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      12-31-2013, 07:30 PM   #1
sids911
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Exclamation Cannot recommend an X3 for offroading anymore

Just came back from Death Valley National Park (Nevada) after an awful experience with the X3. I went with my wife and son on a 4x4 trail (Titus Canyon) and about 60% of the trail we took a break for some photos when I noticed that my rear driver tire had a 2" gash in it. Fortunately, having run flats meant that although the gash was pretty bad (the inner steel radials were ripped), the tire still held pressure and we didn't had a sudden blow out. Curiously, I don't recall any loud sound or any sudden impact - but obviously I hit something to cause that.

Anyway, now, not having a spare wheel meant that we were pretty close to getting f***ed, so I asked 2 cars behind us to notify park rangers about our location and situation. In case we didn't make it out by sunset. Then I tippy-toed the X3 for the rest of the trail (10 miles, 1 hours) till we reached the dirt road and then another 3 miles till we hit the asphalt - all the time expecting a sudden loss of air pressure to show up on the TPMS.

Anyway, once outside it was clear we needed a new tire as soon as possible (245/50 R18). We couldn't find a spare tire ... within a 150 mile radius!!! We had to abandon our vacation and go to Las Vegas just to get spare tire.

Long story short - BMW's decision to not have a spare tire absolutely sucks. On top of that they use a tire design that is not widely available in the US. On a sedan, it might make sense to 100% depend on a RFT + no spare strategy. But on an SUV - small or full sized? That totally kills the "sports" and the "utility" aspect of it. Had we had a real spare, we'd have been able to complete our vacation and with a lot less stress too.

Anyway, while the X3 is a great car for gentle city roads, without a spare I would STRONGLY recommend AGAINST it for any 4x4 trail - even mildly off roadish. You might get lucky if nothing happens but if something were to go wrong, you really don't have much of a backup.

BMW, put a damn option where people who want a full size spare on the SUVs can actually get it? Otherwise your SUVs are --Vs just posing as SUVs. Considering the X5 also doesn't come with a full sized spare, I might have to jump ship to Range Rover for a well thought out luxury SUV. Which sucks because I love everything else about the X3.
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      12-31-2013, 11:27 PM   #2
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The X3 was never designed for offroading! It will get you out of sticky situations if you do happen to venture off the beaten path. Unlike a normal tire which would have blow out, at least yours did its job and allowed you to continue to driving on it until you got your replacement.

If you go to most BMW dealerships they should have a replacement in stock but if they don't it would most likely be a overnight wait at any tire shop or BMW dealership.

The X3 and X5 are not SUVs, they are SAV and is the term BMW coined for their Sport Activity Vehicles. Most cars are ditching the spare to save weight and allow them to get better mpg.

It is simple thing to put a spare in the x3 even though it wasn't designed for it. Just get the spare, rip out the shell under the flooring and just put the tire underneath the floor in the back. You can get someone to wield a bolt to secure it and you should be fine.

Think about it, 99 percent of BMW owners and even new Land Rover and Ranger Rover owners do not go offroading any more, so that is why they remove the spare and slap on the run flats.

But at the end of the day, The x3 managed to complete the trail and allowed you the ability to go offroading so it is not a complete loss, just get a spare for the trunk or get a roof rack and mount it to the car when you go off roading. Most offroaders mount a tire on their roof racks anyway.

Last edited by mge92; 12-31-2013 at 11:45 PM..
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      12-31-2013, 11:41 PM   #3
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Buy a Jeep Rubicon or similar vehicle if you want to do that. There is a difference...we have both and while I trust our X3 for getting around in winter, I would never take it off road like you describe. I have taken the Jeep places not meant for autos of any type and had a great time, but you need to be aware of what you are doing
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      01-01-2014, 12:11 AM   #4
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As suggested above get a Jeep, Land Rover or other serious off-road vehicle, or hiking boots and survival gear.
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      01-01-2014, 12:46 AM   #5
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You CAN order a spare with the X5.
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      01-01-2014, 01:00 AM   #6
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I've driven an X3 and X5 at the performance drive center on their off road course. While the tire may not have held up to this trip, the vehicles certainly are much more prepared for off road adventures than you or even I thought before the experience.
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      01-01-2014, 03:54 AM   #7
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7 P's ��
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      01-01-2014, 04:04 AM   #8
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I would certainly disagree with the heading of this thread and the idea that the X3 is not suitable for "off-roading". From the description of the incident the X3 itself had no problems in handling the track - its just that you ended up with a flat. Certainly compared with a proper 4WD the X3 has its limitations with no low-range gearbox and limited ground clearance and wading depth, but that should not preclude you from attempting the type of track you were apparently on. And the runflat operated in exactly the manner that it was intended and designed for.

The big issue - from my reading of the post - was that you ended up going a fair distance to find a replacement tyre. This situation could happen whether you were off road or not. All being off-road means is that you would increase the likelihood of getting a puncture.

The silly and perhaps na´ve move here was to go so far from assistance without consideration of what would happen in the event of a punctured tyre. And that applies irrespective to whether you are on-road or off-road.

I'm saying all this from the perspective that I have always carried a full size spare in the back of my X3 (mainly because I replaced the runflat tyres with conventional tyres on delivery). What this has enabled us to do is to travel on those relatively remote dirt roads and tracks with a degree of confidence we would never be able to do if it didn't have a spare. In the 2 years and 50,000 km we've travelled in our X3, probably 3,000-4,000 of those (2,000-2,500 miles) has been on dirt roads and tracks (without incident). Yes there are better vehicles that could have done this "off-roading" - but none of those can come close to matching the X3 "on-road" for those other 95% of the miles.

