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      10-02-2007, 04:08 PM   #1
LRS
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Do you change to Winter tyres in SE England?

Hi All

I read that most people in the US change their summer tyres to winter tyres for the winter months. Do you think living in the Southeast of England really necessitates having to change to winter tyres?

My 335d came with the OEM 19” Bridgestone – Potenza, Run Flat Summer tyres. The dealer never made any mention, nor did the BMW brochure or technical specification state that these tyres are for summer use only.

The illustration below fills me with real concern once a summer tyre in run at 7 degrees Celsius and below, which could be most of the winter in England.

Attachment 103331

I feel real hacked off that BMW does not make this clear and could result in me driving around in a very dangerous vehicle during the winter!!

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      10-02-2007, 04:16 PM   #2
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im pissed so struggling to make sense of your pic

yes in theory, for winter, which conjures many nights of heavy rain and sleet.

YOU WOULD want thinner tyres with deeper tread.. but we dont drive race cars we drive BMW's so im sure there absolutely fine for summer/winter

US has far harsher summers and winters remember

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      10-02-2007, 04:53 PM   #3
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Looking at that illustration I would say it's clearly aimed at the US/Canadian market, the biggest clue is the US spelling of tire as opposed to the UK spelling of tyre.

I've never changed to winter tyres & I live in the S/east, best bet is throw a couple of bags of sand in your boot if the weather turns icy/snowy.
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      10-02-2007, 05:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotcoupe View Post
Looking at that illustration I would say it's clearly aimed at the US/Canadian market, the biggest clue is the US spelling of tire as opposed to the UK spelling of tyre.

I've never changed to winter tyres & I live in the S/east, best bet is throw a couple of bags of sand in your boot if the weather turns icy/snowy.
you seriously have done the sand in the boot thing mate?
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      10-03-2007, 05:47 AM   #5
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A bit of background based on living in the NE US for 5 years (below the Snow Belt with temperature range from -18c to +45C and 3 to 4 separate weeks of deep snow every year).

I had a 530 with sports pack and then an E60 545 with sports pack, so summer only tires/tyres on both. Without sports pack std equipment for BMW was all season tyres

In the wet below about 5C they where like grip-less lumps of wood until you had warmed them up with 5 or 6 miles of driving. In the dry the same applied at around 0C.

But the real problem was snow; even a small fall rendered the cars literally impossible to drive. After struggling with the 530 I gave in and bought a spare set of wheel and snow tires for the 545 (Bridgestone Blizzaks). I put them on at the end of November and took them off at the end of March.

It was a total transformation and I could give 4x4 Audis on all season tyres a run for their money on solid ice.

Downside was the reduction in cornering ability in the dry. It was always a great feeling to change back to the summer tires.

Go here to find out more http://www.tirerack.com/it/it_07win/index.jsp

I would say in the UK SE there is no worry if you wait for the rare fall of snow to melt by mid day.

I will post some pictures when I get back home this week end.
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      10-03-2007, 06:53 AM   #6
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AFAIK most UK vendors sell cars in the UK with all season tyres not seasonal as required by law in certain european countries. For e.g. in Germany.

There are some shifty tyre resellers who will quite happily sell you cheap summer tyres (not tires). These tend to be surplus stock from europe or budget tyres.

They may seem cheap to buy but could be lots headache come winter!
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      10-03-2007, 04:11 PM   #7
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BMW as a UK vendor blatantly omits to state anywhere in their literature that the Bridgestone – Potenza, Run Flat tyres supplied from the factory on a large majority of their cars are “Summer” only seasonal tyres!

The danger of running “Summer” tyres in temperatures below 7 degrees – which the Southeast can easily reach in winter, is very concerning, especially if you add snow and ice into the equation! This is then exacerbated even further when you’re running very low profile 225 and 255 19” like I have on my 335d!

I wonder how many BMW owners are out there driving around in winter conditions, completely ignorant of the fact that they have “Summer” only tyres on their cars?

I would be very interesting to know BMWs position on a potentially lethal condition these tyres could pose in winter???
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      10-03-2007, 04:20 PM   #8
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i didnt realise that LRS, well done for alerting us, shame the whole of BMW customers cant be alerted to this... this is a very hazardous situation bmw has put alot of people in
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      10-04-2007, 12:37 AM   #9
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This is right - the profile on these tyres makes the car all but undriveable even with 10mm of snow.

