Tires - spare? - run flat?

Tires - spare? - run flat?

Just wondering if there is a real spare?

Or could run flat tires be fitted?

(roadster had "fix-a-flat" can)

Volker.Berlin | July 15, 2012

Regarding test drive vehicles being classified as "beta" -- IMO, you can draw the line wherever you want. At one car a day (or five cars a day, as may be the case by now), all of these cars including the test drive vehicles, the founders series, and all Signature cars, are kind of "99%". Saying and meaning 100% would be silly at this point: When problems are identified, they should be solved for the vehicles that come down the line later. See the last blog post for examples. That's the whole point of the "slow ramp-up" thing.

bsimoes | July 15, 2012

I just called a store in California, realizing that they would still be open with the different time zone. I asked about getting a flat, and James told me that the car does come with a "patch kit" which is liquid/sealent: "Fix-A-Flat?" He also confirmed that the air suspension has a setting which allows one to fix or change the tire.
I asked whether we'd be able to get the performance -style rims on 19" tires. He didn't think so. I asked about winter tires and he then told me about the car's exceptional handling on ice--the winter testing in Michigan video. Being from California, I'm not sure he understands what winter driving is like, but maybe the winter tires are not necessary...I don't know.
I asked about the service schedule and price, as well. He said that it would be probably somewhere between $200-$600...I'm assuming then $400. That feels pretty steep for a car that doesn't require any maintenence. He started by telling me that the car really didn't have anything that would need fixing, but when I said that I only have had to pay for oil changes @$50 now, he started in on how specialized the expertise needed to be on the car. I get that; I just get incensed with the "flat fee" rate if nothing is really needed. So then I asked him about getting to one of these specialists and told him about the speculations on this forum about whether or not other auto service stations would be able to handle some of the servicing. He seemed to think that this was very possible; then again, he could have just been trying to appease me; at least, that is what I sensed. He said that this fall we would hear much more about many more Tesla service stations. They would be all across the U.S. according to him. Right now, they are concentrating on getting 5,000 vehicles made by year's end.

jerry3 | July 15, 2012


1. The problem with "fix a flat" is that the tire is ruined and so is the TPMS sender. Also the wheel will need cleaning before mounting a new tire.

2. Most northern jurisdictions demand tires rated at least M+S if not Severe Service for winter use. Summer performance tires won't be legal.

bsimoes | July 16, 2012

I'm just passing on what I was told. What is M+S?

stephen.kamichik | July 16, 2012

According to Stephen Smith of TM.....the model S lug pattern is 5x120. This is the same as the BMW rims and countless other cars. Getting aftermarket rims for the model S should be no problem.

Volker.Berlin | July 16, 2012

stephen, that's very good news and actually a little bit surprising, given Tesla's track record of not following standards... Thanks for sharing!

stephen.kamichik | July 16, 2012

Volker.Berlin.....You are welcome. I also checked with TM.....16 inch rims are not big enough to go around the brakes. Probably have to buy aftermarket 19 inch rims.

jerry3 | July 17, 2012

16" is a definite no-go. 18" should work according to some. 17" is going to be a try and see. The people who measured did so on one of the beta cars so there could have been a change but I don't think it's likely since it would be pretty hard to change the rotor and caliper specs (as these are parts that Tesla purchases as far as I know).

wddowdy | October 24, 2012

I know Tesla is promoting the "Fix-a-Flat" solution but that will destroy the Tire Pressure Monitor Sensor in the tire which means you will have to pay $300+ for a new sensor. It's possible you will have to replace ALL of the sensors ($1,000+) in the car since they sync up to each other.

Alex K | October 24, 2012 | OCTOBER 24, 2012: I know Tesla is promoting the "Fix-a-Flat" solution but that will destroy the Tire Pressure Monitor Sensor in the tire which means you will have to pay $300+ for a new sensor. It's possible you will have to replace ALL of the sensors ($1,000+) in the car since they sync up to each other.

See also the thread at which discusses what you mentioned. In particular the post I made:

@Alex K | SEPTEMBER 4, 2012: I've heard many people mention that, but for example, Slime makes a sealant that is both TPMS safe and can be "washed" out before a tire repair (

mrspaghetti | October 24, 2012


It says right on the can of Fix-a-Flat that it's "Tire Pressure Monitor Safe" (or whatever wording they use)

Mark E | October 24, 2012

Since the Roadster has both a tyre pressure monitor and a can of 'fix a flat', I specifically asked our local Tesla rep about it. He tells me that he has used the can of goo more than once and it has not damaged the TPM at all.

hyjyljyj | December 1, 2012

Careful with fix-a-flat if you have custom chrome wheels - it eats the chrome, making tight seal next to impossible

No spare tire, not even a doughnut? Come on, much space and weight does a doughnut really take up? This is weirdly inconvenient IMHO ::dons flame retardant suit::

hyjyljyj | December 1, 2012

Oh yeah--also fix-a-flat is notorious for gumming up tire air sensors, if they are present, causing expensive replacement

nickjhowe | December 1, 2012

For $50 you can get a TM approved tire repair kit - order online on the website:

RZitrin1 | December 1, 2012

Nick's right. But as I posted on another thread I started with a similar topic, I have bought a 5th tire and wheel. $417, I believe.

