Home / Auto News / News article: Run Flat Tires: Why You Should, or Shouldn’t, Buy Them - AutoGuide.com News
 |  May 16 2012, 4:01 PM


Maybe you’ve been in this situation: stuck on the side of a road, a punctured tire needing to be changed out for the spare one in the trunk. You have a pair of options, do you choose to change the tire yourself, or do you call for roadside assistance. Both options can take a while to get you back on the road, especially if you’ve never changed a tire yourself before. And even if you have, sometimes it can take some serious elbow grease.

It’s dilemmas like these that have more car makers offering run flat tires on new cars. Run flats can run for at least 50 additional miles following a puncture, giving you the ability to safely get home, or exit a highway and find a repair shop.

What are Run Flat Tires?

Even though changing a tire is an important skill, the idea of run flat tires sounds pretty handy. The added benefit of losing the weight of a spare tire and tools could help with fuel efficiency too.

There are two main types of run flat tires: Self-Supporting, and Auxiliary Supported. Self-Supporting tires have stiffer and tougher rubber, which can temporarily carry the weight of the vehicle under lower tire pressure. If you do get Self-Supporting tires (see right) you will need a tire pressure monitoring system (which is now government mandated standard equipment on new cars), because a driver may not notice their tire has lost pressure without it. Auxiliary supported tires don’t have stiffer and tougher rubber, but are attached to a special rim which has a steel support ring that is attached to the wheel and can support the weight of the vehicle.

Even though run flat tires have been around in production vehicles since 1994, the adoption as a mainstream replacement for conventional tires has been slow for many reasons. Sheri Hermann, Communication Coordinator from Continental Tire tells us “run flat tires provide convenience to a consumer, but conventional tires are typically lower in cost and have better ride qualities.”

Another top complaint is in regards to price. On average, run flat tires are about one third more expensive than regular tires.

That’s not the only complaint though. While the reduced weight of carrying around a spare might seem like an advantage, run flat tires also have an impact on your fuel economy. Thanks to the tires being heavier and thicker they can reduce fuel economy by 1-2%. Also, due to the stiffer and heavier design, the run flat doesn’t quite perform like its price would indicate. They can often be harsh on the road and don’t provide a lot of grip in low temperatures.

Lastly, when you do get a puncture, or lose tire pressure, it’s not quite as easy to get them repaired. While some run flat tires can be repaired, they need to spend some time off the rim, and need to be inspected to ensure they can be fixed. If they can’t, it’s time to buy new tires. Conversely, most punctures on a conventional tire can be fixed with a simple repair kit that costs just a few dollars.

Despite these obstacles and concerns, run flat tires are increasingly becoming standard equipment on new cars and the reasons are simple: safety and peace of mind. Not only do run flats ease concerns, but they make a vehicle easier to control in the case of a tire blow out.

Why Are Automakers using them?

Monty Roberts from BMW Product and Technology communications tells us that run flat tires are standard on most BMW models with the exception of some BMW M Models. He said specifically that run flat tires have several advantages and that they “Support BMW’s EfficientDynamics Strategy by eliminating the extra weight of the spare tire, jack and tools in the vehicle for better balance, dynamic handling and fuel efficiency.”

When asked about the criticism of run flat tires Roberts said “run flat tires by their design do have stiffer sidewalls than conventional tires, however, all current BMW models that use run flat tires have suspensions that were significantly developed for use with this technology.” He added “These suspensions have been developed and tuned for the best possible ride comfort. The safety benefits of run flat tires are so significant as to outweigh any possible trade-offs.”

When asked if owners could or should swap out their run flats either when a replacement tire is needed or because they’re looking for added performance, Roberts was unequivocal. “We do not recommend replacing run flat tires with conventional tires,” he said, “that deviates away from the original design, safety and suspension calibration technology that the run flats were originally designed for.”

What are customers saying?

Even with tougher rubber, run flat tires do wear out quicker than regular tires. Many owners on the AutoGuide Forum Network complained that they were replacing their OEM run-flat tires within 20,000 miles. This prompted a lawsuit, which was settled by BMW and Bridgestone. Members of the settlement will receive a full refund for the purchase of replacement tires if they were needed before 10,000 miles. If replacement occurred between 10,000 miles up through 30,000 miles, reimbursement will be 50 percent or less. If buyers are experiencing wear at around 20,000 miles, that’s less than half the life of an ordinary tire.

Customers though, haven’t responded well to these types of tires. Honda has stopped offering the tires on its vehicles after settling a class action lawsuit last year. The owners of Acura’s RL, and Honda Odysseys claimed unreasonable tire life and unexpectedly high replacement costs.

Run flat tires may have their advantages, but it still seems like their many compromises are stopping the equipment from taking off. BMW and MINI vehicles get them as standard equipment, and owners (especially enthusiasts) are not happy with them. Vanessa Terrier from Bridgestone’s Communications team mentioned that “As of today, the run flat tire market is mainly driven by car manufacturers and original equipment.”

If you’re afraid, or uncomfortable with the idea of replacing a punctured tire with a spare, then the run flat tires are made just for you, but beware of the added costs of ownership. And if you’re convinced that the disadvantages outweigh the benefits, be weary of cars that come equipped with them from the factory, as a non-run flat replacement tire that was never designed for the car might bring with it unique disadvantages.

