Time for Tires


This has been coming for quite some time. Well at least since my rear control arms were replaced. My rear tires, while still having plenty of tread, howl like a BART train at full tilt!

Good chance I’m just going to go with the Kumho Ecsta ASX’s again. It’s just a great tire and I’ve been pleased with the overall performance of them. They work great in wet, dry, stop extremely well and handle pretty good too.

This was recently a discussion CJ had. Click that link and look how bad his tires were. Yikes! He was trying to decide if he should go run-flat or ditch them.

I say ditch them!

My MINI is currently at a bit more than 175K miles on the odometer. That’s roughly 11.6 years of use. In that time I have gone through 4 complete sets of tires. Actually, it’s been 5, but the Yokohama’s on my extra set of wheels doesn’t really count since they don’t get used every day. Of those sets, only 1 has been runflats.

Now, as most of you know, I have a Cooper. that means I also have a spare. Can I tell you how many times I’ve had to use that since I brought my car home?


I tell you this because many of you like to have the piece of mind in case you get a flat tire. Completely understandable. I am going to suggest that maybe you don’t have to go to crazy with trying to figure out how you’ll get home with a flat. Here are my thoughts.

  • For everyday around town driving, keep an extra wheel with tire at home. You get a flat between home and work, or driving around town, you could easily have someone fetch that and bring it, along with the required tool, to you. Handy too for those morning when you wake up to a flat tire. That’s the worst! To save a few bucks, the wheel doesn’t even have to match, just make sure it is the same diameter (16″, 17″, 18″)
  • For longer drives (3-4 hours), get a can of fix-a-flat or a AAA Card or both. Carry the spare if you are going to be travelling on roads less traveled or desolate areas.
  • For even longer drives (MTTS anyone?), maybe carry that spare wheel mentioned above in the back seat. You can get covers for them to they don’t make the interior all icky and you can pick up a bottle jack at every automotive parts store on the planet.

It’s good to be prepared, but don’t make it so hard on yourself. I mean, really, when was the last time you got a flat tire?

Join the Conversation


  1. I need new tires for GPMINIs 18″ wheels, come spring time. She’s on winters for now but the original runflats were way gone after 22K.

    I’ll be looking out for recommendations in the months to come – priority one is good grip, especially in the wat (which the runflats never had) … I think the Kumhos you’re getting, DB, come in a size for for the GP?

  2. Tires.com has them in a 215/35R 18. Not sure what the exact size on the GP is. In fact, they have a bunch of tires in that size, including a few other Kumhos like the SPT which is another I really like.

  3. Be warned – the 215/18/35s have a very small sidewall. 205/18/40 is a bit safer and if you really want a little more insurance for those nice wheels 215/40/18 is what I’m getting this spring. Not entirely sure what brand but I can tell you they probably won’t be the same Kumho’s I had before (high performance ECSTA SPTs).

  4. Ian,

    Nitto makes a NeoGen in OEM GP size. I think there’s a Yoko out there too. Other than that, the only other OEM size I’ve found is the Dunlop in non-runflat.

    I got a good deal on ’em, too. They grip very well & cut down on the Dunlop road noise. I went through my runflats in 12K miles. Only problem is, the store screwed up the rims & now I’m fighting to get 2 of them replaced. Be very careful, as BMW is the only source for the matte black paint, and they’re not letting the aftermarket have access.

  5. I got the deal on the Nittos. Half the price of the Dunlop non-runflats. The Dunlop runflats for the GP run circa 300, the non-runflat Dunlops are about 50 less each. Out the door, I got the Nittos for circa 125. They list at 160 or so. Check tire rack/discount tire.

  6. Timmee, I think a lot of that depends on the offset of the wheel, provided you’re maintaining a relatively stock overall diameter. I ran 225/50/15 tires on 40mm offset wheels on my ’05 MCS with only the slightest hint of rubbing on the rear fender flares at full suspension compression. 215 shouldn’t be a problem.

  7. I have 17″ wheels on my MCS fitted with Bridgestong Potenza R’s. I like them a lot! They eliminate the need to slow down before turning. They are much better than the OEM 16″ runflats–which were not bad at all. I feel they handle as well as the Azena’s on the track, but have much better behavior when warm. They are much better than the Azenas in terms of street driving, and almost as good as, maybe equal to, the afore mentioned OEM setup. It’s too soon to tell what the wear will be, but this is certainly not a high milage tire, but not so very bad, either. For a HP summer tire they are good in the wet, especially if there is no standing water. Recommended.



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