The problem is where to put it. The front trunk is too small. I have it in the trunk, up against the back seat, fixed so it doesn't roll around. Still plenty of storage space. Imperfect but better than no spare.

I don't trust "fix a flat" kits. And TM tells me that there is no small-wheel "donut" that can be used with 19" wheels (much less 21s).


dborn | December 1, 2012

From what i have heard, the frunk is only just too small. So, surely a redesign of the liner would give the clearance needed? Anyone who has taken delivery and tried the fit of a full sized wheel/tire please comment on fit.?!

dborn | December 1, 2012

Tire repair palace i go to (regrettably relatively frequently here in Sydney Australia - our "roads"are awful) says that any "fix a flat" makes a god awful mess which they don't enjoy cleaning up - increases the cost of repair considerably, not to mention gumming up the air pressure sensors.

BYT | December 1, 2012

I ran to Costco today to find out what new tires would cost, about ~$530 for the rear and about ~$15 less for the front (as the rear tires are just slightly thicker). Just an FYI

Alex K | December 1, 2012

@BYT | DECEMBER 1, 2012: I ran to Costco today to find out what new tires would cost, about ~$530 for the rear and about ~$15 less for the front (as the rear tires are just slightly thicker).

I don't know how that could be, because both the front and rear tires for the Model S are the same size (for both the 19" and 21" wheels).

Brian H | December 2, 2012

Thicker rubber for longer wear?

RZitrin1 | December 2, 2012

dborn, the frunk was not that close.

all, Tesla's own price was competitive. Of course i'm here in NorCal.

all, re jack: that's what i have AAA for.

A problem, for sure, not perfected solved.


RZitrin1 | December 2, 2012

that's "not perfectly solved." far from it.

BYT | December 2, 2012

@Alex K, that information was based on this below, link to the article on the bottom. I was in a rush to get tire sizes for the Costco Tire Sales Rep. and this was the first link I found. I didn't confirm accuracy, but if the tires are in fact the same, the price can be adjusted accordingly, again, give or take just $15.

Tire Size (front): 245/35ZR21
Tire Size (rear): 265/35ZR21 (101Y)
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Pilot Sport PS2
Tire Type: Asymmetrical summer performance
As Tested Curb Weight (lbs.): 4,770

jinglehyme | December 7, 2012

Almost all car insurance companies offer road side assistance as an add-on to your policy for a very nominal fee. Living in LA, I've had AAA for 20 years and have used it at least 5-8 times a year. I've had tires fail on two new Audits and an Acura. Kind of like he lottery.

docdac | December 17, 2012

Question? In the 'jack mode', can I jack up each corner of the car (one at a time) to switch over to snow tires (premounted). Or do I need a 'lift' , that lifts all 4 tires simultaneously off the ground? This would require a service station or tire shop, which I want to avoid. The owners manual refers to a lift and does not mention the possibility of jacking just one wheel/tire off the ground.

robert27 | December 17, 2012

just got an extra sport tire 19inch with all season tires. I got a scissor jack, powertank--co2, pneumatic driver to run the jack and lugnuts. The thought of goo, flatbed, electric air pump--just not going to happen. The spare looks good in the back until the shelf arrives. tools fit well in the space below the tire.

nickjhowe | December 17, 2012

@docdac - the manual talks of 'jacking or lifting', but the text goes on to only describe and picture using a lift. There is no explanation of jacking the car using a single jack point. But I have to assume you can do it.

Roaming | June 23, 2013

Bought a PRIUS four years ago; have three(3)std flats within 6 months! Fourth was a pair of construction nails fired from ?? in the dark of the night at a Publix parking lot here in Sarasota, FL!

Once I use "Fix-A-Flat" that then means an ASAP trip to a Tesla Svc Ctr. Not a bad solution. Or ??

Is there room in the "luggage" area for a fifth tire? That won't help right? No means to jack-up even with AAA. Correct? :-(

MichaelN | August 17, 2013

I put a flat 21" into the frunk - had to push a little but it would sit on the floor - then I put an inflated 21" in, pushed again this time 3" off the floor - my solution, new 21" rim with tire, mounted, beaded, then deflated for the forced fit - use Tesla compressor to inflate at time of need - another idea, get a slightly smaller tire that fits cleanly into the frunk, if flat is on the front, change tire, no problem, if flat is on the rear, replace front tire with spare, move front 21" to rear and drive to repair location - fronts are independent -

MichaelN | August 17, 2013

If you carry a jack it has to be less than 6" tall to fit under jack spots when the tire is flat - I know this for a fact :-(

carolinagobo | November 26, 2013

The Citroen with air suspension ridding on three tires is awesome, this capability will give us peace of mind. It could be possible with Tesla but I guess they want to avoid an Idiot law suit driving 100 mph on 3 tires claiming the car is unsafe.

hyjyljyj | January 18, 2014

"I've been driving for ____ years and never had a flat, so who needs a spare tire", etc. .... Well, I've been driving for almost 40 years and never had an accident, plus my house has never caught fire, plus I've never needed surgery, plus I've never died, so I don't need any type of insurance at all. Makes about as much sense.

