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Snow tires for 550?

 
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dg27



Joined: 01 Jan 2002
Posts: 433
Location: Long Island City, NY

PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 2:46 pm    Post subject: Snow tires for 550? Reply with quote

My brother just got a 550, which is a lease that came with these tires and wheels:

Dunlop SP Sport MAXX GT

front: 245/40R/19 94Y MFS
rear: 275/35R/19 96Y MFS


Based on his experience with performance tires, he's concerned about the pending snow in the northeast and based the feedback he's gotten so far, he's contemplating purchasing snow tires for the rear only, but narrower (~ 245 or 255 max, instead of 275) and less of a low profile (~ 40R instead of 35R).

He's really unsure which way to go on this. These are the questions he asked the dealer's sales consultant, which were only partially answered:

1. What is the best diameter rear snow tires/wheels to use, assuming the above OE front tires? (the fronts are performance non-snow tires) Is it recommended or essential to use the same diameter wheel in the rear, or will a slightly smaller diameter wheel provide better traction? (Note this 550 is rear wheel drive only.) Or will using a smaller diameter rear wheel screw-up some of the other more sophisticated handling components that the car possesses? (e.g., the 550 is equipped with 'Dynamic Driving Control'.)

2. Apart from the first question, is it recommended that I buy different front tires for winter driving, or are the front performance tires adequate? My only concern is a possible lack of steering control in snow.

3. Should I consider only Dunlop snow tires, or are there other brands that are compatible? If other brands are acceptable, are there brands recommended by BMW?

4. Could the tires I select for the rear be all-weather performance tires, or since I'll use them only for a few months each year, & I already have performance tires for the balance of the year, is it recommended that I go with 'straight' snow tires?

5. Is it recommended that the snow tires also be 'run-flat', like the OE tires, or is this irrelevant?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

dg
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1998 Morea Green 328is 5-speed sports pkg
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walshja



Joined: 03 Apr 2001
Posts: 1139
Location: guilford, ct, usa

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had 3 BMWs and never purchased snow tires, and I live in CT, smack in the middle of the northeast.

All my cars have/had traction control, and I've never gotten stuck in the snow.

I always install all season tires.

That didn't answer your question, but hopefully it provided an alternative.
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joe

1994 325iC, 195k miles
http://home.comcast.net/~walshja/index.html <--- check it out

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dg27



Joined: 01 Jan 2002
Posts: 433
Location: Long Island City, NY

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Joe.
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walshja



Joined: 03 Apr 2001
Posts: 1139
Location: guilford, ct, usa

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Snow tires for 550? Reply with quote

I'm a marketing manager at IBM, so take my comments with a grain of salt !!

dg27 wrote:
My brother just got a 550, which is a lease that came with these tires and wheels:

Dunlop SP Sport MAXX GT

front: 245/40R/19 94Y MFS
rear: 275/35R/19 96Y MFS


Based on his experience with performance tires, he's concerned about the pending snow in the northeast and based the feedback he's gotten so far, he's contemplating purchasing snow tires for the rear only, but narrower (~ 245 or 255 max, instead of 275) and less of a low profile (~ 40R instead of 35R).

He's really unsure which way to go on this. These are the questions he asked the dealer's sales consultant, which were only partially answered:

1. What is the best diameter rear snow tires/wheels to use, assuming the above OE front tires? (the fronts are performance non-snow tires) Is it recommended or essential to use the same diameter wheel in the rear, or will a slightly smaller diameter wheel provide better traction? (Note this 550 is rear wheel drive only.) Or will using a smaller diameter rear wheel screw-up some of the other more sophisticated handling components that the car possesses? (e.g., the 550 is equipped with 'Dynamic Driving Control'.)

not sure diameter will effect control in snow, but the width of the tire will. the skinnier the tire, the better traction in snow. I don't believe changing tire sizes will effect the DDC, so long as you have the same size tire on both the left and right side. front and back changes shouldn't effect anything.

2. Apart from the first question, is it recommended that I buy different front tires for winter driving, or are the front performance tires adequate? My only concern is a possible lack of steering control in snow.

I would have the same concern as you with the steering control. seems most problems I've had in the snow were related to losing steering.

3. Should I consider only Dunlop snow tires, or are there other brands that are compatible? If other brands are acceptable, are there brands recommended by BMW?

I would go to consumerreports.org, and see what they recommend. When I was younger I always wanted/got the expensive brand name tires. I've since started buying tires based on price, and I honestly don't notice any difference. Don't go by any BMW recommendation, at least I wouldn't. I would bet they recommend the tire they carry, and nothing else.


4. Could the tires I select for the rear be all-weather performance tires, or since I'll use them only for a few months each year, & I already have performance tires for the balance of the year, is it recommended that I go with 'straight' snow tires?

I wouldn't buy snow tires. The part of the tire that makes them snow tires wears off pretty quickly, and they then become all-season tires. I believe there is a softer rubber compound on the tires on the outer tread, which wears away pretty quickly when driving on clear pavement. Chances are you could wear that part off before the first snow fall hits.



5. Is it recommended that the snow tires also be 'run-flat', like the OE tires, or is this irrelevant?

Well, if you don't get run flats, you will need to get a spare as well, no?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

dg

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joe

1994 325iC, 195k miles
http://home.comcast.net/~walshja/index.html <--- check it out

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dg27



Joined: 01 Jan 2002
Posts: 433
Location: Long Island City, NY

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks--this is all very helpful info.

Nice 325iC, BTW.

dg
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walshja



Joined: 03 Apr 2001
Posts: 1139
Location: guilford, ct, usa

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks, I love that car. she has 220k miles on her, and still drives and looks brand new. even the leather is holding up (although the drivers seat stitching is finally giving out) I plan on driving her til she quits
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joe

1994 325iC, 195k miles
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dg27



Joined: 01 Jan 2002
Posts: 433
Location: Long Island City, NY

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's the way I feel about my '98 328is.
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edjack



Joined: 04 Feb 2002
Posts: 3887
Location: San Jose, CA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If he keeps these tires on the car in winter, he should leave the car in the garage when the temp drops below 40 deg F, or he'll be in a world of hurt.

If he has to drive the car in snow and ice, he best get a set of four wheels and tires, of the same size, suitable for winter. He should get tires that are higher profile than the current ones, so that the tire bites into the snow. Tire Rack can suggest an appropriate tire/wheel combination, in lieu of the moron at the dealer.
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Ed BMW CCA member since 1987 (Nr. 62319).
'97 540i 6 speed Aspensilber over Aubergine interior.
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dg27



Joined: 01 Jan 2002
Posts: 433
Location: Long Island City, NY

PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks--this is very helpful.

dg
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Zaftig



Joined: 10 Dec 2010
Posts: 7
Location: Bridgewater, NJ

PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would recommend snow tires and tire rack .com is a good place to go. I've purchased snow tires twice. There is a marked difference in traction to me that gives me more confidence. I drive into NYC all the time, so when you have to stop suddenly for a crazy taxi, you need to stop on a dime. My current set are Michelins. I thought I was driving a new car when I had them put on.
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dg27



Joined: 01 Jan 2002
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Location: Long Island City, NY

PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Zaftig.

dg
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