21" Tire Wear Experience Survey

21" Tire Wear Experience Survey

There is a lot of guessing going regarding the wear being experienced by owners with 21" wheels. Can you please post your rear tire inside shoulder wear experience providing ViN, miles, driving style and tire (Conti or Mich).

For those not familiar with camber, here is a pictorial with ZERO tire compliance-

New Continentals have 8mm tread depth
New Pilots have 7.5mm tread depth

High Wear
lolachampcar 4288 800 miles Pilot 20% inside shoulder normal to mildly aggressive driving
JohnnyMac 1400 miles Continentals 7mm outside and 6mm inside conservative driving with some sprints
rodneynelson 5000 miles Continentals tires replaced for wear
mferrazano 2864 1600 miles replaced both tires and aligned by Tesla
Theresa 913 8500 miles cord showing on inside SC says toe is out (Rear Camber -1.8L -2.3R) Toe way out
rdaicanto 12780 730 miles Pilots early wear suggests 6-7K life Max Regen
Schlermie 27xx 6200 miles Continentals Rear 20% outside / 92% inside down to wear bars Moderate driving
sergiyz sig474 8400 miles Continentals rears replaced as they were down to the cord
carrerascott 5500 miles Continentals rears showing cord at 5500 miles
Jason S 10000 miles replaced (assume 21") Continentals Car found to have toe out
DJ Frustration 6000 miles 3/32" remaining on the inside
telsaguy P85 4000 miles (on 21s) 21" Continentals noticeable wear on the inside
rdalcanto P85+ 1400 miles 6/32 inner 8/32" outer alignment done at 7/32" inner wear
JohnnyMac 1500 miles inside down 25%
JaneW Continentals 4365 miles tires replaced - almost corded on inside of rear "fairly aggressive driving"
majgill 11700 tires replaced
FlasherZ S1049 4500 rears replaced

Normal Wear
Carefree 5430 4000 miles Michelins even wear on rear with normal driving
Keith72 4283 2000 miles Continentals even wear mostly tame driving
wormhole 45xx 5700 miles Continentals normal wear normal driving (339 WHr/Mile lifetime)
DC 1400 miles even wear (alignment just performed)
bradslee 2874 2400 miles Continentals even wear normal driving
Brian.S 1856 6200 miles Continentals even wear normal driving
Mark2131 1573 12150 miles Continentals even wear with slight cupping on inside normal driving with occasional flogging
TikiMan 14,500 miles Continentals slight cupping on rears before rotating to front a@ 10K miles
admjr 10843 1,500 miles Pilots slightly aggressive driving with no signs of wear
Velo1 7000 miles normal wear with rotation at 3500 and 7000 - alignment checked good
nickjhowe 2298 3000 miles Continentals 6.0-6.3 inside and 7.0-7.3 outside max regen
dennis DCWitt 6276 4200 miles Pilots 7mm front / 6.3mm rear even wear
rochec 6530 5100 miles Pilots normal wear
mferrazano 2864 5200 miles even wear (after alignment, see above)
drp 11000 miles reasonable life left (rotated at 5800 miles) mild driving max regen
VEnUB Sig127 11000 miles 7mm/2mm out/in tires replaced for sidewall damage (potholes)
DSM363 8800 miles (rotated at 3000) Depth In/Out (mm) Front 4.9/5.4 4.5/5.5 Rear 3.8/5.5 4.2/5.2
buzzbuzz 02xx 16000 miles Continentals (rotated at 6000) measured at 12,500 7/32" or 5.5mm all the way around normal driving style (expecting 25K from the tires)
NKYTA 1842 5000 miles Continentals Average driving plus test rides (LR inner showed wear but tracked down to toe) Max Regen
sia 11239 1650 miles Continental 7mm I/O front and rear 338 Whr/mile
Alex K araxara 3218 10,400 miles Continentals on track for 20K from tires (rotated at 7500) max regen 294 WHr/mile (complete tread measurements can be found pg 3 of ™ post)
jjs 3082 9000 miles (just rotated) Continentals 331 WHr/mile max regen tires wearing reasonably even
Chgd Up 25,250 miles (only 16K on these 21s) fronts at 6/32" replaced rears at 16,000 miles for cord showing 342 WHr/mile (lot of highway)
Jason 3156 11,800 miles Continentals 8/32" except for inside rear 7/32" expecting 20K miles 344 WHr/mile max regen
JonathanL 5000 miles on 21s with inside wear judging life to be 10k-12k miles
Brad Holt s85 3387 12000 miles Continentals "hardly any wear"
pilotSteve SigS 7500 mile service Continentals wear ok rotated at SC max regen
Kauai Contentals good wear for 4500 miles minor pulling right at 9000 miles with alignment at 11500 and significant inside wear. 3500 miles since alignment with stabilized wear
CnJsSigP Sig5xx 7700 miles Continentals LF6.5,6,6 RF6.5,6,6 LR7,7,6 RR7,7,6 mm rotated 6800 miles (rear toe roughly 1/16" total)
Cenarius P85+ 3500 miles 21 Pilots 6/32 inside and 7/32 outside both rears spirited and commuting
Andrew Wolfe S440 7700 miles 21" Continentals 7/32" on all four Moderate/Gentle 334 WHr/mile
ISF 1933 9600 miles 21" Continentals rotated at 4700 LF6/6/5 RF 6/6/5 LR6/7/5 RR5/6/5 out/mid/in
AIMc P85+ 2300 miles 21" Pilots 8/8/7 both rears out/mid/in

