BMW 3 Series, Run Flat Tyres…

BMW have whole heartedly adopted run-flat tyres across their range (except M cars). The benefits of these tyres seem to boil down to a solitary point; that is, if you have a puncture at high speed (say on the motorway), the run-flat tyre will not explode and cause an almighty crash! Oh, I suppose an additional benefit (to BMW, as I’m sure that any cost saving was not passed on to their customers) is they don’t have to provide a spare wheel (not even a space saver). Whereas, back on topic, it is almost impossible for me to enumerate the issues I have with run-flat tyres;

  • they are expensive,
  • they cannot be repaired if you have a puncture,
  • they cause increased road (and therefore cabin) noise,
  • they cause a harder ride,
  • they cause poorer handling (which is why M cars have retained non-run-flat tyres), and now
  • they are a contributing cause to fractured alloy wheel rims!

Yes, as the tyre side-wall is so hard (strong) to enable it to be driven when deflated, it transmits more impact to the alloy wheel rim. For example, when going over a speed bump a bit faster than intended, or perhaps hitting a pot-hole, not only does it give you an even more jarring ride, but it can (in mine and many other people’s cases) fracture the wheel rim! BMW alloy wheels are not cheap to replace – and it must be replaced because it’s a MOT failure to have a cracked wheel rim.

To add insult to injury, imagine my mood after being told by a BMW main dealer that I should have gone over to normal tyres years ago when the run-flats, that the car is supplied with, wore out and needed replacing! The service manager said, “not only would it have saved money, it would be like having a new car with better handling and a quieter ride!” Not to mention that I might not now be faced with an expensive bill to replace a fractured wheel… :angry:

114 thoughts on “BMW 3 Series, Run Flat Tyres…”

  1. In response to your claims that runflat tyres are a contributing cause of cracked alloys… this is possibly inaccurate informatation. A company in the US carried out extensive investigations & found that runflats actually helpt to prevent an alloy wheel from distorting, which is the main cause of cracking. The regidity of the tyre helps prevent the soft alloy from twisting or distorting when minor impacts occure.

    I think that you will find that the main cause of alloys cracking is the shoddy state of the roads in the UK… something that has been highly reported on in the media.

    I have runflat tyres and I suffered a puncture late at night in an unfamiliar area. I am female and I was alone in the vehicle, so the though of having to try to change a wheel or wait for the emergency services was not appealing. But thanks to the runflat tyres I was able to continue my journey rather than being stranded on a dark road at night.

    Just because one thing doesn’t work for everyone, doesn’t make it all bad

    1. The trouble with the research you quote is that it applies “…when minor impacts occure.”. Minor impacts do not feature in Pete’s driving style; it’s a major impacts all the way 🙄

      The main cause of cracked alloys is Schumacher syndrome 😆

    2. Thanks for your feedback Michelle.

      However, can I point out that your IP address shows that you work for BMW Financial Services. Hardly an un-biased opinion!

      But, I do see your point about safety for lone women drivers etc. That means that maybe there is more than the one benefit to run-flats I mentioned. But as I say, even your main dealer says “it’s a backward step”, and if normal tyres are not as good, why do your M cars still use them?

      1. I have a 2006 3 series M Sport, had it for a year. Just had an MOT and two new front tyres. Chucked away those run flats, fitted Goodyears, what a difference. Like another car, no more bone jarring ride and having to crank up the ICE on the motorway, no more tram-lining, hooray. Was thinking of selling it before today. DON’T BUY RUNFLATS!

        1. I also have 2006 M-sport with rear tyres need replacing how are you getting on with the goodyears if i have to pay these supid prices for these run flats i will be seling m car

  2. This is really handy to know I never thought of the run flats as bringing so many problems along with them. Thanks for sharing this info, and Christine don’t hold this against BMW’s, they are lovely cars just take one for a test drive and you will love it, just don’t get run flats! 😆

  3. That so many run flat tyres on BMWs is a problem it is interesting BMW have not become active in the debate. I too have a ‘cracked’ rim on a wheel and am told it is either the tyre fitters fault, a lateral crack on the wheel, or impact damage. Either way BMW are in the clear. The bottom line is, BMW have produced wheels that do not support the extremely hard tyres they insist should be used for insurance purposes. Is there a claim in the courts for their negligence and poor customer service?
    Del

    1. Del, I contacted my ins. company about changing to conventional tyres; they had no objection provided of course speed and load (etc)ratings were observed. I have now fitted conventional ‘winter’ tyres and the difference in ride quality is amazing, less noise, no ‘tram-lining’, smoother ride. No more run-flats for me….they are really poor!!!

  4. I bought my 335i M Sport Conv from new and have had the car less than 2 years. Imagine my disgust this week when after my first service BMW tell me that I need 2 new rear alloys due to cracks. They tried to blame it on the roads but I’ve lived in the same place for 10 years and always driven performance cars and NEVER even heard of a cracked alloy let alone had 2! My car only had 13k on the clock and the garage even described it as ‘imaculate’ during the pre-service check. Looking at other websites there have to be some legal issues in respect of safety here that BMW should be worried about. In the meantime they have lost a loyal customer.

    1. I have a 57 BMW 325 M Sport with 19” alloys with run flat tyres, with 32000 on the clock. I had a flat on my nearside rear, I drove to the nearest BMW garage where they took the car in for a replacement tyre. As all 4 tyres were showing signs of wear I instructed them to replace them all. It was at this point BMW informed me that both my rear alloys were cracked and also required replacement (£1010). This was a massive shock as I was now looking at total bill including tyres of £2000+. BMW didn’t have the wheels available, they gave me a replacement car and I returned the following day to collect my car. I was informed by my wife that the BBC had run a piece on cracked 19” alloys on the new BMW 3 series. I mentioned it to BMW, they gave me the “you were driving to fast on damaged run flats or I found the pot holes too many times”. Anyway BMW said they would investigate, 4 weeks later I received a full refund for my alloys with no explanation.

      Is this happening all over the country and has BMW excepted liability for these alloys cracking?