See Page 2 for more tire news including a list of best tires to buy

  • Mario C Pimenta

    AutoGuide should ask BMW how much it is saving because it stop offering spare tires with the introduction of run flat tires! This the real reason BMW is so keen on the use of these inferior tires. Not only the life span is much shorter than conventional tires, they are indeed much more expensive and offer a terrible ride. I own a BMW and have changed to conventional tires.

  • Rudyxhiebert

    I see more cars’ tires with turquoise stem caps, do those tires have Nitrogen instead of just air?

  • ERNIE

    Mario, I’m with you! I replaced my run flats too and my car now rides like a dream! Besides being expensive and having a terrible ride, with run flats I’m afraid to take my car on a long trip. Without a spare tire you can only deal with a nail hole or similar puncture. If you actually damage the rim or tire sidewall, you’re STUCK!

  • Gfarnfield

    Does anyone have experience of replacing RFT’s with conventional tyres on a BMW X1

  • Gfarnfield

    Should have added that the vehicle currently runs on Pirelli Cinturato P7′s – 225/45 R18′s front – 255/40 R18′s rear

  • Dirtlwyr1

    These things are a nightmare if you have a puncture far from home.   I had a puncture 400 miles from home and had to be towed 85 miles to the closest BMW dealer.  Tonight I am spending the night in a hotel 6 hours from home with only the hope that the dealer will have my tire in stock.  IF not, it will be 2 days JUST TO FIX A SIMPLE NAIL PUNCTURE.  This is the nightmare scenario that BMW or the other manufactures don’t explain to you.  Technology run amok with little or no benefit.

  • Sokkerfan78

    Sami – Great article! Here’s another informational article for your readers – http://blog.tirevan.com/2011/07/15/what-are-run-flat-tires/

  • Sokkerfan78

     Mario – I’ve heard of other BMW owners doing the same. How have you handled the need for a spare? Are you carrying a spare in the trunk or simply risking not having one?

  • Kev whatley

    Having served ten years in the U.S. ARMY, in the vehicle maintenance field, I have only heard of one type of run-flat tire. This ain’t it. Added rubber to the walls of the tire is just that (added rubber). Please call it what it is. Don’t sell me the idea of real run-flats, elevating my confidence in the BMW 7 series then let me down the true test comes. So, the low air pressure notification appears on my display and with my boosted confidence I’m thinking “Hey, I have run-flats, I’ll just take the car in tomorrow on my day off ” I didn’t even make it home. Luckily I had a spare and was able to avoid the towing charges and if the wife had driven my car today I would’ve been really upset by this. This prompted to do a little research. I’m now thinking I should save a few bucks and go with the conventional tires too.

  • Freeboard

    I replaced my 335i R/F tires with non run flats and the ride is much better and no impact to performance.

  • hammer

    My 2004 pick up truck runs smoother than my 2011 BMW 750 LI x.  BMW has just put their 3rd set of tires on my car with 14,500 miles.. they paid for them.. but the real thing that you missed on the run flat tires is the tire companies statement that 70% of these tires should not be driven in snow or ice or temperatures of 32 F or lower…. so put your car in the garage in the mountains of VA from Dec 1 to March 15th… and that is pushing it..

  • Randyharper

    Besides the terrible ride in my 750 LI X 2011 from riding on my third set of wagon wheel in 14,000 miles, none of you read the fine print that these tires are to be driven in 32 F or warmer and are not recommended for snow.. so why a all wheel drive car which i bought for the mountains where i live that is sugggested not to be driven in these temperatures.   they are summer tires…..all three sets that they have put on my car.

  • AJ

    2011 BMW 328XI. Labor day weekend, monday night. Was 300 miles away from NYC, in NH. Slammed onto a pothole at 80 MPH – RFT went flat upto the rimm, and car became un-derivable. My option was to stay with the car or park it and go back to work the next day. Had to call in tow service to the get my car to the nearest airport, about 80 miles – cost $420.Parked my BMW there, got into a rental, drove back to NYC.Bought the following the day after: 
    Wheel: $340 
    New RFT: $289 
    RFT pressure value: $168
    Tire mount: $55
    ———————————————-
    Total spent: $852Rental cost: $130
    Rental Fuel: $70
    ———————————————-
    Total Rental: $200———————————————-Total money spent: $1052
    Mental harassment: Limitless!!
    ———————————————-This is my true story. Learn from it, avoid RFTs or BMW altogether.AJ

  • Dcomora

    Have had nothing but trouble with the run-flat tires on my BMW 330.  Car ride is terrible. Feels like the car bottoms when we hit medium bumps in the road. Even minor bumps feel uncomfortable.  Tire noise was loud and really made the ride unenjoyable. This was a good idea on paper, but a lousy idea in reality.  Last year I replaced the tires with non-run flats.   Tire noise was almost gone and ride was definitely better, but still not acceptable when hitting bumps in the road.  Problems is that BMW designed the trunk assuming customers would stick with run flats and there is no where for a spare.   So, of course we wound up with a flat recently and had to be towed.  Fortunately we kept a full tire without a rim in the trunk.   Run flats are a lose – lose proposition.

