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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 05-24-2016, 07:40 PM
SMG_II SMG_II is offline
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Passenger tire center patch wearing faster?

Is it typical for the E39’s (or BMWs in general) rear passenger tire (US car) to wear out faster than the other tires? More specifically, the center patch of the rear passenger tire?

I also have a 2008 E92 335i (w/ sport package) and have the same issue. My mechanic (BMW dealer tech that works on the side) says this is normal for BMWs.

Background:

-2002 E39 530i (w/ sport package) with 142k miles. Nearly all new refreshed suspension (shocks, struts, control arms, pretty much everything done and with Lemforder parts) installed at 125k miles.

-put about 17k miles on new Continental ExtremeContactDW 235/45/17. Tires were installed when the suspension refresh (+ alignment) was done.

-center patch of the rear passenger tire is nearly worn to the wear bar. The shoulders still have a good amount of tread left.

-usually inflate to 34psi cold all around

-Car used to have Sumitomo HTR ZIII all around. The fronts are actually still Sumitomo because they have a lot of tread left and will be replaced with the DWs once they’re done. The Sumitomos are loud, but at least get good treadwear (~40k miles on a car mostly driven on freeway commutes). So if the DWs only last in the 20k, I’ll be disappointed.

Curious to know others’ experiences, thanks in advance!
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  #2  
Old 05-24-2016, 07:46 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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BMWs have negative camber at the rear, and tend to wear out the inside shoulder before the rest of the tread.

Center wear is typically caused by overinflation. How much do you trust you air gauge?

When was your last wheel alignment? Toe-out can cause a center tread wear.
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  #3  
Old 05-25-2016, 06:25 PM
SMG_II SMG_II is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
BMWs have negative camber at the rear, and tend to wear out the inside shoulder before the rest of the tread.

Center wear is typically caused by overinflation. How much do you trust you air gauge?

When was your last wheel alignment? Toe-out can cause a center tread wear.
Thanks for your reply.

I've checked my air pressure with two different air gauges, and they both report the same psi. I'm guessing if anything's off, it's the alignment as you mentioned. I'll start there
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Old 05-25-2016, 07:23 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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What was that pressure?
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  #5  
Old 05-25-2016, 07:33 PM
DEADF15H DEADF15H is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
BMWs have negative camber at the rear, and tend to wear out the inside shoulder before the rest of the tread.

Center wear is typically caused by overinflation. How much do you trust you air gauge?

When was your last wheel alignment? Toe-out can cause a center tread wear.
All of the above is dead on. Hopefully you have the detailed print out from your last alignment. You should have a pre-alignment and post alignment sheet, showing where you were out of spec, if you were. I'm suspecting it's your toe out.
If they didn't give you one, it may be because they couldn't get it in spec. I would have it aligned some where else if that's the case
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  #6  
Old 05-25-2016, 08:47 PM
bobdmac bobdmac is offline
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As usual, edjack is on the money. Also, JimLev asks a good question.
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Old 05-25-2016, 09:29 PM
dkotanto dkotanto is offline
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I wonder if the alignment was also performed without the weights or a driver in the seat. That may be a contributor to the issue you are having.
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  #8  
Old 05-26-2016, 12:12 PM
SMG_II SMG_II is offline
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Thanks for the replies all

-I try to keep the tires at 34psi (cold) all around

-I'll look for my alignment specs when I get home.
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Old 05-26-2016, 12:55 PM
Arawak420 Arawak420 is offline
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My rear left center wears faster. Outside inside have tread but center is about bald. I thought it was normal even wear. I guess not.
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Old 05-26-2016, 01:23 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Continental DW and DWS wear very quickly regardless....17k miles is similar to my experience with DWS. I only got 14k with DW. Consumer Reports likes the DWS, but did down rate them for tread wear.

As others said, if your alignment is set to factory specs, you should have slightly faster wear on the inside tread, due to the mild negative camber.
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Old 05-26-2016, 01:30 PM
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Brandon002 Brandon002 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SMG_II View Post
Thanks for the replies all

-I try to keep the tires at 34psi (cold) all around

-I'll look for my alignment specs when I get home.
I believe 34 is too high for the front and too low for the rear. I'd set the tires to the pressures on the sticker inside the drivers door. I believe it's 32 front, 41 rear.
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Old 05-26-2016, 01:33 PM
Arawak420 Arawak420 is offline
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Does this apply to rear sport air suspension as well? Ill wait till that tire is done and get a rear spec alignment.
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Old 05-26-2016, 02:12 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon002 View Post
I believe 34 is too high for the front and too low for the rear. I'd set the tires to the pressures on the sticker inside the drivers door. I believe it's 32 front, 41 rear.
Pressure recommendations vary, based on year, and wheel/tire set ups on the E39. Best to use the manual and sticker on the door as your guide.

41psi in the rear is for running max loads in the car, IIRC (at least on a 2001 540 M-Sport). 34 is within the spec for lighter loads. Higher than recommended pressures (within reason) are generally not a huge deal, and actually recommended by two techs I respect. They said it would help with more even tire wear on the E39.

I personally tend to run only one or two psi above minimums, as my Bilstein PSS kit gives me a firm enough ride as it is...more pressure makes the ride uncomfortable.
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Old 05-26-2016, 02:25 PM
Arawak420 Arawak420 is offline
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I run 40psi all around, but then again im rollIng on 20"x9.5" BBS RXII
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Old 05-26-2016, 02:27 PM
Arawak420 Arawak420 is offline
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20" fit so well.
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  #16  
Old 05-27-2016, 08:41 PM
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540 Hammer 540 Hammer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon002 View Post
I believe 34 is too high for the front and too low for the rear. I'd set the tires to the pressures on the sticker inside the drivers door. I believe it's 32 front, 41 rear.
The car manufacturer's tire pressure specs aren't based on anything but ride quality. They are never ideal for performance or wear. As a general rule, most people famliar with tires don't follow those specs and I don't recommend them either.

In general, more weight is over the front wheels, with a front engine car and, should be slightly higher than the rear. Not by a lot, but I've found 2-4 LBS to be sufficient. I air up my Michelins to 36LBS cold on my 540IA with Michelins and they wear very evenly. Michelin's typically like a little more air than less, if that's what you have. They will usually wear the edges before the center, if under inflated and the center, if over inflated.

I sold tires for years and found this to be very true as a general rule, especially on BMW's, Jags, and other heavy sports sedans. The alignment sounds like a real possibility too. Like it was already mentioned, the alignment could use a check. Be sure to get the print out with the before and after specs and keep them for future reference. Best of luck!
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