      1. I am glad I found this website… thanks.
        Read the comments with great interest as my experience confirms the general view about RF tyres. I have a 335d Msport auto (56 plate)which has had a replacement tyre due to a puncture (£280) a year ago. I was shocked but when the iDrive told me of another pressure loss instance a few months later(inflated it but it did it a few times over a period of a few weeks), i went to my local friendly tyre place and they ebentually found a very small nail causing the problem. They don’t normally repair these but it was on the tread and so they fixed it for a few quid! and is still OK. I do love BMWs so last month I also bought a 325i Coupe auto (07 plate)and unfortunately came with RF tyres. The main dealer confirmed tyres ok but 300 miles later I discover another instance of a slow deflation, which I first experienced soon after taking delivery… my local BMW dealer (not the one I bought the car from)then tells me I need both fronts changed due to “excessive wear on edges, almost bold” and to add salt to the wound that I need 3 new rims !!! didn’t say “cracked” but “buckled” and the likely reason is pot holes. BMW central customer service say that their warranty does not cover tyres and wheels and I should take the matter up with the dealer. The dealer is not replying, so I have promised them legal action. Having read all the stories here I am wondering whether I should claim from BMW as the product is unsuitable for the UK, if the dealer refuses to compensate me. Alo, being a cynic, have they changed their dictionary and replaced the word “cracked” with “buckled”? is this less likely to help a claim?

  5. when are the mighty BMW company going to get their act together and admit to a failing of the production in the run flat tyre and alloy wheel system they use on the 5 series i drive at the moment. i am very disapointed in BMW statement issued saying drivers are a fault by way of their driving.why is it after 18 years of driving cars with alloy wheels, this is the first time i have a cracked wheel let alone two cracked wheels on one car.

  6. Dear All,

    It’s a long one but please read on as I need your “HELP”

    I have bought a 330 Convertible 08 Reg (M pack with 19 inch Rims) recently, and like an ishmog bought that tyre protection for peace of mind!? My car has only done 9500 miles and I am a auto technician and believe me I know my tyre pressures that I can get up to 35000 miles from my first set,, Last week I had a blow out on M25 and pressure warning came on and display said I could drive 50 mph on run flat even Up to 150 miles so as I have been told, any way as I carried on slowly when all my pressure gone my car started the kangarooing on M25 (because of pressure sensor)so I pulled to hard shoulder and rang recovery. “”what is the point of having run flats if U can’t drive on IT””
    NOW Tyre cover people are refusing to pay because:
    My N/S rear can’t be established of how much it had worn because I have driven on it and is ruined but my O/S rear has plenty of meat left all over (7-8 Mil) part from inside corner has gone below 2mm and judging on that I have been told I have to pay for my N/S tyre due to fact that the other would have been worn the same?!
    As I said I adjust and monitor my tyre pressures all the times to make sure I have an even wear all around the tyres.
    Q;
    Does anyone know why would only the inside of rear tyres on this car would wear more than rest of it???
    IS IT a Problem with this model and 19” Rims???
    And above all my claim is being turned down due to so called worn tyres?!!
    Vehicle was BMW owned vehicle with 6500mile on clock and I have only added another 3500miles to its clock so far!!
    Would be most appreciative if anyone can advise and help me out.
    Kind regards
    Ali

    1. Ali

      Did you get anywhere about the tyres wearing on the inside – but the main tyre being OK? I have just got through my 2nd set of rear tyres after <20,000 miles! on a 330 convertible

      – the rear tyres dont seem to sit on the road properly

      I'd be interested to know what the BMW garage said or did about it

      Chris

  7. I have had the same problem the inside tyre wear is caused by the alignment going out and the car running out of balance. I bought a 27K M320 sport convertible in May and since then have spent over 3k trying to keep it on the road, it eats tyres and cracks alloys like nothing on earth. I have put on two alloys and 7 tyres since May and have only covered around 5k miles.
    Just got the car back from BMW Glasgow yesterday, after paying £1100 pounds to get it back on the road – this was a discounted price from BMW for all the hassle I am having. I will be taking this further and would be interested in anyone else who is having problems withe the 19 inch run flat. BMW say its the state of the UK roads, but I have a 2 year old Toyota Van thats done just short of 90K miles in two years and it only requires tyres via normal wear and tear. The tyre problem on these cars are a potential nightmare, its costing me more to keep this car on the road a month than it is to run my house and thats a fact.

    1. Luckily I can’t get anywhere near those costs! But the way BMW alloys crack when using run flat tyres is a real issue that BMW should acknowledge and address! The alloy wheels just aren’t strong enough to bear the forces the tyres create. Take the advice of the service manager at my BMW dealer; switch to non-run flat tyres. They are cheaper to replace when worn, and won’t crack your alloys like run flats do.

    2. You must complain again and again like I am.
      Also get in touch with watchdog and Top Gear as I am to see if they can help shame BMW into paying for all these costs.

  8. I am thinking about buying a 535d m sport which currently has 18″ run flats. Is the issue with ‘cracking alloys’ restricted to the 19″ alloys or does it also impact on the 18″?

    The dealer has suggested that this issue is restricted to the 3 series and they’ve not heard of any issues with 5 series. Is this true?

  9. From driver of various BMW’s for 15 years currently 320d M sport
    The regular fitting of run flats is nothing but nonsense.
    As far as I can see
    The benefit?…….
    no need to change a flat tyre straight away.

    no spare?…….. more space but also no plan b. if the wheel has to be changed without involving a brake down service.

    The drawbacks
    noisy
    hard bumpy ride…. yes normal travel for most of us means travelling off motorways on the ‘Great British’ road system sometimes.
    irregular tyre ware seems to be an issue on many cars also.
    punchers cannot be repaired tyres have to be replaced.
    lots of wheel rims are suffering the extra stress,,how long before we notice other excessive vibration damage.
    much of BMW technology is great this approach with run flats is just rubbish.

    The logic?? you tell me.
    will it affect my next car purchase? well yes.

  10. Yet another issue with run-flat tyres; again due to the extra hard side walls, they wear out the edges of tyres prematurely! My front tyres, after 18K miles, are now almost bald on the outside edges while they still have lots of useful tread in the middle of the tyre’s faces.

    1. Saved a packet of money today – I now have non-run-flat tyres fitted by BMW with not one hint that there is any issue with fitting normal tyres to the car! Cheaper, quieter, smoother, can be repaired, and better handling! A no brainer. Even my main-dealer says it’s the way to go. Why don’t BMW acknowledge the issue and either beef up the strength of their wheels or (better) stop using run-flats altogether?

