After driving my Model S for four years on 21” wheels, I decided to downgrade the car to 19” wheels. The decision process took a while, and the saga is a long one.
New 19″ Slipstream Wheels
A few months ago I noticed my tire had yet another leak. The leak was very small and only required pumping up the air about every other week at the most. Having so much experience with tires, I was not worried about this leak and had either used my electric pump, that I always have in the trunk, or the manual floor mounted bike pump in the garage to add more air.
I had intended to go to my very local service station / auto repair place and have them look at my tire at some point. I suspected I had a nail in the tire and that the tire could be repaired. The tires were not very new, so I was hoping I could delay replacing the tire, as that likely meant I needed to replace not just one tire but two. When the tread is quite low on the tires, they do not want you to drive around with a set (either the front or the rear), where one tire has all its tread and the other is almost worn out. I suspect this discrepancy could cause excess or unaligned tire wear.
Only an encounter with a Tesla service person on another matter changed the story.
Home or Office Service
I earlier reported that my 12 Volt battery had died and needed service. The local service center now has one mechanic that goes to your location to repair batteries and tires. As the ever curious Tesla owner, I watched him change the battery, and talked to him about various Tesla topics.
Somewhere during the conversation, I mentioned that I had a leak in one of my tires. The service guy offered to look at my tire for no cost. I had not planned on having Tesla address this leak, but I since it was free and he was already in my garage, I happily agreed.
The mobile service guy brought out his jack, and in very little time had the wheel off the car. No nail was visible, but to my surprise I had a problem I have never seen on any car I have ever owned, my rim was cracked!
Cracked Rim with Water Test to Show Leak
The rim was visibly cracked with a hairline fracture, and to confirm he added water and you could see the air bubbles. He explained that if you hit a pothole “just so”, you can crack your rim. He said I was safe to continue to drive the car with the wheels as long as I slowed down for any pot holes.
Since I have been plagued by tire issues, I watch for potholes constantly. I know where the road is worn out locally and steer out of my way to protect my tires. I have been driving in this manner for 50,000 miles. Luckily the town I live in has a fair amount of revenue stream and our roads are pristine.
I do remember however driving in the East Bay awhile ago and remembering a badly beat up stretch of payment on 580. One fun grammatical note: In Northern California, freeways are referred to by numbers not their names and are never preceded by the word “the”; in Southern California the naming convention is the reverse, which sounds so strange to our ears. On 580, I distinctly remembered that I had avoided as much as I can any issues in the road pavement, but I know I did hit one pothole with the wheel in question.
I now really did not know what to do. I knew not only I couldn’t just repair one tire, I had to buy a new rim also, and they cost $500! I really didn’t want to do either, and this let me open up my thoughts to do something completely different.
Why I bought 21” Wheels in 2013
Original 19″ Wheels
Before my Model S, I was a very early 1xx Roadster owner. I got used to zipping around
fast and hugging every curve. I had initially configured the Model S to have the 19” wheels, but at the last minute a friend convinced me to go with the 21” primarily because they looked so much better. I was just not particularly fond of look of the original 19” wheels, and Tesla no longer sells them to new buyers.
21” vs. 19” Reliability
Over the years I have talked to many different people associated with Tesla about my wheels. I am not a particularly talkative person, but I can strike up a conversation with strangers with no qualms, and ask many detailed questions on an interesting subject.
The most interesting conversation about my tires was with a former Tesla Service Manager, whom I met in a very off chance circumstance. I have heard the following different statements from 3 different Tesla employees that stuck in my brain, and I recalled them when thinking about what to do with my broken rim:
“Those 21s have had a lot of problems.”
“The vast majority of problems are with the 21s, no problems with the 19s.”
“Tesla should have never put such low profile tires on such a heavy car.”
My 21” experience vs. my fellow blogger
My fellow blogger from the East Coast has been very happy with his car and wheels. He got 50,000 miles on a set of tires! That amount of mileage was and still is only something I can dream about.
