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Run flat tyres are they really that bad??

bighfishing

Prominent Member
hi all,

i have just traded in my 2003 bmw E46 320d tourer and purchased a 2007 E90 320d saloon, which i will be collecting this monday afternoon. this will be the first car i have owned with run flat tyres, i have been doing a bit of research about them and they seem to get a lot of bad press, people say the ride is too harsh and you get a lot of tram lining and crashing over bumps and they generally don't like them.

i have noticed there are quite a few BMW drivers on here so i wondered what your thoughts are on them. i have read that the continentals are supposed to be one of the better run flat tyres, which is what is fitted to the car i am getting, but they are the Premium Contact SSR's which i believe are the budget ones.

so i was just wondering what other peoples thoughts are and what to expect.

have they improved at all in recent years.



Cheers
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
Didn't you test drive the 'new' car and if so what was it like when you drove it? Personally I don't find the run flats bad on my 320d Touring, but it's SE/Exclusive spec and only has 17" wheels rather than the 18" of my colleague's car (with much firmer ride due to M Sport suspension).

I can't remember what make are on mine, but I'll look later and edit this post.
 

bighfishing

Prominent Member
i just had a short test drive on roads that were quite smooth and the ride seemed very good, but it was pouring down at the time so didn't get chance to test it properly, if it had been dry i would have tested it more, but its from a BMW dealer so I'm not too concerned. i would think to get a true feel of how good or bad run flats are you would need to have the car for a couple of days so you could test it properly. the car I'm buying it an SE spec with 16" alloys on.
 

markymark34

Prominent Member
The problem is that the older e90s including yours don't really have the perfect suspension set up for rft, i had driven loads of e90s and got the dealer to remove the rft before I bought my car. I wouldn't ditch them straight away but wait until they are worn then go for non rft. Will save you a fortune in the long run as well.
 

FZR400RRSP

Banned
I don't have any problems with run flats on my 320ed, but being the low emissions model it does only have 16" wheels.
Having had considerable hassle using foam and compressor kits in my previous BMW (19" wheels), I would only consider a proper spare wheel/space saver or run flats on a car now.
I am not going back to the foam/pump crap :-(
BMW do now offer a space saver and jack kit for the 3 series (around £200).

PS the run flats on my 320ed are Bridgestone Tourenza.
 

Aerojon

Established Member
rft on larger rims 17"+ give a harsh ride imo.The 1st thing i did when funds allowed was to get rid of the rft on my Coop S..
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
rft on larger rims 17"+ give a harsh ride imo.The 1st thing i did when funds allowed was to get rid of the rft on my Coop S..

I'd agree on a Mini as 17" is quite big for a smaller car, plus IIRC they are a lower profile than my 320d judging by my OH's 17" on her Mini, but I disagree with them being harsh on a 3 series at that size. The 16" poverty spec size should be positively luxurious on a 3 series.

OP: Sorry to hear you got a bit of a 'fob off' test drive so don't know whether the car you're about to spend thousands on really suits your requirements. Buyers should push for longer test drives IMHO, a quick run round the block isn't good enough when spending this kind of money.
 

bighfishing

Prominent Member
I'd agree on a Mini as 17" is quite big for a smaller car, plus IIRC they are a lower profile than my 320d judging by my OH's 17" on her Mini, but I disagree with them being harsh on a 3 series at that size. The 16" poverty spec size should be positively luxurious on a 3 series.

OP: Sorry to hear you got a bit of a 'fob off' test drive so don't know whether the car you're about to spend thousands on really suits your requirements. Buyers should push for longer test drives IMHO, a quick run round the block isn't good enough when spending this kind of money.

totally agree with what you have said about the test drive, i have made myself look like a bit of a novice when it comes to buying cars but i am actually quite experienced. the first two things i usually say to people when buying a car is never buy one when its raining and always take at least one long test drive. well for some reason i broke all the rules this time, the main reason i went to look at it in the rain was because it was such a reasonably priced car for a main dealer car and it never seems to stop raining, and if i waited for a dry day i knew it would be gone, i did actually go back the next day when it was dry (typical) and take a much longer look but didn't take another test drive because i could tell from the first short test drive it was a good car, if i wasn't sure i would have demanded at least a 30 min test drive. the only thing i have took a chance on is how it rides an varying road surfaces, but judging by what people are saying on here i should be fine as its a poverty spec SE with 16" alloys.
 