The attitude about this is amusing. Yes, it's the 21st century, we have a cell phone. And no one's EVER left that behind by mistake. Can't happen. And there's no such thing as being where there's no cell service. And tow trucks are always immediately available--everywhere anyone could ever want to be. And flat tires never occur on Sundays or Holidays when tire stores are closed. And tire stores when they're open never have customers in line waiting, causing further delays. Anyone needing a spare is a dolt without a clue about how cool it is to be unprepared and waste gobs of time waiting for help.

Being a city dweller I've had so many flat tires I couldn't even begin to estimate the number. The lack of a spare or even an aftermarket donut that can be stowed in the trunk is one of the things literally keeping me and a lot of other normal folks who have places to go and stuff to do from buying a Tesla. Got the money, just not the willingness to risk being stranded by the tires (or the dead battery).

Oh, and thinking Fix-a-Flat won't ruin your tire pressure sensors is another good one. Go ahead, try it and see. Been there, done that. On my Infiniti M45 they're around $150 installed. EACH. Haven't priced them with Tesla, but anyone want to bet they're less expensive to replace? Don't tell me, let me guess: the engineers have expended the time and expense of figuring out how to make those sensors gum-proof for the once in a lifetime a flat will occur...but not how to fit a donut in the trunk. Amazing.

Probably by the time enough charging stations have been opened to make owning a Tesla practical, they'll have fixed this problem. Time will tell.

hcwhy | January 18, 2014

My solution to this problem (when my S 85 comes in mid February) is probably going to be to keep a spare tire/rim in the garage at home...then if I need help I will have the car flatbedded home where the tire can be changed. If the problem requires more attention, I can deal with it at my convenience from a warm (or cool), safe place. I will have my old car there to use.

J.T. | January 18, 2014

@hyjyljyj Don't need a donut. Full spare and rim fit in the frunk.

brooklynrab | January 19, 2014

I have been looking for my next car for six months. Started with the MS, walked away from it because I was annoyed by minor Tesla idiosyncracies that seemed inexcusable for a $100K car, i.e., no blind spot or parking sensors (the latter has been corrected), and no interior grab handles, coat hooks, door pockets or storage compartment for the most asinine "design" reasons. Basic stuff people expect. I came back to Tesla after trying out a lot of cars and am under time pressure to order now, with the BMW 650ix, Maserati Ghibli and Cadillac CTS as finalists (Audi A7 and MB didn't make the final cut).

This post reminds me of why I walked away from Tesla at the beginning. What car company of this price range doesn't give complementary roadside assistance or a doughnut tire if they are not giving you run flats? If they don't want to add the weight of a donut to the car, at least make it a no-cost option for those who want it.

How about a little customer love, Tesla?

Bighorn | January 19, 2014

Roadside assistance is provided for 4 years free, extendable to 8--similar to BMW et al. which also have eliminated a spare on some models.

Brian H | January 20, 2014

The handles are door pockets. Rubber-lined bottoms for coins, even! Jesus handles are mostly for lurches from hi-rev gearshifts, which is irrelevant to Tesla.

FTG | January 20, 2014

I have 21 inch Pirelli p zero run flats on my p85+ and I would not drive the car without them. I had no less than 6 pothole related flats on my earlier p85 until fitted the P zero run flats. Not a single flat since. period.

I get a better steering response due to the stiffer sidewalls and
more importantly, the Pirelli's overhang the rim, meaning i get far less curb rash on the wheels.
i have a set of Michelin tires taken off my p85+ if anyone wants a set !

These tire are quiet and give me the ride I want.

brooklynrab | January 20, 2014

FTG, Did you have 19's or 21's on your earlier P85? Did they help the ride on the P85 (vs your current p85+) too? I know not everyone loves run flats, but I wish Tesla would give us some options.

FTG | January 21, 2014

I had 21's on both cars, the Pirelli's IMHO improved both the ride and the handling.
with the original P85, I hit a pothole , drove a block and a half on the flat tire and ate the wheel.
No such worries in the P Zero RF's because the stiff sidewall holds the wheel up away from the pavement. since wheels are now about $1500 each from tesla, its money well spent.
In fact the 4 new Pirelli's cost less from tire rack than ONE wheel from tesla.

and i drive without worry now, spare or no spare.

I also keep a full set of spare tires in my garage , as these pirellis are not easily found.

FTG | January 21, 2014

and if anyone in in the Massachusetts area and wants to see for themselves, let me know, as I am happy to give a test drive to a MS driver can see the difference.