richs
Posts: 59
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:09 am

Is driving with summer tires possible year-round in Texas?

Sat Apr 04, 2020 12:38 pm

I recently purchased a 2017 REx that came with the 20" wheels. I'm aware that there simply are no multi-season tires available for the 20" rims, so I'm stuck with summer tires. I live in Austin, which never gets more than a dusting of snow (and completely shuts down until that melts) but it does get below freezing occasionally.

My question is this: given where I live, can I get by with summer tires year round on my car? I've always had "all season" tires since that's the default tire on most cars. I've never had a car with summer tires before, so I don't know what to expect when the temperature goes down.

I've also read about other issues with the 20" rims: mainly that the ride sucks, the low profile tires are easily damaged by road hazards, and the rims themselves get bent a lot since the tires don't protect them well enough. The ride hasn't bothered at all since I've driven small cars all my life and I guess I'm used to it. The other two issues, though, may be of a concern, although I'm tempted to just "wait and see" for now.

Opinions?

jadnashuanh
Posts: 5106
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:07 pm
Location: Nashua, NH USA

Re: Is driving with summer tires possible year-round in Texas?

Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:15 pm

Summer tires really aren't designed for use below about 40 F. So, what happens is that any rubber gets harder as it gets colder. That affects cornering grip and stopping ability. Plus, the tread pattern is not designed to purge any snow that might get clogged in the treads, making it even slipperier. The tread blocks tend to be bigger with fewer sipes, giving fewer grip points when deflected. Should you be out when there's a dusting of snow, you may not get back home.

So, can you use them below that temp, sure, but if you get into a situation where you need every amount of grip the tires can provide to either stop or turn, you may be in for an avoidable surprise.

I think of winter tires as insurance. Some avoid it. Some get stung.
Jim DeBruycker
2011 535i x-drive GT, 2014 i3 BEV
Soon (hopefully!) A 2021 X5 45e will replace the above

Fisher99
Posts: 337
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 6:24 pm

Re: Is driving with summer tires possible year-round in Texas?

Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:27 pm

Are they ideal? No. Would love to have an all season option. But I drive my i3 in the winter unless there is snow on the ground. Temps are mostly in the 20's and 30's with some days in the teens and even some occasional single digits.
2014 BMW i3 with Range Extender Engine, Capparis White/Frozen Black, 20" wheels,, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Parking Assist, DC Fast Charging, TurboCord EVSE

jadnashuanh
Posts: 5106
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:07 pm
Location: Nashua, NH USA

Re: Is driving with summer tires possible year-round in Texas?

Sat Apr 04, 2020 7:41 pm

All it takes is once when you need all of the traction you can get. Whether that will happen , hard to say...that's why there's insurance. NObody plans for that and you hope you never need it.

Had a little accident in January in my plane. The hospital bills were around $75K. Nobody plans an accident. Lucky to be alive. Could have happened in a car, too.
Jim DeBruycker
2011 535i x-drive GT, 2014 i3 BEV
Soon (hopefully!) A 2021 X5 45e will replace the above

robthebold
Posts: 110
Joined: Sat May 11, 2019 5:09 pm

Re: Is driving with summer tires possible year-round in Texas?

Sat Apr 04, 2020 8:24 pm

I live in Austin, which never gets more than a dusting of snow (and completely shuts down until that melts) but it does get below freezing occasionally.
(emphasis mine)

That sounds like you'll never have to venture out on wintry roads, so that's in your favor. As others have pointed out, you lose grip on those summer tires below 40F, so you'll notice extra spinning the rear wheels on acceleration and understeer on turns -- and increased stopping distance, of course -- on your cold days. If you're willing to drive with extra following distance in cool weather to allow for extra time to react to the unexpected, you may be okay.

richs
Posts: 59
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:09 am

Re: Is driving with summer tires possible year-round in Texas?

