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New to BMW. Purchased a 2018 540ix Sport in October'17. It's a daily commuter for me (120 miles round trip - mostly highway) and I now have 36K on 18 inch Hankook Ventus S1 Noble RF. At 10k miles, I noticed cupping on the outside front tires with less so on the back tires. At 15k miles, I had the dealer rotate front to back. It worked for a while and then at 30k front tires, originally on the back, were cupping. Rotated again to try and get a few more miles out of the OEM tires. Probably could get 45K on these tires, but they're extremely noisy (at 30k+) and driving me crazy. I plan to keep the car for a while. Any recommendations for replacement tires? Should I buy at the dealership or at a tire warehouse? Dealer recommended Continental RF or the OE Hankook. I live in New England. Noise level and tread life important considerations.
 

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Just put Michelin Pilot AS III***8217;s on my wife***8217;s 540i to replace the ****-tastic Pirelli***8217;s. MUCH better tire, quieter, better wet-traction and a bit softer (due to not being run flats.)
 

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I'm surprised that a BMW now comes with Hankook tires. They're good tires, but they're not a "prestige" brand. BMW lease agreements often specify what brands of tires a lease-return must have: Michelin, Goodyear, Continental, Pirelli, Bridgestone. I guess they have to add Hankook to the list now.

Some tires get noisy when they're worn down. Cupping (stripes of wear) is usually a sign of suspension damage. Since you're in pothole land, it's plausible to have suspension wear or damage on newer car.

Suspension repair and wheel alignment are cheap compared to tires. I trust BMW dealerships more than tire shops to align a BMW. They have the jigs that attach to BMW wheels without scratching the lips (they use those five little holes in between the lug bolt holes). They also know how to align a BMW. 5 Series have double wishbone front suspension. They can correct incorrect camber +- 0.5 degrees by replacing the front upper control arm with one that is oversized or undersized. Getting the before and after readout of alignment settings is critical to getting a good alignment. If any shop will not give you that, walk away.

The big variable with buying tires is the machine the shop uses to remove the old tires and install the new ones. You want a "lever-less" tire machine that doesn't touch the outside of the rim and scratch it up. This is even more important in where they put salt on the roads. Ask a shop to show you their tire machine, and then look up the make and model on line. The local Honda-VW dealer where I live said their tire machine was "probably" lever-less. It wasn't. FIDO... **** it, drive on.

Do you want all season tires or ultra-high-performance (summer) tires, or all-season tires? Run-flats or non-run-flats? Shop around in Tire Rack to see what tire best fits your needs. My favorite BMW dealership will gladly install a set of mail-order tires for $100, using a lever-less machine. Some dealerships will not.

Once you get your suspension fixed and get new tires, the next thing is maintenance. BMW's changed their tune on rotation (if you have a square set-up). They used to discourage it. They don't anymore. The trick is to rotate them on a regular basis, not after two of the tires are trashed. Take the predicted life of the tires in miles, and divide that by eight, and that's how often you should rotate your tires. So, 40k mile tires should be rotated about every 6k miles. 60k mile tires, about every 7.5k miles. That will put each tire in each corner twice. Any uneven wear in a particular corner of the car will be spread around evenly to each tire.

Keep tabs on your tire pressure. The TPMS doesn't tell you anything's wrong until the pressure is 20% below what you set as a baseline.

You can go a step further and periodically adjust the pressures based on tread wear patterns. The trick is to maintain constant pressures for an entire rotation stint. That will give you a measurable correlation between those pressures and wear patterns. Measure and record the tread depths across each tire when they're new and right before rotation. From that, you can tell if you have an(nother) alignment problem or if you need to adjust the pressure on one or both axles. I start out with pressures that are 5% to 10% higher than was it stated on the door jamb decal, measured in the early morning (coldest part of the day and before sunlight heats up on or two tires). With a rotation stint's of wear data at constant pressures, I can see how to adjust the pressures for the next rotation stint. It's also a good idea to take a tread depth dataset after you've hit a pothole but don't have noticeable pulling to one side. You might have misalignment even without pulling to one side. Taking another dataset in a few thousand miles late will identify an alignment problem that you can't necessarily feel. I call this whole pressure-tread measurement thing "tire whispering." Doing this, I got 79k miles out of the original tires on Frau Putzer's Honda Accord she used for a long commute. Highway miles are easy on tires. I got 74k miles out of the original tires on a half-ton pick-up truck.