Fairly rare event though in London. You have to quickly learn the very soft right foot approach to driving otherwise you get too much
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      10-04-2007, 04:09 AM   #10
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seen snow in essex many a time Tone

when i am up at my other house, it always garuntees to snow

was a big accident once up there 6 cars all ploughed into each other when a snow storm kicked off in april of all months
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      10-04-2007, 01:16 PM   #11
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92-2T

As you quote "like grip-less lumps of wood" , this really does concern me about driving around in the winter with the tyres BMW sold me.

Attachment 103623

This is from etyres based in Cambridge UK and not the northeast USA. So their comment is based on UK conditions.

How many other forum members are running these tyres?

I think I need to raise an official written concern with BMW UK on this one.

This really p***es me off, BMW UK!!

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      10-04-2007, 01:39 PM   #12
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Summer tyres are not *THAT* bad so long as there's no snow. A bit of snow and things change dramatically in favor of the winter tyre.
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      10-04-2007, 01:50 PM   #13
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I think that the overall concern about using these Bridgestones in particular in the winter, whilst entrely valid, is perhaps overblown.

The Bridgestones which are used as OEM tyres on our cars obviously perform best in the dry, but are also very good in the wet. Modern day high performance tyres are designed to expel water from the roads between directional grooves - this provides a much higher degree of protection from aquaplaning. Grip in the wet is actually very good, as is the braking performance in the same conditions. It is only when you use the ultra-soft compound Cup tyres (like Pilot Cup Sports or Toyo 888) that wet grip suffers badly. These last types of tyres are more akin to cut-slicks than intermediates.

Where WINTER tyres really come into play is when there is ice and/or snow on the roads, as the siping of the tread allows greater penetration and grip into the frozen conditions. You can still drive on snow and ice in the normal Bridgestones, but obviously you have to take much more care. In any case, if it's snowing or icy, I would hope that everyone takes extra care and drives according to the conditions.

In England, especially in the South East, I do not think it is worth the expense changing over to winter tyres. The conditions so far do not warrant it IMO. I just drive more carefully when it's wet, which I guess we all should.
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      10-04-2007, 02:20 PM   #14
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E92fan has pretty much answered for me.

Here, in Switzerland, they religiously change to winter tyres. And in some areas it a legal requirement. In most cases it can work against you if you have an accident and you don't have them - even if sunny. There is a weather report each night which tells you the snow line height (You can see it in the pic below ). Naturally, everybody in the Alps has winter tyres.

But, where winter tyres really come into their own is in consistently snowy conditions - which we don't really get in the UK. While I will just spin and slither hopelessy wih the traction control having canaries, people with winter tyres will drive away. I also have a few friends in Norway and they batter around quite happily with RWD and good winter tyres on snow packed roads.

I haven't fitted winter tyres yet. I'm in a more lowland area, and when it snows and lies (maybe a week or so a year - so haven't felt the need to buy 4 wheels and tyres), I just put my boots on and take the bus or walk for a change.

As long as it is hovering above freezing and damp, while not at their best, the standard tyres are not dangerous. Just need to use the old noodle.

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      10-04-2007, 03:03 PM   #15
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Its been said but really its not really an issue in the lowlands of the UK. I change my E46 summer tyres to winter tyres from Dec-Mar/Apr but this is mainly because I take it snowboarding in the austrian alps for a couple of weeks. In the UK you may only have 1 day/year where there is enough snow to cause a problem. In proper alps, you have a much higher chance of experiencing deeper snow fairly frequently over the winter - in these cases, when you need to be sure you can get around, you need winter tyres for the snow.

Having said all that, as I need winter tyres for my trips to the alps, it makes sense to have the tyres on for 3-4 months in the UK anyway. The tyres cost about the same as summer ones, so just see their purchase as a normal running cost (i.e. your summer tyres get no wear when their in hte garage and hence last longer). The only additional cost is the extra rims, but its normal to have cheap ones for the snow/possibly salty conditions anyway.