Here is a short timeline of my tire experience:
- March 2014 – four new tires (mileage 12,500)
- March 2014 – pothole damage, one new tire (mileage 12,600)
- Spring 2014 – cross country road trip in Model S
- June 2014 – four new tires (mileage 26,000)
- July 2014 – new camber arms
- October 2014 – nail and tire repair
- October 2015 – four new tires (mileage 49,000)
- October 2015 – leaky tire repaired
- October 2016 – new tire (sidewall damage)
- April 2017 – cracked rim (65,000 miles)
Tesla has treated me very well during this experience and have done a lot of monitoring of my alignment. I managed to drive almost 23,000 miles on my third set of tires. My latest set of tires gave me at least 16,000 miles, which is respectable. All four wheels had a fair to a considerable amount of curb rash. I haven’t hit a curb in a couple of years, but it took a while to get used to the very wide car.
I was happy with what Tesla and I achieved in terms of tire mileage, but I was tired of how susceptible the tires were to other objects such as small potholes. I was in a way tired of “living in fear” and having to watch the road excessively. After the deluge of rain we received in California this winter, we have a lot of potholes in the state in general.
My current mileage was about 65,000. I definitely had to replace one rim, and my front two tires were due to be replaced very soon, and the rears in short order. Tesla provided the exact tread depth measurements, which are reported below.
I have extensively worked with Tesla over the last few years on my toe wear issues. Tesla service has done really all they can to fix and monitor my extensive toe wear. I am very glad my toe wear has improved enough that I can replace my tires closer to 20,000 miles instead of 12,500 miles.
But when looking at the wear report, the Tesla report still shows toe wear.
LF:6/32 6/32 3/32
RF:6/32 6/32 3/32
LR:6/32 6/32 4/32
RR6/32 6/32 4/32
When speaking to the first service person who was not my regular contact, I was told “you must have hit a pothole”. No, I did not hit four potholes on all four wheels! The car still wears out the toe more than it should.
While the car sat in the shop waiting for a battery fix, I contemplated the numbers. I had a choice. Instead of sinking more money into a set of wheels that would never be very durable or long lasting for the Model S, I could fork out the cash to get the new 19” rims ($300 each) and tires ($180 each) for $480 each before tax and installation, or I could buy two 21” tires ($375 each), a new rim ($500) and in a few months buy two more new 21” tires.
- 19” cost : (300 + 180) x4 = $1920
- 21” cost: 500 + 2x 375 + 2 x 375 = $2000
Although I didn’t need to replace the back tires immediately, I would within 6 months. So for the same price, I could get longer lasting lower maintenance tires. The numbers are using Tesla default pricing and there are other options like buying tires through 3rd party places, but these calculations are listed here for simplicity. So even in the short term, there was no real financial reason to stick with the 21s, and in the long run a very large savings.
I decided to go with the 19” rims. I am tired of the hassle of these performance tires.
I had to wait a while because the service center only had two rims in stock, and needed to get the parts shipped in from the warehouse in Lathrop, California.
Selling 21” Wheels on CraigList
I also had another way to make a little money. I could sell the wheels! Tesla disposed of the wheel with the cracked rim, but I brought home the other three. I am not much of a seller and generally just donate things, but this was more than a few dollars worth of value. I first tried the Tesla Motors Forum and got some interest, but I soon got tired of looking at the wheels, even if the garage has a lot of space.
3 Wheels For Sale!
Using Craigslist, I got interest in the wheels immediately. I am not much of a negotiator, and just pretty much took the first reasonable offer.
When selling on Craigslist you need to include photos of both the front of the wheels and the tire tread patterns. Within a couple of hours, I got several questions and responses, and quickly sold the wheels.
Tread Wear Photo of Wheels for Sale
The buyer was a Model X driver who was planning to take the wheels and powder coat them to a new color. He also said that there was a 22” tire that worked with these rims. I sold all three of them for $450, so in the end I saved money buy buying new rims even in the short term.
The Tesla app for some reason still did not think I had any wheels on it. The car recognizes the wheels as 19” as the picture had changed on the dashboard. I knew the tire sensors were still talking to the car, so I knew I would get any low pressure warnings. But the app picture was still a little ghostly.
The Ghost Car
I ended up pointing this issue out to the service manager, and he fixed it by reprogramming the computer on the car. He had never seen this issue before.
