Here is some guidance for those of you with
tires on your cars. The author is John Blezenski, a long-time
and active club member. Thanks, John!
As you may already know, your high
performance sports car can be hard on tires. In order to achieve the
handling that Z3's, ///M Roadsters, Z4's and other BMW models with
sport suspensions have, BMW has designed suspensions which create
friction between the tires and the pavement. Friction equals increased
tire wear. And, the more aggressive your driving, the more quickly
your tires wear.
There are 3 things you can do to maximize tire
life and safety:
- Keep the tires properly inflated.
- Have your tires rotated periodically. This is
more difficult if your car has staggered sizes and/or directional
tires but it can be done.
- Check your tires regularly for inflation and
We cannot stress too much the importance of
checking your tires regularly, especially the inside edges of the rear
tires. The large amount of negative camber designed into the
suspension generally causes these areas to wear first. Please, please
check them before going on any kind of lengthy trip. Some Club members
have stories of blowing a tire and having to overnight somewhere
exciting [NOT!] while waiting for suitable tires to be shipped in; the
local Wal-Mart in Bullfrog, Arkansas usually doesn't carry tires to
When it's time for replacements, there are many
resources at your disposal
- Speak to other Z vehicle owners about their
experiences. Talk to our folks at one of our upcoming
- Check the various internet-based resources
- Check with reputable local resources
Web Resources: One of our favorite
web resources is TireRack.com.
The Tire Rack web site has a huge store of information on virtually
all aspects of tire construction, testing, and sizing and provides a
section where you can read owner reviews of any tire you may be
considering, and see how many total miles are in this experience base.
Some of these tires have reviews based on literally millions of miles
You will need to decide what "class"
of tire you want to put on your Z car. Speed and temperature
ratings are very important, especially if your drive agressively.
Here are a few categories of tires (per Tire Rack's classifications)
you may want to consider:
Local Shopping: While
the Club makes no endorsement of any one vendor, many of our members
have had excellent results with Discount Tire. It seems to be a policy
of all Discount Tire retail locations to match virtually any price on
tires you can come up with, online or not. To be fair, remember that
if you order off the internet, you'll have to pay for shipping, and
the internet prices don't include mounting, balancing, valve stems,
etc. Discount Tire also has a web site
where you can research and price tires, but we recommend calling your
local store for price matching and availability information.
Discount offers free flat repairs and free lifetime rotations and
balancing for tires you purchase from them.
It is also important to consider who will handle
your warranty claims and how, especially if you are considering an
online purchase. Will you have to ship the tire back somewhere? Who
pays for the shipping? How long will it take?
Road Hazard Insurance: Discount Tire (and other
sellers) often offer road hazard insurance, also known as road hazard
warranty, certificates, etc. These provide for tire replacement
in the event your tires are damaged beyond repair by hitting potholes,
Here's a tip from the author: This
is a strategy for dealing with Discount Tire to get the best price
possible on the tires you have chosen. First, search all your
resources for the best price you can find. If online, donít
forget to include shipping, any applicable taxes, and an estimate for
the installation costs. Then use the Discount Tire web site to
price the tires. If you are interested in the road hazard
warranty, include the certificates in your quote. For some
reason these are cheaper online than at the store. Take your quotes to
your local Discount Tire store and ask them to beat your best deal. If
your online quotes donít include sales tax, point this out to them.
Iíve found they will even adjust their prices to account for that.
This strategy lets you get the tires you want at the best possible
price from Discount, who has excellent service and a nationwide
network of stores to handle warranty claims. Again, no
endorsement by the Club, just the opinion and experience of the author
who neither is a tire engineer nor has played one on TV.