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The Tire Rack's Tire & Wheel Forum
With more than 150 wheel choices and 10 plus tire brands the TireRack.com is the place to get wheels and tires for your E90 BMW. Post questions about wheels, tires, offsets and fitment for your E90/E91/E92/E93 BMW!
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Old 09-28-2012, 01:26 PM   #1
Rudy@Tirerack's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: rudy@tirerack.com
Posts: 6,589
My Ride: 1-800-428-8355 X4664
Winter tires sticky thread for 2012-2013 winter season

--The basics :

Get snow tires appropriate to your climate and driving style. If you don't see much snow during the winter, and you like to drive/corner fast on cold dry roads then look into the H-rated or V-rated "high performance" winter tires like the Bridgestone Blizzak LM60, Dunlop Winter Sport 3D or Michelin PA3.

If your area gets heavier snow then look into a more aggressive snow tire. Among the best of this type are the Blizzak WS-70, Michelin XIce XI2, and Continental Extreme Winter Contact. Winter tires like these will offer the best in snow and ice traction, but will give up some dry road responsiveness over the more performance - oriented H/V rated snow tires to get that additional winter traction.

You may want to lean towards one of the more aggressive snow tires like those listed above if one or more of the following are true :

-Your geographical area gets heavy snowfall and/or lake effect snow

-You are often driving on packed snow and ice

-You are just willing to give up some dry grip and steering response for maximum safe winter traction

-These tires are for a newer driver or for a driver who needs much more confidence when driving in winter conditions.

Choosing between these two categories may be difficult and is mostly a personal preference choice for the trade off between snow traction versus dry road handling. However it is important to keep in mind what your worst conditions will be as that is the time when you'll need the traction the most! Driving on a dry road is pretty easy, it is when the weather gets rough that things get more challenging.

--New/Updated this season and reminders from last season :

It was been an another uneventful pre-season this year with very few new models of winter tires being released. In some sizes , the Michelin XI3 is replacing the Michelin XI2. The tread pattern appears to be very similar between the two. There are a bit more independent tread blocks so I would expect a modest improvement in snow/ice traction from the previous model with a slight step down in dry road handling. The Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 will be phased in to replace the Pilot Alpin PA3 in a few sizes this season. For this year, due to a shortage of Dunlop Winter Sport 3D tires in the 225/40R18 Dunlop has substituted their new SP Winter Sport 4D that is now available in Europe. While itís a one-off size this winter season, we anticipate receiving more SP Winter Sport 4D sizes in the 2013-2014 winter season for next year. Available in 225/40R18 only for this winter season.

Like last year, we are also seeing some winter tire models being discontinued or simply not being produced this season. If we a more severe winter (unlike like last year) then we could lead to some early shortages in some sizes. Of particular concern is size 225/40R18 which is down to just a handful of options.

A couple seasons ago the new Blizzak LM60 replaced the old Blizzak LM25. In the past the older Blizzak LM25 and the popular Dunlop Winter Sport 3D tires were considered very equal to each other in snow traction and in dry road handling/cornering and were the tires of choice in this category. The redesigned LM60 is moves the balance closer to the snow traction side of the equation by using the more aggressive tread pattern of the WS60 but with a compound and construction of a high performance snow tire like the LM25/Michelin PA3. The end result will be much improved snow and ice traction over the LM25/Michelin PA3 with only a small sacrifice in steering response and dry cornering. This tire will be an ideal choice for someone having trouble deciding between the high performance snow tires that sacrifice a lot of snow traction and the Q/R rated snow tires that trade off too much in handling and dry grip. I feel the LM60 ideally suits many drivers needs in this forum well for an ideal balance of snow/ice traction while still keeping acceptable dry handling and grip for the non-snowy days.

Two new colors of two very popular winter wheels are now available. The European made Rial Salerno wheels can now be had in anthracite (silver is still available as well). The cost effective Sport Edition A7 will soon be available in black. Note that we do not yet have these but are hoping to see them by the end of October.


Will 17" wheels fit over the brakes on my 335i? What about Sport or M-Sport models?

While most 17" wheels do NOT fit the 335i, there are some models of wheels we carry that will clear the brakes and work well. Two of the more popular choices have been the Sport Edition A7 and Rial Salerno. View the complete list of 17" that fit, and current prices here : http://www.tirerack.com/a.jsp?a=BC5&...nter/index.jsp . Just enter the year and model of car, select 17" packages.

Do I have to buy runflat winter tires or can I use non runflat tires? What about TPMS sensors?

Its completely up to you. You can use either run flat or non runflat tires for winter. The runflat versions tend to cost more and ride a bit more stiffly, but not to the point where most would find them harsh as these are much softer riding than summer tires. Keep in mind that the vehicle has no spare tire. You can search the forum for possible solutions like a spare tire kit (we don't sell one, sorry), but most using non runflats either simply run without a spare or use one of their summer wheels/tires in the trunk, or a can of fix-a-flat.

Sensors are available through us, roughly $50 per corner including valve stems as of this post. If you purchase them at the same time as your tire wheel package, we will mount them in the wheels for no charge. You can activate your sensors by following simple instructions in your owners manual. Please note that due to liability issues and recent NHTSA documents, if you do not purchase TPMS sensors with a tire and wheel package you will need to answer 'yes' when asked if you plan to purchase sensors locally.

Which 17" winter wheels accept BMW center caps? How can I get BMW caps added to my order?

The Sport Edition A7, Elbrus I08 and Rial Salerno are the three most popular and readily available winter wheels that accept BMW center caps. I can include BMW center caps on your order for $15 each - simply refer to "Gary/add caps15" as your previous contact at the end of your online order, or call in the order to me directly.

I'm just going to mount tires on my factory 18" Sport wheels because I have aftermarket wheels for summer or just don't want to buy another set of wheels. Can I use 225/40R18 on all four wheels even though the rear is now 255/35R18?

Yes, you can use 225/40R18 on both the front 8" wheels and the rear 8.5" OE wheels with no problem. This is actually very common to do. Eliminating the stagger in this way works very well for winter and results in better winter traction.

There are so many choices it is overwhelming! What are most doing? What do you recommend for a good package?

I would recommend 17" for winter use on the 335i using a 225/45R17 tire size on all four corners. There are handful of wheels we carry that will clear the brakes and work well. Three of the more popular choices have been the Sport Edition A7, Elbrus I08, and Rial Salerno. For maximum winter traction, consider the Bridgestone Blizzak WS-70 or Michelin XiceXi2. For more of a balance between winter traction and dry road handling/cornering check out the Bridgestone Blizzak LM60, or the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3.

--A final word of advice : Don't wait too long. Ordering early when most products are still available lets you choose what you want to buy rather than being forced to settle for what is left over. Best to be ready with products in hand before it snows so that you can put them on when you are ready rather than waiting for a shipment to arrive after the first snow. We should have most inventory available in early October. Tires and wheels purchased together are mounted and balanced at no charge to make changeover easy.

Here is a direct link to the winter tires area :


Don't forget to refer to 'Gary/Fanatics' when you order online so that I can look over the order and get the forum credit for the sale.

F30 guys see this thread for some guidance on the brand new F30 3 series : http://forum.e90fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=947478
Refer to 'Rudy/E46Fanatics' as your previous contact when you order online. Credit E46Fanatics.com by clicking here.
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