Sun Apr 05, 2020 12:28 am

robthebold wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 8:24 pm
I live in Austin, which never gets more than a dusting of snow (and completely shuts down until that melts) but it does get below freezing occasionally.
(emphasis mine)

That sounds like you'll never have to venture out on wintry roads, so that's in your favor. As others have pointed out, you lose grip on those summer tires below 40F, so you'll notice extra spinning the rear wheels on acceleration and understeer on turns -- and increased stopping distance, of course -- on your cold days. If you're willing to drive with extra following distance in cool weather to allow for extra time to react to the unexpected, you may be okay.
OK, you noticed my key point about snow. I just won't be driving in it, so that's a non-issue. The bigger question I had was about cold weather performance, where "cold" is less than 40 degrees. It sounds like summer tires are just barely possible here year-round, as long as extra care is taken when it gets chilly out. I'll just be super careful and see what happens next winter. If the grip is really bad (of if I bend one of my fancy German 20" rims on a pothole, as seems all too common) I'll just buy a set of 19" wheels and M+S tires and be done with it.

I guess I really don't understand the point of BMW putting summer tires on an i3. It's dumb. It's not a sports sedan, and shouldn't be driven like one, even if it is 70 degrees and sunny out. But I wanted a Tera World with a sunroof, and the 20" rims always seemed to be bundled in with the cars I wanted to buy, so here I am.

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MKH
Gold Member
Posts: 661
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:48 am
Location: Dallas

Re: Is driving with summer tires possible year-round in Texas?

Sun Apr 05, 2020 6:02 am

I wanted a Tera World with a sunroof, and the 20" rims always seemed to be bundled in with the cars I wanted to buy, so here I am.
Was my situation too, wanted the Tera :D

After a few months driving on the cr@p roads in the DFW area, putting bends on the inside of all four rims, and then hitting a major pothole and putting pinch blisters in two tires, ruining them, I dumped the 20's. Was going to get a set of the 19" Rial X 10-I wheels from Tirerack, but found a good set of used OEM i3 wheels on the local Craig's list for $300 for the set :o .

The low sidewall summer/sport tires just don't have enough depth for protection from bad roads. Plus I like the ride on the 19" higher sidewall all-seasons much better. The 20's have a real harsh ride compared to the 19's
Mark H.
2015 i3 Rex, Capparis White, Tera World, Technology & Driving Assistant, Parking Assistant, Harman Kardon Audio System, 19 inch 427 wheels, EVoInnovate EVSE

arodi3
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:21 am

Re: Is driving with summer tires possible year-round in Texas?

Sun Apr 05, 2020 3:11 pm

I also live in Austin and have a 2015 i3 Rex with the 20" rims. So far, no issues in about 4 years.

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MKH
Gold Member
Posts: 661
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:48 am
Location: Dallas

Re: Is driving with summer tires possible year-round in Texas?

Mon Apr 06, 2020 6:11 am

So far, no issues in about 4 years.
Yeah, Austin may actually maintain their roads. Dallas has to have the worst roads in the state :cry: .

Though I didn't even realize my rims were all bent until I was checking underneath for filter and drain access, to see how hard it would be to do my own oil changes.
Rear 2 bend.jpg
Rear 2 bend.jpg (25.64 KiB) Viewed 3745 times
Front 1 bend.jpg
Front 1 bend.jpg (27.21 KiB) Viewed 3745 times
Mark H.
2015 i3 Rex, Capparis White, Tera World, Technology & Driving Assistant, Parking Assistant, Harman Kardon Audio System, 19 inch 427 wheels, EVoInnovate EVSE

Fisher99
Posts: 337
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 6:24 pm

Re: Is driving with summer tires possible year-round in Texas?

Mon Apr 06, 2020 10:34 am

Ok. Now I've got to go crawl under my car and take a look... :(
2014 BMW i3 with Range Extender Engine, Capparis White/Frozen Black, 20" wheels,, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Parking Assist, DC Fast Charging, TurboCord EVSE

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