      The dealer even beat the price at KwikFit (by a large margin). I have had to buy a “mobility kit” though (a £60 one-off) which includes tyre weld and a compressor to deal with a puncture.

      1. Hi pete

        Im just about to replace my back tyres on my 58 320 d coupe does it matter if i switch from run flats to normal tyres that means i will have run flats on the front and normal on the back?

      2. Pete,
        What type of tyres did you go for and approx how much did they cost. It would be good to know for when I need to replace mine.
        Thanks in advance

  11. I have owned and driven BMW’s for the last 10 years and not had tyre problems. However, I wont buy a 3 or 5 series with run flats. I have 3 friends with 3 different models, a 330 convertable, a 530 diesel and a 330 diesel. ALL have had major issues with the run flats and ALL have not been helped by BWM. All 3 were brand new cars with only one of them being a higher mileage driver the other 2 are low mileage drivers. My cars dont have and will NOT have run flats. My question to BMW and the motor trade in the UK is this, if BMW say its the state of UK roads causing the problem, shouldnt someone put a disclaimer out saying UNSUITABLE FOR UK ROADS in the sales pitch? As surely they are “unfit for purpose supplied” Nuff said!

    1. Yeah, and if it’s the UK roads, why is it just BMW’s with run-flat tyres? Besides the fact that run-flats are awful, BMW’s wheels are not strong enough for them; poor design.

      1. What I find interesting is that :

        a) BMW UK have currently withdrawn the sale of 19″ wheels on new UK car sales

        b) They do not appear to have withdrawn them from sale in other Territories (BMW Bracknell advised me this is because the UK is the only territory they are experiencing problems with these wheels)

        c) BMW UK stated there is no defect in the manufacture

        Therefore, if there really is no issues outside the UK (which seems plausible if there still happy to sell them in other territories)then it really does look like they are just not up to the job for UK roads (whether it be the wheel in isolation or the combination with Run flat technology).

        In the UK Consumer Protection Legislation is quite straight forward :
        When you buy a product you are entitled to expect that it is fit for its purpose. It should do all the things you bought it for and continue to work properly for a reasonable period. If not you are entitled to your money back in civil law.

        Well, I brought my 3 series to drive on UK roads and expect it to be suitable for general UK roads. I have colleagues and friends with new Merc’s and Audi’s riding on 19″ wheels and none of there’s are cracking when they unavoidably hit a pothole.

  12. does anyone know if i switch to normal tyres on my 302ci which has 17″ run flats at the moment whether i can then by a space saver spare from bmw? as seems to be space for this under the boot floor… just thought will also need a jack won’t i?.. can i buy this too?

  13. If I replace run flats with same size normal tyres will I have to inform my insurer bbecause the car has been ‘modified’ or will I be ok and still have valid insurance cover?
    Does the mobility kit work ?

  14. Hi Pete – can you tell me what replacement tyres you put on your car! I have a 2006 320M and want to replace my run flats as the hard ride and tram lining is driving me crazy!

    1. Hi, At last some one mentioned tram lining ! Ive had my 07 320 auto 6 monthes and called the problem over sensative steering. Any slope in the road or repaired surface and it feels like the car steers itself, Correct ?

  15. I’m in a similar position to Ron above, anybody know for sure whether changing factory supplied RF’s for normal tyres affects insurance validity at all?

    The potential cost of 2 insurance claims, a heavy fine, and points on my license in the event of being uninsured in an accident may make the cost of RF’s seem quite reasonable!

    Having said that I was stung £160 for a replacement RF today, so quite fancy the idea of normal tyres if I can do it legally!

  16. I bought a used 118d (56 Reg) from an approved dealer on Saturday 6th February, 2010. It was parked for two days at home and then I took it to drive to work today (08th Feb 2010).

    Run flat light came on very soon. Called BMW Emergency line and they said, they don’t fix the tyres and I should be able to drive to nearest dealership. When I bought it, the salesman made a lot of claims about as if Run flats are the based thing since sliced bread. BMW Emergency line also said that if I drove slowly, I can drive upto 50 miles. So I was on the motorway but then car wasn’t stable and had to be rescued and taken to a BMW dealer (not the one I bought from). They said, they had to replace the tyre which costed £130.

    .*******

    Pete,
    Can you help me and tell if I have any rights here? I didn’t expect the tyres to not even last 2 days. Can I take any action against the approved dealer? I am sure the car had issues but they didn’t pick up in their famed 150 point checklist.

    If this is a general problem then I think BMW Prospective customers need to be informed. And from I understand there are quite a few people who have had such issues.

  17. Just to go back to the boring [must be my age] but rather essential problem of checking your insurance if you change to normal tyres I went on compare the market and only a few insurers would quote me for ‘modifying ‘ the car[330 d tourer] with ‘normal’ tyres. Whereas loads qouted me for keeping the run flats. My advice……… check with your insurer I certainly will do if I intend to change which I might in about 6 omnths time. chhers Ron

  18. Forgot to ask Pete, or anybody else who has changed to normal tyres, the all important questions.
    What differences has it made? What model and reg is your car Pete? Mine’s a 56 plate 330d tourer.
    Have there been any systems glitches since the change eg ABS, Traction, RF init etc? Cos I was told that they could be a problem as could potential possibility with tyres touching the bodywork.
    Any truth in this or is it just BMW spin again?

    Interested in your experiences since fitting your tyres Pete cos I’m really wanting to change just don’t want to muck up.
    Cheers Ron [ Have you been on BMW blog…maybe it needs all of us to write to BMW lots of people seem very disgruntled]

  19. Hi
    Have just bought a 58 plate BMW 320Ii SE Coupe with 14500 miles from main dealer and would like to know if I change the run flats to conventional can I sell on the good second hand run flats and will it invalidate the remaining 2 years left on the manufacturers warranty?
    Cheers
    Robert.

  20. Hi ..is there anybody out there? It’s all gone quiet on the run flat front. Can anyone tell me about any problems they may have had since converting to normal tyres or have there been no problems?

