Tesla cars are pretty much like any other car when it comes to wheels and tyres however we thought it would be useful to provide key information including sizes, pressures, torque settings and jacking points all in one place. We include information on the Model S, the Model X and Model 3, and all the common sizes of wheel and tyre. Later in we also talk about punctures and the low pressure alarm and winter tyres.
A surprisingly common mistake some people make is that they don't realise the wheel nuts (which are actually bolts) are covered by a false plastic cover that looks just like a wheel nut. As such they struggle to get a big enough socket for them. These are simply eased off with a screwdriver being careful not to damage the allow wheel, or you can get a took to help do this amd indeed some cars come with the tool in the glove box.
In most countries Tesla do not supply locking wheel nuts/bolts. Alloy wheel theft has decreased considerably in recent years coupled with the weight of the car and high torque setting of the nuts make it a challenge for anyone to attempt to steal the wheels.
The details below were correct as of Sept 2019 however the simplest way to check the tyre size for your car is to read the current size on the wall of the tyre. Please treat these tables just as a quick guide.
Wheel Nut torque setting for all cars are 129 lb. ft or 175Nm which is higher than some tyre places may be familiar with.
The correct tyre pressures for all cars can be typically found on the drivers door pillar once the driver door is opened (in some countries this may be the passenger door). Typically tyre pressures are in the range 40 to 45PSI
Tyre pressures vary considerably due to temperature, and the temperature of a tyre varies due to both the ambient temperature (ie weather) and the use of the car. For this reason tyre pressures should be set before the car is used (sometimes stated as when the tyres are cold) and at a coolish time of the day. This will be the point when the tyres are at their lowest pressure. In use, or if the ambient temperature increases, the tyre pressure will increase. This is, up to a point normal.
If the ambient temperature increases significantly, the tyre pressure should be adjusted to avoid over inflation. This is often overlooked as the warning system only alerts for tyres under pressure which is usually a sign of a puncture.
Tesla cars are equipped with Tyre pressure monitoring systems, abbreviated to TPMS. These monitor the tyre pressures in use. The alarm when the tyre pressures fall below a set % of the expected tyre pressure as this could be an indication of slow puncture in tyre. The alarm also triggers if the weather has get cooler and the tyre pressures have not been adjusted as the result is falling tyre pressure. The tyre pressures will only update after the car has been driven a short distance due to the design of the system. To clear a low pressure alarm, correct the pressure and then drive and within a few minutes the alarm should clear.
Tesla do not supply a tyre compressor or a spare tyre in the car, it is therefore advisable to buy a tyre compressor such as a Ring RAC635. . These are useful to adjust your tyre pressures anyway, but in the event of a slow puncture, you can often top the tyre pressure up and limp home or to somewhere safer to stop.
The Tesla user manual explains the jacking procedure for each car however we have summarised the salient points here:
For a suitable jack pad you can buy something like a LiftMaster Jack Lift Point Pad Adapter. These are especially useful if you are lifting the car using a trolley jack as opposed to a flat bed lift that some garages have.
Tyres wear out and need periodic replacement. Tesla have a T0 approved specification which some makes offer. We don't feel this classification is essential but some owners may prefer to use T0 specification to reduce the chance of other issues, otherwise as long as the tyre has the correct size, speed and load rating there is no reason to think the tyre is not suitable for the car. T0 tyres are often low noise tyres which have a foam lining as part of their construction, despite being called low noise, the primary beneficiary is for those outside the car, and not inside the car. Tyres can be purchased at any reputable tyre shop as there is nothing special about a Tesla wheel and tyre.
The wheels have pressure sensors within the wheel and these would be retained when the tyre is replaced. Any reputable tyre shop should be familiar with handling such devices. These rarely need any calibration and while changing or moving wheels from side to side may cause a temporary issue, the car usually corrects itself after a short period of driving.
Many Teslas are 4 wheel drive and with an ICE the usual rule is to keep all 4 tyres with similar tyre depth etc to reduce issues. This is because a 4 wheel drive ICE will have a central differential and tyres with different tread depth will have different rolling radius. This results in a constant offset twist through the central differential which is trying to resist this. Tesla use two motors and no central differential and therefore this does not come into play. That said, normal rules of matched tyres on an axle and the better grip on the front to aid braking is still true to maintain even and safe grip with the road surface.
When looking to replace tyres we recommend Tyres UK Comparison Service to find the best price across a range of providers.<\p>
In the event of a puncture, the foam/goo type solutions don't work with tyres containing the foam insert. You can however sometimes plug the hole and we have some recommended products on our Essential Accessories page
When changing tyres due to a puncture it is also advisable to keep tyres of a similar make and wear on the save axle. This can be expensive if you have a damaged tyre on one side of the car resulting in a premature replacement, but different tyres will exhibit different grip and under hard braking, say in an emergency, it can introduce some in-balance in the car. This won't be realised under normal driving but in an emergency it might be the difference between stopping safely and not.
The suspension alignment or tracking as some refer it as is important on a Tesla like any other car. The cars are heavy and the forces are therefore greater through the suspension than some other makes and so pot holes etc can cause a significant jolt to the suspension. The car generally deals with this well from a comfort point of view but that energy is being taken by the suspension. Its advisable to get the alignment checked periodically.
Teslas can exhibit quite excessive wear on the inside edge of the tyres, especially with cars equipped with air suspension. High inside edge wear can occur which can be difficult to spot as the rest of the tyre looks ok. We believe this is a combination of the general set up of the car, made worse when the air suspension is in the low position, and small errors in the tracking. We also suspect incorrectly inflated tyres can increase the issue, both over and under inflated.
If you live in a cold climate where ground temperatures below freezing are common then they are a good idea. Summer tyres generally start to lose grip below 7 deg C, however as busy roads and tyres are generally several degrees warmer than the ambient temperature, the cut over to winter tyres does not need to be when the weather drops below 7 deg c. Tesla are heavy cars, and the traction control is incredibly good, however the laws of physics can not be defeated and stopping and steering are the main beneficiaries of winter tyres. If you feel you would benefit winter tyre then you should certainly get some, the best approach would be to run the smaller wheel rims suitable for your car e.g. 19" for a Model S, and fit some suitable winter tyres for the season.
Winter tyres usually have a different tread pattern to summer tyres with reduced straight grooves around the tyre. These grooves on summer tyres aid water dispersal, the lack of grooves aids grip on snow. When choosing a winter tyre its worth thinking about whether you want an extreme snow tyre or just a tyre aimed for use in the cold, ice etc but which would still cope with a limited amount of snow.
When swapping to winter tyres the suspension alignment is the same as summer tyres however we would still recommend a quick check as part of routine sensible precautions. Many tyre places do the check for free, and if you're having your tyres changed at a tyre shop you may as well while you are there.
One last word on winter driving, in extremely icy conditions, autopilot or traffic aware cruise control should not be used, and it may be advisable to reduce the regenerative braking to low to give the drive more control over the cars behaviour.