spare tire not an option

spare tire not an option

They don't want you jacking the car up. Called Boston. They said you can try fix a flat but the car is more than likely too heavy to be able to lift the car, but you might get a little pressure to take some off the rim.
Tow is only way.

Red Sage ca us | 13 April 2016

Covered a gazillion times. Google or Volkerize.

Bighorn | 13 April 2016

Completely wrong

dd.micsol | 13 April 2016

Just call one of your tesla stores. They don't want you to puncture the battery pack.

MarlonBrown | 13 April 2016

My beamer and Mini didnt have spare tires either. Kimd of common these days. In the days of cell phone, call for road assistance.

J.T. | 13 April 2016

@dd I humbly suggest that we know more than the guys and girls at the Tesla stores. For them it's a job, for many of us it's a hobby.

jordanrichard | 13 April 2016

dd, neither do we. Have you looked under your MS? There are 4 jack pads, that is where one would put a floor jack. How do you think they lift the car up at the service center?

EQC | 13 April 2016

Not having a spare and waiting for a tow is reasonable if you live and drive in well populated areas. If you're out in the boonies, you could be waiting hours for the tow. If the tire can't be repaired, then things get more complicated -- do you get towed hundreds of miles to some place that has the right tire in stock? Do you wait additional hours/days for the lone tire shop in the boonies to get the tire delivered?

Manufacturers make a lot of excuses for not including the spare tire -- saving weight, saving cost, etc. For a $20,000+ vehicle weighing 2500 lbs or more, that $100 spare tire and jack combo weighing a total of <50 lbs is making less than a 1% difference. Some manufacturers install run flat tires in lieu of the spare tire -- but those are heavier, provide worse handling, and cost more every time you need to replace tires. I wish every manufacturer at least made the spare tire an option, and let the customer decide.

For Tesla, I think part of the issue is packaging -- a spare tire in the front would fill up the crumple zone (and eliminate the frunk); a spare in the back would normally go under the floor where the motor is. Maybe one day, Tesla will switch to separate motors for each tire at the rear, and open up enough space between them to install a spare.

For some driving patterns, the peace-of-mind offered by having an on-board spare is meaningful, and could save hours of lost time in the case of a flat.

Haggy | 13 April 2016

The biggest excuse is that if you look at the reasons that people break down, flat tire doesn't top the list. When cars were a new invention, if you wanted to take a 100 mile trip, you had better have had a spare tire, or perhaps several. People don't carry spare 12v batteries, or spare fan belts or a spare fuel tank. There are numerous top 10 lists, and top 7 lists on line that talk about why people need road service. Dead batteries (12V) and lockout are high on the list. Tire problems due to excess wear, alignment or inflation are on the list. But motor problems (i.e. ICE), belts, hoses, transmission issues, brake problems and others are quite common, and running out of gas probably tops them all. Fluid leaks are a big problem. Drive shafts (including CV joints and universal joints) and clogged fuel filters are up there.

With the Tesla, brake problems are unlikely. Ignoring the check engine light won't be an issue. There's no drive shaft and fluid leaks aren't likely. Water pumps and fuel filters won't leave you stranded. The jury is still out on the 12V battery. In theory, it shouldn't give you problems without lots of warning. But Tesla has had problems in the past.

All in all, a spare tire wouldn't top the list of spare parts that would be potentially helpful, but finding a nearby place to patch a tire is likely going to be the easiest available auto repair.

It's not the weight of the car, but the torque of the lug nuts that's higher than typical and is such that a typical owner wouldn't want to change a tire and may not be capable of getting the old one off. Tesla didn't include a spare because it wasn't what most owners wanted. I can't say that will necessarily be the case for Model 3 owners, who might be more likely to want to change a tire. But keep in mind what kind of hub is being used on the Model 3. The car is being designed with a center lock hub. It's not something that you take off the way you do with standard lug nuts.

compchat | 13 April 2016

I've had several flats in my Tesla model S(s). Each time I called Tesla and they sent a tow truck with a spare wheel/tire. They installed it and took the flat to the shop whereupon they replaced the tire at a cost of $375. They will NOT fix tires. That's their policy. The manager told me that the car is too heavy to risk a patch failure. That's a lot of money to replace a potentially fixable tire.

