Model S

Major Issues with 21 inch tires

I upgraded to 21-inch Tires on my new Model S. In general; I love the car. But the 21-inc tires are extremely unreliable. I have 7k miles on my car and already got three flats, each time bending the rim(while on autopilot, hitting potholes), so my current investment is

$4,500.00 Upgrade at Purchase
$1,700.00 tire and rim replacement
$1,700.00 tire and rim replacement
$3,300.00 19inch tires(decided to get rid of 21-inch tires before winter in the NorthEast)
Total $11,200.00.

Tesla will not do anything for me. These tires should never have been sold with this car, or a major disclaimer should have been included. Is anyone else in this situation?


  • I got my first bend after 100k miles on 21s. Everyone knows low profile tires make for susceptible rims. A big reason many people avoid them. I actually have bent more 19” rims than 21” rims, so there’s that.
  • Your issue with the 21s is common to all makes and models equipped with such low profile tires. Common knowledge.

    Because of where you live and the (likely) poor roads you have to drive on, this is highly likely.

    I avoided the 21s or similar in all my cars for this reason.

    Switch to 19s ASAP, IMO.
  • marc... do you live in a cold weather state where there are numerous potholes due to freezing and thawing roadways? I used to live in MA and I had low profile tires on my BMW's and AMG MB's. I was constantly replacing tires and rims. I moved to Florida and switched to Tesla's. I have owned 3 Model S Performance cars with 21" rims over 6 years and have only had to replace one rim and that was due to a harsh contact with a curb.
    I don't recommend the 21" low profile tires for anyone living in a cold weather state.
  • I concur about potholed cold states, but there are states with bad infrastructure in more temperate and southern states as well. Road trips can be a crapshoot. It was one of the reasons I bought a stealth Model 3 with 18 inchers after being forced into 21s on my S. At least now it’s the buyer’s decision as to what wheels they buy.
  • What tire pressure do you run? I've hit some pretty hellacious potholes in 40k miles of road tripping on 21's and have never had a bent rim or flat.
  • Several years ago while reading posts on this forum, I came across a great description of what it's like having 21" wheels and tires on a car (from a poster named eye surgeon): Having 21s on your Model S is like having a Supermodel for a girlfriend- great to look at but a bitch to live with.
  • Aside from some scrapes, and one limp to a Discount tire, in 110k miles in Springfield,MO. The pothole was in Indiana. 21” are fine.

    Some have better solutions. Or are lucky. I have been lucky.

    My wife’s 18” are easier on her 3, but let’s not categorize low profile tires as supermodels.
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