Flat tire issues

Flat tire issues

Currently sitting on the side of a road, so I apologize for any typos. Had anybody had any good experiences with flat tires that doesn't live close to a Tesla repair shop?

I live an hour and a half from Houston and have a clinic 45 min from Houston. I just left my clinic and got a flat tire. I called roadside assistance and didn't have to wait but about five min for an associate, and then they gave me the option of towing to a service center 50 miles away or having a spare brought to me.

The problem is that if I get towed, I have to have someone drive an hour each way to pick me up and take me home, and then pay an Uber to take me 90 miles to Houston when it's fixed tomorrow. Or the only person that could bring a spare was South of Houston (I'm directly North). It would take them at least two hours and they would charge me $100 because it's more than 50 miles.

I called my salesman (got my car 3 days ago), Malcolm, who is amazing, and he called the service center in North Houston and they found someone to bring a tire from there (50 miles away) at no charge.

I guess the point of this post is to thank Malcolm and the North Houston service center, but also to ask why roadside assistance didn't make this happen initially? If I hadn't called or persisted, I would have waited an extra hour and paid $100.

I guess I need to check if there are tire shops in my hometown that carry Tesla, or I'll probably eat the deceased efficiency, lose space, and just start carrying​ a spare.

They made it sound like a much smoother, simpler experience when I bought the car. Has anyone else had similar experiences? Or is it just another downside to not living in a major city and something you should consider when buying a Tesla?

Outside of this, it's been the best car buying experience I've ever had and I truly love the car. Also, to be fair, I recently had a flat on my old combustion car, and had a stripped lug nut key. I guess you can have bad days with any car. Hoping that's all this is.

Frenchy | 19/06/2017

Lol, That finishing statement...

UnshodBob | 19/06/2017

I haven't had a flat with my Tesla in the almost 22 months I've owned it. I did have a slow leak on a trip, and the on-dash TPMS display was great, because it allowed me to monitor the pressure loss as I drove home. I was able to make it home and the next day, after inflating it to a good pressure, took it to a local America's Tire store where they fixed it for free. :)

They were taking a long time with it and I asked what the problem was, and it turned out that the repair guy was trying to find the place to put it into "jack mode" which only applies to smart air suspension cars. I don't have smart air suspension, and their instructions didn't say that coil springs don't require any extra steps.

I hope you get your spare and are back on the road by the time you read this. :)

Dramsey | 19/06/2017

There's nothing magic or special about the tires Tesla uses; any gas station should be able to help you out.

lilbean | 19/06/2017

Actually, it's good to go to a shop that has knowledge about the proper jack points. :). I wouldn't trust any gas station.

Mike83 | 19/06/2017

Use your screen and look at the manual. It describes stuff like repairing a leak with the Tesla $50 kit. Also it shows how to set your car for towing etc.

Haggy | 19/06/2017

I had a flat a few days ago. Tesla brought me a spare and then took my wheel/tire to America's tire for me, and they fixed it for free. I then went there to have them put it back on my car when it was done. Now I have to wait for Tesla to contact me about getting their wheel back. I'll have a better idea once they contact me about getting the wheel back and hopefully they can have somebody drop by to get it.

They gave me options and I don't think there's a single solution that would be best for everybody, but you can have them flat bed the car to the tire shop of your choice. I might have been better off just having them take the car instead of the tire. Aside from the fact that I would have needed to get a lift to the tire shop, or go there directly and wait around, it would have saved me from waiting around for them to unbolt one wheel and put the other back on when I got there. Alternatively I might have been better off just picking up my fixed tire and driving to Tesla to return their wheel, and asking them to take it off my car and put mine back on. It likely would have taken a couple of minutes for somebody to do that, while America's Tire kept me waiting for an hour.

Ultimately if you have a place nearby that deals with whatever tire is on your car, it doesn't have to be Tesla, and Tesla doesn't care where you have the car taken to. I have the Michelin tires, so places that can fix them or replace them are common.

The option I picked would be best for somebody who doesn't want to be without a car until there's time to deal with it, and who doesn't want to depend on somebody else for transportation, but I think in general it might be best to just have them take you to a good tire shop.

lilbean | 19/06/2017

Haggy, is true that Tesla won't work on tires that aren't purchased through them? It's interesting at it was taken to America's tire because that's where I like to go. I don't under why Tesla wouldn't want to work on tires that were installed at a shop that they use.

Haggy | 19/06/2017

As far as I know, Tesla doesn't do much with tires except replace them. In my case I had just gotten a new set from America's Tire and since it was under 30 days, they would have fixed it or replaced it completely for free no matter what. It's the same as the OEM tire and from what I understand, Tesla would have no problem doing anything with an OEM replacement purchased from anybody else, as long is it's the same as what they would sell. I don't know if it makes much difference, since America's Tire will rotate and balance for free anyway, but if I have my car in for service at Tesla and the tires need rotating, I'm pretty sure they'd do it even though I didn't buy the tires from them.

lilbean | 19/06/2017

Thanks, Haggy!

