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Old 18th June 2024, 09:12   #1
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Are BMW India's wheels the most delicate? Owners suffer frequently bent or cracked rims

When people say that India is not for beginners, they're not wrong. The road conditions are below sub-par in most areas and monsoons ruin half of the roads every year. As enthusiasts, we are left craving for good roads in India. Given the bad road conditions in the country, it's no wonder SUVs or crossovers are at the peak of popularity.

Today, we're here to talk about the damage these bad roads cause to the wheels and tyres of cars. There’s a lot that can get damaged in a car if you go through a pothole at high speed. Tyres getting punctured is the most obvious, alloy wheels bending or cracking is next and in some cases, even suspension components get damaged. While we can place the blame on the bad road infrastructure and even driver error, you cannot completely discard the possibility that something might be wrong with the alloy wheels. I’m specifically talking about BMW alloy wheels.

Are BMW India's wheels the most delicate? Owners suffer frequently bent or cracked rims-quarter-panel-landscape.jpg

Just Google - BMW cracked alloys and you’ll find plenty of posts where people are complaining about their alloy wheels getting cracked or bent. Not just internationally, but in India as well. A quick search on Team-BHP will also give you plenty of results of BMW owners complaining about their alloy wheels getting bent or cracked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
My car (BMW 530d with 245/45/R18 at the front and 275/40/R18 tyres at the rear) sees a lot of highway running (two road trips in the last month itself) and wheel repairs are now a bi-annual affair for me.

• Two bent rims minimum per year due to lots of highway running. Luckily, I haven't faced a damaged tyre yet (touches wood).

• 4,000 - 5,000 bucks on repair costs every time. That's 10,000 a year on wheel repair alone.

• Now, a new problem came up. One of my wheels has been repaired so much that it became structurally weak! Sent it to two wheel experts and both of them said "It cannot be repaired further". 8 years of repairing them has taken its toll.

• I plan to keep the 530d for another couple of years. Hence, instead of buying a single wheel, I actually bought a FULL SPARE SET on OLX. What a colossal waste of money, just to have those 18-inch wheels. No choice though = all of my 4 rims have been repaired several times and soon, the others will be unrepairable too. Luckily, the used set of 4 wheels that I bought is flawless and the price was fair (60 grand). But not everyone has the spare storage space.
Are BMW India's wheels the most delicate? Owners suffer frequently bent or cracked rims-20211110-08.41.37.jpg
Quote:
Originally Posted by samyakmodi View Post
BMW 630d 245/45/R18 at the front and 275/40/R18 tyres at the rear

In the past couple of months, I have had one alloy wheel bent because of a pothole and 2 have cracked without any bend whatsoever.

For the cracked alloys - The only thing I noticed was they were losing pressure every day. Thought it was a puncture - sent it for repairs only to realise they are cracked!!

BMW alloys are a bit expensive and definitely fragile! At about Rs. 1 lac each - doesn't seem practical enough.
Are BMW India's wheels the most delicate? Owners suffer frequently bent or cracked rims-21.jpeg
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikhilganju View Post
I had been driving a 2010 525i (17-inch rims) for about 18+ months, and as I expected (while buying a legendary marquee for the amount of almost INR 4 million) the car has been driving very well in general.

I took the car for a service in Jan (the engine oil service alert was being displayed by the car) in which I also pointed out an issue of wheel alignment, since the car seemed to be pulling to the left. When I collected the car the next day in the evening, to my surprise/shock/dismay I was informed that all the four wheel rims of my car had been identified as bent and this was causing a wobbling in the steering wheel at speeds of 80kmph and above.
Quote:
Originally Posted by androdev View Post
Air suspension has rubber bellows, they tend to fail as early as within 4 years if you are unlucky. If one of the front pair fails, be prepared for the other one also to fail soon. Rear ones tend to last longer.

BMW low profile RFT tires and cast alloy wheels are not a great combination for Indian roads. Say you noticed a speed breaker too late and end up with an impact: this can potentially cause a crack in alloy without any damage to the tire. Tire damage usually points to hitting something sharp. Moving to tubeless tires, higher profile tires, good quality forged alloy wheels etc can help mitigate the issue.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevinrevvz View Post
Regarding the tyres, I had several instances of cracked rims and premature RFT tyre wear on my F10 as well. However, the G30's staggered setup is quite unique and with the recent import bans, what about the availability of these?