I've never driven a car on run flats and thats for one very good reason, I wouldn't want them.

If my car was stolen and then pursued by the police and consequently "stung" by a police stinger although my alloys would be wrecked the car would probably still be ok, on run flats there's greater chance of the stolen car crashing into a member of public after a more lengthily persuit.

Just my 2p worth....
 

FZR400RRSP

Banned
mr.manchester said:
I've never driven a car on run flats and thats for one very good reason, I wouldn't want them.

If my car was stolen and then pursued by the police and consequently "stung" by a police stinger although my alloys would be wrecked the car would probably still be ok, on run flats there's greater chance of the stolen car crashing into a member of public after a more lengthily persuit.

Just my 2p worth....

I've read some reasons for people not wanting runflats, but this takes the biscuit.
It's a bit like saying you don't have any knives in your house, just in case a Burglar steals one and uses it in an attack.
Very strange train of thought.
 

jerryq7777

Prominent Member
Ive got 18" alloys with runflats and they are fine until you go over a pothole or drain cover as you think you have broken something its that harsh.I would imagine on 16" alloys with more rubber it will be less harsh.
 

Thug

Moderator
We have run flats on the cars at work.
We use the BMW 330d (and a couple of 530d), the olderst being on a 10 plate.
They handle fine with them on (and believe me, i drive them VERY hard).

But, the issue with them is uneven wear (and price). The ones we have wear significantly on the inside of the tyre, so you have to get down on your hands and knees at the rear of the car and use a torch to check them properly.

We check our cars twice a day (lights, tyres, oil, bodywork, etc). Once I was driving along at some rediculous speed when the tyre pressure warning light came on. When i checked the tyre it actually had the steel reinforcing hanging out on the inside, yet the rest of the tyre had loads of meat on it still. Its scary to think what could have happened.
 

bighfishing

Prominent Member
the two front tyres on the car I'm buying had uneven wear as well, they were wearing on the outside edge though, i had already read on the internet that continentals tend to wear on the outside edge, so i got them to put two new ones on, they had already put two new ones on the back so i don't know if they had worn unevenly.
 

bighfishing

Prominent Member
Might be worth asking them to do their 4 wheel alignment? Although they should have done this making it "approved used"

i will ask them about that tomorrow when i collect the car, though i do think its probably just a characteristic of run flats from what i have read.
 

FZR400RRSP

Banned
I'm up to 19000 miles with no uneven wear on my runflats (Bridgestone)
No uneven wear on my runflat winter tyres either (Pirelli)
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
I'm at 12,000 miles on my 320d (only got it in February :eek:) and the wear seems even across the tyre. AFAIK it's never hit a kerb so no reason for the tracking to be off yet. It's on 17" as I said earlier up the thread.

I wouldn't bank on the garage having done any alignment checks regardless of what it says in their 'bumpf'. ;)
 

bighfishing

Prominent Member
sorry guys i meant a characteristic of continental run flats. then again it might not be, i have just realised the reports of continental run flats wearing on the outer edge that i had been reading on the bmw website were all made by the same person, he must have posted it at least twenty times and I'm not exaggerating. so if its not a characteristic of continentals i will be pushing the point about the tracking more when i collect the car tomorrow.
 

loz

Distinguished Member
When you wife has a puncture coming home late from picking up the kids from a party at 1.00am in the rain, and the AA say it's a really busy night because of the atrocious weather and they will be 2 hrs, and you have had a couple of drinks because you didn't think you would be going out, then you will be really pleased that you decided not to specify run flats. Especially when it then breaks on the news that a murderer just escaped from the local jail and was last seen in you area, and the wife phones to say there is some stranger in the dark... :)
 

gangzoom

Distinguished Member
I have no problems with the ride quality on my 08 M sport E90 with the Run flats. But I think it all depends what your use to, I came from a Nissan 350z, and before than Honda Integra Type R. Compared to thoses two cars I actually find the ride on the E90 to be a little soft (Changing away from Runflats are only going to make that worse), and actually in the process of trying to firm up the ride by putting on firmer subframe bushes and bigger anti roll bars...But I can also how if your use to more softly sprung car the M sport suspension/run flats might seem harsh.

But the only real way to tell is to see how you get on with them!!
 

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