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2010 2011 BMW 5 Series Forum F10 BMW 5-Series (F10) Forums Regional Forums UK Getting rid of run-flats
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      06-12-2011, 03:44 AM   #1
Mac B
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Getting rid of run-flats

I'm now pretty sure I want to replace the 17" OEM run-flat tyres on my F10 530D with normal tyres when they wear out, but the one remaining issue I am struggling with is whether I will have a problem with my insurance co.
Have any of you UK owners done this and what was your insurer's attitude?
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      06-12-2011, 07:14 AM   #2
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I'd also be concerned about what happens if you have a puncture that can't be fixed by a can of tyre foam.

Just had a nose around, theres no legal requirement to carry a spare, but the AA for example have an exclusion where you're not carrying a spare, and a few people seem to have had them refuse to come out if theres no spare in the car.

I'm assuming you'll have the BMW assistance cover that comes with the car. I'd be intereted to see what happens if you call them for help with a flat, and when they ask you to drive on the RFT to the nearest tyre place, you say that you can't because you've swapped them out for standard tyres. Obviously that means a cost for them because of a change you've made, so i'd expect them either to refuse, or to charge for the call-out.

Please don't take this as a criticism of your plans, obviously it's your car and your decision as to whether the beneifit from running non-RFT justify the additional hassle/risk.

Just thought I'd mention it as something to think about, and maybe save some trouble one dark, wet, windy night in the middle of nowhere!
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      06-12-2011, 07:27 AM   #3
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Insurance: Absolutely no issue at all, most of them couldn't give a damn.

Warranty/BMW Assist: Could be an issue potentially, maybe depends on who you get to speak to and what mood they're in..! Mewster makes some good suggestions of examples.

Handling: RFTs are more expensive but the car is set up for them and I'd suggest (respectfully) that you look at all the impacted options - suspension should be stiffiened for a start.
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      06-12-2011, 02:56 PM   #4
Mac B
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Thanks for your thoughts.

Actually, as I said, the only issue I have to resolve concerns the attitude of the insurers - obviously they would need to be informed of the change so that there would be no risk of an accident claim being refused because of "unauthorised modification".
I wondered whether anybody had actually been through this process and what their insurer's attitude had been.

Apart from the jolty ride from the stiff sidewalls, and their high price, it is the very poor availablility of RF tyres both in the UK and abroad (especially France I hear) which would cause a big problem in the event of a puncture; I often make long trips in remote places (eg Scottish Highlands and rural France) where the recommended 50 mile RF distance with a puncture might not even get you to the nearest village garage, never mind an establishment that stocks and can fit RF tyres - with a conventional tyre and a spare wheel (yes, I plan to carry one) you can continue your journey (after about 20 minutes to change the wheel) until you can get the puncture mended are buy a new one in any decent-sized town.
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      06-12-2011, 03:38 PM   #5
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When I was looking at a set of winter tyres I asked Admiral if they wanted the details of them and whether there was any issue with them being run-flats. I spoke to two people (I rang back and asked someone else, ever the skeptic) and was told both times "We don't care what tyres you run, run flat or not it makes no difference, and neither does the make. If they're legal, you're insured" - almost word for word the same reply.

Understand and agree with your reasons for changing. I've done it both ways, including uprating suspension when I took the RFTs off etc, in the end decided that I'd rather have the RFTs for peace of mind and I'll change them for non-RFT if/when I have to. They're all available in a day or two from the factories, so it shouldn't ever be an issue, but in the worst case scenario just change the affected axle and then do the other one when you get home (mixing RFT and non-RFT isn't great, but it'd do for a day or two).

All opinion-based though, as I say, your car your choice and it makes sense.
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      06-13-2011, 01:03 AM   #6
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On the subject of BMW assist and RFT's, my brother in his f10 was towing and got a flat, called BMW assist, the said drive to your nearest garage that had them in stock, thank you good bye... He did, which was about 200 miles, guess what, before he got there tyre gave up, came off the rim, both tyre and rim destroyed... Car and trailer abandoned waiting for a closer dealer to get stock... Not a happy ending... But on the flip side, my f11 got a puncture went to kwik fit (lease car co's choice) they scratched their heads and said they (continental) don't make that tyre yet.... Then to my local (slow and less than helpful) sytner 2 hours later I had a new continental tyre... Clearly luck of the draw.....
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      06-13-2011, 02:55 AM   #7
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On the 3 series forum (which sees a lot more posting) there are long and varied discussions on this. The upshot is essentially as follows:

