Run flat tyres were introduced by BMW in 2003 on the Z4 and 5-series models. Over the years more models followed suit and now nearly all of BMWs range leaves the factory with run flat tyres.
You might think this is brilliant due to not having to pull over and change a wheel immediately after a flat tyre, or you may wonder why they were fitted and just prefer conventional tyres. Hopefully, we will be able to help you make a decision on whether run flat tyres are right for you and your BMW or not.
What is the purpose of run flat tyres?
As briefly mentioned above, when your tyre gets a puncture and loses air, when you have a run flat tyre fitted this enables you to still a short distance. This would normally be to a garage to have the repair carried out.
You are potentially able to drive 50-100 miles on a flat tyre of this type, providing you do not exceed 50mph.
It is often difficult to tell when your run flats tyre pressures are low. Ensure you check this regularly if you choose to keep these tyres.
Do I have to replace run flat tyres following a puncture?
This is one drawback of run flat tyres as unfortunately the answer is no. Run flat tyres are double the cost of conventional tyres and once they are damaged they will get you home or to a garage but after that they are deemed useless.
Are run flat tyres safe?
Yes! BMW considers run flat tyres to be safer than standard tyres due to increased stability of the vehicle following a puncture. This is due to the hardened sidewall still supporting the flat tyre.
It is also important to consider the safety aspect of a puncture on a conventional tyre where the driver would be putting themselves at risk at the roadside changing to a spare.
Run flat tyres however can still suffer blow outs as conventional tyres can. It is important to bear this in mind when choosing your tyres.
Pros & cons of run flat tyres
- Not having to change a wheel at the side of the road
- No need to carry a bulky spare wheel
- You will not need to carry equipment to change the spare wheel over
- Run flats cannot be repaired and can be costly to replace like for like
- Some BMW owners do not enjoy the driving style of run flats
- Alloys with run flat tyres are prone to cracking
Reports of cracked BMW alloys
It has become more common over the past 10-15 years to hear of BMW alloys cracking. Run flat tyres are more likely to cause cracked alloy wheels as bumps and potholes are unable to be absorbed by the hardened sidewall. This transfers massive trauma onto the alloy wheel itself which can cause extensive damage to your BMWs alloy wheels.
Can I put conventional tyres on my BMW which has factory fitted run flats?
Providing you replace the tyres in at least pairs so you do not have two different tyres on the same axle, yes you can! BMW however state that their models from 2003 onwards have been designed to use run flat tyres so you may notice handling changes. A lot of BMW owners do prefer the handling on conventional tyres though, so this is personal choice.
If you do decide to go down the route of conventional tyres, remember in the event of a puncture you will need
- Spare wheel with road legal tyre
- Jack and wheel brace (ensure you know where your BMW jacking points are)
- Locking wheel nut key
Please remember if you do change your wheel yourself, you will need to visit a garage to ensure your wheel is correctly torqued to manufacturer specification. At Absolute BM we will be happy to help you with this.
You could potentially skip this step and save boot space by carrying a puncture repair kit. The details vary by manufacturer but in basic terms they force sealant into the tyre through the valve, enabling you to drive another 300 miles if needed.
BMW M models
So we said earlier that most BMWs leave the factory on run flat tyres now. The exception is most of the M models. Many think this is due to the handling changes, with the BMW M models known for being a more enjoyable drive. BMW did not supply these with a spare wheel either, probably due to the extra weight involved. They did however get a tyre repair kit included.
Absolute BM recommends
Taking into consideration everything we know; Absolute BM do not recommend or promote run flat tyres. It is perfectly fine to change to conventional tyres on your BMW. Just ensure you are prepared for a potential puncture and you check your spare wheel and tyre regularly.
If you require tyres for your BMW in Worcester, find more information here or give us a call on 01905 723 311