- E90 pre-LCI

BMW E90 - spare wheel problem

Be ready before you get a puncture.

1y ago

The eternal debate – to have a tyre repair kit or a spare wheel? Both have pros and cons, both have their own purpose and place on the market, or rather in the car, and for most cases the manufacturers „respect“ the purpose of these two emergency on-the-side-of-the-road tools. Let’s take a look at an example of each of these tools.

First example would be the Smart ForTwo, a small car that loves to be driven daily in your town. The car is very small so it fits only two people and their shopping bags. Or a small cupboard if it is flat-packed. Or both if you will take the time to put everything in there. So it makes sense that it is equiped with a tyre repair kit – a small air compressor and a bottle of „tyre glue“, all packed in a cute little pack.

Second example would be the Mecedes Benz G-Class, just a regular G 500. If you look at the back of the car you can see a full size spare wheel attached to the back doors. And again, as in the first example, it makes sense, as the car is big and has big wheels. And I am not sure if there are bottles of „tyre glue“ big enough to actually work on a tyre this big. There are some Gs that do not have the spare wheel but that I would not consider wise, it is most likely some kind of a fashion thing and therefore waaay out of my area…

all credits to Mercedes-Benz

all credits to Mercedes-Benz

What have we learned from those two examples above? That it depends on the size of the vehicle. Now can someone explain to me why on Earth someone thought – „hey, this car could easily fit a spare wheel but sod it, we’ll put just the repair kit there, just for the good old fun“. You have probably guessed from the title that I am talking about the BMW E90 that suffers from no-spare-wheel-ytides even though there is plenty of space in the area bellow the boot floor. I am not quite sure if that is just a local issue, meaning regional, maybe some person in BMW thought „well, there are lots of service stations in Europe, let’s save couple of kilograms of weight and chuck in just the glue and an airpump“. Well, if your tyre is ripped, what can you do with the glue and airpump? Maybe sniff the glue to forget that you are stranded somewhere in the woods with a blown tyre?

Tyre repair kit

Tyre repair kit

Now, how would you solve this issue? What can you do when you want to be able to solve the puncture / blown tyre on your E90 by yourself? Yes, that is correct, you buy a spare wheel. There are two options, again, go with a full size wheel, typically from 17inch to 19inch, or get yourself a space saver. The disadvatntage of a full sized wheel in the not so spacious boot is quite obvious – you will not be able to put almost anything in there. On the bright side of it is that once you change it, you may continue on your trip. With the space saver however, things turn around, pros become cons and vice versa. Yet still the space saver kit will consume part of the boot but you can at least put items on it.

How I solved this problem you ask? I went with the space saver, 16inch. My car has bigger brake calipers in the front so the 16inch is a minimum to fit. And fit it does…but, there is a but! Since these wheels are not meant to be used for „regular driving“, just use it to get to the nearest service station, the QC process seems to be a bit sloppy so they are not perfectly round but round-ish. I have tried two wheels and both hit the brake at one point, maybe there was a welding spot that was then filed down. It is not a big deal as it will only scratch the brake caliper a bit, but it just annoys me. If you have a squared tyre setup on your E90, you can swap a rear wheel to the front and use the space saver on the rear and then drive very carefully, I mean VERY carefully. But if you have wider tracks on the rear, than you have to just go with the scratched caliper.

One day however, I got bored with putting things on the space saver kit, which was dweling on the boot floor, and started wondering where else can it be placed. It cannot fit under the floor, with my car’s configuration that is, again – not sure if it is a regional issue or a model range issue. I don’t want it inside the car, as it could be very dangerous so I decided, in order to have more „floor space“ in the luggage compartment, to errect it in the boot space (no pun intended!).

For this task I decided to use two straps (they cost about 50CZK / 2EUR each) that would form an „X“ shaped harness in which the bag with the tyre will hang. I did not want to dril or punch holes into anything so I used those two metal anchors on the bottom of the boot, that part was a walk in the park, but finding some anchor points on the top seemed to be a tad more difficult. Luckily there are some mounting holes in the beam that are located roughly beneath the rear window. I have discovered that these holes are actually meant to be used when the car is equiped with folding seats, mine is not so I led the straps through these holes to form two loops.

I admint that holding the tyre with one hand and tightening the straps with the other while bending over the boot is a bit of exercise but it can be done. And it should be done, although the straps can hold up to 300 kg of weight, I just feel the need to check them and tighten them every now and then. Just a little sidenote – if you take a look at the „ceiling“ of the boot, you will find many holes in it but beware as it is just a sheet of metal I don’t think it will hold the weight of the tyre, even though it is not heavy. That is why I am using the beam to support the weight. Anyway, you can see the details on pictures around here.

Special thanks to my friend James W. for going through this text and correcting some mistakes.

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