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Rob's Garage

Will using older tires void BMW X3's warranty? Add to ...

Hello, I have a new BMW X3 SUV with tire pressure monitors and “run flat” all-season tires on BMW wheels.

I was wondering about my winter tire options. Given the number of potholes on the roads and chances for sliding into curbs under icy winter conditions, I had always been told that alloy wheels were not recommended in the winter and that steel wheels and winter tires are recommended.

I do see the value in using winter tires for the extra traction. I currently have a set of four steel wheels and Bridgestone winter tires that I used on a previous vehicle. The sizing of the wheels and tires would work on the current BMW. However, the steel wheels do not have the TPMS and the tires are not “run flat.” Does that make a difference to the vehicle?

My previous vehicle (which also had TPMs) did not care and would just show a warning on the dash board about no communication with the TPMS. However, the BMW seems to have a high level of sophistication when it comes to the TPMs. I plan on asking the local dealership this same question but suspect they may tell me I need to use TPMS and they would gladly sell me a new set of expensive wheels and tires.

Thoughts? Thanks, Russell

Russell, this is a question that is being asked more and more, and I was in the same position last winter with my Toyota Venza. You’re right that steel wheels and winter tires are the best combination for winter driving.

Technically, the non-TPMS wheels and tires should be fine on your vehicle. Where this gets tricky is with your dealer and your warranty. Many dealers are sympathetic to vehicle owners in your position. However there are others who will claim that straying from standard procedure will void a warranty. You’ll have to check with your dealer, and get the answer in writing if possible.

According to TireRack.com, the transmitting device on your X3 is similar to most others on the marketplace. However if yours is a 2010 model, there are differences in design that will not allow crossing over of wheel sensors from the 2006 – 2009 model years for the X3.

Russell, there are two pieces of good news for you:

1. Regulations – Canada does not currently mandate the use of TPMS.

2. Price – The other good news is that retro-fitting TPMS does not require expensive OEM components Russell. Tire stores such as TireRack.com, Canadian Tire and many tire store chains carry TPMS. On average you‘re looking at about $50 - $70 per sensor kit. These kits usually involve the installation of a new tire valve stem and sensor.


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