    Cheer Ron

  21. I Have a BMW conver & also have same problem not cracked but buckled on 3 wheels & the BMW dealer said they are looking into replacing a new set as a good will gesture but have to wait until the end of the month to find out finger cross.
    I think BMW knows these problems should recall the cars back which a safety issue which should be address as manufacture fault design not suitable to run on run flats.

  22. I have a 2008 325 msport convertible that went in for it’s first service yesterday at 20000 mls. When I picked the car up last night I was told to my astonishment that 3 of my tyres were illegal & the other 1 was borderline & that my 2 rear alloys were cracked & needed replacing. any help on how to tackle the dealer with this matter would be very much appreciated. To say that i’m fuming is an understatement.

  23. I am 63 years old and thought I was in for a treat when I bought a new bmw116d WITH RUN FLAT TYRES but I have to say my first car, a vw beetle, was more comfortable – needless to say the tyres have to go or else the car

  24. I have today decided to replace my 19″ run flats for normal tyres and after reading some of the blogs on here i wish i had done it two years ago, i previously had an X5 that was on run flats which wore badly on the edges but on the rest of the tyres the tread was fine this cost me £1300, i took my wifes 320 m sport to a local tyer dealer today and he quoted me £1100 to replace the four tyres which have again all worn on the outer and inner edges yet i have at leat 4 mill of tread.
    he suggested i change over to normal tyres and quoted me £500, i called my local dealer and asked to purchase a space saver as i was changing my tyers to normal, they never said a word and told me it would be £113 for the wheel and tyre, even with this i am still saving over £500 and the guy says i will get a better ride and handling so they are being fitted Monday and my spare comes in Tuesday, runflats are just another way for BMW to rip people off for more money, if they were that good they would be fitted on all their cars, which they are not.

    By the way the excess wearing on the edges i was told is down to the walls being so hard that when you steer and turn the edges take all the pressure and wear out quicker, i am not paying over the odds any more for a hard uncomfrtable ride.

  25. Hi All,

    I have a 57 plate 320d SE, I have a read a lot of blogs about changing to normal tyres as my tyres have had unven wear. I had been to Costco to get them changed to normal tyres. The person refused saying they would not replace them as it would alter the suspension settings and may alter the handling capabilities of the vehicle. Could any one give me more information on this issue about changes to handling when changing to normal tyres.
    Thanks in advance

  26. Got my wheels & tyres changed on Friday. Went for non-run flats & the difference in handling & comfort is umbeleivable. Would recommend this to everyone. Dealer also advised me to take up the issue of cracked alloys with BMW direct.

  27. I’ve a 335d M Sport 57 plate, last year after BMW advissed I had to replace all 4 RFT’s cost was £1,200. Some 8 months later BMW advised me that both rear tyres Bridgestone 255/30Y19SRFT are showing wear on the inside edge of the tyre. Service department, when queried re tyre life, stated that there were wear issues with this series of Bridgestone RFTs and that Bridgestone had now replaced this tyre with a revised version “050AYZ”. This would tend to suggest Bridgestone know of tyre wear issues, in which case surely there could be a possible claim against Bridgestone for the use of these tyres and the need to replace them prematurely, or even BMW themselves for suggesting the use of these tyres. Comments?

  28. I have an 06 335d touring and in one year of ownership I have replaced one rear alloy and replaced the original Run flat michelin tyres (tyres wore out in a very short space of time) for Run flat bridgestone tyres (supposedly harder wearing). I had a punture on one front tyre and went into the dealer to have the tyre changed only to be told that the front alloy was cracked. BMW say that the wheel is deformed outwith their tolerance for any warranty and they recommend putting further Run flat tyres on. I don’t remember hitting any potholes or bumps on both alloy cracking occasions, so effectively I won’t be solving the problem.

    I am going to change the tyres to pneumatics at a cost of £600 and a wheel at a cost of £314, plus a repair kit at £76 so one puncture has turned into £1000.

    BMW UK do not accept any responsibility or acknowledge that there is a problem. The dealer unofficially acknowledges that fitting pnematics will put less pressure on the wheel and therefore reduce the chances of cracking. So is that half an acknoledgement? I was hoping for some good discount on the new wheel as a jesture of goodwill but non has been forthcoming. Anyone have any ideas?

  29. Hi ……question to Bmwman…….what differences did changing to non run flats make to your car?
    Wierdly enough the ride and handling on my 330d sport tourer seems fine WITH run flats but the replacement cost does my head in. So what do you think now that you have changed tyres type.

    Cheers Ron

  30. I have an 07 plate 325i convertible fitted with run flat tyres on 19 inch alloys. Whilst the car itself is beautiful, the tyres have been a disaster and I am currently considering what action I can take against BMW. The run flat system has failed twice so far, once whilst I was in France (it took two hire cars to get me home and my car reappeared two weeks later on a low loader). I have now had a total of ELEVEN tyres on this car (54,000 miles – mostly motorway). One new tyre lasted 24 hours (it was punctured by the time I got it home), two new tyres have lasted less than 3 months (including the tyre fitted in January). Almost predictably I’ve also had two cracked rear alloys. I have, in effect, bought a new tyre each month for the last six months. If this wasn’t bad enough, there seems to be a dearth of tyres available necessitating long waits to get the car fixed. BMW Customer Services view is that i am just “unlucky” with puncture – although there were two that I recall that had faulty valves. A secondary issue is the detrimental effect these noted and well published problems will have on the value of the car… including factory recalls, servicing and replacement tyres, my £40k car has been in the garage every 10 weeks since the day I bought it… I’ve had £250 fiesta’s that have been more reliable!

  31. I have bought flat run tyres…same make and spec as supplied by BMW and they are no more expensive than traditional tyres and sometimes cheaper. The noise is no different on the road that trad1tional and road holding is similar. The ride is no different either as the suspension has been adjusted for run flat and to put non run flat on voids insurance. Advantage….when you get a puncture, as I have, you are safe and can continue your journey. And you can get them safely repaired.

    Tyres readily available…milage about 20000 pers set. All cars should be fitted with run flat for safety reasons.

    1. No. All cars should NOT be fitted with stiff, uncomfortable runflats that most people do not like. Nor is there any safety aspect. The world was not littered with dead bodies at the side of the road before runflats were invented. This is health-n-safety thinking that is inimical to the progress of the human race. And run-flats are always, always more expensive than regular tyres. In fact I wonder if there is an agenda here.