  • Make1sleep

    When run flat tires rip or the side wall is damage, you can’t get from point A to point B, period!!
    So BMW service comes to get your car and there is no spare and you need to get a lift somewhere, but where?  We need spare tires in the event that the runflat is damaged and the car is not drivable.  I will no longer buy BMW cars, even though I love them.  Please give me a spare!!!!

  • Dog

    If it is a simple nail puncture in the main tread area then it is easy to patch. 

  • fahklempt

    I have had to replace 4 ‘go-flats’ in 3 years on a BMW.  They are expensive and a cash cow for the dealers and manufacturers because they are much more difficult to simply patch.  I love the care – absolutely hate the tires.

  • Preetam Patel

     I Stay in India. Bought a BMW x1 in dec 2011. In almost 9 months i have already repaired the tyre 3 times for  puncture, including a same tyre 2 times. Run flats i think are not at all suitable for Indian Roads. Suppose i go in the remote areas with family were no tyre repair centres  are available for 50 to 60 kms, its a real bodyache. Recently a small pointed stone caused a big puncture in one of the wheels, which was punctured previously 3 months back by a nail. Spending Huge amount on a brand and then not even getting a spare wheel, jack etc under the fuel economy reason is ridiculous, especially on indian roads. My running till date is only 14000 kms. BMW has to replace my tyres.I guess conventional are far better.

  • Mamafungus

     Cannot patch Run-Flats.  There is a special sealant inside that makes the patch not hold.  I work at a dealership and can tell you I HATE RUN-FLATS but you cannot patch them and anyone who does it just stealing your money, delaying the inevitable and risking your safety.

  • Mzdart

    I have a Mazda MX-5 that needs new tires at 20K miles.  After doing a day’s worth of research, I am thinking of replacing my run-flats with regular tires at less than one half the price/twice the mileage.  The dilemma is will I feel safe driving at night or away from home and have to depend on AAA to tow me to a tire dealer, since I will not have a spare?

  • Bisboof

    I am a baby boomer.And I have had many BMW’S in my life.This is the first one, I have had with run flat tires.Explain to me, how they are economical,,,buy not carrying a spare,,,,but the tire is heavier which burns fuel faster.How am I saving? And my biggest complaint is,,,,the ride it terrible.My fault, did not test drive,,,,cause it always was the ultimate driving machine.Didn’t think the ride would have changed,just the features.This is the worst car I have ever driven.Now in addition to having to pay attention to the traffic,,,,you must be so aware of the road,,,pot holes,man hole covers,,,repairs.This car, with these tires, are no longer the ultimate driving machine.And that is sad.They are dangerous.When i hit a suken man hole cover,,,at a speed of 40mph,,,and the drinks fly out of the holders,and it sounds like i cracked the frame….that is a hard ride.

  • xli

    Yeah, if it is on/close to side that is a nightmare! It happened to me once on a Volvo s60 2013.

  • Karl

    This is a very good point. In case of a sudden pressure loss at highway speeds this is a critical component to stop safely. I personally had such experience with non-run flat tires and boy am I glad to drive RFT now. Those who never experienced it may not understand the tremendous safety benefit. I am willing to pay premium just for this after what I had to go through.

  • Joe Richhi

    Can’t patch run-flat tires.

  • Jon

    I got a simple tire puncture with run flat tires and the dealer would not fix it.  Buy a brand new tire. If the tire has more than 10,000 miles on it, buy two new tires. BMW does not recommend running tires on the same axle with too much of a difference in tread wear. Not a fan of these tires

  • Ren

    I was almost sure buying bmw new 5 series F10, but hearing all that real stories from friends I have decided to never buy a car with RFT. I am wondering what type of stupid ass hole will be the marketing head of bmw of NA. It’s crystal clear that >95% wanted the regular tire with a spare in the trunk, instead of making the engine, chassis and other components light bmw have decided to shave off their business. Good luck team bmw na, I am out, bhooom ………………………

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nikhil-Shinday/1285718276 Nikhil Shinday

    But, being a dealership, they’ll try and convince you otherwise.

  • Mo

    I honestly feel your pain! I have a 330d Convertible 2012 and it feels exactly how you’ve described yours! I am debating the change of tires to non run-flats.

  • Djones_glatt

    I had a nail puncture in a run-flat on a BMW with about 35,000 miles on it.  It cost about $325 to replacethe tire.  Unfortunately I hit a nail (in the center of the tread) on the NEW tire!  I think it is ridiculous to have to throw away a brand new tire.  I have left the nail in it and have to put air in the tire about once a week. 

    The next car I buy will NOT have run flat tires – BMW – if you are listening, you should offer the option of using regular tires.  Otherwise you have lost a customer, and I am not the only one that has complained about this.

  • Dchan098

    I have a 2012 X5 and replace 5 run flat tires in two years. There is a reason why BMW’s no maintenance warrantee does not include tires and alignment. People need to ask BMW how they can offer a vehicle at their price point and do not guarantee proper alignment of their cars.

  • Randyharper

    I have you one better.. 2011 750 LXi  14,000 miles summer tires only. can’t run in winter or temperatures below 32 F,   4 sets of tires.

  • deerock

    mine were patched and worked for almost a year

  • Frankly Speaking

    most major tire/repair stores will not repair run-flats, per policy…(goodyear;/firestone/etc)

  • Olga

    Is it possible to replace RFT with regular tires on BMW 328i xdrive ? 

