2015 BMW M235i: Sensitive Tire Nanny
by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on October 7, 2015
The same message you see in the photo above is the same warning I received from our
2015 BMW M235i the night before, about halfway between the office and home. Of course, the warning lit up on a section of freeway about four miles from the next exit where I could pull off and have a look in relative safety.
I heard no pops, I felt no jolt as if I'd run over something, so I was fairly sure it wasn't substantial damage. Had I picked up a screw earlier in the drive? Had someone else before me? The steering felt fine and balanced, but given the minimal sidewall of our non-run-flat Michelin Pilot Super Sports, was I now rolling on the rim? Had the Germans designed this as an urgent do-this-now warning, or more of a lax get-to-it-when-you-can suggestion?
I had four miles until the Seal Beach exit to think about it.
Pulling into a low-lit restaurant parking lot, I hopped out and had a look, scanning the tires with an iPhone flashlight. They all looked fine. I poked, prodded and kicked the sidewalls. I gave the treads a once over with eyes and hand. No nail or screw heads to be found. If a tire was leaking, it would appear to be a slow leak and I could make it home without busting out the "Mobility Kit."
Fairly confident the system was over-reacting, I continued on home. I also finally found my way to the tire-pressure monitoring display in the M235i's Vehicle Status menu. It showed wildly different readings all around, but the right front was the lowest at around 30 psi (again, the photo above was shot the next day, but still with wildly different readings).
No, I didn't stop at a gas station on the way. Maybe I should have, but 30 psi didn't give me great cause for concern. Next day, I topped up the right front to 32 pounds, drove around to reset the TPMS monitor, and didn't hear a peep from the TPMS system again.
Ultimately, I'm glad we have this and at worst, it's a minor annoyance. I could've saved myself a bit of hassle if I'd found the TPMS display sooner and could've discerned — and confirmed with some naked eye-balling — that this was only a heads-up and not an emergency. Would be nice if the M235i came with a donut, though.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor