Buckled wheels

Buckled wheels

In the UK, some of our country lanes are bumpier than others. We have lots of pot holes etc, which have never damaged any of my other cars (including 2 Model S', one with air suspension and one without).

Since taking delivery of my Model 3 Performance a couple of months ago with 19" wheels, I definitely feel the pot holes more than I did before. I've had a slow leak, so took it for service today. Apparently both nearside wheels are buckled, the front wheel so badly that it's leaking. It's nearly £800 to replace the wheel and I've been waiting 4 hours so far.

Whilst waiting I heard another lady complaining of the same thing. In fact she's replaced five tyres since December, and repaired two alloys. They're now telling her that both of her nearside wheels are buckled too.

They're said we'd be better off with 18" wheels, since the extra foam would lessen the impact. They've not acknowledged that the increased weight of the car might warrant stronger alloys, or that the stiffened and lowered sports suspension might cope worse with the bad roads. And apparently the suspension is not adjustable anyway.

Looking this up, I've found lots of examples of people repeatedly replacing their wheels, so it's not just me. Here for example, 30% of respondents had at least 1 bent rim.

Any thoughts on this?

Magic 8 Ball | February 24, 2020

The 18" wheels will have taller sidewall and give more opportunity for air pressure adjustment to "soften" the ride.

M3D | February 24, 2020

As M8B said The 18s will give you more sidewall and more cushioning. The foam is about noise reduction.

Scrannel | February 24, 2020

Have 20" rims on my Performance and though I had one blowout (looks like someone shot a 22LR through my sidewall) the wheels have been surprisingly robust. Still, if you're going to drive like James Bond in James Bond Land... well you may need more flex than strength. Wonder how a set of chrome wire wheels would look on a Model 3?

lbowroom | February 24, 2020

The wheel and tire packages aren't inherently different than other vehicles with the same type of performance.

ozonelives | February 24, 2020

I've had to replace two of my 20" rims in 10 months, both due to potholes in SF Bay Area (Daly City and Modesto). At some point I may end up purchasing a set of 18". I'm not surprised about the tires being prone to blowouts but I am a bit disappointed in the durability of the rims. $877 to replace one.

howard | February 24, 2020

I have one dented 20" wheel waiting to be replaced when I put them back on this summer.

coselectric | February 24, 2020

Also - There has been a fair amount written to suggest that the Model 3 is an excessively heavy vehicle compared to others of similar class, but I don't think that is objectively true. Some comparisons:

Tesla Model 3 RWD: 3,552 lbs
Tesla Model 3 AWD: 4,072 lbs
BMW 3-series: 3,582 to 3,764 lbs
Audi S4: 3,858 lbs
Audi S5: 3,847 to 4,211 lbs
Mercedes C class: 3,472 to 4,012 lbs
Toyota Camry: 3,241 to 3,572 lbs

So I don't think vehicle weight is necessarily an outlying factor in damaging your wheels. In fact, all of the ICE vehicles probably bear somewhat more weight on their front axle than either Model 3 variant. | February 24, 2020

Fairly common for low-profile tires to blow-out and/or cause rim damage on any car that hit potholes regularly. It's far from unique to Tesla. Low-profile tires should only be used in areas where the roads are in great condition - hard to find nowadays in many areas.

RayNLA | February 24, 2020

Everyone I know and have spoken to that has 19’s or 20’s have replaced at least one if not two wheels.

sidetracked1 | February 24, 2020

While wheel and tire problems are certainly not uncommon on any 19 or 20 inch wheel with low profile tires, it does sound like Tesla's wheels are softer more subject to damage than some.

A lot of folks on the Tesla Motor Club website have talked about getting aftermarket forged wheels to replace the Telsa alloys, with some success in lowering the rates of damage. Something I plan to try myself.

I know I could just switch from my 20s to 18s and up my odds, but man I love the handling, and I also prefer the look of the 20s. So I'm hoping I can at least kinda, sorta have my cake and eat it too...

FISHEV | February 24, 2020

I switched to 245/40/18's and the tire shop said they fit the Tesla 18" rims better than the OEM tires Tesla provided. Likely same situation on the 19's, tire is not right for the rim so more prone to damage.

lbowroom | February 24, 2020

8.5” wide wheels are rated to fit 235-255 wide tires. 235 have better range

lbowroom | February 24, 2020

Likelihood that Tesla wheels are stronger than any wheel ever made..... probably not. In line with industry? Fo shizzle!

lbowroom | February 24, 2020

Fish is a master at twisting factual statements into misleading conclusions.

lbowroom | February 24, 2020

So many strongly worded thread titles with a conclusion baked in that aren’t in the thread. Remarkable that so many people have learned to write headlines. A bent wheel is not buckled. Many wheels can be straightened.

ODWms | February 25, 2020

“Everyone I know and have spoken to that has 19’s or 20’s have replaced at least one if not two wheels.”

Man! I hope that doesn’t hold true for larger sample sizes. I’m lucky and live in an area where the roads are excellent. I love the 20” wheels and tires as they are, but wouldn’t hesitate to swap them out w aftermarket (definitely don’t care for the Aeros) if that became a problem.

Scrannel | February 25, 2020

Same here. No issues on my 20".

njelectric | February 25, 2020

I have been on the forums for many years and one thing Is clear which is many Tesla owners are driving their first performance car. My last car before my Model S was a Prius. There is some trade off between performance and durability. Performance tires are more prone to damage from rough roads no matter what car you put them on. Many are willing to but up with the inconvenience of damaged tires and rims. Others want the softer ride and lower risk of road damage. It’s just a choice everyone gets to make. I don’t think this is a Tesla issue but rather a performance car issue.

booshtukka | February 25, 2020

"So many strongly worded thread titles with a conclusion baked in that aren’t in the thread. Remarkable that so many people have learned to write headlines. A bent wheel is not buckled. Many wheels can be straightened."

Tesla used the word "buckled". I'm repeating them. They said both passenger side wheels are buckled, but only the front is causing an issue.

@njelectric - previous to this car I had 2 Model S', a Lotus Evora, and a VX220. It's not my first performance car. I did not have this issue with any of those cars, or my GF's Kia. Driving the same roads, at the same speed (you wouldn't drive fast there, because they're bumpy roads).