Model 3

Ride quality difference with 18, 19, or 20 inch wheels

edited November -1 in Model 3
Does anyone have experience with the ride quality difference with 18, 19, or 20 inch wheels/tires?

I have pre-ordered a Model Y Performance but am a bit concerned about the low sidewall height and (potentially) the rough ride on the 20" tires as the roads can be a bit lacking in the area (N California coast).

Is it possible to get the Performance model with 18 or 19" wheels? Would it even make a noticeable difference? Or am I worrying for nothing.

Thanks in advance


  • edited November -1
    Can't comment about the Y. I have Model 3P with performance brakes, which required the 20" wheels. The ride is definitely rough, which I am use to having had a series of performance cars. If you are concerned about the smoothness of your ride and or potentially damaging your rims, I suggest you consider the 18's if they are offered. I wanted performance so I got the 20's. As such, I try very hard to avoid potholes. Good luck
  • edited August 2019
    I just switched from the 18" Aero's to the 19" Sports and to be honest, I don't notice any difference whatsoever..
  • edited August 2019
    @jc07 - Based on the poor roads in Northern Cal, I would stick with the 18"s even if that means forgoing the performance option.
  • edited August 2019
    mrburke | August 3, 2019
    @jc07 - Based on the poor roads in Northern Cal, I would stick with the 18"s even if that means forgoing the performance option.
    Yeah I doubt I'd attempt the 20"'s if the roads are even semi bad.....
  • edited August 2019
    Unfortunately I don't have a performance, but I do have 19" on my RWD LR. The ride is a little stiff but I don't like feeling like I am driving my living room couch. I also have a bmw x3, and my previous car was a mb slk320-ride is similar to both of those.

    So far haven't had any pothole disasters here in NorCal. Only 1 go round with a curb, that I lost on the day after I got it.
  • edited November -1
    I have gone from 20s to 18 winters and back to 20s. I have bent one 20” rim so far. The 18” winters were a bit smoother and quieter. As others have suggested I would go 18” and will probably get another set of 18s for the summer and leave the 20s off for good unless at the track.
  • edited August 2019
    It’s all personal preference. Go with what you think looks best verse opinions on a forum. If you like 20 inch wheels and the red break calipers go for it. I’ve driven over 4K miles on PA roads which are known to be the worst roads on the east coast and just now bent one rim going 95+ mph on I-95 in Florida on a pot hole so big it made everyone in the car get startled.

    Price to replace the wheel was $715 exactly and $350 for a tire. I’ll pay that price everyday for the look I want. But ultimately that $700 price tag to replace the wheel may help you make your decision wether it’s worth the price.
  • edited August 2019
    Realized my phone auto corrected brake calipers to the wrong spelling. Figured I’d correct myself before someone else does.
  • edited August 2019
    I have driven Model 3s with all 3 tire/wheel options, and honestly note very little if any discernible difference in ride quality. I have also driven a model S with 21 inch wheels, and I did notice the Model S seems to have a smoother ride.
  • edited November -1
    I have Aeros on a LR and have come to the conclusion that these vehicles are not designed or intended for smooth comfortable rides.

    The manufacturer recommends 45psi all around and that is very hard. It does give the best mileage though.

    I've dropped to 39 all around and it is just a little smoother but nowhere where it should be. I'm not expecting an S-class ride here.

    To get the best mileage per watt, they have to be hard.

    The more resistance that the tire absorbs the more electricity the vehicle has to spend to maintain forward momentum.

    Simple physics I guess.

    I still like my Flintstone riding M3! :)
  • edited August 2019
    I went from 18 to 19 inch and noticed a smooth ride instantly. I drove the 18s for two month and felt a lot more road vibration. I do want to go to a bigger rim but not sure on wheel clearance.
  • edited October 2019
    Gray Performance 20" wheels were added to my order!!!