It's been my experience that Bridgestone and Michelin tires wear more evenly with less pressure than Goodyear or Continental tires of the same sizes on the same cars.

Here's a cheat-sheet on tire wear and the causes.

Also, here are three of my "tire whispering" data sheets:


The first one, 45k miles, showed that I had too much pressure in the rear tires. That was part of me learning that Michelin's need less air that Goodyear's.

The second one at 51k miles showed that I had an alignment problem from a pothole (intentionally dug by the morons in my town's water department to fix a water pipe, and then filled in with clay instead of asphalt) I'd hit about 2k miles earlier. The car still tracked straight, but it was way out of alignment with multiple misaligned wheels cancelling each other's pulling.

The third one, 117k miles on my beater, shows slight over-inflation. This was intentional, to correct both-edge wear from earlier under-inflation. Those beater tires are Conti DW's (summer high-performance tires). Even wear is achieved at about 40 to 42 PSI, despite the door decal recommending 35 PSI.


Finally, here's the typical rotation patterns. Cross-rotation is beneficial if you don't have directional tires. For purposes of selecting the right pattern, your 5 Series xDrive should be considered RWD. 60% or the power goes to the back under non-slip conditions.
 

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druggie
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Buy online and have them deliver it to a tire shop and have them mount and balance. My new favorite site is tirebuyer.com but I still use discounttiredirect.com as well
 

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WOW...Thanks for the thorough reply. I'll ask the service tech at the 40K oil change to look at the suspension and check the alignment. When I first noticed the cupping at 10K the Tech said it was due to BMWs alignment having a bias to the outside tire edge for performance reasons. At 20k, i told them to rotate the tires, but the Tech said that BMW does not recommend rotating the tires. It felt like a bunch of BMW BS. I have 3 Toyotas in the driveway with a combined 600K of miles, all on Michelin tires, rotated every 10K with only one cheap set from the dealer that I had issues with.

A follow-up question on the BMW 1) Can i put non RF all season tires on the same rims/car without voiding any warrantees or changing the overall ride performance 2) If so, do folks keep a flat repair kit in the trunk? I'm not that worried about getting a flat....only had 3 blow outs in 40-years...2 after traveling through a construction zone.
 

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There aren't special wheels for "normal" RFT's.

Years ago, Michelin developed a totally different RFT system that used an rigid "inner tire" and special wheels called the PAX system. PAX needed special wheels and a special tire machine to install the tires on the wheels. PAX never took off. But, that PAX requirement for different wheels is a truth that has turn into a myth for "normal" RFT's. I swapped out my OE RFT's for non-RFT's, and all is well. Actually, it's much better that just well.

I've never trusted those auto-parts store plug kits. Neither do tire manufacturers. The proper way to repair a puncture is with a high-speed plug-patch system. Although, I have had one of those fail (slow leak) after about 35k miles. Once a plug, or plug-patch fails, the tire can't be fixed. Tires are expensive. So, I want a repair that has the best chance of lasting the remaining life of the tire.

I carry a compact spare, a jack kit, a quality tire gauge, and a quality bicycle pump. Topeak makes good ones. A high-volume, low-pressure (75 PSI) hand pump works best for car tires. For my F10, I had to buy an aftermarket spare. It's a jury rig, though. It's a mini-spare rim off of an E70 X5, with a centering ring to make it fit (because the hub diameter on the F10 is smaller than on the X70).

Here's my favorite BF thread of all time about what can happen when you don't have a spare, the $1400 flat tire...

https://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=917185
 

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