Right when the process was done my car started to squeak. The Model S is currently in service to fix this strange noise that occurred right after the wheels were installed and did not go away. I’ll report on that when I get the car back.
I am very glad I made this decision. With the new style or rims, I don’t miss the look of the 21s at all, and I will save so much money and hassle in the long run. I have only noticed a very minor difference when driving, but I have not really gone anywhere recently that is particularly fun to drive.
With its new 2020 model year, Tesla is breaking down the range of Model 3 Performance with different wheels, and there are surprising differences with the different options.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously expressed disdain for the way automakers only update their vehicles on a model year basis once a year.
Instead, Tesla has been introducing changes to its vehicles whenever they are ready and changing the model year with the New Year, unlike other automakers who generally do it in the fourth quarter.
While Tesla appears to still do the former, it looks like it decided to follow the rest of the industry and implement its model year change earlier than the New year.
The EPA has been releasing this week new ratings for Tesla’s “2020” models.
Yesterday, we reported on the new 2020 Model 3 Standard Range Plus becoming the new most efficient electric vehicle in the US.
We have now taken a look at other 2020 updates to different Model 3 variants, and there are quite a few new changes.
One of the most notable is Tesla and the EPA now breaking down the range and efficiency of the Model 3 Performance with the three different wheel options:
When Tesla originally launched the Model 3 Performance, it was only offered with larger performance wheels, and Tesla has been advertising the range at 310 miles (last one on the right).
But the automaker has since been offering the vehicle without the “Performance Package,” and now they can get the vehicle with standard 18-inch aero wheels.
With the smaller and more aerodynamic wheels, the Model 3 Performance gets 322 miles of range or 23 more miles than with the 20-inch wheels.
That’s an almost 8% difference.
A Tesla VP of engineering previously said that Tesla Model 3’s aero wheels can increase efficiency by ~10% versus the bigger non-aero 19-inch silver Sport wheels, which was the only other option for a while until Tesla released a 20-inch version of the same wheel.
Interestingly, none of the 2020 Model 3 Performance is listed at 310 miles of range, like Tesla is currently listing on its website, even though it’s listed standard with the 20-inch wheels, which are now supposedly getting 299 miles of range.
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A set of 4x 19” Tesla wheels and tires
Goodyear Tires show 100% tread
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Ohm Wheels are Engineered Exclusively to fit Tesla Vehicles
Ohm Custom Wheels - Built exclusively to fit Tesla Cars
ZERO COMPROMISE. Ohm Wheels are designed and engineered specifically for electric vehicles. This means that the entire wheel manufacturing process is catered exactly with your Tesla in mind. All Ohm Wheels are completely new and original styles that are not found on any conventional vehicles. Wheel specifications are engineered without compromise to fit.
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PRECISION. Ohm Wheels are precision engineered in every detail. Our in-house engineers take into account both the staggered and non-staggered fitments for Teslas. A staggered fitment means that the rear wheels and tires are slightly wider than the front, providing better traction and a more aggressive stance for the Tesla rims. Additionally, Ohm engineers factor in the related concepts of wheel offset and backspace. Wheel offset means the wheel centerline is offset away from the axle, providing a wider stance. Backspace measures how far the wheel intrudes into the wheel well towards the axle, and is important to ensure that there is no interference with suspension trailing arms or other mechanical systems.
Ohm Wheels for Teslas are designed to accept the original equipment (OE) wheel center logo cap and accommodate factory tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS). All Ohm Wheels are hub centric, which ensures that they fit precisely over the center flange of the brake rotor so that the wheel is concentric with the wheel bearings for a truer, better balanced wheel/tire assembly and a smoother ride.
19 wheels tesla
How Tesla Tire Size Impacts Tesla Range
Originally published on EVANNEX.
By Denis Gurskiy, EV Bite
If you’re a Tesla owner, you might be wondering — does the size of a wheel really affect the range of an electric vehicle? The short answer is yes, but the degree by which it does might be negligible to some.
