If you think batteries are the most expensive part of a Tesla, think again. Yes, you’ll be spending about $7000 to replace the battery. But if you analyze costs per mile, then a Tesla owner could sink more money into tires than batteries, which will last 300,000 miles (480,000 km).
Tesla uses expensive tires for its vehicles, and the tires have a reputation for wearing out quickly. You might be tempted to buy cheaper tires, but you won’t save money in the long run. Instead, adjust your driving habits and follow the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines.
Tires can be a touchy subject with Tesla owners, who weren’t expecting the costs associated with them. Use our guide to help you navigate the world of Tesla tires.
- Does Tesla Make Its Tires?
- How Do I Maintain Tesla Tires?
- Tesla Tires Repair
- How Much Do Tesla Tires Cost?
- Factory Tires for Teslas
Does Tesla Make Its Tires?
Tesla does not make its own tires and they are not vertically integrated. Instead, the tires that come standard with a Tesla are either Goodyear or B.F. Goodrich. A few manufacturers sell after-market tires, including Pirelli.
Car manufacturers rely on third parties to build the parts that go into their cars, but Tesla takes the opposite approach. Nearly everything in a Tesla is built by Tesla, with batteries and tires being two exceptions.
Electrek reports that Tesla plans to eventually replace the Panasonic and CATL batteries with those produced at their Gigafactories. In addition, according to Rebellion Research, there are some signs that Tesla might consider acquiring a tire manufacturer, like Goodyear or Cooper Tire and Rubber. Driving down the cost of tires could help Tesla accomplish the goal of building a car that can profitably be sold for under $30k.
If you go into your Car Menu > Service > Wheel Configuration, you can select the wheels that have on your car. This could also potentially adjust the algorithm on your range if you consider the less efficient wheel configuration. With this method you can change and see the car (on your screen) how it actually looks.
If Tesla had control of a tire manufacturer, the company could design tires that have money-saving and better performance features, such as
- Being able to retread tires
- Using computational modeling to improve the design of tires
- Adding AI technology that gives drivers real-time information on the wear of tires
- Develop a tire that uses friction to generate electricity, thereby recharging the battery
This technology is still a few years off, but Tesla could speed it up and use at-cost tires to bring their cost down.
How Long Do Tesla Tires Last?
How long Tesla tires will last depends on who you ask. The manufacturer and Tesla claim that the tires will last 30,000 miles (48, 280 km). Drivers often report that they wear out sooner. Driving habits and improper maintenance are two reasons for the excessive wear on the tires.
Driving habits are partially to blame for tire wear. It’s tempting to take off quickly, especially in a car with instant 100% available for acceleration. A habit of braking hard also contributes to tire wear.
But maintenance habits are also to blame. Tesla owners who don’t check air pressure, rotate, and align tires according to the schedule will have tires that wear out quickly. Tesla notes that the most common reason tires fail is under-inflation. It also points out that under-inflation shortens the life of a tire.
Why Do Tesla Tires Have Foam in Them?
Tesla tires have a foam layer in them to cut down tire noise. In a gas-powered car, the sound of the engine is louder than most road noises. In a Tesla, however, the lack of an engine makes a driver aware of tire noise.
But a little tire noise shouldn’t make much of a difference, right?
According to Continental, which also manufactures foam silencing technology, these tires reduce sound by 9 dB. So for every 10 dB drop in sound level, we think the sound has been cut in half. For example, think of the difference between an everyday conversation (60 dB) and shouting (70 dB).
Although the road surface and your car’s speed impact the sound, tires with a layer of polyurethane foam make for a quieter ride.
By the way, unless you want to take your Tesla tire apart, check out this video:
Can I Use Any Tire on a Tesla?
Nothing is stopping you from using an appropriately sized replacement tire. However, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Although it is tempting to save a little money now, cheaper tires will cost you more over the long run.
In general, cheaper tires have poorer performance. And over the long term, they aren’t a money-saver either. A tire that costs less but needs to be replaced will eventually cost more.
A Michelin tire for a Tesla currently costs around $250. An inexpensive tire that costs half as much will wear out twice as fast (if you’re lucky). Factor in the price of mounting and balancing the tires, and the cheaper tires only cost less in the short term.
Check out this related article that I wrote about the Best Tire Repair Kit for Every Tesla Model. This is somewhat related to this post.
Consumer Reports compared some of China’s inexpensive tires with their counterparts from throughout the world. The survey revealed that neither of the tires measured up to brands with familiar names.
Many of the more expensive tires are also manufactured in China. But they need to meet the standards of well-known American brands like Goodyear or Michelin or lose the rights to manufacture them.
How Do I Maintain Tesla Tires?
First, the good news: maintaining Tesla tires is the same as other tires. Check the air pressure, have them rotated and balanced periodically, and monitor tread wear. However, due to the performance and design of the car, the tires will need more maintenance.
How Often Do You Need To Rotate Tesla Tires?
According to Tesla, tires should be rotated approximately every 6,000 miles (9600 km) or if the tread depth difference is 2/32 inches (1/16 mm) or more. Beyond that, the company is vague on maintenance and suggests you consult the owner manual that comes with the tire.
Not exactly helpful of them.
Do Tesla Wheels Need Alignment?
Tesla wheels require alignment, but you might have difficulty finding a shop that will do the alignment. Some shops will tell you they can’t do the alignment and give you reasons like they don’t know the specs or don’t have the specialized tools.
Neither of those are valid reasons, but if a shop doesn’t want to work on your car, there’s no point in arguing with them. Maybe they’ve had a bad experience with a previous Tesla owner, or perhaps they don’t want to be bothered. Regardless of the reason, if they don’t want to work on your car, move on.