1) There is no legal requirement to carry a spare but it must be legal if you do
2) If you bin RFTs then carry a mobility kit (as supplied with the Mini for example and other cars in the BMW range that do not have RFTs or spares)
3) Rumours of the suspension being different is crap - you can get non RFTs as an option on vehicles which are provided with RFTs.
4) Insurance - as long as the tyre you choose has a speed and load rating equivalent or higher than the OEM supplied tyre, the insurance do not care if it's a RFT or not.
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      06-13-2011, 05:23 AM   #8
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Before I decided not to keep my F10 for very much longer, I too was considering switching to non-RFT's. I contacted my insurer (Aviva) and was told that, provided the size and specification remained unaltered, there was no problem in changing them. Best thing for your own peace of mind would be to ask your own insurance company.
Interestingly, I asked Kwik Fit to quote me for a set of Continental (or equivalent non-RFT's), but the branch manager said he wouldn't recommend changing as the suspension was designed around RFT's; and there I was, just trying to give him money!
I suppose that when you consider the resultant difference in unsprung weight, his argument makes sense. However, as Ian points out, there's loads of UK owners over on the E90 forum who have happily made the switch.
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      06-13-2011, 05:40 AM   #9
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I must say the ride on my e92 which had 19" alloys and the profiles were 30 and 35, was dreadful. The F10 is infinitely better: it has 18" wheels so the profiles are upped to 35 and 40 on a yet wider tyre. It also wears the "third generation" Dunlop Sport Maxx RFTs and, of course, is a bigger car. I don't know if it's just one of those factors or a combination of all three that gives the better ride but I'm not desparate to change them as I was on the e92.
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      06-13-2011, 02:55 PM   #10
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Agreed Ian, the extra profile makes a noticeable difference. Re suspension - not saying they're different because indeed they're not, but if you take away some of the stiffness that's been engineered then you have to put it back somewhere (stiffer suspension) or you change the dynamics. I know of a National Tyres garage that also won't change RFTs to standards, which I also found odd, but I guess they're either into some weird business ethics or trying to sell you a more expensive hoop!

In some cases it works, but ultimately even with years of tuning experience I wouldn't dare to presume I know more than BMWs R&D department, so I'm a firm believer in the ying/yang of it.

We're on a bit of a de-rail now, sorry.
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      06-14-2011, 01:43 AM   #11
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Although the sidewalls on an RFT are obviously stiffer is it still the case with a normal tyre at its proper inflation? i.e. an RFT with low or no pressure can support the car whereas a conventional tyre obviously could not. However, if inflated to the correct pressure then both support the car so exactly how stiffer, if at all, is the RFT? All I know is that you can specify NOT to have RFTs on many models and I doubt BMW change the spring rates should you select that option.
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      06-14-2011, 03:26 PM   #12
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That's true, hadn't thought of that. Isn't it only the ones with smaller rims (and therefore larger and more pliable sidewall profiles) though?

The spring rate of the sidewalls has to be different purely by their construction, so it has to make some sort of change. Maybe it's minor and insignificant, could all be worry about nothing , but there's plenty of "woe betide you if..." warnings out there about doing it and you'd think they can't all be urban legend surely..?

Never stops being confusing. My e92 handled like a sack of crap on RFTs, but my e90 320si (albeit specifically designed for handling) cornered like no saloon I've ever driven and easily as well as my e46 M3 - and ran the same RFTs as the e92 I replaced it with. Go figure..
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      07-11-2011, 09:35 AM   #13
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I've fited standard tyres on mine now. Falken 452's as recommended on another forum and the handling and ride are soooooo much better. Just bought a compressor and some tyre weld from Halfrauds and awy you go.
I had four punctures in a year with the RFT's one tyre only three weeks after it was fitted, Don't get the tramlining now on poor road surfaces and even the wife who doesn't drive said "What have you done to the car it seems so smooth and quiet now " .
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      07-28-2011, 06:00 AM   #14
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I have swapped off the runflats from my current and all my previous BMW's, it makes such a big improvement to how the car rides and handles, no need to change springs or damper settings, and well worth the risk of a puncture imho. My bmw dealer sources and fits the std tyres no problem, even those not star rated - eg my current ones are michelin super sport and I can tell you they blow the original dunlop runflats into the weeds.
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      07-28-2011, 10:04 AM   #15
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So there is nothing special about the about the alloys - so normal tyres can be fitted on the standard rims.
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      07-28-2011, 12:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnyUK View Post
So there is nothing special about the about the alloys - so normal tyres can be fitted on the standard rims.
AFAIK it's ok to fit non-RFT tyres to RFT rims, but not the other way around.
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