Dunlop seems to be the most popular amongst G30 530ds but if the grip levels aren't satisfactory, may I know how easy to find and how expensive a set of PS5s are?
It is clear that these aren't one-off cases and there is a problem here. The rims are extremely prone to bending and cracking. And while we don’t have the exact research data it does seem that the primary reason could be that the rims themselves are delicate. Alloy wheel composition plays an important role in the stiffness of the wheel. This could be one of the reasons for the frequent bending and cracking of BMW alloy wheels.

Another contributing factor is the use of low-profile run-flat tyres. For starters, big rim size and low profile tyres is a trend these days that just isn’t sensible on Indian roads. Add to the fact that the strengthened sidewalls of run-flat tyres do transfer the impact from the tyre to the rim.
Are BMW India's wheels the most delicate? Owners suffer frequently bent or cracked rims-first-cut-1.jpg

Negative camber on BMW cars, especially at the rear is referred to as one of the contributing factors on international forums. Negative camber helps the driver get maximum grip on the road and enhances the handling characteristics of the car. However, with a negative camber, the inner side of the alloy wheel is closer to the ground. Combine that with the stiffer sidewall of run-flat tyres and if the tyre pressure is low, the possibility of the rim (inner side) getting damaged is higher.
Are BMW India's wheels the most delicate? Owners suffer frequently bent or cracked rims-img_8969.jpg

What do you think is the main reason for the rims of BMW cars bending or cracking frequently? Do share your experience and thoughts.

Last edited by Omkar : 18th June 2024 at 21:52.
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Old 18th June 2024, 09:14   #2
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Re: Are BMW India's wheels the most delicate? Owners suffer frequently bent or cracked rims

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Old 18th June 2024, 09:28   #3
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Re: Are BMW India's wheels the most delicate? Owners suffer frequently bent or cracked rims

Perhaps this is particularly prevalent on wheels with the lower profile tyres, staggered set ups or XL size rims but personally, I’ve not had a single case of wheel / rim damage (touch wood) on my 3GT in the 8.5 years and 65k kms that I’ve owned it.

At least on one instance I’ve gone through even a tyre blowout (completely blown tyre) as a result of an invisible pothole in pouring rain around Navi Mumbai. Even on that instance, the wheel came out unscathed. I only lost the tyre.

But TBH even I was really scared of such issues on my recent long drive in the GLC. Indian highways are truly not for beginners and specially since I did a lot of my recent drive in dark hours, I was particularly scared of the sudden potholes and unmarked breakers that were hard to sight, more so when it was drizzling or raining.

Last edited by Axe77 : 18th June 2024 at 14:46.
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Old 18th June 2024, 23:29   #4
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Re: Are BMW India's wheels the most delicate? Owners suffer frequently bent or cracked rims

BMW India definitely has an issue here. Even Akshay (Euro car expert) told me their stock wheels are too soft / weak and for frequent highway runs, it's better to look at stronger / forged options from the aftermarket.

Weirdly, even bad roads in the city severely bend their rims. It's not just highway potholes taken at high speed. Every time my car goes for a service, 2 rims are bent. Repaired them so many times that 2 wheels became structurally weak and couldn't be repaired anymore. Hence, I bought that extra set from OLX!

And it's not just with one particular style. On my car, the pre-facelift style wheels as well as the facelift-style rims I got have been bent equally. No matter whether its running on tubeless or runflat tyres.
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Old 19th June 2024, 00:07   #5
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Re: Are BMW India's wheels the most delicate? Owners suffer frequently bent or cracked rims

This problem seems to be prevalent with the latest trend of having oversized rims and smaller profile tyres. The stock size on my 2013 X3 is 225/60 R17 and I have missed a lot of potholes and speed breakers but never faced a rim damage (touchwood). My friend who has 2021 X1 has already damaged his tyres and rims atleast 2 times that I know of. The rims are 18 inches if I remember correctly.
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Old 19th June 2024, 10:28   #6
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Re: Are BMW India's wheels the most delicate? Owners suffer frequently bent or cracked rims

My uncle stopped bringing his F10 5er out of the city to our native and I asked him why so.