Its also worth mentioning here that as well a summer tyres, you could argue that some BMW rims are actually "summer" rims - the 18" polished rim 5 spokes you see on Z4s are not really designed to be used in the winter. Early ones now that have seen a few salt encrusted UK winters are in a right state. No self respecting Bavarian would either a) use his Z4 in the winter or b) leave his/her nice polished rims on it in the winter if they did use it - he'd have some 'steelies' on.
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      10-04-2007, 03:46 PM   #16
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I complexly agree with the comments about driving really slow and carefully on Snow and Ice, doing anything other is just dangerous and irresponsible.

I know that the Bridgestone – Potenza, Run Flats state good Wet conditions performance in their tech data, but the concerning issue is related to the behavior of the tyres rubber compound at low physical temperatures, be it wet, dry or otherwise.

The text below – from the US Tire Rack site; explains the (tyre rubber compound–to–temperature) relationship; highlighted in yellow. The Bridgestone – Potenza, Run Flats, are Ultra High Performance tyres.

Attachment 103668

http://www.tirerack.com/winter/index.jsp

“Hard Plastic” tyres sound to me that, however, slow and careful you drive, they would be like driving with racing slicks!

Sorry to rant on about this.

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      10-04-2007, 03:53 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LRS View Post
I complexly agree with the comments about driving really slow and carefully on Snow and Ice, doing anything other is just dangerous and irresponsible.

I know that the Bridgestone – Potenza, Run Flats state good Wet conditions performance in their tech data, but the concerning issue is related to the behavior of the tyres rubber compound at low physical temperatures, be it wet, dry or otherwise.

The text below – from the US Tire Rack site; explains the (tyre rubber compound–to–temperature) relationship; highlighted in yellow. The Bridgestone – Potenza, Run Flats, are Ultra High Performance tyres.

Attachment 103668

http://www.tirerack.com/winter/index.jsp

“Hard Plastic” tyres sound to me that, however, slow and careful you drive, they would be like driving with racing slicks!

Sorry to rant on about this.

LRS

I completely agree that tyres designed to last 80,000 miles will harden the colder the temperature gets and probably become like plastic - that characteristic of hardening is true of all rubber compounds. However the Bridgestone tyres are not rock-solid economy tyres designed for high mileage and economy - they are softer compound tyres designed to provide high grip and performance. The rubber is softer and tackier. However, the tyres used on our cars are not designed to reach 200 degrees track temperature - indeed they never go anywhere near that! Having driven my car around the Nurburgring several times, I know how hot the tyres can get and there's no way they go that hot! There's high performance, and then there's racing-type tyres (Pilot Cups/Toyo 888)...

I'll be honest, I truthfully don't think there's any issue with using our normal tyres in conditions two or three degrees below zero... when you're driving, the tyres warm up anyway to a temperature higher than ambient. Granted, if the temperature is -5 or -6 degrees, then there'll be a problem with lack of grip. But I think you'll find that will be down to ice rather than the tyre choice!! If we are in for a freakishly cold winter, then perhaps a change would be advisable. However, judging by what we've had in previous years, I'd save the money and spend a quarter of it going to a skid-pan school to learn how to drive on ice!!!

Oh also, do you know how cold the snow-belt in the States gets?! -5C is WARM!! I spent three winter weeks in Minnesota a couple of years ago and the temperature never got above -10C!! I was driving a Pontiac-piece-of-yank-crap
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      10-14-2007, 10:46 AM   #18
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LRS,

I have the 18" Bridgestone Potenza RE050As on my 330iSE & have gone through 2 winters with them, in the north-east of England.

You do need to be more careful in the winter, especially with a snowfall over an icy surface.

However, I don't think there is a need to change them to winter tyres, unless there is a long period of snowy & icy weather. This is just unlikely to happen in your part of the country, taking into account pollution, colligative property & freezing point depression!

I don't want to scare you, but have a look at this thread I stated a while back, looking specifically at the benefit of active steering in the winter.

All the best.

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      10-14-2007, 11:19 AM   #19
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The French leave a set of chains in the boot which I tend to do too, though I have never bothered with them in the UK despite two or three heavy snow falls over the last couple of years. Just been very gentle. The new snow socks look like a good device for getting out of trouble without damaging your rims.
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