  32. hi, i have recently purchased a BMW 1 series. 57 plate yesterday the tyre alarm came on, i took it to a local tyre place and was told that i had 2 runflats on the front and 2 conventional tyres on the back, now after reading your e-mail i dont know a…. is it illegal? b….. which do i replace? c…. does it affect the warranty to put conventional tyres on ?either way it sounds expensive, give me back my 10 yr old golf with less than 50.000 miles and imacculate condition , stephanie

  33. stephanine, your problem is bmw won’t take any responsibility for any issues with the run flat tyres (cracked alloys and the softer rubber picks up more punctures). The car does not in my experience handle the same with pneumatics (car has more bounce and less precise steering). Alternatively give them the car back since it will cost you dearly in tyres and potential alloy wheel problems!

  34. I suppose the run flat idea was dreamt up by someone who doesn’t actually drive a car!! Seriously, what a monumental screw up on behalf of BMW. I have a 325i coupe which sports 18″ 255’s run flats on the rear. Has anyone ever tried to get these tyres on short notice? Well, it’s virtually impossible. I was told by a guy today that you cannot get budget rfts and the only option is to get either, you guessed it, Mitchelins or Continentals – only the most expensive at £240 a pop. Anyway, i’m in the process of changing to normal tyres which cost less than my mortgage to replace. The ultimate driving machine…..Yeah, if it wasn’t stuck in my driveway waiting for its tyres.

    sorry if i went off topic; i just had to vent my frustration.

    1. as an expat living in belgium and travelling widely around in europe I can tell you that UK roads are amongst the best – so the problem is not limited to UK

  35. Hello all,

    I have a 3 series BMW 318M Sport with Bridegstone 225/45R17 tyres.

    I have to say that for the past 3 yrs I have been very happy with the tyres and the ride (my last car was a Z4 on Run Flats so perhaps my frame of reference for a comfortable ride is not ideal).

    The original tyres lasted over 3 yrs and over 40,000 miles, which I thought was amazing.

    However I replaced the front tyres in Jan 2010 and the outside edge is already down to the wire, literally.

    I took the car back to the BWM specialist (not main dealer) in March to complain and they checked the tracking etc. However this did not help and the tyres are now finished.

    My question is this:

    Since the tryes are exactly the same as the original ones, which lasted so well. Do I have any redress against the garage? Surely this doesn’t meet the sale of goods act which states that items must be fit for purpose.

    If anyone has any experience of getting the garage to replace their tyres I would extremely glad to hear.

  36. Hi

    I decided to take out the run flat tyre insurance with Global Insurance Management via AXA via my local BMW dealer after reading all your concerns.
    I bought my car in February(BMW 320i Coupe 58 plate)and up until yesterday had no problems with ride or performance.
    When I drove it yesterday however I felt a bumping noise from the front tyre and took it into my local Qwik Fit who checked it and found 2 nails in 2 tyres! They had the tyres in stock and changed them within an hour for £20 excess(£10 per tyre). The manager said I was lucky to have the insurance or it would have cost me £450!
    I had no loss of pressure and no warning light. There was plenty of tread on tyres but they had to be replaced.
    When the cover is up (3 years) I intend to change over to non run flats.
    The expense of running these tyres could be horrendous without insurance which was not cheap(£379) but was worth it.
    Who knows, I could have more replacements before the 3 years are up.
    The main concern I have is that tyre wear invalidates the cover and I have noticed that the outsides wear quickly compared to the middle.
    Has anyone had any experience of being refused cover due to wear on outside of tyres?
    Hopefully it won’t be a problem for me as I only have 18000 miles on clock and only do an average of 6000 miles a year. But then again….. 😈

  37. In reply to the blogger that stated he has put on non run flats and gone back conventional tyres and bought a mobile travel kit(i think that it was called!) so that when he gets a tyre he can pump the tyre back up, great but as pointed out by my mate who works at a tyre centre, if you get a cut, hole in the side wall then this will not work and best to have a spare!! so i will try and find a space saver! does anyone know if a space saver will fit a 56 plate 3 series?

    1. I phoned BMW Customer care on 22/11/2010 on 01344426565 and spoke to a man called Nick, I informed him of my dissatisfaction regrding the tyres, he informed me that in no way is it detrimental to the vehicles safety/handling converting over to non run flats but obvious consideration should be given to a spare wheel/ whether a space saver or puncture/mobility kit.


  38. Hi, I’ve recently bought a 07 320D, and yes the run flats are showing wear on the outside edges and give off a noise not to disimilar to a worn bearing(which are fine as have been checked). I have read most of the above posts and I am prepared to convert to conventional tyres, My only concern, which no one has answered, ” would the change in any way invalidate your insurance”. I don’t think a verbal aknowlegement from a dealer is sufficient.. look forward to a reply.

  39. I would like to covert run flat tires from my 2006 325xi over to conventional tires. If possible..how. (I have gone through 3 sets of run flats in 30,000 mile and now needing a 4th set.) HELP

  40. Just changed the run flats on my 320d to normal tyres. Went for Conti Sport 3 (M Sport with 255’s on rear) £600.00 job done x 2 tins of tyre weld.
    What a difference… Now in Love with my beamer again. Spoke to BMW service and they said NO problem, and RFT’s discontinued from September starting with the mini and progressing throughout the range.
    No issue with insurance, as the runflats are “Recommended” by BMW not mandatory, well not a 3 series at least. As long as they are a reputable manufacturer and legal for tread depth.
    I can not express just how great the car feels now, it was borderline dangerous in the wet before.
    Do IT… you wont be sorry.

  41. Just wanted to say a big thanks to everybody for all your comments. I have a BMW 118d M sport on an 09 plate, with the upgraded 18″ alloys. Front tyres 215/40/18 and rear 245/35/18. After finding this thread on a google search, I contacted 3 separate BMW dealers in search of the answer to the big question, no, not “what is the meaning of life?”…..but, “can I replace the runflats on my car with normal tyres?”. It’s amazing just how difficult it was to get a straight answer! The first one told me there would be issues with my suspension that was set for Runflats, the second wouldn’t tell me anything and the third went back to the suspension comment, plus said that my sensors wouldn’t work properly.