He said he was fed up with the tyres blowing out and needing repair each time he ventured to our native place. Funny thing is the used C7 A6 he uses now for out of city travels has aftermarket wheels with those rubber band thin stretched tyres. And they don't give him any trouble.
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Old 19th June 2024, 11:42   #7
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Re: Are BMW India's wheels the most delicate? Owners suffer frequently bent or cracked rims

Are BMW India's wheels the most delicate? Owners suffer frequently bent or cracked rims-screenshot_2024061911435753_1c337646f29875672b5a61192b9010f9.jpg

I drive a Mercedes CLA with low-profile tyres (225/45/R17), and I've noticed that the alloys can get bent when I hit potholes at high speeds. However, the tyres seem structurally strong as they haven't bent when I hit potholes and breakers at slow city speeds. After driving the car for a few thousand kilometres, I've learned to gauge whether the car can pass through potholes at certain speeds, which has helped me avoid rim damage.

During the initial years, I used to opt for rim damage protection as an add-on in zero depreciation insurance. Every time there was rim damage, I got them changed at Mercedes Authorized Service Stations under Insurance. The cost of one Mercedes CLA alloy is a whopping Rs 45,000.

Last edited by vattyboy : 19th June 2024 at 11:44.
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Old 19th June 2024, 12:12   #8
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Re: Are BMW India's wheels the most delicate? Owners suffer frequently bent or cracked rims

Quote:
Originally Posted by Omkar View Post
It is clear that these aren't one-off cases and there is a problem here. The rims are extremely prone to bending and cracking. And while we donít have the exact research data it does seem that the primary reason could be that the rims themselves are delicate. Alloy wheel composition plays an important role in the stiffness of the wheel. This could be one of the reasons for the frequent bending and cracking of BMW alloy wheels.
The frequency of damage would definitely point to something in the BMW design not working out well with Indian conditions.

My X5 has also suffered two cracked wheels despite running far lower highway mileage than my GLS which has had absolutely no issues with its wheels.

Its so common that the service advisor suggested looking at an aftermarket solution rather than swapping the wheels at BMW since it would just happen again.

Fortunately Madhus was able to get them repaired rather economically.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Omkar View Post
Another contributing factor is the use of low-profile run-flat tyres. For starters, big rim size and low profile tyres is a trend these days that just isnít sensible on Indian roads. Add to the fact that the strengthened sidewalls of run-flat tyres do transfer the impact from the tyre to the rim.
Run-flats I feel are definitely a large part of the equation, my E350 which is my daily driver and barely sees any highway usage was my first Mercedes with run-flats and came with the AMG branded wheels. 3/4 wheels have bends within only 30,000 km of running on reasonably decent roads.

At the next change I am planning to move to tubeless and am hoping that it helps the situation.
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Old 19th June 2024, 12:13   #9
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Re: Are BMW India's wheels the most delicate? Owners suffer frequently bent or cracked rims

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Originally Posted by vattyboy View Post
I've learned to gauge whether the car can pass through potholes at certain speeds, which has helped me avoid rim damage.
How? Imagine you are doing 80 Kmph on a road, there is a pothole 50m ahead, how do you analyse + take corrective action needed when you would be covering that distance is about 2.5 seconds?

No one wants to drive over potholes fast, Situations like above happen and that cause most of the damage.
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Old 19th June 2024, 12:17   #10
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Re: Are BMW India's wheels the most delicate? Owners suffer frequently bent or cracked rims

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Originally Posted by omranga98 View Post
How? Imagine you are doing 80 Kmph on a road, there is a pothole 50m ahead, how do you analyse + take corrective action when you would be covering that distance in about 2.5 seconds?

No one wants to drive over potholes fast, Situations like the above happen and that causes most of the damage.
True, in that scenario it's simply unavoidable.

I am talking about the city speed, where the pothole is visible to me and after seeing it, how much speed I have to reduce or not.

Last edited by vattyboy : 19th June 2024 at 12:19.
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Old 19th June 2024, 12:27   #11
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Re: Are BMW India's wheels the most delicate? Owners suffer frequently bent or cracked rims

If my memory serves me right, a lower wheel weight reduces the unsprung mass which is beneficial for better acceleration and handling. Considering the fact that BMW's ethos is driving pleasure, I can imagine them to use alloy metallurgy that is biased for lower weight rather than durability. After all, people buy BMWs for driving pleasure right? This is the sacrifice they have made, unless you have the budget for titanium alloys.

