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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Wheels and Tires Forum Sponsored by The Tire Rack > Tirerack, BMW Toronto, and Towne BMW - Winter Tire/Rim Purchase Experience



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Wheel offset calculator courtesy of BimmerPost.com. You may use this calculator to calculate what tire sizes you might need if you upgrade your tires, or what wheel sizes/offsets are compatible with your car.
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      12-17-2010, 11:54 PM   #1
the_doctor
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Tirerack, BMW Toronto, and Towne BMW - Winter Tire/Rim Purchase Experience

Hi everybody,

Just thought I'd share my entire winter tire/rim purchase experience for my 335xi - sorry about the length of the post, but there is a long sequence of events here. All of this actually started happening at around mid-October, but I've been swamped at work ever since, only to take a breather here to share my story.


Initial Acquisition of Wheels and Tires

As previously posted, I have purchased a set of Sport Edition A7 wheels from Tirerack and a set of Gislaved Nordfrost 5's from a local tire shop. (http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=446352)

The tire shop balanced the set after they installed the tires on the rims but they were still vibrating. (http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=448624) After the tire shop tried balancing the second time, they did improve, but there was still vibration between 80-110 km/h (50-70 mph). So I thought maybe all I need is a roadforce balance.


Results of Roadforce Balance

I know there are other tire shops out there that offer a roadforce balance at a competitive price, but for convenience sake, I took it to BMW Toronto. The Service Advisor then informed me that the vibration is actually caused by the alloy wheels not being perfectly round. He noted that due to the condition of the wheels, there still is 32-35 lbs of roadforce after the technician tried balancing the wheel set, whereas the normal acceptable range is 8-10 lbs of roadforce after balancing. He put these comments on the invoice and charged me half an hour of labour (as opposed to the $140+tax list price for balancing wheels) since he could not resolve my problem.


Tirerack and BMW Toronto Customer Service

The Service Advisor recommended me to contact the place where I purchased the wheels, which is Tirerack. I called Tirerack, spoke to the salesperson from whom I purchased the wheels (i.e. Gary), and got transferred to customer service. I explained to customer service that all four of their wheels shipped to me were not perfectly round and that was causing vibration.

The Tirerack customer service representative then said that I would need to first purchase a set of 4 brand new wheels with shipping, and then they would mail me a shipping label to ship the defective wheels back to Tirerack. However, before mailing me a shipping label, they would need the printout from the balancing machine displaying the runout of all 4 wheels. The rep insisted that they would need that printout before anything can be done, no exceptions, and that a dealer invoice documenting the situation would be insufficient.

As fate would have it, when I informed my service advisor (at around 4pm that day since by the time they were done with the car, it was around 4 already), the printer at BMW Toronto was not working that day. He then mentioned he would get his IT department to look at it the next day, because they have already gone home for the day. I immediately asked whether the machine stores the data of the tests it runs, and he said he was under the impression that it did.

The next day I called him, he mentioned that they actually need to call Hunter in to service the machine since the printer has not been working for some time. He then subsequently informed me that unfortunately, the machine does not store any past data and that he would need to re-run the balancing on my wheels. He suggested that I call back later in the week to ensure that their printer was fixed, which I did call back but it was still not fixed. At that time, he noted that appointments were not possible until 2 weeks later since they are "fully booked".


Decision to Purchase OEM Wheels

So after being given the run-around, I realized that it was absolutely ridiculous that I'm driving around in a 335 with vibrating wheels. I then decided that I'm not going to put up with cheap defective wheels when I can do something about it. My options at the time were:

a) ignore the vibration which can only get worse as the tires/rims wear over time (unacceptable idea to me)
b) wait until BMW Toronto get their Hunter balancing machine printer fixed and then have them re-run the tests, then call back Tirerack, have them ship a brand new set of rims hoping they will not be defective, and ship the defective ones back
c) go to another shop with a Hunter balancing machine and pay them to have them re-run all the tests that BMW Toronto just did, get the printout, then call back Tirerack, have them ship a brand new set of rims hoping they will not be defective, and ship the defective ones back
d) purchase another set of good quality wheels knowing they will not be out of round

I decided with option d) as I really don't want to potentially deal with yet another set of defective wheels from Tirerack, bring them to a roadforce shop to install/balance, then having to deal with this all over again if they are out of round again. I know there are shops in Toronto that sell good quality wheels, but after all this, I don't ever want to deal with potentially defective wheels again (no offense intended to all the aftermarket rims manufacturers / retailers) so I decided to go with OEM BMW wheels, which are guaranteed no headaches.


Price Comparison Shopping

Dealers in Toronto are selling Style 159 wheels at approx $550 each + 13% HST. I would then have to pay them an additional $160 (+ tax) to install / balance the wheels on my Gislaveds.

I contacted Tischer BMW and they wanted $285 each + $150 shipping to Canada.

I contacted Towne BMW (which is the only dealer in Buffalo, closest American city to Toronto) and they wanted $355 each + $180 installation.