Tony
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      01-01-2014, 07:55 AM   #9
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+1 @ 7Ps

Maybe a heading of - "Take a spare tyre if you go off roading" would have been better...

and good to hear how well it does in the wilds of Aus too...
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      01-01-2014, 08:52 AM   #10
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You need to be prepare when you go off roading. The OEM tires are not design for serious off roading and a spare tire is a must, did you have extra gas, blankets and a emergency kit. I guess you live and learn.
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      01-01-2014, 10:58 AM   #11
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Sometimes...
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      01-02-2014, 07:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sids911 View Post
...without a spare...
Don't blame BMW for your inability to prepare.

This was the result of my last off-road trail experience.


Doing this


A branch got wedged in the undertray and went through the sidewall. I carry a full size spare as even the space saver wouldn't be any use on gravel.

I would continue to recommend the X3 for trail work as I find it an excellent tool for fast work.
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      01-02-2014, 09:00 AM   #13
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In here we always laugh about warnings and cautions in manuals written for US markets. Now I realize they are there for a good reason.
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      01-02-2014, 10:07 AM   #14
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Maybe it wasnt designed, but didnt they win the Alcan rally or something with the first X3 version?

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Originally Posted by mge.92 View Post
The X3 was never designed for offroading!
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      01-02-2014, 02:49 PM   #15
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X3 As Off-Road Vehicle

Concur with most of the replies to this thread. While there are a lot of SUVs/SAVs sold, only a very few are truly designed for off-road activities. And when it comes to rough, rocky trails, specialized tires and one or more spares are the norm. Even with the best equipment, you can still expect to pick up some tire or body damage in this type of terrain. Some people carry a garage with them - tools, compressors, welding machines, winches, etc.! And, of course, experience can play a big role as well. If you really want to go 4-wheelin', recommend joining a local club and learning from people who do it regularly.

I have a friend who just buys a big Ford truck, outfits it with monster off-road tires, and beats the **** out of it. When it gets beaten up badly enough or dies, he buys another one.

For an X3 - snow, mud, maybe sand: yes, with appropriate tires; significant rocks: no.
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      01-02-2014, 04:51 PM   #16
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Concur with all of the above advise on spares and tools. But you should also get yourself a good set of maps. Death Valley National Park is in California, not Nevada!
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      01-02-2014, 06:32 PM   #17
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I would have thought anyone who was interested in off reading would know an x3 is not the right vehicle.

Not having a spare is totally unprepared for off-roading. X3s are designed for a muddy road to the cottage etc, not actual off road.

Glad you made it back safely with yor family. The rfts did seem to do their job.
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      01-02-2014, 07:03 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sids911 View Post
...I noticed that my rear driver tire had a 2" gash in it. Fortunately, having run flats meant that although the gash was pretty bad (the inner steel radials were ripped), the tire still held pressure and we didn't had a sudden blow out.
This quote is about as genius as saying in the headline that your vehicle can't do something that had nothing to do with the vehicle! (hint: your tire failed, the car didn't).

Clearly you do not understand the concept of a runflat tire. The tire can get ripped, cut, or otherwise mutilated like any tire, and it WILL LOOSE PRESSURE just like any tire. The "run flat" part means that in the circumstance that a tire is damaged and loses pressure, that the tire is a) stiff enough to keep from coming off the wheel, and b) support the weight of the vehicle long enough to get out of a bind.
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      01-02-2014, 07:46 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taipei-TT View Post
I would have thought anyone who was interested in off reading would know an x3 is not the right vehicle.

Not having a spare is totally unprepared for off-roading. X3s are designed for a muddy road to the cottage etc, not actual off road.

Glad you made it back safely with yor family. The rfts did seem to do their job.
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      01-03-2014, 02:42 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Maybe it wasnt designed, but didnt they win the Alcan rally or something with the first X3 version?
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      01-03-2014, 06:45 PM   #21
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@EvilGenius: Equipping the vehicle with tires that can't perform off-road limits the vehicle's performance in those conditions. It is, quite literally, where the rubber meets the road. The stock car, as is, isn't competent for off-roading. That's my point.

Others, fortunately we did carry survival gear, food, heating etc so our absolute downside was limited even thought it never came down to it. The X3 design forces me to make a trade-off between "pack camping gear or pack spare". I don't want to make that trade off. And yes, while the RFTs "did their job", it's not good enough - I expect more. Like being able to put a spare tire as my grandfather could decades back.

So next time I'm not going to offer BMW my premium SUV dollars. They'll get my sedan dollars though; but my SUV money will go to a manufacturer who gets the job done right from the start.
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      01-03-2014, 07:40 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sids911 View Post
@EvilGenius: Equipping the vehicle with tires that can't perform off-road limits the vehicle's performance in those conditions. It is, quite literally, where the rubber meets the road. The stock car, as is, isn't competent for off-roading. That's my point.

Others, fortunately we did carry survival gear, food, heating etc so our absolute downside was limited even thought it never came down to it. The X3 design forces me to make a trade-off between "pack camping gear or pack spare". I don't want to make that trade off. And yes, while the RFTs "did their job", it's not good enough - I expect more. Like being able to put a spare tire as my grandfather could decades back.

So next time I'm not going to offer BMW my premium SUV dollars. They'll get my sedan dollars though; but my SUV money will go to a manufacturer who gets the job done right from the start.
Without adding too much more to this thread ..... Can I just ask why you purchased the X3 in the first place ? As most of your criticisms seem to rest with issues that would be obvious to any prospective buyer.

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