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WARNING!!! EXTREME WEAR ON REAR TIRES!

WARNING!!! EXTREME WEAR ON REAR TIRES!

I subscribe to the FB Tesla MS owners site and one post referred to extreme wear on the inside of his rear tires after only 8100 miles, the wear was so severe the cord was exposed. Being curious, I checked my rear tires and after ONLY 1600 miles I had the same extreme wear! I can see and feel the cord exposed. Everyone should check their rear tires IMMEDIATELY!

BYT | June 3, 2013

Picked up my Model S Sig. P85 back from Tesla Motor's Service Shop on Friday, had to drop ~$850 for the new continentals for my 21" as recommended by the service department. I had 6k on the car at the time. In fairness, I am an aggressive driver.

John38 | June 3, 2013

@nickjhowe - Thanks for your comments on my post. I have not been doing burnouts, closer to old lady driving. I will escalate. Thanks again.

lolachampcar | June 3, 2013

The response I got from Tesla was that they have seen some variation in tire wear but most is
"mainly attributed to differences in driving style". They point out that there is a lot of torque and that MS is a heavy car thus they are asking a lot of the rear tires in particular.

With respect to how tire side wall stiffness plays into the equation, they put it best -

"Imagine a super stiff tire tilted to 1.7 degrees. The inside edge is going to see all the vertical load. If the tire sidewall were soft then the tire would deform more and the vertical load would be distributed over a larger area of rubber. Unfortunately this also means that the tire contact patch can "squirm" more which degrades handling and steering precision. This is why low profile high performance tires and worse for wander and truck rut sensitivity. As the profile of the road underneath the tire changes, the center of pressure of the contact patch moves around and this creates different forces pulling on the steering system. The result is a constantly changing tugging force on the steering wheel."

I hope this helps.
Bill

nickjhowe | June 3, 2013

@john38 - the other thing to check is you tire pressures (at least on the one with hasn't deflated!). There were some reports of cars being delivered with 54 psi or higher. If that were true the contact point would be significantly decreased and could lead to higher wear.

nickjhowe | June 3, 2013

BTW - this is one of the things I suggest new owner check in the Model S delivery checklist

rodneynelson | June 21, 2013

I'm at 6,000 miles. I had a pull off the road because my tire went flat. Soon as it was on the flatbed truck, you could see that both rear tires tires inside were worn to shining metal. One tire just blown up.
The dealer told me to to just pay for 2 more tires and thats it.
What are the tires rated for?
What is the warranty?
Shouldn't that mandator be responsible for the cost of replacement.
I do not believe I was ever informed that I should be prepared to replace rear tires every 3,000-6,000 miles. I would have never have bought a car with kind of excessive expense.

Consider some drivers are getting 10,000 miles and other only 2,000 on a pair of tires, is just not right. Considering that one side of the tire has 80% thread and the other metal speaks of a manufactures problem. At this point Tesla does not appear willing that they have a problem.

Anybody know who the best consumer rights attorney is in the San Francisco Bay Area?

Mel. | June 21, 2013

rodney, could you tell us the name of this dealer?

ian t.wa.us | June 21, 2013

Dealer? Of Tesla's? No such thing.

Do you mean store? Or perhaps service center?

ian t.wa.us | June 21, 2013

This is one of the big issues holding me back from purchasing. Ugh. I hope they decrease that negative rear camber. Even a degree would help tremendously.

Oh and please pick a thread. You've posted in this one and started TWO identical new ones. You can delete one of the others.

Cheers!

Mel. | June 21, 2013

goneskilan, Please let Rodney answer for himself. He does not need your help.

ian t.wa.us | June 21, 2013

Sorry. Just trying to get the terminology stuck in everyone's head to change. I see your point. My apologies. ;-)

Mel. | June 21, 2013

goneskilan, thanks, your terminology is spot on.

justineet | June 21, 2013

This is to auto heads.....can anyone tell me the overall Tesla weight compared to similar sized ICE car?? If possible can you give us comparison rear axle load numbers??

Appreciate it.......

Mel. | June 21, 2013

Dr. Bob. I have something similar, but I did not have the problem when the car was new.

