just bought a '03 2003 325ci coupe....it has the sport package, with
17" wheels and low profile tires (225 45ZR17). I live in the
Washington DC area and we usually get a nice dose of freezing rain
and perhaps a snowfall or two during the winter. I'm thinking about
keeping my stock OEM rims (5 spoke) and putting all season tires on
them for the winter, so that leads me to hunt down another pair of
wheels(currently cruising ebay for another pair). If I can't score a
good pair of OEM wheels from ebay,
what aftermarket brand would you suggest to mount my low profile
performance tires on? I did the whole tirerack.com thing but I'm
curious as to what brand name is good and which ones to avoid. Same
thing with tires? any recommendations? Pirelli and Conti seem to be
favorites from the archived posts...what about Kuhmo? I'm looking for
long lasting tire life as opposed to top of the line track ready
tires, in a low profile tire
Search eBay for BMW E46 OEM 16" (or INCH) WHEELS.
This will give hits of rims that specifically fit your car, and are OEM. The
16s will fit your car, and give room for added sidewall. If your drop the
OEM from the search string, then you will also get hits for aftermarket
thanks...saw that advice earlier in some other posts that you
responded to (and made my searches easier)....so if I wanted the all
season tires to use in the winter I have to go down to 16 inch rim? I
cant keep the 17 inch on there (i.e. no 17 inch all season tires
Yes, I think so. I live in Sunny Southern Cal;ifornia, so I do not have this
issue to deal with.
Logic says that tall thin tires work better in snow that squatty wide tires.
The '03 models use the 16 as standard fitment, and 17s are the upgrade tire.
The brakes (including rotors) are designed with 16s in mind, and 17s fit
very well. If the brake system was designed for 17s, then 16s would not fit,
and you'd have to select winter tires that are the same profile as the
performance tires you already have.
There is more to winter tires than tread design, and one of the differences
is added sidewall along with a narrower tread. You have all summer to work
out the details, but I'm pretty sure that winter tires are better if they
are tall and skinny. You haven't much room in the fender wells for more
sidewall on a 17" rim, so you create more room by getting a smaller inside
diameter and the same outside diamerer.
Your 225/45x17 is equivelent to the 215/50x16. You need to shop for
equivelent tire sizes, and Discount Tire (tires.com) and Tire Rack
(tirerack.com) have good calculators that give comparative tire sizes.
You might want to re-think your strategy. If you are concerned about driving
on ice and snow (which you should be), why not just keep the wheels and
tires you have for summer use and get winter tires & wheels? All-seasons are
OK for summer and OK for winter, but just OK and not really the solution. A
dedicated set of winter shoes and wheels is the ideal solution.
Bridgestone Blizzaks and Michelin Pilot Alpin are perennial favorites as are
the Michelin X-Ice.
I see on TireRack where you can get a set of 4 Blizzaks in 205/50-17 and 4
Sport Edition F6, 17"x7.5" wheels for $910 - mounted, balanced, and
delivered to your door. That's hard to beat.
I agree wholeheartedly. When I used to live out there (NOVA), despite
having an AWD car, I still had two dedicated sets of wheels - summer and
winter. You can't just hope to "get by". There are some crazies on the
roads up there who think their big SUVs are invincible in ice and snow.
You need to be able to get out of their way quickly, and proper tires
I had the Pilot Alpins (in size 205/55/16) back in 2002. I wasn't
impressed with their snow/ice performance. They seemed to behave more
like an all-season tire in that respect. Maybe the more recent versions
of Pilot Alpins are better, not sure. On the other hand, I really liked
Nokian WR and can sincerely recommend them.
A good choice also - relying on the reviews. I have never used them. That
would get you under $900 mounted, balanced & delivered.
One thing if you decide to go this route - if you buy a wheel that is a
"closeout", you might want to consider buying an extra wheel. You won't be
able to get one later if one gets screwed up. Ask me how I know!
You might also want to wait until next winter arrives.
I was thinking now would be a good time to buy them since the retail
outlets (tirerack.com and other online stores) want to move their old
winter inventory to make room for their summer tires and rims and new
went to tirerack.com to price out some new summer rims....was thinking
to put winter tires on my BMW OEM rims and buy new summer performance
rims and tires (17 inch)....their tire/wheel calculator suggests 225's
for the front and 245's for the rear...isn't this a "staggered" set-
up? looking back on some old posts here, it seems staggered wheels,
most notably from a M3, will not work on a 3 series (unless you cut
out some of the back bumper fenders and do other mods).
am looking for some sort of website that can speed me up on tire/wheel
sizes (offset and other stuff like that) and which will work and wont
work for a '03 325ci coupe sport package....
If you go to check out rims on TireRack, they will only suggest those that
they've tested and that means that they will definitely fit your car. You
do not have to get the staggered setup, but you can, and TireRack lists the
exact setups that will fit. FYI, some e46 coupe cars (with the sport pkg)
came with a staggered setup from the factory: 17x7.5 front and 17x8.5 rear.
Assuming you don't have staggered tire sizes now, I can think of two
arguments against staggered wheels for your car:
1. Increased understeer due to larger rear tires.
2. Inability to rotate wheels for more even tire wear. Since you'll be
changing out twice a year for winter tires, rotation is a simple matter, as
long as you keep track of which wheels go where.
3. the extra width of the rear tires will mean you will have faster wear
on the inside edges of those tires due to the (normal) camber of the
4. The wider rar rubber and rims costs more.
5. Anyone knowledgeable in cars will know that you only got the
staggered set-up because you like the bling factor.
I would say around the $1000 mark or so for tire and wheel
package,...just want a rim that is well made and strong but within my
price range...I want to keep my current size 225 45ZR 17
I don't know if any of those tire/wheel packages on tirerack.com or
other online stores that are within my price range are well made or
are they cheap rims that will fail after a couple of years...
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