: X3 Sport 19" rims and snow - advice needed

01-29-2008, 11:40 AM
Hi there, I have an '07 X3 Sport with 19" rims (factory) and wanted to take it to Tahoe (where there is snow/ice/etc).

I was wondering what my options are?

Should/Can I get chains/cables for the car? If so, does the dealer sell them or should I go after market?


Should I just get another set of wheels+tires just for the snow? If so, any recommendations? Also, what about TPMS compatibility? Will I have to go to the dealer to get them installed or can I just do it myself (assuming they're balanced)?

Please advise.


P.S. I've tried to search, but couldn't find a post with the exact issue.

01-29-2008, 01:01 PM
I have a 2006 X3 with 18" rims and "all-season" tires. These are good enough for my purposes, but definitely not great. I live in Seattle and plan to pick up a set of cables/chains this weekend before my next trip into the Cascades.
Prior to this I was living in Palo Alto, CA and had a 1998 Audi A4 Quattro 2.8L. It was a great car. My issue was that I put on a set of high-performance Yokohama tires to replace the stock all-season Dunlops. They cornered very well and were a great tire for living in Palo Alto. BUT, performance tires are truly terrible in the snow. I found myself in Tahoe in a snow storm with the Yokohamas. I couldn't go anywhere. Here I was sitting stuck, spinning my wheels in an Audi when Subarus (with appropriate tires) walked right by me. Fortunatley, I got a ride with friends (who had cables) to go purchase cables for my A4 before I dared to leave the driveway again.
So, either get cables or get a set of winter wheels with snow tires. To answer your question directly, I don't know whether cables will damage the rims on the 19" wheels. There may not be enough sidewall to prevent the cables from hitting the rims directly. When I bought my cables, I went to an auto-supply store, not the dealer.

Hope that helps!
Seattle, WA

Photo of the Audi w/ performance tires... I got there, but I was carrying chains just in case.

01-29-2008, 02:35 PM
I do not believe the chains that BMW sells will fit 19" wheels. Whether you get winter tires/wheels depends on the frequency of your trips to Tahoe. A wheel/tire combo usually costs around $1000-1300 and in your case, you will need to buy TPMS sensors.

If this is just a one time trip, rent another car. Performance tires and snow are a very bad mix.

01-29-2008, 02:58 PM
I just bought chains at pep boys for a ski trip to Big Bear CA this last weekend for my brothers 4unner. The chains were mandatory so it was a good call to have them. The kind I bought are very modern and incredibly easy to put on. They slide around the base of the tire then you meet the two ends on the top part of the tire, then secured/ tightened by a bungee at the center of the rim. You can't go wrong with them... They cost $90 a much cheaper alternative than getting a whole new set of rims and tires.

01-29-2008, 08:14 PM
OK, here's the deal in California: CalTrans has three levels of chain controls enforced by the CHP. The first is called R1: chains OR snow tires. (An approved "snow tire" will have "M+S" on the sidewall). The next level is R2: chains OR 4WD with snow tires. The last level is R3: 4WD with chains mandatory. In over 20 years of living/driving around Tahoe, I have never seen R3 conditions - they always close the road first either because of avalanche hazard or lack of visibility.

So, AWD or 4WD with a good all-season tire or specific winter tire will get you through about anything. The really dumb part is that when chain controls are in effect, California law requires you to have chains in the vehicle. Frequently, the CHP will be checking in chain up areas.

My recommendation to you is put a really good all-season tire on your current rims and borrow a set of chains from a friend to have in the trunk for the CHP.

01-31-2008, 05:22 PM
Thank you for the responses!

I guess I'll take a look at the M+S on the sidewall, however (from what I've been able to find) I believe the chains are for icy conditions as all-season (or even snow) tires are rather ineffective on ice.

I should also try and see what the minuses are of having chains/cables on these rims on this car (so far I haven't gotten a definite answer, perhaps cables scratching the rims?).

Another good point, and the one I've been pondering over, is just renting a car for the trip.

I ended up doing that last time, which during New Year's ended up being around 450 for a week. No too bad, but still a bit expensive (it was a Ford Escape), plus the car didn't have any of the niceties the x3 has, such as heated seats, comfy ride, good nav, etc, etc. The 2 pluses were snow tires + not my car so I didn't have to stress about parking, pebbles, salt, etc.

Anyway, again, thanks!

02-01-2008, 08:05 AM
Definitely worth checking... I picked up a BMW 19" wheels/tire set for summer, and the Pirelli tires were not M+S.

Not a huge issue as I kept the stock 17's for winter, and for what it's worth the stock all-season tires perform well enough on the ice and snow that I have not considered switching to full winter tires (and we have full-on winters up here in Winnipeg).

02-29-2008, 08:50 AM
Hi there, I have an '07 X3 Sport with 19" rims (factory)

Hi igord!Can you post some photos of your car?I want to see how it looks with 19" rims!

02-29-2008, 10:31 AM
sorry don't have any yet

03-01-2008, 02:34 PM
This thread kind of hits home as I nearly totaled my wife's X3 this morning en-route to snowboarding during a lite snow storm. Not more than 3-4 inches on the interstate and luckily for me no other cars behind me or it could have been ugly. I was doing 50ish and not accelerating hard (trying to maintain a constant speed going up an ever so slight incline) when I lost complete control of the X3. It went sideways and hard left as the nose pointed right and then it went right, across 2 lanes toward the breakdown lane. I did not hit the brakes and did a little counter steering but I was in a bit of shock considering it happened so fast. As I headed for the side of the road the car began to slow to the point where I felt I was gaining some control and lucky for me I got the steering back and straightened her out. I was tempted to get off at the next exit and call it a day but the snow plows had actually done a great job up ahead so I continued on.

The problem is not the X3 (it's been great in the snow thus far) it's the fact that I need new tires. The stock AS tires do a decent job in the snow (when they have tread :) ) but they are no substitute for dedicated snow tires or chains for that matter. I'm now thinking about dedicated snows for the X3 just like I have for my 330xi...

As far as chains/cable chains - I have the low profile cable "chains" on my Jeep Wrangler so I can plow my driveway without sliding all over and they are great for traction and don't tear up the driveway. BUT I can't see how people could actually drive on pavement with these things - maybe I am missing something here - I tried to take the vehicle down the road (1 mile) for gas and it was noisy and bumpy and I kept it to 10mph - can't imagine going 20-30mph for long periods of time but I guess you folks out west must be accustomed to it??

03-01-2008, 02:43 PM
one poster wanted to see the X with '19 rims...look at my posting. It's not a great show, but I have not taken the time to get better shots of my '07.