  • Philip

    Just noticed today that my October 2011 BMW 730d SE front tyres are worn out after only 7000 miles!!! Dealer wants to replace both for £246 per tyre. My last car, a Jaguar Sovereign LWB still had plenty of tyre left after 17000 miles.

  • JAN

    Mo, we are doing just  that next week, hate run flat tyres, makes car (BMW 3 series msport) feel totally unstable on road especially when changing lanes, feel that you are losing control, and as for lumps and holes in the road, dont even go there!!! will let you know the difference that it makes

  • Trains

    i’m disgusted!!!!! I put my car in the collision shop after sandy for repair. After a month and a half i pick the car up and immediately noticed a difference in the ride quality. I checked the air pressure and notice a substantial loss so i added air, Still unhappy. For one month i played the game of adding and lowering air pressure still a horrible ride. Finally i started going to the dealership convinced i had structural issues, 3 dealers to be exact. all 3 results the same nothing found wrong but the ride quality still exist ,bad. I started to converse with a few friends in the auto business and at this point i began to get a clearer understanding of what could be my issue.with infinite negative feed back on these, run flat, tires it appears that i’m closer to my problem. of course calling the dealer didn’t work, now all of a sudden the tire plan that use to cover everything ,doesn’t cover. 

  • rrod3421

    Bmw does not warranty a person hitting a pothole ( which is accidental ) that throws off the alignment. That is not bmw fault for bad roads. You should ask that state or city to pay for that since its in their roads. Bmw cars come from factory with proper alignment. Run flat tires are safe and are offered on BMWs since the suspension compliments the tires and also the rims on BMWs are large leaving you with low profile tires so your most likely to have a issue with areas with potholes. The great thing is that you will still be able to drive on a flat not having to pull over allowing you to go from point a to b. regular tire you would of had to pull over and our on a spare or wait for roadside. Which would you rather have ?

  • rrod3421

    Even conventional tires you should not plug or patch. It is not safe to drive for a while I believe. It is a temporary thing. Eventually it will leak and make your TPM light go on. Run flats are great and safe. Tires on BMWs are all the best top of the line tires and run flats. If you price both a. Covention tire and a run flat same brand and type tire the price difference from run flat or non run flat is maybe 30 dollars. My life is worth more then 30 dollars.

  • rrod3421

    That’s weird. Sounds like you had a bad experience. I wonder why bmw has been the number 1 luxury selling automobile 2 years in a row in the USA. 2011 and 2012.

  • rrod3421

    Bmw # 1 selling luxury automobile in USA 2011 and 2012. I love BMWS and smart run flats. My 5 series drives so smooth.

  • Rrod3421

    I agree a spare would make sense in case that happens. Crazy.

  • Frank

    This stores is great. BMW is one of the best vehicles on the road. But a can is only as good as the tires.
    I would suggest NEVER purchasing a BMW car or Truck only because of the run fla tires.

    I have leased 4 BMWs my last one was a 535xi all wheel drive with RUN FLat Goodyear tires. I replace 12 tires in 2 years. The inconvenience was crazy. One time I was stuck on the side of the NJ Turnpike when I was towed to the closest dealer the tires were on national back order. My car was stuck in NJ for 10 days.

    I had to have a friend come pick me up and drive me to Long Island. So for the next 14 months the car never left L.I

  • buttercup

    I own a BMW 128i with run flat tires, I have 39,920 mile on the tires and should be able to go another 5000 miles. I drive like hell and the tires have been great and the cars performance is fantastic! Cornering is a dream at high speeds!  I will replace with RFT’s when needed. 

  • raven49

    BMW may have “tuned” there suspension to deal with the characteristics of the run flat tires but too bad he failed to mention the new BMW X3 (2013) has increased its stopping distance over 10% compared to the previous models. Some tuning. A friend bought one and punctured a tire two weeks later – the dealer (the well tuned BMW dealer) charged her over $400 since it couldn’t be repaired. I question the convenience factor. If you’re 500 miles from home with one of these things, you may not be lucky enough to get a tire nearby (within the 25-100 mile range). The tire is heavier than a conventional tire and therefore increases unsprung weight which as you and most people know is very detrimental to handling. We have a 2008 X3 and ran over a screw 10,000 miles into some Michelin Pilot’s. Drove to the local gas station and after $20 bucks have since gone another 20,000 miles with plenty of tread left.  
    The other run flat (Michelin PAX) increases the weight of the wheel by something on the order of 1/3 or more. It will take some fancy chassis tuning to handle that large increase in unsprung weight.

  • O. L. Tremoulet Jr.

    In early 2012, my wife and I
    bought a new Toyota Sienna XLE all wheel drive. 
    We were informed that the car had no spare tire, but had “run flat
    tires…RFT” that could be driven up to 100 miles flat.  Our experience, following a puncture, was
    that the tire was destroyed after driving 12 miles to the nearest tire service
    center.  The tire center replaced the
    flat tire with a temporary conventional tire since they had no replacement in
    store for the RFT.  They also stated they
    could order an exact replacement but it would take up to 3 days to arrive.  The replacement tire would cost up to $330.00
    installed.  This was not acceptable, and
    the tire center stated that all four tires on an all wheel vehicle must be
    replaced if one is needing replacement.

