    Post Count: 634
    Likes Received:3
    Run Snows

    Downsize the rims and run snows. I have put our 540 sport through 6 upstate NY winters and whether snow or ice, I have never had an issue with traction in the worst of weather.
    • Member

    102929

    Post Count: 17
    Likes Received:0
    Winter - not all season

    All Season tires are only good for very light winter conditions. I run AS's in the spring, summer, fall but switch to a winter tire (all 4) each winter (Southern Ontario Ca)

    With AS's at least it is not a major safety issue if you get caught with an early snow before you get the winter wheels on

    Remember it is not just an issue of pulling away but also of braking and steering.

    Also you want a narrower tire. The 540 can not take a 15 inch tire but the 16's work very well (all mine are 16s). They are narrower for bighting down into snow and also taller so you have less chance of damage from the occasional curb brush in the heavy snow.

    The standard for 16's is 225/55. It can be cheaper to get a winter wheel/tire package depending on whether you want that particular tire or wheel.

    The only issue about the 540 "sport" version is that with the lowered suspension you do end up doing some plowing at times when the snow gets deep. Need to keep an eye on the front lip and the temperature sensor.

    Cheers
    Jim Cash
    • Member

    granthr

    Post Count: 1,583
    Likes Received:2
    +2 to what is said here. Get four snow tires on their own rims and go down to 16s. You will be much happier in the winter and will be able to drive with more confidence.
    • Member

    CRKrieger

    Post Count: 1,616
    Likes Received:20
    Another vote for dedicated snows. Read all about 'em at Tire Rack's website.
    • Member

    Dmarque

    Post Count: 112
    Likes Received:1
    Snow Tires

    I thought I'd chime in here with a slight modification on the recommendations being made here in regards to winter tires. I've been driving 5 Series cars in Michigan snow since 1980. I think we can all agree that there are very few places in the country where you drive on actual snow surface everyday on every road throughout the winter season. Snow tires are for those unexpected moments when you encounter snow or ice and need traction...NOW! MOST of the time you are driving on pavement or asphalt without snow on the surface. I mention this because snow tires work because they are a softer rubber....they do wear faster and except for parts of Minnesota and Alaska most of us winter drivers are not driving on snow MOST of the time.

    For that reason I have not chosen to use Blizzaks. These are very soft compound tires and do wear faster and so on these Michigan roads I've enjoyed a variety of Michelin tires over the years. The models change as the years have passed but for the most part I am suggesting that you might not want to go to a Blizzak tire built for snow if you are not driving on snow most of the winter. Most will burn up a set of Blizzaks in a single season if they do. Consider some slightly firm compound tires so that you can stretch them to 3 WINTERS. I typically put them on the day before Thanksgiving and take them off the Day after Easter. Of course a dedicated set of wheels is best and I have used Griots Wheel Racks to mount them smartly on the garage walls for each car.

    Most drive Blizzaks because they are ideal for ice and snow. Remember that most of the winter you are not really driving on ice and snow and you'll burn up a set of Blizzaks quick. Look at a slightly firmer compound but dedicated snow tires are an absolute must in the winter.
    • Member

    CRKrieger

    Post Count: 1,616
    Likes Received:20
    Nobody said a word about Blizzaks. I went through that phase about the second year they were available. Yes, they wear quickly and they squirm around a lot (at least the original compounds did - I understand they've improved a lot). Still, how much should it cost to keep from spending your deductible and fixing a crashed car? Viewed in those terms, the Blizzak was just fine - and probably as cost effective as the more-expensive Michelins.

    I suggested that the homework be done at Tire Rack - and about the only top line snows that I know of that TR doesn't sell are Nokians. While that is a glaring exception, there are many fine non-studded (studs are illegal in both Minnesota and Wisconsin) hydrophilics available with everything up to a Z speed rating. I have a set of V rated Dunlop Winter Sport M3s for my wife's Jaguar that are perfectly fine at speed on dry roads. IMHO, Michelins are overpriced and underperforming. We previously had a set of their snows on a Quattro and found them to be merely average, just as I have found nearly every Michelin since the XZX. Still, there's a lot of information to digest and the choice is remarkably subjective - kinda' like "Ginger or Mary Ann?"
    • Member

    Dmarque

    Post Count: 112
    Likes Received:1
    Lighten up Pards!

    I think my point remains valid....that most people driving a snow tire have to consider just what percentage of the time they'll actually be on a snow surface and how much of the time they are on dry pavement. That is why there are a wide variety of grades to choose from....to address the various parts of the country (world) and the roads we all face. Southern Ohio is quite a bit different that Northern Michigan and NE Colorado is a completely different situation than Northern Nebraska. It's been my personal experience that new converts to perfromance snow tires tend to gravitate to Blizzaks thinking only of the snow surface and no consideration of anything else. The premise still should be "form follows function"....I think we can at least agree that these cars we all enjoy are useless without the proper footing. RWD and AWD still adhere to the road through a common element. That needs to be a compound that can best adress a variety of surfaces during winter.....not just snow and ice. Some face those conditions only a handlful of the days that stretch from November to April.

    Keep it between the rails!

    m
    • Member

    x888jmo

    Post Count: 28
    Likes Received:0
    Downsize - 16"s work well

    Have driven my 540i through 6 Ohio winters using a standard set of 16" (all 4 corners) with the 225/55 tires. Summer wheel are the 17" M package (staggered size front/rear) which suck in the winter. Best bet if the winters are hard are dedicated winter tires. I have used Dunlop Graspics which worked very well! Warning, all winter tires are soft compounds and wear quickly. Depending on your driving style, you can feel them "squirm". I last replaced the Dunlop's with a set of Goodyear Assurance Triple Tread all seasons. Traction was nearly equal to the winter tires but they wear like iron.

    Hope this helps! Am new to the club so this is my first contribution.
    • Member

    102929

    Post Count: 17
    Likes Received:0
    Picking up on the issue of "SNOW" tires like Blizzaks and the issue of dry roads.

    I agree. We should probably not use the word "snow" tire but rather a "winter wheel" combination.

    I would not run Blissaks because of the issues mentioned - and frankly I do not need anything that agressive. But a winter tire is able to stay soft and sticky at the very low temperatures, and also has tread that is more agressive than an AS, but is till able ot be stable and quiet at higher speeds on dry roads while also getting rid of water and slush for those warmer days (in the 30's F)

    It is true that it wears more quickly - especiall as the temperatures warm up - that is why we take them off in April and put them on again in Oct/Nov?Dec (as the fall weather dictates)

    There are some very good tires from Pirelli, Michelin, etc that are designed for "high performance" sedans and are aimed more at the Euro winter conditions - which also include snow and dry road variables.

    There is also a new line of "All Weather" tire from Nokia that is designed to be truely all year round including winter snow conditions. I do not have any experience with it but you may start to find some user feedback on various trire boards as this tire starts to get a few winters on the road.

    Bottom line - get a good winter tire for your local requirements - it is the cold stickiness and water/slush handling capability that can save your life when the unexpected happens in front of you.

    Cheers
    Jim Cash

Share This Page