19" Owners with (tire) issues
Tommy 18600 replaced all four for inside shoulder wear. Rotation at 6K so two with 12K on rear and two with 6K on rear. 12K pair were bald on the inside shoulder.
JakeP 4996 5000 miles 4-5/32" rear and 8-9/32 front
Only Trons S85 8404 3300 miles 19" RSAs 9/32+ on all four tires max regen air sue 292 WHr/mile
timbers S85 5300 miles 19" 9/32 on all four tires 313 WHr/mile
Todd Burch S85 1653 11,300 miles 19" rears down to 3/32 on inside
mmx P85 2900 miles 19" wearing evenly

cfOH | August 11, 2013

Oh, sorry, all those numbers are 32nds of an inch.

majgill | August 12, 2013


Rear tires gone at 11,700 and tires never rotated by tesla. I end up putting new tires on the rear...According to tesla they were surprised i went that far......

lolachampcar | August 12, 2013

Size, make, driving style, regen?

rdalcanto | August 12, 2013

I've been measuring in the big water channels where the wear bars are (just not on a wear bar obviously).

cfOH | August 14, 2013

@rdalcanto Yes, I suspected that's where folks were measuring. The reason I measured where I did (near the edges) is because that's where the wear is the most and least significant, at least based on photos posted here. I mean, is there any value at all to just measuring in the middle of the tire??

lolachampcar | August 15, 2013

Some on TMC posted high wear and TOE OUT on his car. This is the second MS owner that had the toe checked after replacing tires and finding toe out (BIG no no). This may be the smoking gun we have been looking for.

If you have the chance, please get your alignment values before correction if you are one of these 5K wear cars.

Theresa | August 15, 2013

I had to replace my tires at 8000 miles. Here are the starting numbers for me. Left front (I will list these numbers in the same order for the rest of the tires): camber -0.6, caster 3.3, toe -0.39 Right front: -0.6, 3.2, 0.47 Left rear: -1.8 no caster -0.26 Right rear: -2.3 no caster -0.81. Front cross camber 0.0, cross caster 0.1 total toe 0.08 Rear total toe -1.07 thrust angle 0.27.

For reference here are the listed ranges Front camber -1.1 to -0.4, Caster 3.5 to 4.5, Toe -0.08 to 0.03, Rear camber -2.1 to -1.4 Toe 0.05 to 0.15. Front cross camber -0.5 to 0.5, Cross caster -0.5 to 0.5 Total Toe -0.15 to 0.05 Rear Total Toe 0.10 to 0.30, Thrust angle -0.30 to 0.30

Theresa | August 15, 2013

As you will notice my toe was way out of tolerance. Since I have had it aligned the car gets approximately 20% better mileage (wh/mi). Prior to the alignment I couldn't get below 310 wh/mi and now I routinely stay under 300 and have gotten as low as 260.

lolachampcar | August 15, 2013

I did the camber links on my P85+ and could not get the toe on one side below 0.2 degrees. I drove the car for a few days with 0.40 degrees of rear toe in (zero thrust angle) and I too found mileage dropped. However, the car did not hunt as much on the highway.

We had to drop the rear lower subframe to get the toe adjustment range equal on both sides of the car. Once we loosened the four attachment points the frame "popped" into alignment and we could get 0.1 degrees of toe in on both sides (total of 0.2 and zero thrust).

My mileage went back up and the hunting returned. It was another interesting set of MS data points for me.

Theresa | August 15, 2013

lola, Just to be clear those are only the starting numbers. All the final numbers are in spec. If you would like me to post the final numbers I can do that, I just didn't think those were important to note since they were within spec.