Once I drove it to Good year. They scratched the rims but repaired the tire. I don't know what I will do next time as Tesla won't repair tires. Suggestions ?

Haggy | 14 April 2016

That doesn't make sense. The patch has to hold 45 psi. Truck tires get patched and trucks are much heavier. The weight isn't the issue. If you compare the weight of the car to the number of square inches of tire touching the ground to the psi, you find that it's nothing. The patch isn't holding up the car. It's holding the air that's pushing against the inside of the tire at 45 psi.

Tesla doesn't own the tire shops. They contract the work out. You own the tire. It's up to you whether you want it fixed. It sounds like the tire guy was trying to rip you off. If you Google the phrase "car too heavy for tire patch" (with quotes) you will find there's no such thing.

damonmath | 14 April 2016

I got a flat in a Mercedes SLK 320 in the carpool lane on the 5 South in rush hour traffic. At speeds the car almost flipped over. I choose to change the flat myself using the space saver tire that comes standard on SLKs. It was the scariest tire change I have ever experienced and in the future I plan to call for a tow. Country roads are one thing, busy rush hour traffic on a major HWY in CA is something else entirely.

PhillyGal | 14 April 2016

Puncture the titanium shield?


PhillyGal | 14 April 2016


See how easy it is to admit when you're wrong? | 14 April 2016

I think the reason is more to do with the speed ratings and not knowing how much abuse occurred when the tire was driven flat. Do you really want to trust a patch driving at 140 mph? Now to be fair, I've never driven near that speed, but the car and the tires are rated for very high speeds. If I were to drive at those speeds, I would never trust a patched tire. Tesla service has no way to know at what speeds you drive or how the tire may have been damaged while driving on a flat tire. They have a strong incentive to keep owners safe and maximizing safety is a core concept at Tesla. Not sure I'd worry about a patch at speeds I drive, but I also can see Tesla's reasoning.

For reverse logic, if you paid $70K-$140K for a car, are you going to risk your car and safety on a $10 patch or is it worth it to you to maintain maximum safety and just buy a new tire? I can see if you have a $5K beater car, a $10 patch makes more economic sense.

KP in NPT | 14 April 2016

Where is Mclary when you need him?

Neez | 14 April 2016

On my previous car, i had a nail go through a tire in a parking lot. The tire only had about 5,000 miles on it, so i took it off and patched it. Drove it for another 20k miles just fine before getting a new set of tires for the winter. Never had a leak or anything out of it. I wouldn't go racing it on a track, or drive aggressively with it, but if you want to just take the 10 minutes to jack up your car and patch a tire to get you to the tire shop instead of waiting and paying a tow truck, it think a patch is fine.

jordanrichard | 14 April 2016

Though I am on my second set of tires, I did get a nail in one of my previous tires. Tesla wouldn't patch it, so I took it to a local garage that I have been doing business with for years. They simply patched it and I never had any subsequent issues.

I bought the Tesla air pump/fix a flat. Apart from a literal blow out, this will take care of any issues. Jacking a car, safely requires you to be on a solid level surface. Now, I don't know about the rest of the country, but here in New England, apart from the highways, our roads have "soft shoulders", meaning grass or dirt. The "break down lane" is all of 2-3 feet wide. So unless you are luck to get a flat on the driver's side of the car, you are going to be trying to jack a car up on dirt and hopefully it's not soaked from rain..

yongliangzhu68 | 16 April 2016

All shown prototypes had center locking hubs and Musk confirmed they would be used in production. Center locking hubs = no (practical) way to change a tire. With center locking hubs the M3 could carry 5 spare tires and you would still be out of luck. :) Center locking hubs ends the spare tire debate.

SCCRENDO | 16 April 2016

I posted at length in the Model S forum. At 12000 miles in Oct 2013 returned to my car and noted my tire to be completely flat. Have the Tesla compressor and goop but couldn't get the tire to inflate. Called Tesla tow service. They could not get it inflated either so I got towed to Costa Mesa. Got the skeptical call the next day as they inflated the tire and they found nothing wrong. 6 weeks later got a flat in the same tire coming off the freeway. Had to get towed again but this time to American tire. They had to replace the tire. When I asked them what the cause was they said there was a screw in the tire. But there was so much goop inside it was difficult to see. My best guess is that the screw was there initially and the car needed to be jacked up to inflate from empty because of its weight. When Tesla inflated the tire the goop probably sealed it. Eventually it stopped holding so I got the second leak. As a result I now carry a full size spare in the frunk as per wife's instructions. Tows are a hassle. Now at 86000 miles have had two slow leaks that were addressed with my compressor. Haven't needed to use my spare. Not sure what I will do in my Model 3 with a smaller frunk.