     

    We took the destroyed tire to
    a Bridgestone/Firestone dealer and they covered it under warranty…there was
    less than 15,000 miles on the car.  The
    B/F dealer had no matching tire in stock…there were only four in the state of
    Washington,
    so they sent for the nearest one that was about 40 miles away.  The next day, the tire was replaced.

     

    Our anxiety over this issue
    forced us to make a difficult decision. 
    On a long driving trip, we could be stranded in some small town while we
    wait for 2 or 3 days for a tire (or four) to arrive.  The only equitable decision was to change to
    a front wheel drive with a spare tire.

     

    We regret that the issues
    involved with having AWD and RFT tires were not more fully explained at the
    time we purchased the 2012 vehicle.

     

    The RFT tires are a poor
    substitute for the peace of mind offered by a spare tire and readily available,
    cost effective conventional tires!

  • Timnva

    Not sure I agree with rrod.   2012 X5 and at 7,000 miles needs new run flats.  The cause:  feathered tired due to incorrect alignment.  I had to pay $180 for the alignment, found out there is NO warranty since it has the sport package.  Dealer’s response, (Tom Bush BMW); Call BMW’s customer care since BMW “certifies” alignment coming off the line.  BMW’s response: It’s the purchaser’s responsibility to check the alignment within the first 3,000 miles.  Really?

     From my point of view, I didn’t spend $55,000 grand for a new car to only have to spend $2,500 within a year of owning it.  The ride and tire roar alone should embarrass BMW.  Seems funny to me that BMW would take this position given the lawsuit settlement along with Bridgestone.  Love BMW’s and previously own a 5 and 7 series but this will be my last due their unacceptable position. 

  • Buchele12

    My 2011, with 42K miles has had the front pair replaced at 15K because of a side wall bubble to which I recieved no sympathy, or warrenty relief what so ever ($950.00) and just yesterday had to take my car in to have the rears replaced due to a blow out and certainly wear ($1100.00).

    So in 42K miles I have bought $2000.00 in tires, and I predict by 65K my fronts will need to be replaced, so another grand. Thats $3000.00 in tires or nearly $.05 per mile in tires. About 250% more that a good set of tires lasting you 45K miles.

    Lots of $ for a tire that really isnt holding up, that gives the car a washboard feel and certainly creates the need to be towed (my case yesterday) in case of a blow out.

    So for those that think run flats are great, beware. If you have a tire failure you will be calling a tow truck. If you have a flat tire, run flats are a 50/50 proposition as to whether they can be repaired. In my case I am 0 for 2 in that department. Goodyear honoring or replacing (warrenty) a run flat that cannot be repaired odds of that are zero. BMW doing the same, odds are zero.
    Get a flat your gonna be calling a tow truck.
    Having a spare tire – priceless.

    My experience with these tires is negative. Not practicle. Makes no business sense for the consumer.

    My experience with my BMW and the SOS service BMW provided me – excellent. Good thing to have. So if you have run flats, make sure you keep your BMW assist service (SOS) activated and up to date. You will need it. Trust me.

  • Sowayrockstar

    really? That is some fancy spring gone sprung.

    I have a 1 series convertible w almost 14k miles….

    Just brought it in for service yesterday…..
    They would like us to replace 2 new rear tires…..

    I say okay

    However, my guy said that is unusual for the amount of miles?

    Any words of wisdom?

  • Fred

    Girlfriend was delighted with her run flats, until she had a blowout far from home on a friday night. 50+ miles would have still left her 500 miles away.. nobody had her size in the area, so she stayed in a hotel for the weekend. bought, as were available, regular tires. now the other pair, which were replaced after this, have worn out and been replaced again. The regular tires still look fine. I bought a matching rim so she has a spare, and tires are less of an issue than they were.

  • Seanfarrell Sf

    Do you carry a spare tire?? Or you just chance it?

  • Seanfarrell Sf

    I just leased a BMW 528xi. I’m changing my rims and tires. Should I stay with RFT? And if I switch to regular tires what should I do about not having a spare?

  • realjeep

    Stupid run flat tires cost several times as much as a regular tire.  I got a nail in a brand new run flat tire and not a tire shop in town would plug it because they said it was dangerous to do so.  I plugged it myself and 20,000 miles it’s still holding air.  I was NOT about to pay $300.00 for another brand new run flat tire!

  • realjeep

     Obviously you have not priced a complete new set of skins for your ride.  I’m going to go back to conventional tires next time, piss on those overpriced pieces of crap.

  • Josh

    I just bought an 08 335 i sport package 50000k..its beautiful. Im on the fence about run flats or not. I read thea article and what stuck out to me was the suspension being made for them? is this true and will it potential wear out suspension parts of damage the vehicle?

  • wardie ward

    Run flats suck eggs if you live in the country. We have had to replace 3 tyres in 2 years because they damage (sidewall bubble) so easily on potholes. Never again. Bad idea BMW.

  • wardie ward

    I am in total agreement with you. The run flats have ruined our BMW driving experience.

  • Katherine

    I hate run flat tires. I’ve had to replace 7 in 2.5 years. I am getting replaced with regular tires on my BMW 1 series. They have unreasonable tire life and unexpectedly high replacement costs.