    Obviously this left me with concerns, but frankly I could not see how this change could have such a dramatic impact on the suspension and that it was the dealers simply identifying another possible revenue stream for their business, by panicking customers. As a result, I contacted BMW UK on 0800 325 600 and contrary to expectation, I was told immediately and very cheerily by the guy, that there is absolutely no reason why I can’t change to normal tyres, but I should invest in a tyre repair kit, or get a spacesaver. He said there would be no issue with sensors and there would be no noticable difference in the suspension, it would not effect any warranty with BMW and it had no implications on my Insurance policy, although suggested I check with them anyway. Moral of the story, don’t listen to, or trust BMW dealers looking to make an extra buck out of you, go to the source.

    I changed my tyres a week ago now and have had zero problems with sensors and the drive is 100% better than on the poxy Runflats, no more back breaking bumps, just a lovely smooth ride, anybody wondering whether to change or not, my advice JUST DO IT……..I also expect to get much longer life from the tyres for half the cost! I managed to find a spacesaver on Ebay for £90, but please do some research here, because depending on your wheel size, there are different spacesaver options and it’s important to get the right one, or it wont fit on your hub, I suggest contacting BMW to confirm the correct size for you.

    After much research on what to replace the runflats with, I bought Falken 452 tyres all round, which was the best compromise between cost and performance that I could find and they are absolutely fine. I paid £70inc VAT each for fronts and £105 inc VAT each for backs I bought them from http://www.camskill.co.uk/ which was the cheapest I could find them anywhere on the net…..this company actually provide a guarantee that you will not find Falken tyres cheaper anywhere else online and if you can find them, they will beat the price. I looked for about 90 minutes and they were the cheapest by far, generally about £25 per tyre less than other online sites, which is a massive difference.

    Just wanted to share this with you all, as I too was nervous about whether to change or not, but took the plunge and am a much happier motorist now. I would recommend anybody using runflats change to normal tyres.

    1. Justin,
      U r absolutely right. Just spoke to BMW and the only thing they said was to make sure I changed to a premium brand and to get a motablity kit.

  42. Just come across your comments re BMW & 19″ alloy wheels-I have been trying to find out about these Bridgestone tyres & wheels. I have a 320 cab that has only done 13,500 miles. The rear tyres are worn to the thread on the inner sides! BMW tell me its maybe because my rear tyres were under inflated!!If that was the case the warning light would have come on!! The tyre house I took the car to tell me that they think its a problem with the car/model/tyres!!as they have had others in with the same problem-all on 19″ alloy’s BMW should recall these cars with these wheels before someone is killed!
    Has anyone got BMW to replce them for free?

      1. I can’t give you people’s email addresses. So why not write to BMW and give them this URL. If they then contact me directly I’ll help them get in contact with all their disappointed customers…

  43. I have a 325i with 19in run flats – or I should say I did !! Last tyre change I decided to go back to normal tyres and buy a can of liquid foam inflator stuff to sit in the boot. I had nothing but problems with my tyres. Not only do they cost a fortune to replace, but I also had a major problem with inner tyre wear – even though I had had all tyres balanced and my tracking done.

  44. I have a 335i with 19″ run flats. I have had massive probelms with the wheels, the tyres and the valves (they keep disentigrating). BMW told me that it was not thier fault and road conditions were to blame. Am about to change all tyres to non-run flat as I cannot deal with it anymore. After which, I will change my car. I will NEVER buy a car with run-flats ever again.
    Small note, my friend as an M3 and compression foam canister is a disaster to use and same problems. A tyre that works when punctured for 40 – 50k is useless at 10pm at night when you are 100km away from your destination.

  45. I have a BMW 3 25, 08 plate, 23,000 miles. Took car to tyre shop when warning light came on. Guy looked at all the tyres which were all worn on the inside, some worse than others, said you have a a major problem with the car. Another tyre shop and 2 garages later, we were lead to believe the car wouldnt align and there was a problem with the chassis, suspension!!! In the waiting room of a garage there was an article on run flats!!! We took the car to BMW where a salesman in a suit who looked about 12 walked round the car, said tyres underinflated, nothing wrong with suspension, put new tyres on and they would align it at a cost of £240. The car is now with a tyre specialist who has put new normal tyres on and is aligning the car at no cost tomorrow, he makes money on the tyres and doesnt feel the need to charge again!! In the space of a week we have been driving a car that was not road worthy and had I been stopped by the police or been involved in an accident I dread to think about the repercussions, we were also told there was a serious problem with the car suspension or chassis so were concerned about the cost. This is my second BMW and to be honest I dont think I will be in a rush to buy another one. PS still waiting for a call back from someone at the BMW garage from Monday when I left a message asking him to call me back urgently!!!!

  46. Hi, looking to buy my first new BMW – X3 but am worried about run flat tyres. According to the salesman run flat tyres are an optional but recommended (£250) extra – which makes me think that ordinary tyres can still be fitted.

    What should I do?

    Is the ‘moblity spray can’ really a viable alternative to run flats?

  47. Is anyone able to please advise re a previous thread that doesn’t seem to have been answered, re whether it is possible to have run-flats on the rear and pneumatics on the front (and vice-versa)? Many Thanks

  48. …also please can you advise if this run-flat issue only affects the 3series + – i.e, My 08 plate 120d M-sport still has the original tyres with 41K miles on them… thanks

  49. I too have just had a cracked alloy which I knew nothing about the problems till Luckily I came across this website we all need to get together and make BMW sort this. Please contact me lets not stand for it!

    1. 😀 Hi Rosie , I too have a problem with my RF tyres on my 58 325i m sport convertible, have been told buy my local dealer that the problem is caused by pot holes and it has knocked the geomatry out hense the ware on the inside edges of all the tyres, even though this has no contact with the road, I have aired my concerns with BMW direct and also the AA, so would be very intrested in what you can find out as BMW have just quoted me £1350 for new tyres and a geometry allingment test !!!!!!