Lolachampcar, is there a Tesla fix for the pulling and constantly changing tugging force that you describe. My corvette with run flat tires goes straight down the road.

tranhv68 | June 21, 2013

I have a P85. The rear tires need to be replaced with only 6000 miles on the odometer. Like everyone else it is due to the negative camber set at the factory. The inside of the tire is worn down to the cords and the outside of the tire is like new. I had the same problem with my Nissan GTR. It was originally shipped from the factory with a track setting and I had them readjust the camber for what they called a street setting which just means less negative camber. Tesla needs to give customers the option for a neutral or less positive camber with the understanding that performance may be reduced. Also, although hard acceleration would wear out the tires faster, a neutral camber would allow for that wear to be evenly distributed over the entire tread.

rodneynelson | June 21, 2013

Mel : I meant to say service center in Fremont. Mike White is the service manager. He is the one who has overseen the communication on this issue. Nice guy but no help on the issue.

rodneynelson | June 21, 2013

I have found that there are a number us owners who believe that the premature wear is do to a defective design and construction of the car. We were certainly never communicated to by Tesla reps that we should consider changing or rear tires between 3,000 and 6,000 miles. Several customers have had to change the rear tires because of inside improper wear at 1,600 miles. I am not alone in my feelings that this is very disappointing for us. What is also disappointing is Tesla belief that this problem of improper inside wear is the result of our aggressive driving. I drive totally normal.

stimeygee | June 22, 2013

First, I know this is an older thread, but it's the first that I've read it, and I'd like to nominate it for most interesting and informative thread ever, with lolachampcar as the star. Lolachampcar, who ARE you?

But also a practical question: are the camber and other suspension specs the same in all versions of the Model S, or are the numbers discussed here particular to the P85 or P85+? I have an S85 with 19" wheels, just curious if I should go take a look at my tires.

Thanks!!

ian t.wa.us | June 23, 2013

+1

lolachamp's a complete rockstar for his contributions. Always very informative posts.

lolachampcar | June 23, 2013

To all, thanks for the kind words....

Mel,
I need to tread carefully hear (pun intended) as so owners have had "loose stuff" in the rear fixed so let me separate two issues. The loose stuff posts have mostly been about MS pulling one way under regen and the other under acceleration. Tesla is aware of this and the service center guys seem to go right to the solution. I've not been part of those activities so I'm not really sure what they are correcting. If you are feeling this, then you might want to check with service.

WRT to MS following pavement grooves or other irregularities, this is common for cars that have a lot of grip, low tire sidewall compliance and little toe. One of the Tesla engineers described the center of pressure moving across the contact patch causing a turning moment on the front tires (my eyes were starting to glaze over with the details). I know from my experience that a car set up for Road Atlanta one weekend with a good bit of front and rear toe will be rock solid stable while the very same car running at Daytona the next weekend with zero to for improved top speed will follow and hunt any little imperfection on the banking (at which point you simply loosen your grip on the wheel at 180 and "let r eat" as the good ole boys would say). MS has been designed to run near zero toe front and rear and thus hunting will be an issue.

Rodney,
Please do not take this the wrong way but I think you are new to large diameter tires on modern performance cars. All new cars are required to have dynamic stability control systems and one of the tests that is done to confirm compliance involves a steering machine. The test driver operates the gas pedal while the steering machine whips the wheel one way, then back all the way the other direction, pauses for an instant then whacks the wheel back the other way again. I think I posted a link to the test procedure earlier in this or another thread and can track it down if necessary. Anyway, the idea is that the car will save you from outrageous steering input while trying to avoid an obstacle at speed. The way most manufacturers have, in part, addressed this issue is to put a lot of negative camber in the rear of the car. The more you side load the rear, the more the tire rolls onto the full width of the contact patch which gives more grip with more load. Visualize an 800 gorilla leaning on one side of your car and imagine how that pushes the rear wheel on the other side over into the pavement (assuming the wheel was leaning inward at the top when you started).

I've had to deal with this issue on many cars. Most have adjustment for camber in the rear so it becomes an exercise of trading off ride height and camber to get to a point where I do not burn through rear tires. I've also resorted to moving tires across the rear of the car so I can wear both sides of the rears when I can not get the camber out.

MS is my daily driver and I was not willing to put up with rotating tires all the time. Moving them across the car (dismount and remount both rears) is ok if it is your play car but not on a car you put a lot of miles on. My solution was AutoCAD and water jet cutting new upper links to remove camber. That is extreme for some but really did not bother me.

What should be noted is that the problem you are dealing with is NOT a design defect with the car. It is a safety feature and purposefully designed into the car. This statement assumes that you are not one of the toe problem cars. You really can not blame Tesla on this one.

Stymeygee,
I have seen one set of specifications for S and P MS. I believe the P85+ uses the exact same castings and extrusions for the suspension links with just a change in bushing durometer so it should have the exact same specifications. My P+ is due in four weeks at which point it will get a before links, link swap and after link swap alignment. I'll be able to confirm the P+ specs at that time.

