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Tires for your BMW and the Run-Flat issue

Tires for your BMW and the Run-Flat issue

Buying tires for your BMW can be expensive, and with so many brands these days that it can be hard to find what’s best for you and your car.  In San Diego we have it easy; all we use are High Performance Summer tires and never really have to worry about wet weather or snow.  If you live in an area that is subject to foul weather, my first suggestion is that you pick up another set of wheels and have all-weather tires mounted and keep them in your garage for when the weather gets bad.

Never ask for a recommendation from the salesperson at the tire shop.  They will recommend that you buy the tire they have in stock, and the tire that they make the highest margin on.   Do your research ahead of time and get the tire that you want.  If you live in Timbuktu where there is only one tire store, have them order the one that you wanted.  It’s my opinion that you cannot get a better deal on tires than the prices offered by both Discount Tire and Tire Rack; Discount Tire has the edge as they have nationwide locations while Tire Rack is on-line only and you’ll have to get them installed on your own.

If you have run-flat tires on your car, use them up and never buy them again.  Run-flats are like buying running shoes from payless for your upcoming marathon, except they are more expensive than real tires.  Don’t worry about not having a spare, that’s what AAA is for.  If you think your BMW handles great with the run-flats, just wait until you get real tires on the car; you’ll never buy them again. Now, if you have bad luck and get a flat more than once a year, you might just want to stick with the run-flats, but most of us rarely have been stranded on the freeway with a flat.

Brands not to buy (they’re cheap for a reason!):

Sumitomo

General

Warrior

Big-O

Avon

Falken

Barum

Riken

Hankook

Cooper

I’ve hand nothing but problems with all of the above when fitted to a BMW.  Remember that BMWs have very aggressive suspension set-ups when compared to the rest of the cars on the road.  Falken tires might actually do well on a Honda Civic, but put them on your BMW and you’ll be buying another set of shoes within the year.

Brands that have good tires(but be careful as not all of their models are good; hit-or-miss, so read customer reviews, especially those that have fitted them to BMWs):

Michelin – You just can’t go wrong as every tire they produce seems to be a winner, but you’ll pay dearly to ride along with the Michelin Man.

Bridgestone – Their potenza line has had great success on BMWs.  They wear well and exhibit great handling, but again, not cheap.

Continetial – a ‘good’ tire company.  Their tires will always do the job and last, but there is nothing special about them and they aren’t known for performance.

Pirelli – Be really careful, only buy their best tire.  Pirelli had a great name in the 80’s, but I’ve been less than impressed with the tires they’ve been producing over the last few years.

Dunlop – Same as Pirelli, be really careful an only buy their best tire

Goodyear – I like their Eagle line but I’ve not had much experience with much else from them.

Yokohama – Yokohama and Yoko Ono seem to be a lot alike – seemed ok at first and then things take a turn for the worse.  I used to love Yokohama, and still want to, but they started getting a bit whimpy on their sidewall strength causing problems for anything heavier than a 3-series.  So again, usually a great tire, but they have limitations

Toyo – Same as Yokohama, almost like they are made in the same factory.

Kuhmo – Personally, they have always been on the fence for me, a cheaper tire that I’ve had both good and bad results with, but they seem to be making an effort.

In my opinion the best tire for your money is the BF Goodrich G-Force Sport.  I LOVE this tire.  They are running around $115-145 a tire and have been outstanding since I first bought them over 3 years ago.  Research on tires is key before you buy!  Tires continually change and the best way to stay ahead is to be informed before you purchase a new set.  The last thing anyone wants is to get a new set of tires on their BMW only to have to replace them within a year.

Chris Keefer

Independent Motorcars

5836 Autoport Mall

San Diego CA 92121

858-455-5836

www.independentmotorcars.com

About the Author

11 Comments

  • Landon July 18, 2008 at 10:30 am

    Just pulled 32k miles off a set of Michelin Pilot Sport PS2s. They were on my ’02 530, with 17 inch wheels. They rocked! At about $1000 installed with an $80 4 wheel alignment they are definitely the ones to go with if the money is there. I kept them rotated and balanced, drove them fairly hard. For having a tread wear of 220, I am very impressed. Thanks for the suggestions!

  • Landon Harlan July 24, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Went with your recommendation on the BF Goodrich’s from Discount Tire. Ran them up to Santa Barbara and back for the weekend and they seem great. $619 out the door from Discount Tire.

  • Keith September 8, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    The run-flats on my ’07 330i are bald (22,000 miles) and now I will no doubt buy quality UHP tires such as the Goodyear Eagle F1 asymmetric. I would like to purchase a spare tire as well but with two tire sizes, (front and rear), which size tire should I buy as a spare? Will the stock rims accommodate “real” tires? Also, would anyone recommend a donut? Any suggestions will be appreciated.

  • sandiegobmw September 10, 2008 at 4:54 am

    Keith,

    Be careful with the Goodyear Eagle F1 tire; we have had bad results with them getting noisy quickly . . .

    Check with the various message boards to see what folks may be doing to address this. Porsche used a compact spare that was a great idea in the 911 cars. Not sure if they are still doing this on the newer models though.

    • Yifan October 16, 2009 at 5:02 am

      Thanks for the BMW RFT discussion. I was searching for comments on the RFT noise on my 06′ 330i and found this site. It certainly is very helpufl. I am seriously thinkingof replacing my Kuhmo RFT (225/45R17) with your recommendation. Do you know if this would affact any warranty (currently I have extended warranty) with a set of non-OEM tires? Thanks.

  • CBLG September 23, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    Argh – dealer wants to charge me $1800 to replace my 4 run flats on my 2006 330i. Actually, both the rears have already gone out and now this is the second flat. So frustrated with these run flats.

    • AC Longgland March 12, 2010 at 2:45 am

      You might wanna try (believe it or not) Costco wholesale, they can pretty much order you any tire including run-flats, and the cost is very reasonable. Hope this helps.

  • AC Longgland March 12, 2010 at 2:42 am

    Thinking of buying mich pilot sport PS2’s, I’ve heard they run well with an aggressive suspension. I have 18’s on my 96 328is, let me know what you think. Thanks, I love this site by the way.

  • Aleksey April 28, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Well, I have a different opinion on tires subject. Having tires that last longer and provide better MPG sound like a definite plus for your wallet but I prefer tires that stick to the road, provide lesser stop distance and keep the predictable handling under dry and wet conditions (I’m talking about summer tires). I hate tires that will lose traction on slippery pavement without a warning because you might end up in the accident that will cost you and other people more money than a set of new tires. Many Michelin tires are in my “hate” list (starting with Pilot Primacy, for example) and many cheaper tires will give you better performance for less money (Sumitomo HTR Z III among them). Check tests at TireRack.com and you will be surprised by results – big names does not always win.

  • Tammy marmon April 26, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Please help!!! I have a 2011 BMW 528i run flats are needing to be replaced asap. I’m looking at three different set of tires. bridgestone potenza re970as and bridgestone potenza re92a then last but not least Michelin pilot sport a/s plus. Please steer me in the right direction on which ones to buy. I’ve do to much research on these tires and just can’t make up my mind. I never knew tire shopping could be so hard. I want a tire that’s not going to alter the handling of my car. Thank you so much HELP!!

    • Independent Motorcars April 27, 2012 at 10:34 am

      Get the Bridgestone re970. If you live in a weather friendly climate, stay away from the all-season tires. Good Luck!!

      Chris

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