    2. I have 56 plate BMW 330i M sport and I had a cracked wheel problem last week. I found out when my car failed to pass MOT and BMW Specialist in Luton told me to buy whopping £540 single alloy wheel. I was very upset and started to search for another option and found this repair company.They professionally welded and resprayed the wheel and gave me guarantee for a year and told me that they would pass MOT with this strong repair.(They are also MOT test centre) I went back to BMW Specialist again and they said they will not let my car pass MOT because the wheel is welded!! They were trying to sell me new wheel. After some argument they agreed to pass my car but left a comment on the document. Only there was something very interesting that repair company told me that ONLY but ONLY BMW runflat tyres has got this cracked wheel problem. They said that it is very rarely other brands come for crack repair. Well they should be grateful to BMW for creating job for them but this says something. When I went back and told this to BMW Specialist Luton they were dead silent about it. I didn’t understand back then and I thought only unlucky people like me gets cracked wheel problem but after I read this page, I think thousands of BMW owners has got this problem. I would happily take part and support your complain Rosie. Regards

  50. I am about to purchase and collect a 320d Msport Saloon (07 plate) on tuesday and the vehicle is fitted with 18″ light alloy M Star-spoke style 193M. I have to be honest having read through this forum I am considering pulling out of the purchase all together. I assume that the problem will be the same here for this vehicle ?
    I have been told that the approved checks confirm 6mm tread on the front and 4mm tread on the rear. If I proceed with the purchase I will likely change to normal tyres all round as soon as the rears need replacing or first sign of any problems..

  51. I also have 2006 BMW 320i M-Sport with 17″ run flats. The rear tyres needs to be replaced i would be interested if any one has put to normal tyres the back to leave the run -flats on the front until they get replaced by normal tyres

      1. Hi Pete. I have 19″ wheels with run flats. I notice in an earlier thread that you have changed to non run flat Continentals. Having had two weels crack 18 months ago (when BMW “kindly” gave me two new ones free as a Goodwill gesture!) I have now had two wheels buckle. BMW won’t cough up this time. Last time, and this, I had to get new tyres. Enough is enough. I have now ordered 4 non run flats and these are being fitted by Kwik Fit at my main BMW dealer – the main BMW dealer won’t touch the tyres as they are non run flats !!. Big question… What pressure should the non run flats be at? Should they be set to the same recommended tyre pressures as for run flats? Thanks.

  52. BMW is cool, but so expensive for me, i can’t afford since i just graduated and still looking for a job the suit my capabilities. Right now i’m just contented of my Mercedes and i love it much.

  53. I have a 2008 325d Touring with RFs. Whilst driving in Austria last week a rear tyre went flat. Neither BMW nor anyone else could locate a replacement RF tyrein the whole of Austria, BMW Emergency Service told me that had had similar problems in France. BMW suggested fitting a normal tyre.

    On further examination it turned out to be a cracked rim – more expensive but at least they were able to obtain a replacement wheel – for EUR450. I have driven BMWs with alloys and normal tyres in UK for 10 years without ever cracking a rim and there are considerably fewer potholes in Austria, so I suspect RFs were a contributing factor.

  54. Hi, when buying my brand new 320iES in 2006 the excitement ran away with me! The salesman explained that run-flats were a new idea, saving the need for a spare tyre, getting wet changing a wheel at the roadside etc etc. sounded great! I bought the car and (apart from the 6 times within the 1st year the car required attention from BMW including a new gearbox), it was time to change my tyres…it was then the tyres proved a BAD idea!

    BMW price? £280 per corner. Independent tyre fitter price? £380 for 2 fitted (the invoice said tyres only, taken away to be fitted by myself). I had toyed with the idea of replacing all tyres with standard ones and carrying a can of tyreweld and a spare tyre with me however, THE FRONT WHEELS ARE DIFFERENT SIZES THAN THE REAR ONES!! so good old BMW, they win either way as you cant feasibly carry 2 spare wheels………… DONT BUY A BMW!!

  55. Please help, I have just got a BMW 320I M Sport and I live in Glasgow and work in London, so to enjoy the freedom away from trains and airports I often drive the 8 hours to my flat. Although the drive in the car has been excellent my ears are normally ringing when I arrive, this is because I need to have my music so loud to get rid of the tyre noise from my ‘Run Flats’! I have spoken to a tyre garage and asked what about changing to normal tyres and 1 of the chaps with a BMW background told me that you could not as it effects so many bits on the car regarding the ride and electronics etc. Can anybody give me the correct answer because I think I am going to end up deaf very soon!!!

  56. Fun conversation. Let me add my piece. I’m trying to put non-runflat winter tyres on a 2006 320D, currently bumping along on the regular 16inch alloys with hateful runflats. When etyres came to fit my winter rubber, they said that the alloys were designed only for runflats, and that they recommended putting steel wheels on the car rather than putting the non-runflats onto the current alloys. So I gave BMW a call to discuss this, and the chap didn’t know whether or not my alloys would take a non-runflat tyre, and was going to have to do some more research! So as it stands, I have some lovely winter tyres, but no idea whether I can actually put them on my car…what a shambles BMW have created with these stupid tyres…

  57. Super forum ! I have a 530d SE. A few weeks ago I had a couple of bad experiences exiting roundabouts. The roads were slightly damp but when I accelerated away, the electronics just coped and avoided me loosing the back end ! When I examined the rear tyres, the inside edges were seriously worn. Having only had the car for 6 months, I don’t how it was driven in the first few months of it’s life but was seriously disappointed that the rear tyres already needed replaced – just short of 10,000 miles. Because of the noise and hard ride decided to replace with non-run flats (having examined your forum in great detail). The difference is incredible – it’s like having a new car ! And the damage to my kidneys is gradually getting better !
    The tyre centre said that if I changed and then traded the car in to a main dealer, the dealer would not be allowed to sell the car on without run-flats and would deduct the cost of a new set from the trade in price.
    This didn’t put me off – I bought my last car, a 7 series, from a main dealer and it did not have run-flats.

  58. :clap: Yay. Power to the people!!! What a good forum. Have learnt sooo much! Will be contacting our insurance first, then hopefully change to normal tyres. Maybe then I will love my BM as much as I have loved all my other cars in the past (none had RFs and I coped).
    Thanks to all who have put their comments in to help us have an informed choice.

  59. I have a two year old z4s and had my first puncture at 5000 miles £200 then at 10,000miles BMW said my rear tyre was worn out aand had to be replaced £200 as It had been underinflated??????? then my second punture was at 15000 and as I was 200 miles from home meant I had to scabble around finding a new tyre another £200. So run flats are a disaster fine if you stay with 50 miles of your home!!!!