WRT to the difference between 19s and 21s, Tesla engineering told me the construction of the 19s allows for a lot more side wall flex and thus the tire contact patch is loaded more evenly from side to side. Imagine a rectangular nonflexible box as the cross section of your tire/rim. You can stand the box up on the ground on its narrow end and the box would have zero camber. Grab the box by the top and tilt it and it will now have camber and, because it will not give or flex, all the box's weight will be on the corner. Start adding flexibility to the box and you can imagine how the it will start pushing the short side back onto the ground as the sides of the box flex. This is what it going on with the 19s versus the 21s. It is also worth saying that the Pilots are stiffer than the Contis and thus will wear more while the P+ Pilots are wider than standard and will carry even more load on the inside shoulder.

Lastly, I'm simply a nerd. I've been playing with this stuff my life both for fun and work (Mechanical Engineer). My most recent relevant experience was historic racing. I got into to become competent as a driver but, more importantly, to play with all kinds of fascinating technology. I started with two liter sports racers (Chevron) then GTP (Cosworth and Chevy Spice) then Indy/Champcars (Lola XB and XD). I got to build my own engines, gearboxes, uprights in addition to learning about set up on high downforce cars.

Here is some of the only footage I have (down the hill at Atlanta but only plays on a PC)

http://www.lolachampcar.com/Video%20Clips/99Shell%20Atlanta%201.AVI

I got into aerobatics after the cars and ended up building my own plane.

Again, an incurable nerd and big time Telsa/Elon fan.

lolachampcar | June 23, 2013

for the more curious-
http://www.lolachampcar.com/

tobi_ger | June 23, 2013

@lolachampcar: Thank you for your detailed explanations and insight, appreciate your time!

doctorbyday | June 24, 2013

I had severe wear at 9300 miles. Only reason I noticed it was having the car at eye level on a flat bed after getting a flat after hitting a pothole on I-26 near Orangeburg in SC. I have a P85 with 21 inch Centennial tires. As I type this I am getting the alignment done. The toe-in is the only possible adjustment and the tires are currently toed out per the mechanic. I have to stay in the care to make sure it stays in neutral as they needed to spin the wheels to scribe the tires in order to get accurate measurements. My nearest Tesla service center also said it is best to sit in the car during alignment to simulate actual weight distribution, so i will stay in it while they check the front alignment.

I wound up replacing all 4 tires as i wasn't going to just replace 3. I priced a spare, and it came to $1588 so i guess i won't be doing that either. I feel Telsa should be responsible for at least the rear tires and the alignment costs. I will let you know if i have any luck at getting them to reimburse me. If I have further trouble, I will be selling my car. The hours I have spent in a tow truck and dealing with these issues are enough for me to reconsider my purchase.

Now they are saying I have to take the car to Tesla. And the saga continues.

rdalcanto | June 24, 2013

@lolachampcar
I'm assuming that aligning the MS is no different than any other car. Firestone does free alignment checks and will do alignments for life for a pretty low price. There is no service center where I live. Any reason I shouldn't let them check the alignment on my new car (P85+ with 250 total miles)?

doctorbyday | June 24, 2013

I see no harm in having someone check the alignment. There is no camber adjustment, only toe in. My local alignment specialist spent 90 minutes trying to adjust and gave up. He wouldn't even check the front wheels for me at that point. Told me to take it to Tesla. I wouldn't expect Firestone dealer to be any better, and from my experience with them, I wouldn't waste my time. Looks like a 200 mile trip to ATL this weekend. I hope they can charge my battery while I am there.

lolachampcar | June 24, 2013

My local Tire Kingdom uses the exact same machine as the Dania Beach Tesla Service Center. I bought an unlimited alignment at the local shop knowing I would want alignment checked before I changed the camber links and then set after the change.

There is absolutely nothing special about aligning MS. Any four wheel rack (almost all of them these days) will do the job just fine.

One hint would be to let any non-Tesla shop know that toe can be done in the rear without removing any floor panels. A ratchet, extension and socket allows for loosening and tightening the toe adjuster nut while a simple end wrench allows you to hold the bolt from rotating on the other side(a bit of a PITA). The ratchet handle will be just aft of the rear of the lower a-arm where there is room to get your hand on it.

The clamp bolt on eccentric adjuster that Tesla uses is exactly the same design as used on Ferrari, BMW and similar cars. I see no reason it should move if tightened down properly and thus have no explanation for at least six different owners who have posted that rear toe was out and needed to be corrected.

doctorbyday,
It sounds like 19s may be a better fit for your use pattern. They will do better with pot hole abuse from crappy roads and will be less susceptible to inside shoulder wear.

lolachampcar | June 24, 2013

I did do a quick set of toe bars for my car to get toe close after changing the camber links. This can be done at home easily for those who are curious about such things -

http://www.lolachampcar.com/images/Tesla/Alignment/tesla_alignment.htm

doctorbyday | June 24, 2013

So is there a fix for the lack of a camber adjustment on a MS with air suspension? The mechanic that looked at it this AM said he thought that even when the toe was adjusted, that the rear tires would wear on inside abnormally due to the camber. Also, anyone know if there are any aftermarket 19 inch rims that will fit MS?

lolachampcar | June 24, 2013

doctorbyday,
I did a fix for my car but it would be considered extreme by most and not approved or condoned by Tesla. They put the negative camber in the rear to increase safety margins. I do not require it and am very comfortable running a more tire friendly 1 degree of negative camber. I did the change at 800 miles on my P85 and arrested my accelerated wear problem (sold at 5,500 miles with P85+ due in three weeks).
http://www.lolachampcar.com/images/Tesla/New%20Upper%20Arms/new_upper_re...

