What can I do about cracking damage to the wheels and tyres of my BMW 3 Series convertible?

I have a superb BMW 3 Series convertible, manual, 2.0-litre diesel, E93, registered September 2008, purchased from a BMW dealer at two years old with 17,000 odd miles (now four years old at 37,000 miles, so not exactly a hard life so far). I'm told by numerous people, including motor traders, that it is in stunning condition (Le Mans blue with cream leather upholstery). It's been polished with best wax, oil, water, tyre pressures etc checked regularly.

The MOT test revealed late this September that both the rear alloys (19-inch double spoke with runflat tyres) had minor cracks in them on the inner rim (invisible under normal circumstances). I have since had the two wheels repaired (welded by a very reputable alloy wheel refurbisher in Swindon) and he has emailed me photos of the cracked wheels. However, to make matters worse and very worrying, at the same time he also discovered both rear tyres had continuous cracks/splits all around the inside of the inner wall and excessive wear on the inner edge in comparison with the rest of the tread area.

He rightly advised that he could not refit them, as they were unsafe. So here I am with a bill for welding two rims and two new tyres, with nothing to say this wouldn't all happen again. I understand that the BBC WatchDog programme strongly featured the issue of BMW alloys cracking two or three years ago. Do you have a view on the matter?

Asked on 12 January 2012 by JN. via email

Answered by Honest John
This is partly caused by the stupidity of having 19-inch wheels with 35-profile tyres on a car that does not need them. They destroy the ride quality, the tyres wear quickly, the tyres and rims are vulnerable to damage and both are very expensive to replace. The only advantage on a 320d is bling. The most suitable wheels and tyres for a 320d are 16-inch with 205/60 R16 tyres.

What has probably happened to wreck the inner rims and tyre shoulders is that you have been straddling speed 'cushions'. With both tyres riding over the chamfered edges if the humps, the shoulders of the tyres get severely abraded. The only safe way to cross speed cushions is one wheel over and one wheel on the flat. Probably because of the discomfort of doing that on 35 profile 19-inch tyres you have been straddling the humps. You could consider taking action against the relevant council for the damage its obstructions in the road have caused to your vehicle.
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