  60. I have a 2007 320d SE with run flats. I don’t seem to have a problem with excessive road noise as such. And satisfied with ride and handling. But tyres do only last around 10 – 12.000 miles.

  61. hi have 2007 325i and have problem with satnav screen cracking around the edge have had it replaced under warranty .BMW say they have never came across this before but replaced the last one as a gesture of goodwill along with contribution from myself .Have noticed the latest one has also now cracked and will require replacing the fourth in four and a half years any ideas on how to approach BM on replacing it as they cost around 1500

  62. Hi All,
    I have a 2009 530I and after doing 45k km I no need to change my tires. The dealer is saying that it “may create vibration due to the fact that the suspension was set for RFT”. But he said the only way to find out was to try it. I clipped a kerb and the RFT (front right) got ripped from the side and after arguing with Emarat workshop who were nt willing to put a regualr tire (in Dubai) eventually I went for Yokohama Advan 245 40 R18, A10F 93Y NON-RFT. The A10F means its a summer tyre so perfect for Dubai and the 93Y which was also mentioned on the RFT means that 93=650kg load per tyre, and Y=max 300kmph. So to make it clear insurance companies can’t refuse to insure the car because the tyre load and speed specs have not changed!!! I am going to go with Yokohamas for the other 3, hopefully my rims are not cracked! By the way the cost of an RFT in Dubai is two times or even three times than what you get them in the UK. I am talking about Dunlops, Bridgestones, and Mich’s. Pirelli Pzero is the cheapest. This may surprise you but Audi A7 (Yokohama) and even the BMW M comes without RFT. We should take BMW to court as they misguide customers. Guys lets take this up with ppl in Top Gear, and maybe even write an article in the major papers around the world. The problem is global not UK specific. Another main point it you have a flat and use a sealer/ tire weld the TMPS sensor will not work anymore!!!!!

  63. I am going up north in fact 300 miles north to potentially look and buy a bmw 320i m sport 2007 with 19inch wheels, now in 2 minds after reading this and from what i saw in watchdog several months back, what do i do now? only thing i can think of is to get seller to drop The price and when i get back down to get rid of the run flats for normal tyres !!! HOW VERY DISSAPOINTING FORM THE NOT SO ULTIMATE DRIVING MACHINE ENGINEERS

  64. This is a fantastic forum , I have learnt a lot about RFT just in few days,I just bought an auto 523i SE 2005 on friday and went to London from Manchester on the same day I got the car from the dealer who informed me that he had to change the rear tyres due to MOT failure, did not mention anything about RFT ,I had a bumpy ride to London and I felt the car was steering to the left, so I took it to a local garage in North Greenwich London to check the allignment for me , this is when I got to know about RFTs ,so the problem was because I have 2 old RFTs in the fromt and 2 new non RFT at the back , so he advised me to either change to RFT or non RFTs, and gave me an idea of the price of RFTs, I knew nothing about RFTs before bcos I was driving the 2001 model of the 5 series which had a normal tyres on them, never had any problem at all, so I made my research and concluded to change to non RFTs , since I already have two new non RFTs at the back , I took the car for a test drive after the non RFT tyres was fitted,the drive was superb.
    But the only problem am having now is tyre puncture warning showing on the computer after the non RFTs was fitted which I dont know how to reset

  65. Great thread.

    Anyone know if this only affects certain alloys?

    I want to buy a 2007 335d M Sport after 2yrs without my beloved 2005 535d running on 19s without run-flats.

    I had thought that it was just the really pretty 19s that had the issue and not the stock 335d M Sport 18s?

    Thanks,

    Neil

  66. natty g – just reset the warning light and it will readjust itself to the new tyes (scroll to tyre menu, press and hold select button until checked box appears, engine on but at stand-still).

    Just changed my 320d coupe to non-runflats… i would encourage anyone to do the same! Drives much better and noticeably better fuel economy as well (getting 60+mpg on a standard mixed drive).

  67. I have a 320d 60 Plate, I recently had a flat (£300 to replace :angry: ) on a RFT and the detector never picked it up. The BMW Customer Service nerds state that the detector will not detect all flats only certain types. Has anyone else had problems with this system, BMW claim my case is the only time thay have been told that the detector is unreliable ?

  68. I have a 58 plate 3 series m sport coupe with 19″ light alloys. Have had this car since March 09 and have just replaced my 10th tyre 8 of which have been rears. Have also had 2 cracked alloys, the first at my first service, both of which were replaced courtesy of BMW. I had a tyre that completely disentegrated and had to be prised of the alloy by the tyre fitters and no tyre pressure light came on. BMW were surprisingly not interested. What I dont understand is why they dont fit them on M3s due to the sportiness of the car but still put them on the M sport which I would think is set up for a sporty ride!!! Oh and to top it all my two fronts are getting close to minimum so here comes number 12 tyres!!!

  69. Pretty much everything that can be said has been said – almost everyone (except those who work for BMW, thanks Michelle) agrees that run-flats are a poor choice, and that BMW and some of their dealers are in denial. However, some dealers seem to be providing “free” replacements – make sure you push hard for resolution when you have a problem. However, undoubtedly the most sensible course of action is changing to normal tyres, it is wise, cheaper, quieter, and doesn’t affect your insurance or ride (it’s just a smoke-screen that the suspension is only setup for run-flat tyres, in fact your ride quality will improve).

    The issues associated with run-flats, and in particular cracked alloy wheels, seem to affect all diameters of wheel. It isn’t just a problem associated with super low-profile rims.

    There is plenty of advice above regarding what tyres to choose, e.g. Continentals or Goodyear, and that all four tyres should be the same type. That is, just as with radial and non-radial tyres, don’t mix run-flat and normal tyres.

    Inflation pressures are on a sticker on the driver’s door frame. When you do replace your run-flat tyres either get a mobility kit or a space-saver spare tyre.

    Everything beyond these uncontested facts are just further sad stories about people unnecessarily shelling out their hard earned cash. So, I have closed comments on this thread. If you have something truly new to add to the debate please use the feedback link below.

    Thanks for contributing.

Comments are closed.