I then decided to go with Towne BMW, since if for whatever reason the BMW wheels were defective too, then they can do something about it right away being a dealer and my car is in their shop. I know the chance of having an OEM wheel defective is minimal, but knowing my luck with the Sport Edition A7's (of which no one here noted any issues, except for maybe one person had issues several years ago and it was on a 5 series), I just did not want to take the chance. Imagine if the Tischer wheels (or any one of them) were defective just out of luck and I'd have to deal with this all over again.


My Experience with Towne BMW

When I booked my service appointment, I was told that they do not give loaners unless the car was purchased there. At the time, I was like - sure, why not, I've gone through all this already, if I have to sit there for 3 hours to wait for it, so be it.

I got there at 11am and the service advisor offered me a loaner after learning I came all the way from Canada. It was a Toyota Camry, but whatever, that saved me from sitting at the dealership for hours and I've never gotten a loaner from BMW Toronto before.

The balancing was a bit expensive, as I was charged for the $180 "base fee" plus the cost of wheel weights and valve stems. I've never had my wheels balanced at other BMW dealerships before so I'm not sure whether other dealers would charge extra for weights and valves.

I told Towne BMW to throw out my defective wheels as I did not want to appear suspicious at the border coming back to Canada. I actually did call BMW Toronto but their printer was still not fixed at the time ... hahahaha


With New Wheels Installed ...

There is no more vibration!! The car feels normal again now - after this huge fiasco.

I realize that this has probably cost me more than if I were to purchase the tire/wheel package directly from a BMW dealer in Toronto! But oh well, after digesting this for the past few weeks, such is life ...


***** DISCLAIMER *****

This post is not designed as a slap on any aftermarket rims manufacturer / retailer. It is just a friendly warning to those who are considering mail-order aftermarket rims that they may have to deal with headaches if they are lucky enough like me. That is all - thanks for reading.
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      12-18-2010, 12:21 AM   #2
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Sport Edition wheels are probably the cheapest brand tirerack carries. Like the old saying goes....you get what you pay for. I've dealt with tirerack in the past with no issues. I'm very happy with my RAYS 19's. I guess you can't expect the best quality when you buy a $100 wheel. I have the 159's that I use in the winter but I didn't know they were so expensive...mine came stock. Tirerack's choices are rather limited in 17's. It always pays to shop around though. Can't go wrong with any of the OEM wheels, they are very good quality. Glad to hear all is well with your car now.

Last edited by F30JetsFan; 12-18-2010 at 12:43 AM.
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      12-18-2010, 06:02 PM   #3
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Damn dude that sounded like an expensive experience, in regards to money and your time. I just picked up a used set for 900 bucks (Dunlop Durenza 225/45/17 on BMW rims, ET35) in the GTA that are basicaly new. Sucks that you had to go through such a hassle.
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      12-19-2010, 10:05 AM   #4
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Sorry your experience was so stressful and complicated. My experience was very simple I must say.....

1) Checked for winter wheels using the great Internet tool. Found a great brand new set in Toronto drove there and picked them up after checking with wheel and tire experts here that they would fit my Z4. The wheels are aftermarket M3 8x18 (replicas). Thanks again to the folks here on this forum that helped me confirm the fit.

2) Checked for tires here on the Tire Rack Site, then with help from people here and Gary at Tire Rack ordered them. The tires arrived in 2 days at my door and since I compared prices locally here in Canada I can say I saved close to $500.00 by ordering the tires from Tire Rack.

3) My local BMW Dealer mounted the tires to my new winter wheel with new valves, mounting and balancing the bill came just over $80.00 with our taxes.

Needles to say I am a happy camper now that the RFT are resting in my garage waiting to be replaced by Non-RFT (in the near future naturally by tires from Tire Rack).

The ride on my Michelin ICE winter Non-RFT is wonderful, hard to describe orther then day and night.

The process can be very simple one step at a time

Photos in my garage under Photo Album "Winter Set Up"

Thanks again to all that helped in this Forum here and especially Gary from Tire Rack ... Happy Holidays
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Last edited by Mr. ///M3 RD; 12-19-2010 at 02:50 PM.
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      12-19-2010, 02:29 PM   #5
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That sounds like a terrible experience. I would definitely be a lot more upset...
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      11-28-2011, 07:36 PM   #6
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BMW WHEELS

Sorry you had to go through such a hastle. It is always better to get the winter package done locally, so if there are any problems, you can always resolve it on the spot. We at gtatires.ca service over 400 BMW cars every season and have seen it all, from wheels not being hub centric, to wheels with wrong centering rings weight on the wheels,it is amazing what some shops would due for a dollar.There are many wheels and replica alloys that come hub centric for this car and 99.9 % of the time if you line up the tire mark to the valve stem you hardly need to use any waights to ballance.Call me next time you need help my name is Nick from GTA TIRE AND AUTO CENTRE 416-633-0318
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      11-29-2011, 12:05 AM   #7
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wow!!! thats ridiculous!!! sorry ot hear u went through that just to get winters on...
there were many easier/cheaper options but you know that. I get why you did what you did though, you were done and just wanted it perfect...

In the end, you ended up with quality
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