Rocky_H | 20/06/2017

@johnnypink1, Quote: "I guess I need to check if there are tire shops in my hometown that carry Tesla, "

The tires aren't electric; they're just tires. You might just check if the tire shops near you carry Michelin or Goodyear. They probably do.

I do recommend getting one of the portable inflators. I don't know what your tire experiences are, but the only problems I have ever had are punctures that are slow leaks--not violent blow outs. So keeping it aired up to be able to drive to a tire shop should cover the majority of the need probably.

johnnypink1 | 20/06/2017

Thanks for all the helpful replies, this is a way more productive and helpful board than others that I'm on (i.e. sports boards).

Does anybody know if they make a "donut" spare or little spare tire that fits? It would probably be cheaper than a full rim and tire. Then I could just take that on road trips with a jack. Thanks

MitchP85D | 20/06/2017

I have one of those portable inflators. I've never had to use it. Has anybody tried it yet? Do they work?

Rocky_H | 20/06/2017

The car is so big and heavy, it probably won't do with a donut type spare. That just wouldn't be very safe. However, I think I do recall someone mentioning in one of the previous many spare tire threads about a BMW compact size spare wheel that has the same bolt pattern and was used.

Here's your homework. Use either of the search tools and read through some of the previous extensive discussion about spare wheels, tires, jacks, pumps, etc. that people have had.

@MitchP85D, Yeah, I bought one of those right away when I got my car, and I've used it several times. It works great with how high of a pressure it can do, and the gauge is easy to read. But I felt it was a little cumbersome for frequent use with having to crawl in and unplug my USB charger to plug in the pump and having to pull the cord and plug it in from the other side to do the other tires. And then I would need (want) to take the time to wind the air hose and power cord back around it neatly to put back in the frunk.

So I bought another inflator on Amazon that plugs into a regular wall outlet and has a nice longer air hose. That's cool, but I still have to grab my 10 foot extension cord to easily get all the way around the car from two different outlets anyway. But big downside is that it has a screw on valve for the air hose. I hate that. I pump the tire up to the pressure I want, and then when I'm trying to unscrew the thing, it takes several twists, and I hear it hissing and hissing letting air out while I'm trying to get it off. The portable one in the car has the nice lever lock on the air hose, so I just pop it off when it's aired up, which I do like better.

So I'm a little torn on which one I would like to use more at home. I recommend against those screw on valves.

MitchP85D | 20/06/2017

Thanks for the feedback Rocky. The only flat tire experiences I've had was when my wife was driving the car. So that meant the roadside assistance here in Houston which worked out fine both times. If I get a flat tire, I will try the inflator first. Rocky, you must be driving on a lot of rough roads to get all the flat tires you experience. Is that correct? I've yet to experience a flat tire myself after 3 years of Tesla ownership.

Mozap | 20/06/2017

I had a flat back in march on my 21's. i was able to use the tesla inflator kit which sealed the tire well enough for me to get home (50 miles) and to discount tire the next day. they replaced the tire. i caught three nails in my other 21's over the next 6 weeks due to construction in the north atlanta area. i didn't have any more flats but the tires were repaired by discount tire at no cost to me.

i put my 19's back on a few weeks ago because i'm getting ready to do some summer road tripping. i'm carrying one of my 21's as a spare in addition to having the tesla repair kit. better to be prepared just in case....

Rocky_H | 20/06/2017

@MitchP85D, Quote: "Rocky, you must be driving on a lot of rough roads to get all the flat tires you experience. Is that correct? I've yet to experience a flat tire myself after 3 years of Tesla ownership."

Umm, confusing me with someone else? I've never had a flat in my Tesla yet. It's been over 3 years and almost 40K miles on my original tires. I very rarely have any issues. I was just referring to overall experience in my life that maybe once every few years I'll get a nail or screw in a tire.

We've always had small economy cars before with spares, so I never bothered with an inflator. I just realized that almost all of my tire incidents in the past 20 years of driving were slow leaks that an inflator could have handled.

MitchP85D | 20/06/2017

Oh, OK I get it Rocky. You were including your pre-Tesla years. I was inquiring about the inflators that Tesla sells. I bought one for about 50 bucks, but never have used it. I was just wondering if anybody has used one of the Tesla inflators, to find out if it works good or not.

Rocky_H | 20/06/2017

Oh, I see. I referred to using that portable inflator a few times, and you were thinking I meant they were all in flat tire situations. No, I just never had an inflator or compressor at home before. I would always stop by gas stations to air up tires, and I thought it was kind of nice to have one I could go ahead and use at home in the garage for a little more convenience.

NKYTA | 21/06/2017

The Tesla one I have use to top off tires. Not tried the slime part of it. Not had a flat on my 21"ers yet, knock wood.