Unfortunately, finding a shop that will align the wheels depends on where you live, so in this case, Google is your best friend. Google something like “tesla wheel alignment near me.” Firestone tire centers have a reputation for being able to align with Tesla. Search the Tesla Motors Club site for forums focused on where you live.
Remember though, that Teslas have a reputation of being poorly aligned when they leave the factory. Since poor alignment wears out the tires, you should have them aligned as soon as you can. And if your car shifts to one side, your steering wheel is unbalanced or vibrates, or the tire wear is uneven, poor alignment could be the cause.
How Often Should I Check the Air Pressure?
It is vital to maintain adequate tire pressure and Tesla expects that you check it occasionally. The recommended PSI for most Teslas is between 42 and 45 psi.
While the pressure on your tires can be manually checked using a tire gauge, one would expect a Tesla to have a built-in Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), and it does.
However, the monitors have a reputation for being finicky, sometimes displaying a warning when the PSI drops by 1. This is nothing to worry about, especially in cold weather when the pressure will drop.
Best Places To Change Tesla Tires
You will have better luck finding a place that will change your tires since it is a straightforward process. Therefore, you shouldn’t worry about using Costco, Walmart, or Discount Tires to change tires. Although Tesla Service centers have a reputation for being expensive, their rates for tire changes will be competitive.
Anyway, speaking of which; I wrote a somewhat related article about Costco and if they’re able to change Tesla tires. I also spoke about all the various related services that Tesla has with Costco. Check it out!
Tips for Making Tesla Tires Last
There’s no way around it–Tesla tires often wear out earlier than the same tires on similar-sized sedans. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t extend their life cycle.
- Speedy acceleration. Yes, a Tesla can go from 0-60 at ludicrous speeds. Nothing wears out tires like fast take-offs. Of course, everybody has to show off once or twice, but don’t make it a habit.
- Hard braking. This doesn’t wear out the tires as much, but you don’t want the anti-lock brake system to activate every time you stop. Coast into your stop.
- Road conditions. There’s only so much you can do about the shape of the roads, but if you can avoid poorly maintained roads, do so. Dirt and gravel will also affect the wear of tires.
Most importantly, follow the recommended maintenance guidelines.
Speaking of ludicrous mode, this YouTube video gives you a bird’s eye view of the cockpit.
Tesla Tires Repair
If you need tires fixed, you can take advantage of Tesla Roadside Assistance. Some roadside assistance vehicles carry loaner wheels. You can then drive to a Tesla Service Center and exchange the loaner wheel. However, there is a mounting fee.
Another option, though less convenient, is to use Roadside Assistance to tow the vehicle. There is no charge for 50 miles (80 km).
Unfortunately, Tesla does not warranty the tires.
Do Tesla Tires Ever Go Flat?
Tesla tires most definitely go flat. Michelin, which supplies tires for Teslas, is in the process of developing airless tires that theoretically can never go flat.
Airless tires would also eliminate the need to monitor air pressure or worry about low pressure affecting the tire’s life. However, Tesla is not using them at this time because they are waiting to see how well the tires will work.
If your car remains parked at high temperatures for a long time, tires have the potential of forming flat spots. This is not a sign that the tire is going flat.
However, the spots will cause excessive vibration until the tires heat up. To avoid this problem, inflate your tires to their maximum pressure when storing your car for several weeks. Then adjust the air to the recommended levels before you begin driving.
Does a Tesla Come With a Spare Tire?
Tesla buyers are often surprised that their cars do not come with a spare. After all, spares come standard on most cars, so shouldn’t an expensive car have one as well? But Tesla gives several reasons for not having one.
First, Tesla uses a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) that monitors air pressure electronically. When the pressure is low, the system alerts the driver. Since the TPMS alerts the driver that the air pressure is low, the driver can drive to a tire repair shop before the tire is dangerously deflated.
Second, a spare tire also adds weight to the car. Even though a passenger tire weighs 27 pounds (12 kg) on average, on an EV, every pound counts. And according to Hot Cars, those 27 pounds will rarely be used since 85% of spare tires will never be used over the lifetime of a car.
At one point, Tesla sold a spare tire kit, which cost around $300. The company has recently discontinued it. After-market sellers like Modern Spare have filled the void with equally expensive spare kit options. For a kit that includes a tire and the tools, you will need to change the tire, and expect to pay over $400 plus shipping.
If a Tesla is still under warranty, a driver can use the Tesla Roadside Assistance, which can either repair or replace a tire.
How Much Do Tesla Tires Cost?
Since Tesla uses premium tires, you will pay premium prices for replacement tires. For example, the Michelin Primacy tires used in many models can cost up to $250 apiece. If you choose to shop around, stick with lower-priced Goodyear and Michelin tires.
Factory Tires for Teslas
|3||All models||Michelin Pilot Sport 4|
|S||19-inch (85 kWh vehicle)||Michelin Primacy MXM4|
|19-inch ( 60 kWh vehicle)||Goodyear Eagle RS-A2|
|21 inches on standard||Continental Extreme Contact DW|
|21 inch on P85+ vehicles||Michelin Pilot Sport PS2|
|Y||Standard model||Goodyear Eagle Touring|
|Performance Upgrade||Pirelli P-Zero tires|
Tesla always mentions the lack of maintenance for their cars. Yes, you won’t need oil changes and the other things that go with a gas car. Tesla also brags about the many technological advances of their vehicles, and there’s no disputing those. But tires are not one of them.
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