May 162013

Earlier this week my E39 M5 had a flat tire, driver side rear. This happened to me while I was traveling on the Washington Beltway, heading north 95/east 495 going from Tysons to Alexandria.

The loss of air pressure was very quick, and I pulled off onto a narrow shoulder area as quickly as I could through traffic. As luck would have it, I had just purchased a new set of Continental ExtremeContact DWS tires for the car less than two months ago. Right before the blowout, I was enjoying how smooth the car felt at highway speed.

You never expect to get a flat, and it’s a jarring experience. It can be even worse in an E39 M5, because the car did not come with a spare tire. (Other BMW E39 5 series cars came with a full size spare — the last BMW 5 series to be so equipped.) The car came from the factory with a so-called “mobility kit” that shoots sealant into the tire, and pumps it back up.

Unfortunately, it makes a mess of your rim and only works for small punctures. It’s useless for serious tire damage – like this:

M5 flat tire

Now that’s a flat

A few months after I bought my car in 2011, I purchased a donut spare tire from a company called BimmerZone. I also picked up a jack and tire iron. And that  really saved my butt this week. Rather than be stuck waiting for a flat bed tow, I was able to change the tire myself and drive home. Kudos to the highway assistance program — a truck did come by, and helped me by parking behind me and keeping the cars whizzing by from getting too close.


E39 M5 donut spare

Looks funny but works fine

Initially I thought I was out the full amount for the replacement tire. However I got good news when I called TireRack to order another rear tire. Roadside hazard protection was included in the price of the Continental tires. I needed to send the damaged tire back, a process TireRack made very easy by arranging  a UPS pickup at my house.

Barring any unexpected feedback from Continental, I should receive a credit for all or most of the replacement cost. And the replacement tire arrived at my local service station Hollin Hall Automotive two days after the flat. TireRack is a great company to deal with and is the only place I’ll buy tires.

All things considered it turned out really well, but I hope this is the last flat tire I have on the car.




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