eandmjep | 16 April 2016

I personally wold like the option to put on a doughnut and be on the road rather than have to wait. 4 serious flats in 20 years all in the boonies. Oh and I don't own a cell phone, I know i'm a dinosaur haha. I personally think a spare would be more useful than a Cell. (talk about ball and chain!) ;) Any other flats I had were noticed in my driveway. I have 4 vehicles and I have a repair done for nails and screws at least twice per year but all noted at home.

yongliangzhu68 | 17 April 2016

@ eandmjep: Since the M3 is going to use center locking hubs how would you remove/replace the wheel?

mos6507 | 17 April 2016

With a wrench designed for center hubs and a spare wheel with a center hub.

Red Sage ca us | 17 April 2016

I have never seen a center hub temporary donut wheel/tire...

Bighorn | 17 April 2016

Plus it's a huge wrench required to generate massive torque.

yongliangzhu68 | 17 April 2016

Also having a car on the side of the road on a flimsy jack without chalking and then applying 500 ft-lb of torque force is beyond foolishly dangers. Plus you must be carful to properly seat the locking mechanism when instilling the wheel which could be tricky on the side of the road in less than ideal lighting and angle of view conditions.

cephellow | 17 April 2016

I've had 4 times where I've gotten a screw in the tire of my PD. I keep a small tire repair kit (sticky rope plug) in the trunk, repaired it myself every time. A portable compressor is handy, but the car should be jacked up if the tire is completely flat since the rim seal can't be re-established with a portable compressor with weight on the tire.
I have no problem driving aggressively with a simple puncture repair. I avoid the goop, that would be the last ditch solution, since it messes up the TPMS sensors and a goop repair would be only to drive to a tire shop. Flatbed the car if there is more serious damage. I have no problem NOT carrying a spare, and pretty much agree with what @Haggy has said about it. If center locks are an option for the M3, I won't get them. Lots of expensive bits and pieces associated with center locks that have little value on the street except for looking 'cool'.

KdotB | 17 April 2016

If typical rim, then with the number of m3s hitting the roads, it would be more practical for tesla to add a spare option. Otherwise (and if the centre lock is true) I hope they're beefing up their road side assistance team (or outsourced team)

SCCRENDO | 17 April 2016

@cephellow. The Tesla goop is ok for the sensors

Bighorn | 17 April 2016

I used sensor-safe goop and it caused faulting for a while. The big issue is the balance of the tire is thrown off.

SCCRENDO | 17 April 2016

Never caused me a problem and I drove with goop in my tire for 6 weeks that Tesla failed to clean out. In either event if putting in some goop gets me going I'll take my chances and sort out the sensors later

archvillain | 17 April 2016

The traditional solution to no spare tire (especially on sports cars) is runflat tires. Punctures are no problem.

Is the model S too heavy for runflats or something? Or is it that they're putting more emphasis on the luxury aspect rather than the sporty, so they want more isolation from road vibration?

If there is an option of runflats for the M.3, I'll take it. :)

Red Sage ca us | 17 April 2016

Every bit of available passenger and cargo volume counts toward the EPA's vehicle size rating. Without a spare tire in the car, it is that much easier to qualify as Midsize instead of Compact.

cephellow | 17 April 2016

Run flats-

IMO, sluggish handling awful stuff. Much rather take my chances with a flat. Had a BMW Z4 with run flats, ditched them for some Hankook Ventus Evos, was like night and day.

However, for those who are really concerned about not having a spare tire, it is a solution. Run flats are available in the base model 18" tires that the model 3 will probably be offering (derived from the 20"tire sizes used on the reveal prototypes)

compchat | 18 April 2016

The goop doesn't work. You need the glue and small pieces of rubber to push it in. Look at the kit on (I've never used this option but have read that it is a good temporary fix).

compchat | 18 April 2016

BTW, some tow trucks actually carry a model S wheel/tire. When I had a flat I called Tesla who sent out a truck. The driver swapped out his "spare" for my flat. It's good business for Tesla because they never patch tires just replace them at a cost of $375 (mine was a standard tire).

yongliangzhu68 | 18 April 2016

@Red Sage ca us: Exactly, this is one of the biggest reasons. A spare tire (doughnut) and tools will require about 3 cubic feet. Also you can't just reengineer the shape of the gas tank to make space for the tire.