Kauai | August 15, 2013


My experience seems to support rear toe as an important tire wear factor. Rotated tires at 4,500m no significant wear patterns. I had 'minor' handling problem around 9,000m: pulling right at highway speeds. Finally got an appointment to bring it in around 11,500m(P85, 21", 350kw/mi, standard regen, Continentals). Rear toe was out and the tire furthest out of spec had significant inside shoulder wear and feathering. I still have the tire on the car rotated up front. A little more wear and I would have needed a new tire immediately. 3,500m since alignment and wear seems to have stabilized. Rear camber is still more negative than spec. I am traveling the next few weeks, but will post alignment details when I am back.

cfOH | August 15, 2013

@Lola: Tomorrow, I'm going to our local race-prep alignment shop (the owner used to be an F1 mechanic years ago) to get my P+ looked at. He said he's never worked on a Tesla before, so I'm wondering what tips/advice you think I should give him just in case he starts thinking about having to take off body panels?

lolachampcar | August 16, 2013

The Dania Beach service center taught me you can adjust rear toe with a ratchet/extension/socket to access the toe adjust locking nut from behind the a-arm and a spanner (would have said end wrench but your guy is x-f1 :) ) going straight up to hold the bolt. This keeps your alignment tech from pulling off the air guide strakes and floor panels in the rear saving a bunch of time.

cfOH | August 16, 2013

Awesome, thanks. I knew you had posted a helpful tip like that, but couldn't find it again.

c.bussert67 | August 16, 2013

Okay Lola, here's what I got for ya... (keeping numbers simple)
Sig P85 VIN 5xx
7700 miles
depth in mm. Outside, middle, inside:
LF 6.5, 6, 6 RF 6.5, 6, 6
LR 7, 7, 6 RR 7, 7, 6

Must note that my tires were rotated front to back at 6800 miles.
All of my abuse has been before the rotation, (drag strip, and exhibition burnouts) which explains why I have more rubber on the rear. But it definitely wears the inside more due to some camber which I can't measure. But just for kicks measured the rear toe-in at roughly 1/16th"
My drives are 1/3rd freeway, with the rest through twisting city streets.
Looking good so far. Totally happy with the wear pattern.

c.bussert67 | August 16, 2013

Oh yeah, and 21" with conti's...

lolachampcar | August 24, 2013

I have done a long over due update to the data. It is difficult to make much sense of it in its current form but there are a significant number of high wear cases and multiple cases where toe has been out significantly.

I've spent some time looking at Tesla's published alignment specifications and believe I have a better understanding of the trade offs they made to support air suspension. You can find the specs (Telsa SB-13-34-003) here -

Remove the camber and the tire sits flatter. Sure, bad toe settings will still cause wear even with less camber but it will not be directed only on the inside shoulder of the tire. We also know Tesla put the camber in the rear for a reason.

From the above Service Bulletin we can see that the standard suspension rides 14mm higher than the air suspension in the rear. The coil suspension's acceptable camber range in the rear is -1.2 to -1.9 where the air suspension is -1.4 to -2.1. Both cars use the exact same suspension components and thus the difference in specification between the two is purely a function of camber gain (see below explanation).

What I take from this is that -1.2 degrees of rear camber is perfectly within specification and thus perfectly safe for MS. Lowering the car should improve safety thus an air suspended car lowered at highway speeds with -1.2 degrees of camber should be safe.

I know reducing my rear camber from -2.2 in standard ride height to -1.2 by changing the upper links was safe. However, my knowing it does not make it so. After reviewing Tesla's specifications, I believe they agree with my assessment.

Camber Gain
This term is used to describe changes in camber as a wheel moves up and down. Modern suspensions are designed such that the pivot arm for the top of the upright (assembly that the wheel bolts to) is shorter than the lower arm. As the upright moves up with respect to the car (car lowering) the upper arm with its shorter radius pulls the top of the upright in more than the longer lower arm. The net result is that the top of the tire tilts inward as the tire travels up in the wheel well. This inward movement is an increase in negative camber thus the term camber gain.

justineet | August 24, 2013

The best solution for new buyers is to get the 19inches if you don't want the tire wear issue. Now they are offering more wheel designs for the 19 inches. So aesthetic value should not be a deterrent.

lolachampcar | August 24, 2013

It appears as though 19" with coil springs (not active air) provides the best rear negative camber and tire wear combination within the limits of the stock suspension.

rdalcanto | August 24, 2013

Toe is not the smoking gun. I had an alignment done almost immediately. I'm now at 2,000 miles, and I'm at 5.5/32 on the inner rear. I will be at the wear bars by 4-5,000 miles. I have the P85+ on Michelin tires, which can't be compared to other models will either less power, or Continentals. I try really hard to drive like an old lady, which kind of defeats the purpose of the P85+, but I need the tires to last 6 months.

lolachampcar | August 24, 2013

By chance did you capture the rear camber values from the alignment?