    Original order included the silver/white 20" Performance wheels.
    I saw this morning they are changing to gray. I requested to have the gray ones on my order.
    Now my account shows the gray 20" on my blue P3D!!! Awesome!!!
  • edited October 2019
    It's all about sidewall. If you have a tiny firm sidewall, you're going to feel the road and be at risk of a blowout or bubble if you hit a pothole. If you look at the size of a tire, 275/40/ZR20 for example, the 40 represents the sidewall. A 30 series sidewall is lower profile, less sidewall than a 40. So, if you have a smaller wheel with close to the same overall diameter, then you could run a much thicker sidewall. This typically equates to better ride quality. The other big factor is firmness of the sidewall and tire pressure. I have the 18" wheels with the stock Michelin tires and I'm running just over 40psi. They ride nice and take rough roads well, but I'm surely losing some efficiency by running the lower PSI. It's a trade off. Bottom line in my experience, you will have rougher ride with larger wheels and smaller sidewalls.
  • edited October 2019
    @JC07 my advice to you would be get the car as-is with the 20" performance wheels. If you feel like it's rough or you have other concerns, you could easily trade someone for a nice set of 18s, maybe even get some cash on top. Lots of people with the 18s are after the 20s mostly for looks. If you wanted to swap to 18s I don't think you'd have any problem setting a deal up on Facebook marketplace, craigslist, forums, etc.
  • edited October 2019
    I have 20 inch performance wheels heat at 44 psi. I like the sensitive road feel and I am hoping the higher pressure will protect against pothole damage. So far so good (knocking on wood).
  • edited December 2019
    I just learned that the Y can have bigger tires (same wheel size) because there's more room. So the side wall for the 20s = 19s on 3 which means 19s = 18s on 3. Since I'm reading that 19s on the 3 have less problems with bending, I think it'll be ok to get the YP 20s.
  • edited November -1
    No reason to get a 20” other then subjective looks. 18” will have better tire selection, less expensive tires, better ride, better acceleration, shorter stopping distance,... we had a p reserved on our 3 but switched to the LR AWD when we couldn’t get a stealth. Also the p Y will probably come with summer only tires so if you are in an area that ever gets snow or routinely gets below 50F will have to get a winter set of tires.
  • edited December 2019
    "I just learned that the Y can have bigger tires (same wheel size) because there's more room."

    Is the tire size for the Model Y P listed somewhere? Because the car rides higher doesn't mean that there is more clearance to the control arm
  • edited December 2019
    I’m thinking the shallower sidewalls on the 20s help give the car a “tighter” response in cornering/lane changing. I love it!

    My best friend used my referral code to buy his new S 100 D which he picked up this week. I drove it today. I’ve got to say, I absolutely love the handling of my PD3+ with the tighter, lower suspension and 20” setup in comparison.

    The S was all over the place. Nice enough ride. But he likes a more refined, soft ride, and I like it low and tight. I love some “woop-woop” lane changing action, personally. No floatiness or wallowing for me.

    Bottom line is that Tesla provides so many options for all the different preferences we all have! Gotta love that!
  • edited December 2019
    After moving from West Coast to East Coast, I said I’d never be buying performance rims again. So far 3 flats in 3 years of BMW M3 ownership.

    My stock squared Model 3 LR AWD on 18s is nearly identical to how my staggered stock 245/265 on 19s BMW M3 feels in terms of the ride. Haven’t noticed a difference in friends cars who have Model 3 with 19s.

    I do wish the Model 3 had air suspension, esp for crappy city roads, but I’m also glad I can throw the car around the road and still have such incredible control.

    I take my daily beater Camry Hybrid out and that car is just all over the place, but so damn comfortable in city driving and smaller tires.
  • edited December 2019
    My 2017 m3 long range came with 19 " and bridgestone tires.
    I also own a performance model s with 21" wheels and michelin 4s tires
    The m3 rode much rougher probably due to no air suspension as well.
    20' wheels were not an option,but were available as an accessory with michelin 4s tires (same as my model s)
    for $4500 .
    I finally decided to opt for the 20" package hoping it was worthwhile, and would ride closer to my model s.
    It actually made an amazing difference.Much better smoother ride and of course better look.
    I was able to sell my 19" wheels and tires to someone with 18" wheels.
    All in all it was the best thing I ever did and would highly reccomend
Sign In or Register to comment.