  • Tati

    I cannot agree more! My 2011 328i had had three tire replacements thus far for nail wounds, and at $300 a piece, I wonder how many tires I’m going to have to replace during the next 5 years? I have never had this happen before. BMW has no symapthy or repair/plug option. Further, the sensor in the vehicle does not turn on when a nail punctures the tire. So I am driving my car until that light turns on as a way of postponing having to spend another $300! This is my 3rd BMW and I have to say that my loyalty is shifting, but there are other reasons for that and just the tires!

  • Nadomom

    I have less than 7,500 miles on a brand new MINI countryman and had a flat. Upon inspection, there was a hole in 1 tire. however, both of the front tires were very worn down and would need to be replaced soon at a cost of $350 per tire. Although I really like my MINI I cannot recommend run flat tires and hence, I cannot recommend either MINI or BMW. I’m ordering non run flat tires to replace the originals. Sadly, This is ruining my MINI experience

  • ken nwala

    I am asking the same question

  • Ashish

    I think we all agree that the Runflat Tyres have much more issues than any advantages pointed out by BMW – And I am not buying another BMW with a ROF Tyre – So all of you who agree with please update the same on BMW facebook page it might just make them see how many client they might lose because of Run Flat Tiers.

  • Robin

    I’m the same. I have a 2009 328xi coupe and I am just now replacing the tires after 65K miles. I keep reading all the bad press, but I have never had an issue. Hmmm

  • NyackSkier

    I have a 2006 BMW 325xi. When it was time to replace the original run-flats, I opted to go with regular tires. That was 45K miles ago and I’ve had no problem with the tires and the car drives very well. Sure, there is no spare and if I get a flat it means calling for a tow to the nearest garage for a new tire. But with the run-flats there would be no guarantee that I’d be able to get a replacement tire in a timely manner if I got stuck somewhere. It will be time for new tires again before next winter and I will go with regular tires again. I did invest in a an emergency roadside kit with a tire inflator that plugs into the 9V in the car, but that may not help much, if at all, if I get a flat.

  • Mike B

    I have a 2010 225 conv running on 19″ Bridgestone RF. In the last 2 years I’ve replaced 4 tyres, had to be rescued twice and had 2 cracked alloys. Last car was a C Class and in 5 years from new with higher mileage no punctures no damage. Same roads. Think I’ll go back Mercedes which is a shame as I love the rest of this car but don’t trust it to get me long distances.

  • sal

    I have a 535i 2011 model with an M-Package, so the back tires are wider then the front. after driving 5000 miles in a brand new car i started having road noise!! I want to the dealer and complained about it, and they decided not to replace my tires. Last week i changed the tires to a non-stupid run flat tires. Now i have regular tires that does not make noise, and has a way better ride. And if i have a flat tire i will call road side assistance. DONE 7/1/13

  • Anton

    Stopped buying BMWs when they went to run flat tyres – noise, handling, tyre wear all were worse than my previous BMW, loved my BMWs but have got used to loving Mercs instead! I have met a few others who have given up on BMW for the same reason.

  • sircarl

    I carry an air compressor and no spare. I’ve never had to call for a tow because a leaky tire can be refilled multiple times while driving to a repair.

  • RS

    It may differ by location but around here in Europe RF tires are around 15-25% more expensive depending on the selected tire.

    So far I’ve used up Michelin and Continental summer tires and Continental Winter tires on my 1er with around 170kkm aka 105k miles and am now running with Bridgestone in the summer and Nokia in the winter.

    With an active driving style only the continental summer tires have been really bad. They they gave an unpleasant ride and wore out quickly. I’ve been wondering what all the gripe about the RFT, because all the other tires have worked fine with decent wear. Then I remembered that the bloody bad Continentals have been used quite a lot as preinstalled oems by BMW.

  • Steve

    I’ve owned several BMW’s and now have 2 with Run Flat Tires. I will never buy another one. In my experience, you get about 10K miles of a good run and then the vibrations begin and get worse. Horrible decision by BMW and they have lost a loyal customer

  • Frank

    Can we replace run flat tires by conventional tires? What if?

  • Alan Roberts

    I bought my first BMW, a 135i with premium and sport package, almost 4 years ago and did not know it had run-flat tires. I’m replacing it at the end of this year (2013) and will not even consider another one due to it having run-flat tires. In my opinion they are nothing but a headache and a ripoff. I am not an agressive driver and get only 15-18,000 miles off them. I’m an architect in East Texas and have to drive to projects way out in the country and am always worried about getting a flat with no spare when I am out on a trip. The tires are horrifically expensive, do not last and I would be stranded for days if I had a flat out in the country. My BMW 135i is wonderful to drive but I will not buy another due to these tires. So, BMW may take their cars and show them since that’s all they offer…

  • 328i

    I have a 2009 328i with RFT and I still have good tread life left over. Every other weekend I drive 500 miles round trip to see family and I live close to the Mojave. I’ve put about 25,000 miles on my RFT and I still have a good amount of life on them. I don’t hear any loud road noise and my gas intake is great. The heat over here can get up to 125 and the heat can make rubber stick to the road pretty quick. It’s strange that I’m hearing owners with RFT are not lasting as long as they are suppose to be. I do feel safer with the RFT and if anything happens to them like they burst I bought the tire and wheel insurance program through BMW.