Tesla Model S special rims. By Kyle Field | CleanTechnica
All tires perform the same functions: helping (or hindering) vehicle acceleration, braking, steering/handling, and mitigating shocks and road noise. However, not all tires perform these functions equally, some are rated for higher speeds, others perform better in wet conditions. That said, it’s worth discussing the effects that different wheels have on vehicle efficiency and, in turn, range. The general term used to express this disparity in efficiency is rolling resistance.
Rolling resistance, simply put, is the force that impedes motion. The lower the rolling resistance, the higher the efficiency. Several factors cause rolling resistance, but a majority of these factors, such as road quality, are not within your control. However, one major factor that you can control is the wheel size.
Advice regarding wheel size is not as simple as saying that either larger-size or smaller-size wheels are best for every scenario. Both have advantages as well as disadvantages. For example, less power is needed to get a smaller wheel into motion. Therefore, in areas with stop-and-go traffic, it’s best to have a smaller-size wheel. When in motion, the vehicle’s motor works harder to cover as much distance as a large wheel. This means larger wheels have better efficiency than smaller wheels when in motion. Check out what happens (see below) when you try to configure the wheels on a Tesla Model X Performance variant.
When you go to select the larger 22-inch wheels instead of the other two wheel options (which are only 20 inches), Tesla informs you that your range will suffer as a result.
Although it was executed for an internal combustion vehicle, a revealing test was conducted back in 2010 by Car and Driver which demonstrated the effects of changing wheel size on a Volkswagen Golf. They tested nearly identical Goodyear Eagle GT tires (from 15 to 19 inches) and analyzed fuel economy variance. What they discovered was that the difference in fuel economy from 15-inch to 19-inch wheels was about 10%.
- 19”: 21.1 MPG
- 18”: 21.9 MPG
- 17”: 22.8 MPG
- 16”: 22.9 MPG
- 15”: 23.3 MPG
Thankfully many new electric cars come with wheels that are typically around 18” — so there’s room for improvement in range. However, it’s likely most drivers would be willing to sacrifice some range so that their Model 3 isn’t running on 15-inch wheels. Additionally, less grip was found on smaller tires, so moving down in tire size is not a simple decision based solely in range — there are other consequences that will impact other aspects of driving.
Looking at Tesla in particular, Troy over at Teslike created a handy table that actually tackles this problem. While literal range tests weren’t performed with every configuration of model and wheel, it was created with several known range calculations and data extrapolated from EPA test results in order to provide a better understanding of what kind of impact different wheels would have on range. The table does seem to align with Car and Driver‘s findings and what Tesla warns when selecting larger wheels.
While the table only has Model 3 stats, Troy also created tables for the Model S and X on his site. As an aside, you can also see what kind of effect the aero “hubcap” wheels have on the range. It turns out that these aero wheels only increase range by about 3–4%. Similar results can also be found on a new wheel option that’s coming to market soon.
Moving on, there are several tire and wheel packages available from many solid brands. The question is: how can you be sure you’re getting the wheel and tire package that will help your electric car perform at its best? Check out this 4 step guide to ensure you get the best wheel and tire package:
- Know what vehicle you drive: Seems simple enough, identify the precise make, model, and year of your car.
- Choose what wheel you want: Next, choose the wheel that’s best for your vehicle. Know that you do not need to size down if the 5–10% gain in range isn’t a priority for you. If you are going big, make sure you’re not going so big that you risk making contact with your fenders.
- Narrow your result: You’re likely going to find several wheel patterns and tire types that are compatible with your vehicle. Narrow down your option to the patterns that are most applicable to your driving environment, such as all-weather or summer tires. Some tires are also designed for high performance (i.e. Michelin Pilot Super Sports), so if you want the very best driving experience possible, take that into consideration as well.
- Select your custom package: The next step is to select an appealing aesthetic (and price) from the options available. Some sellers may offer other forms of incentives, such as high-speed balancing, security lugs, and locks, etc.
So, yes, at the end of the day, the size of your wheel does affect your driving range. But as the EPA states, other key factors impact the efficiency of your car — e.g., aggressive driving patterns with a penchant for high speeds. So, when it comes to range, perhaps it’s best to make big changes to your personal driving style rather than small changes in wheel size. After all, safe driving can prevent danger and improve range.
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Tesla, Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model 3 tires, Tesla Model S, Tesla Model X, tires
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