A quick search indicates that about ⅓ off ALL new cars sold don't come with a spare and that number is rising. Probably as all car are redesigned they will element the spare and it will go the way of the dodo in less than a decade.

archvillain | 18 April 2016

I love my runflats. They are more expensive though - both in cost to buy and time to replace :-/

carlk | 18 April 2016

Air usually don't come out all at once even when you got a nail puncture. With TPM the chance that you will not notice air loss and take action, such as drive to a repair shop or use the tire seal to temporarily get by, before catastrophic tire failure occurs is very small. The TPM and spareless cars arrived at about the same time more than a decade ago.

liftsrock | 18 April 2016

I agree with archvillain. I like my run flats on my BMW X3. I do not see any handling or comfort issues with run flats and knowing that if I do get a flat I can drive a long distance to home or a repair shop is a good feeling especially at night or in bad weather. I will buy the run flats if available and hope they are made an option.

yongliangzhu68 | 18 April 2016

@ archvillain: I had run flats and when it came time to replace a friend's friends who was in the tire business talked me out of run flats. Three reasons 1) smother ride (which I wanted anyway) 2) statistically not that likely to have a flat 3) THE BIG one: the price difference would almost cover a flatbed in the unlikely event I had a flat.

SCCRENDO | 18 April 2016

Flatbed costs more than money. in fact it is free during the warranty period. it's the time and time is serious money to some of us

sp_tesla | 18 April 2016

"Haggy | April 13, 2016
The biggest excuse is that if you look at the reasons that people break down, flat tire doesn't top the list."

I agree 100% however on rare occasion when flat tire replacement is needed, knowing that 99%+ of the current cars have a much better timely replacement solution will make you feel lacking basic simple easy fix & unnecessary delayed.

archvillain | 18 April 2016

@wj I have a sports car, so I like a bit of road-feel, but I definitely understand that a smooth ride is nice.
The bigger reason for runflats for me though is that most of the time that I'm driving somewhere, I either want to get there, or I kind of need to get there (catching a flight for example). My car is completely reliable and gets me to my destination always. Being stranded on the side of the road with a puncture, or getting a flat battery, or the car not starting... a bit of money up front and those become things that only happen to other people :)

That's one of the (many) reasons the Tesla appeals - I already have a car that I can rely on, but a car with fewer moving parts, fluids etc, has the potential to be reliable for years more. :D

carlk | 18 April 2016

It's never that simple. I would not want to replace my tire on the side of the road myself. I certainly would not want my wife to do that. We will probably end up waiting for a roadside service anyway. Just want to add the last time I had to change a tire outside my garage was more than 20 years ago. I'd like to hear what's eveyone else's.

cephellow | 18 April 2016

IMO: Minus column for Runflats (I'm not arguing against people who feel it is a good solution for their needs, just reasons why I don't like them)
-Difficult to change- they are a bear to get off of the rim without damaging the rim.
-Higher rolling resistance: which is a real issue for EV range.
-Compromised performance
-Limited choice
-Increased road noise

Rocky_H | 18 April 2016

Hard to believe I have not heard of this, but perhaps it's because I do not buy fancy cars. What is a "center locking hub"?

Rocky_H | 18 April 2016

...and why does that mean that the wheel cannot be changed?

Red Sage ca us | 18 April 2016

New-fangled versions of these:

And popular with race-oriented Porsche fans:

thecatdad | 18 April 2016

"For reverse logic, if you paid $70K-$140K for a car, are you going to risk your car and safety on a $10 patch..." the failure of a $3 usb cable will brick your car. There are myriad inexpensive but vital components that make up a Tesla.

I think they don't offer a spare because 1) people that tend to buy luxury cars live in an area where roadside assistance is within a decent range (upscale inner city/affluent suburb), 2) Tesla owners will be more likely to absorb the cost of an expensive emergency tire change and 3) there is no good place to put it within the frame of the car that doesn't dramatically detract from some other aspect that is a selling point, especially considering the above.