If it is any help, my P85 wear rate was higher in the first 800 miles or so then tapered off a bit over the next 1000.

lolachampcar | August 24, 2013

of course I ended up doing the upper links to arrest the wear.

rdalcanto | August 24, 2013

My Camber is -1.9 Left, -1.4 Right.
Toe 0.22L, 0.21R,
Cross Camber -0.5,
Total Toe 0.44,
Thrust Angle 0.01

lolachampcar | August 25, 2013

That is a lot of toe. I had to run that much for two days and found my range decreased and straight line stability increased (less hunting on the highway). I am reasonably sure the decreased range would have resulted in increased tire wear but did not want to find out. It is now set to 0.10 degrees total toe in after loosening the rear sub-frame and letting it re-align with the car.

Please do watch rear tire wear especially if those are 21s.

rdalcanto | August 25, 2013

Tesla has total toe range of 0.2-0.6, so I'm right in the middle of what they want.

lolachampcar | August 26, 2013

Absolutely. I was just passing along my experience with how that much toe affected straight line stability and mileage :)

rdalcanto | August 26, 2013

Thanks. I might ask for 0.1 next time if it will noticeably improve wear.

allanjblau | September 15, 2013

I was just told about this from another Tesla owner who said he ad to get new rear tires at 7000 miles.
I have 4500 miles on mine and checked and sure enough the tires are wearing unevenly!! Do we just rotate them or is there some responsibility that Tesla will accept for this?

cfOH | September 21, 2013

After another 40 days and 875 miles, all 4 of my tires have lost an additional 2/32" on the inside corners and 0/32" on the outside. And this is after meticulous alignment to factory specs.

So, at just under 1100 miles, I have 5/32" of tread left. At this rate, my tires will be junk before 2500 miles. And no, I haven't been doing burnouts. My traction control has been on constantly since taking delivery, except for about 10 seconds one day to see what happens.

JonathanL | September 21, 2013

Recently I was getting onto a highway and stuck behind a line of slow cars. When I saw it was safe to move to the left, I gunned it, turned the wheel to the left and when I pulled back to the right the back end came loose. That never happened before, but I figured I was just too aggressive. The next day, I was pulling onto a main road and my rear wheels spun in a not so aggressive turn. I told myself I need to check the tires when I get home. Too late. When I got home the low tire pressure light was on and I heard a hissing sound coming from the right rear. I found a piece of green bottle glass between the most outside treads. So I punched the glass into the tire to slow the leak, pumped it up and headed to my local tire shop to get a patch (second patch, front right got a screw in it two weeks after I got the car). When the car was jacked up, we found this:

No use patching this so ordered 2 new tires from TireRack and had them delivered an installed the next day.

I had planned on getting an alignment around 5k miles, but Springfield was not up and running, so decided I would do it when they were ready. Based on the wear bar, I think I would have made it 10k miles at most if the wear was even.

While I am not happy replacing tires with just 7400 miles, I just returned 2 Goodyear Run-flats with 5k miles and a 3rd with just 300 miles to TireRack because of bubbles in the sidewalls from potholes. I miss the old days when I used to get 30k miles on tires.

simplesolarinc | September 21, 2013

at 6,000 miles. My front tires are almost brand new still, but my rear is definitely at 50% of the wear. I have a P85+

JPPTM | September 21, 2013

I was at the San Rafael SC yesterday for fog light installation. Woman came in hopping mad. She had been in @ 9000 miles for service and allegedly told that her 21" tires were OK. She was back yesterday with a slow leak and 4 worn tires (inner shoulder--usual story). I talked to her (I was waiting for my car to be done) and she said that allegedly when she took delivery of her P85 that she was told that with careful driving the factory 21's would last about 20k miles and if she drove hard & fast, about 10k miles. I explained that low profile high performance tires rarely last more than 10k miles under the best of circumstances. She was going to shop for tires, hopefully with a better understanding of the situation.

jomorale | September 21, 2013

My P85+ has 5,200 miles and the tires still look like new.

rdalcanto | September 21, 2013

How is this possible?!? P85+, 2,700 miles. I drive like an old lady, not enjoying my P85+ acceleration, because I'm so concerned about tire wear. I'm at 5/32. Wear bars are 3/32 away. I had an alignment done at 750 miles because I'm paranoid. I will be lucky to make it to 6,000 miles. How on Earth can you have 5,200 miles on a P85+ and tires that look new?