SCCRENDO | 21/06/2017

Had 2 flats at 6 months and 14000 miles both requiring tows. If the tire is completely flat the car is too heavy so it requires the car to be jacked up. Slow leaks can be managed by inflating with the Tesla compressor. It also has Tesla recommended goop. I used it on my first flat but as noted above could not inflate the tire. I have carried a full size spare since which fits in the trunk of the classic old Model S. Now have 119000 miles and have used the spare twice. Once for a slow leak on a Sunday while waiting for a tire to be ordered although wasn't essential. The second time for a screw picked up in the carpool lane with rapid deflation but managed to drive the short distance to a Lexus dealership just off the freeway. They kindly put on my spare and took the the flat tire to my tire store a few days later for repair

BCHIKERS2 | 21/06/2017

Get a portable tire pump that plugs into your cigarette lighter to re-inflate the tire. Been carrying one for years now and have done good deeds for a lot of people. Walmart for $18 bucks.

sabbia | 21/06/2017

I posted back in January about using "run flat" tires. After two flats I bought two "run flat" tires. This despite several warnings on these forums against doing so. I did call Tesla and ask if I could use run flats. They said I could but I might experience handling/performance degradation. When pressed, they were not more specific what that degradation would mean.

Now, five or six months into using the run flats I've experienced no degradation. Car is fine. And the run flats seems to have frightened off the tire puncture gremlins.

MitchP85D | 21/06/2017

So Captain Planet, if I get a flat on the road, the Tesla inflator is useless? I won't even be able to drive to a tire store? I think I better get me a spare tire if that is the case. What is the cheapest way of getting a spare for 19 inch wheels?

MitchP85D | 21/06/2017

I just now saw Mozap's post. So, It can work. Glad to read that. I am driving out to Sedona, AZ this Fall from Houston. Right now, I have 42K miles on my P85D. I will get a set of new Michelins before I go.

SCCRENDO | 21/06/2017

If completely flat the inflator will not work. If it is a slow leak it will. My wife insisted I get a spare however the newer models will not fit a spare. For the wheel and tire it is about $3-400. I got mine for free for reasons I won't discuss at this point.

Rocky_H | 22/06/2017

Besides having the extra wheel with a tire mounted on it to use as a spare, it's frequently not worth carrying around with you all time time. When you're around town near where you live, it's not that big a deal getting a tow to a tire shop or home. So some people only put the spare in the car when they are going away from home on a trip, where the potential consequence/trouble is much greater if you have a flat.

Haggy | 22/06/2017

It's not just a question of whether a donut would work or whether a full sized spare is needed. Part of the issue is that aside from Tesla's claim that few of their customers would even want to change a tire on their own, even those who do would have to consider the high torque on the lug nuts exceeds what an average driver is likely to be able to deal with. If you have to call road service to put on a spare, it won't matter if the spare came from your trunk or not.

SCCRENDO | 22/06/2017

@Haggy. I guess the only issue would be whether the tow track always carries a spare

Garyeop | 22/06/2017

Does anyone else have insurance that includes road hazard? In years past they have come and fixed or replaced a tire. My Toyota van destroyed a tire. No spare. They took the rim, got a new tire that i payed for, and put it back on. I would think anyone could help with a flat.

Rocky_H | 23/06/2017

@Haggy, Quote: "even those who do would have to consider the high torque on the lug nuts exceeds what an average driver is likely to be able to deal with."

I don't get why people say this. When loosening or tightening lug nuts, you always step on the lug wrench. Why would someone not be able to deal with that?

NKYTA | 23/06/2017

I don't get why people get flat tires. ;-)

(knock wood)

Haggy | 23/06/2017

"I don't get why people say this. When loosening or tightening lug nuts, you always step on the lug wrench. Why would someone not be able to deal with that?"

Because plenty of people have been caught with lug nuts that won't loosen even if you step on the lug wrench.

NKYTA | 23/06/2017

Isn't there a torque wrench for that? | 24/06/2017

If you have a spare tire and a jack and intend to change your own tires you need to acquaint yourself with the Jack and how it works and the spare and how to retrieve it (reference case Lexus LX with pin Jack and spare under the car...). Or you call for roadside assistance.

I guess I should have a plan for the inevitable flat on my MX. I'll get to work on that's tomorrow.😉

J.T. | 25/06/2017

I carry a 19" spare in my frunk. I used to take it out when I wasn't traveling away from home but I don't bother anymore. I also carry a AAA card and the tire inflator. The spare, AAA, inflator and Tesla Roadside should be adequate for most road hazards I'd encounter.

Plus I have found that the gods rarely encumber those who are prepared. | 25/06/2017

Thanks, J.T. One less thing to do tomorrow.

Rocky_H | 26/06/2017

@J.T. Quote: "Plus I have found that the gods rarely encumber those who are prepared."

You know Murphy, as in Murphy's law? "If anything can go wrong, it will."

Dave Ramsey says that having an emergency fund is like Murphy repellent.