Last edited by Turbohead : 19th June 2024 at 12:52.
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Old 19th June 2024, 13:34   #12
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Re: Are BMW India's wheels the most delicate? Owners suffer frequently bent or cracked rims

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Originally Posted by Turbohead View Post
If my memory serves me right, a lower wheel weight reduces the unsprung mass which is beneficial for better acceleration and handling. Considering the fact that BMW's ethos is driving pleasure, I can imagine them to use alloy metallurgy that is biased for lower weight rather than durability. After all, people buy BMWs for driving pleasure right? This is the sacrifice they have made, unless you have the budget for titanium alloys.
I agree with the logic of BMW sticking to their ethos for driving pleasure. However, I would disagree that BMW or any other company can take a customer for granted and not find a solution to a serious problem like this. Imagine having spent a crore on a new luxury car and being stranded on the highway with your family, don't think many people would knowingly accept this kind of a sacrifice.

The big question here is, does BMW acknowledge that there is an issue with their alloys?

Secondly, with the best of engineers / technology at their disposal and all the extra money charged as premium have they taken any effort to improve the quality of their alloys?

Last edited by suhaas307 : 19th June 2024 at 18:53. Reason: Spacing for readability
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Old 19th June 2024, 14:58   #13
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Re: Are BMW India's wheels the most delicate? Owners suffer frequently bent or cracked rims

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Originally Posted by Nikhilvm4 View Post
However, I would disagree that BMW or any other company can take a customer for granted and not find a solution to a serious problem like this. Imagine having spent a crore on a new luxury car and being stranded on the highway with your family, don't think many people would knowingly accept this kind of a sacrifice.

The big question here is, does BMW acknowledge that there is an issue with their alloys?
Secondly, with the best of engineers / technology at their disposal and all the extra money charged as premium have they taken any effort to improve the quality of their alloys?
They have been taking customers for granted ever since BMW came into India. I've been hearing of wheel/tire issues from the 'E' generation of the 5 series back in 2007.

We really don't matter as a market since BMW India sells only 10k units a year, which is paltry compared to other markets, and lowers the incentive to make something more durable/appropriate for our market. It'll be bonus if they start offering durable wheels but it'll always be seen as a compromise rather than a feature as they'll tend to be heavier.
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Old 19th June 2024, 15:08   #14
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Re: Are BMW India's wheels the most delicate? Owners suffer frequently bent or cracked rims

I'm currently with a company that designs the wheels for BMW and I'm involved mainly on the aesthetic design of the wheels, though we have to take in to consideration the feedback from the engineering depts ofr crash testing, production etc and one of the critical aspects is to respect the wheel breakability criteria: The wheel definitely has to be as light as is possible and has to satisfy the various EU norms/ tests for torsion, impact testing etc. In one of the EU norms is an aspect related to Pedestrian protection called Small overlap, where the overall vehicle is tested, not just the wheels and the requirement is that the wheel breaks at a pre-determined place so that the impact energy is quickly dissipated. Maybe the engineers at BMW are over fulfilling this criteria and hence are resulting in the wheels being more prone to breakage, along with the stiffer sidewalls from the run-flat tires.

People interested in the details can read more about the norms in the following document and The European Union designated UN/ECE 124 as the safety certification for alloy wheels for automobiles.:
[ATTACH=2017-05-EP-short-briefing-gsr-pp.pdf]2618394[/ATTACH]
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 2017-05-EP-short-briefing-gsr-pp.pdf (2.17 MB, 44 views)

Last edited by hifisharu : 19th June 2024 at 15:11.
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Old 19th June 2024, 16:25   #15
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Re: Are BMW India's wheels the most delicate? Owners suffer frequently bent or cracked rims

I owned a 5'er and got inspected couple of 530ds when i was hunting one. unfortunately, I could not find a single car which didn't have 1 or more bent alloys. The one I finally bought, driven only 7000 kms within city limits also had passenger side front slight bent. The justification given was combination of "M" light alloys + RFTs. The alloy is waiting to bend hunting for a pothole even at speeds within city limits. The sheer acceleration that the straight six produces can't be managed on bad roads specially if you have a heavy right foot.

However, for delivering the sheer "JOY" feel, the combination is required "maybe". As experience of T-bhpians, following are possible solution:
1) switching to Tubeless with slightly higher wall
2) learning to drive with light foot

God Speed!!
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