  • Ann

    Yes but not at a dealership. I was just in one yesterday (picked up my 2nd nail in less than 2 weeks) and I asked if they could simply put on regular tires. I was told that the BMW dealers would not do it but there’s nothing to stop you from doing it elsewhere. I drove to a tire shop and did just that.

  • Ann

    I did the same yesterday. I’m with you. After 3 nails in less than 4 years, I’m done with run-flats.

  • Ann

    You guys do not live in Ontario! One run-flat rear tire cost me $690 2 months ago. 2 weeks later I picked up a nail in the other rear tire. I drove it for another 2 months until the indicator came on yesterday. Cost of new run-flat? $735! And this is a 328i. Bought 2 Yokohama tires for $505 for the rear tires. The front will eventually cost me $440. At $945, 4 regular tires are only $200 more than 1 run-flat tire. One run-flat is almost 3 times the price of a regular tire. This is my 3rd nail. I live in a high construction city. One cannot afford run-flats when you live in a place where there are nails all over the place.

  • necdiva

    I bought a 2011 Mini Countryman S All4 and the run-flats suuuuuuck. They already need replacing and the dealer quoted me around $1,100 for all four. Say what?! First off, when one buys an extended 5 year/100,000 mile warranty, shouldn’t that cover the cost of tires? You gotta be kidding me. Second, if I replace these tires with regular tires, can I purchase/order a spare to carry in my trunk? I don’t want to be without a spare.

  • CrankyRat

    I have absolutely no problems with the run flats and really can’t believe all the complaints in this forum. Seems like a collective hallucination. A big problem is that dealers over inflate these tires by 6 to 10 psi and that makes for a very stiff tire that is stiff to begin with. Put them at the proper inflation (usually 32 for all season) and you will have the ride you expect from a BMW. Put non-RF tires on that car and you are a fool that has just destroyed its handling at the limit. Current RF tires (2013) are a lot better than just a couple of years ago and road and track tests show RFs better at cornering (of course, they have stiffer side walls). RFs on cheap econo-cars without the proper suspension is probably a bad idea causing a harsh ride.

  • CrankyRat

    Silly me. I forget forums like this one are full of competitor BS and false statements. Anyone reading these entries should realize this. All the comments about how expensive RFs are for instance is just nonsense. You can get good RF all season tires easily for under $200 a piece and at discount often below $150. I’m looking at replacing my own (225/50R17 94V) tires at $683 for 4 from Tire Rack. That is not expensive at all for a 94V rated tire.

  • Winesox

    I have a BMW X6 with runflat tires. It was recommend that I replace them at 17K miles. I paid 2,500.00 dollars to bmw to replace the tires. I can’t go out and spend 2,500.00 bucks every 17K miles

  • CrankyRat

    I assume the M version? Well that’s a crazy expensive car with crazy expensive tires run flat or not. Go to Tire Rack and have a local replace the tires, not BMW.

  • Winesox

    It is not the M Version. Wish it were

  • Kenneth Meyers

    Why not just buy the tire warranty at Discount Tires for $127.00 and it covers the tires for 40k. I purchased it a few weeks ago and just ran over a nail on Saturday. They are replacing the tire for free (will pay $26.00 to cover the tire again for 40K) and be on my way.

  • Ram

    Or you can just install Anti Puncture liquid to avoid all flat tire problems!

  • Desert Dweller

    I just replaced the run-flats on my 2012 Mini Cooper Convertible with just 10,000 miles. They ride like a cement mixer. That, combined with the horror stories on line (Google: run-flat tire problems) of unrepairable run-flats replaced at great price; being marooned on the road for days while waiting for replacement run-flats, made me run flat-out to the tire store. I also purchased and installed, the after-market small spare that fits into the dedicated space under the rear of the car. (This is possible only on the Base Model Mini.) Now, on new, conventional Michelins, I ride on a cloud.

  • Gene

    2012 Toyota Sienna – OEM RF tires completely bold after 1 year and 20k miles…

  • BR

    I am or rather WAS, contemplating picking up a BMW X3 but am terribly scared of doing so, after all the negative reviews of RF tires.
    As I live in Dehra Dun, a part of India nestled in the Himalayas, where getting help from BMW or anyone is simply not possible. The rugged terrain and long distances without proper “metaled” surfaces usually with potholes, has made me realize that RFs may appear wonderful in theory or in cities where BMW personnel can reach you in minutes, but in the rugged outdoors, they make no sense.
    Timely realization has thankfully made me change my mind and I am now going to buy an Audi Q5. BMW you have just lost a potential buyer. Sorry.

  • BR

    Buddy
    I’d rather have the reliability and peace of mind that only non-RFs offer. Imagine being stuck in a place where the nearest service station – that incidentally can fix or replace RFs, is more than 100 miles? What do you do then? Sit and twiddle your thumbs? If I am spending about US $ 50,000/- for a BMW X3, I would surely not be willing to wait for a few days for a replacement for my tire to arrive.
    Ordinary tires are better on this account and no matter of logic would induce me to buy a BMW – spend that money on an Audi Q 5 or even Mercedes ML 250.

  • Randy Karasik

    I would never feel safe without a spare in the trunk, and I prefer regular high-performance tires for the ride and handling. The last time I changed a flat, the tire was destroyed beyond repair. It’s a good thing that I had a spare with me.