DC@Tesla | September 21, 2013

Move me over to the high wear category. At 3000 miles, starting to notice the increased wear, 20-30% more on the inside.

Any experience on what how long front tires would last if not rotated to the back? (would be preferable to leave front ones in front until need to change if front wears out over multiple cycles of back ones)

cfOH | September 23, 2013

Looks like this issue may be getting some high-profile visibility.

Let's hope this motivates Tesla to look into a more reliable fix.

lolachampcar | September 23, 2013

Can you post the rear alignment specs? Camber and toe.

Kauai | September 23, 2013

I had high inside wear likely between 9,000 and 11,500 miles. During that time car was pulling to right. Since an alignment, rotation and wheel balance (now at 16,750 miles) the wear seems to have slowed. Good chance I will get to 20k on the original tires.

Before: left front (I will list these numbers in the same order for the rest of the tires): camber -1.0, caster 3.8, toe 0.05 Right front: -0.8, 3.5, 0.05 Left rear: -2.3 no caster -.29 Right rear: -2.4 no caster -0.33. Front steer ahead 0.0, total toe 0.1 Rear total toe -0.62 thrust angle 0.02.

After: left front: camber -0.8, caster 3.7, toe 0.03 Right front: -0.5, 3.8, 0.01 Left rear: -2.2 no caster 0.11 Right rear: -2.3 no caster 0.14. Front steer ahead 0.01, total toe 0.04 Rear total toe 0.25 thrust angle -0.01.

rdalcanto | September 23, 2013

My alignment specs are half way up this page from Aug. 24

Bighorn | September 25, 2013

P85+ VIN 15638
1756 miles Avg 325kW/m
Michelin Pilot, staggered 21s
Stock alignment
Tread depth in 1/32s
Passenger Front 9/9/8
Driver Front 9/9/8
Passenger Rear 7/7/6
Driver Rear 7/7/6

JZ13 | September 25, 2013

Which replacement tire are people choosing? My P85 has Michellin PS2's. I'm at 7,000 miles and they are completely bald. So the replacement PS2's at my local tire shop are $575 (Tesla wants $650). Tesla says there is an alternative tire they use - the Continental. My tire shop can install those for $350ish. Tesla says the Continental's are much noisier. Well it just so happens I have a loaner with the Continental's on and it is noticeably louder than my car with the PS2's. So I'm debating which tire to go with.

Captain_Zap | September 25, 2013

P85 with 21" Continentals.

11.5k miles, rotated at 6500 miles. I checked then out yesterday and found no uneven wear. It looks like they will be good for another 12k miles. Some spirited driving too.

jjs | December 9, 2013

Just put on new tires. I had 21" Contis, replaced with the same. I had 20,089 miles on them. Worn down into the belts on both rear inside edges. Rotated just once at 9,000 miles. Still a little tread left on the front tires.

Kauai | December 12, 2013

21" Contis replaced at 21,635 miles. Rotated twice at ~4k and 11.5K. 4/32" across most of the tread on each tire, but significant shoulder wear on the rears. The right rear tire was showing some cord way up on the inside shoulder. In hindsight I wasn't checking the inside as carefully as I should. You really need a lift or to crawl under the car to check the shoulder.

As for replacements, I am a glutton for punishment. I switched to a staggered 21" ContiSportContact 5p setup with 245s up front and 285s in the rear. Car is at Tesla for the camber bolt adjustment to bring the high camber down. If that fails, I may follow the path blazed by lolachamp and consider custom arms...and perhaps lowering...and...

pramod1969 | December 13, 2013

These last three statements give other 21" wheel/tire owners some hope.
I will do well planned rotations and alignments to see how it goes!
Thank you all for sharing your good experiences.

KOL2000 | December 16, 2013

7000 miles, P+, completely uneven wear - just like these pics:

Changed yesterday at SD service center. They were awesome and it was a great service visit with the exception of having to buy $1500 in new tires. They claim this is normal and didn't budge at all when I tried to convince them I shouldn't have to pay if the alignment is screwed up from the beginning.

I feel RAPED but I love the car and Tesla so much I didn't want to throw a fit. But I do think they could handle this situation better because this kind of uneven tire wear is NOT normal.

lolachampcar | December 16, 2013

Sooner or later people are going to take this camber issue into their own hands.

KOL2000 | December 16, 2013

Or to court....

NKYTA | December 16, 2013


NomoDinos | December 16, 2013

Yikes. Sorry, KOL.