  • Jzv

    I fully agree with the over inflate part from the dealer. I checked my tires right after my last service they had almost 50 lbs. per tire. They are after you having to replace your tires.

  • pete

    why spend 325dollars on a new run flat when you can get the tyre plugged for 10 dollars.
    run flats CAN be mended by a plug where the nail or screw that has gone into the tyre is not right by the side wall.
    Repaired 2 of my r flats by this method 10000 more miles no problems.

  • Armandtiroldavila

    You are nuts! There are only 2 BMW dealers or center in the Philippines! What run flat tire are talking about? An RTF that when u run it flat gets destroyed! So with the conventional tires! This is a pain in the neck! For U BMW You should have fitted a solid tire and it would have been better! You are misrepresenting your products! What will I do with my X1 if am 500 kms away and my RFT is flat? No tire dealer wants to carry RFT tires? Even BMW dealer does not have stock on hand of RFT tires! They said you have to order and it will take 2 weeks! For the meantime , what will you do? Scratch your balls! Concentrate in making good cars NOT RFT TIRES! You have a lot of coping up to with your competitors!

  • Armandtiroldavila

    By the way Mr. BMW, your X1 in the Philippines cost 80,000 u.s. Dollars! DON’T MAKE SILLY MISTAKES like the RFT that burdens the consumer!

  • Bi Sulfite

    I have a Mini Countryman All4. I love my Mini, hate the RFT’s. RFTs are very rigid and make the ride much worse. On top of that – especially on 17″ wheels – they literally POP like a balloon if you hit a big hole. I’ve replaced them 4 times. Thankfully, after the first one, I went to Discount Tire and bought their warranty so they only cost me $25.00 a piece. Like most posters here, we love our Minis or BMW’s but hate the tires.

  • Rob W

    I don’t care what they cost, my time is worth money. Fixing a flat means I have to return home and get cleaned up on top of the time changing it or waiting for a tire to get fixed all cost lots of time. I like the fact that I can keep driving to the office, call BMW, they bring me a courtesy car, take mine and fix it and not one minute of my 14 hr day is lost. Does it end up costing me I little money? yes. But then again, I could miss a call at work that could cost me 10s of thousands in lost or missed opportunities. Thx BMW and the manufacturers of RFT

  • http://www.photo-hh.com/ -hh

    Experiences vary widely. For example:

    My wife’s hairdresser had a Runflat incur a blowout this past New Year’s Eve while on the Garden State Parkway, and she was without the car for 3 full days — because that Dealerships aren’t open 24/7 to effect a timely repair (even if they have the right tire in stock) like AAA can do, just by pulling the spare out of your trunk. From the “Productivity” perspective that Rob W alludes to above, “Self Help” will always be better…and even my <5ft petite wife knows how to — and has also done — a simple tire change, just in case AAA isn't ten minutes away.

    Next, a coworker with an '11 335i had 7 failures before he got fed up with them and put "normal" tires on his car over a year ago. He still has the same commute, but has incurred zero failures since. This tells me that RF's are vastly more susceptible to being damaged & failing.

    From an engineering perspective, RF's are heavier, which is an *increase* in unsprung weight – the anathema of enthusiast-based performance.

    Plus when you add up the four heavier tires (vs 5), the actual weight "savings" from eliminating the spare is around 20lbs, which in the context of a 3800lb vehicle is a whopping half percent. IMO,whats more likely the driver here is that it allows a bit more interior room…ironic, since products like a BMW 3 Series are now larger than what a 5 was ~twenty years ago (and that 5 included a spare).

    Next, another coworker had a RF fail (another pothole blowout) on his wife's car this past winter. The tire warranty bit meant that he had to schedule it with the local BMW dealer – - who proceeded to tell him that he should be "Happy" that he had the supplimental warranty, as otherwise they would have charged them roughly $500. I can buy two rear tires for my Porsche for that.

    In the meantime, the owner of the local tire shop that I use has told me that he's now seeing customers who have been so unhappy with RF's that they're changing brands of cars that they're buying. For the most part, that means fewer BMWs and more Audi/MB. He's also very cynical that the RF's on the new Mercedes S class are going to survive 50 miles, due to the weight of that vehicle.

    Finally, I'm shopping for a new vehicle and from my research, a lot of the (un)reliability of RF's depends on one's local road condition (potholes) and by how low of a profile tire/rim (lower profile= higher risk).

    What astounds me out of this whole thing is that before this change to RF's, modern tires have become quite reliable: the last time that I've personally had any flats on any of our vehicles was 15 years ago, right after Hurricane Floyd came through in 1999 and kicked up a lot of nails onto our highways.

    As such, I've personally concluded that if I need to pay an extra $5K on a different make/model to avoid those that have the lemon of RF's, I will do so.
    -hh

  • MIDI

    I have a 2012 Mini Cooper S Coupe with RFT, just touching 10K miles. Where I live in London there are lots of speeds bumps which makes driving with RFT uncomfortable. More importantly though I had to replace a tyre last September because of a nail embedded in the tyre and again last week another nail in the centre of the tyre, at £168.00 for each replacement, it is proving very expensive. I asked my Mini dealers if I could change to ordinary tyres and he said NO. He said you can change if the car has originally ordinary tyres to begin with but not the other way round!!!!