The change to 19s still has you driving the car as Tesla designed it. I would think that a more sensible approach for most people.

silverbullet | June 26, 2013

I have an early Performance S with 21 wheels and had the same extreme wear on the tires. Basically suggesting I replace the rear immediately. Tried rotating but front tires are all over the place with the inside near bald and the outside threads in great shape. I have to replace but wondering if staying with the Continental ExtremeContact DW 245/35ZR21 XL ($218) is the best option. Has anybody tried the Hankook Ventus V12 Evo ($175) or the Nitto Invo ($259)? Wondering if I should try something different. Getting 7K miles on my tires is going to get expensive. I may want to do a bulk buy and store a few dozen of them. Volume discount - others owners must be facing the same issues.

http://www.performancetread.com/tiresize/21.html?tire_width=153

Theresa | June 26, 2013

lola, You seem to have a lot of knowledge. I am hoping that you can answer my question. Since I am one of those who have had excessive tire wear and was told my toe was out of spec I am curious if the tire will show different wear patterns depending upon whether it is toe'd out or in. In my case the tread was completely gone on the inside of the tire (in fact, cords were showing) while the outside had nearly full rubber left.

Also would one direction (toe in or toe out) have a tendency to wear faster than the other?

ian t.wa.us | June 26, 2013

Theresa - The tread was gone on the inside of the tire because that's where the -2 degrees of camber puts most of the weight of the car on the rear tires. The toe being in or out only accelerates the wear in that spot.

I don't know if toe in or out would make a difference hopefully lolachampcar will chime in to answer that for you.

Cheers!

DC@Tesla | June 26, 2013

This abnormal tire wear possibility is a reason my tesla grin has not arrived yet. Just tesla tire anxiety. So far with 1200 miles tires look visually okay though.

lolachampcar | June 26, 2013

I visualize camber by thinking in two d. I think of a rectangle standing on a table on its short side. Rock the top of the rectangle to one side or the other and you will see that the short side is no longer flat on the table but on a corner instead. Now imagine that the rectangle is a cross section of your rear wheel/tire and the short side is the tire's contact with the road. Now I imagine if I make the long sides of the rectangle less stiff or, put differently, more compliant. I can then picture the short side starting to lay flat against the table/road again. It is the uneven loading across the tire to road interface that is causing the wear. The tire is tilted in towards the center of the car at the top (negative camber) and thus the inside of the tire is carrying all the load.

Now, take that loaded inside shoulder and make it drag a little sideways as it goes down the road. That is effectively what toe in or out does. That should may wear reasonably well going straight down the road but, slip it sideways enough and you will wear it to the numbs in short order.

If I had to guess, I would think toe out would wear it quicker. I say that because toe in would tend to push the tire flatter against the road but, again, this is only a guess and I've not had an opportunity to ever test that theory.

Lastly, a lot of toe out in the rear makes a car interesting to corner. I've used toe out in the rear to get a car to rotate better, mostly on corner exit. When you put power to the rear wheels, the outside loaded wheel tries to steer the back end out and around the corner. It works but it is a very funny feeling and is one I would have thought you would notice.

lolachampcar | June 26, 2013

... shoulder may wear......

Theresa | June 26, 2013

Lola, since I have not been very aggressive when driving I hadn't really noticed anything. But I do recall a few times when making a quick pass feeling like the car was on ice. Per your description that now makes sense. I had thought I was just accelerating too hard those few times.

Brian H | June 27, 2013

Sounds like some people's problems are compounded by incorrect tire pressure. Check when cold, parked overnight, not when driving.

lolachampcar | June 27, 2013

There are a lot of pieces in play (tire pressure, toe, axle nuts, camber,,). Brian, perhaps it is time for a few MS owners with experience on various issues to put together a simple troubleshooting tree to help owners narrow down their concerns. What do you think?

atsunset | June 27, 2013

Rotation is very important! The rear tires take a lot of abuse both accelerating and re-gen braking.

We have not had any camber or toe in/out issues.

We are in the 16K mile range with our P85 21" tires and not needing to buy new tires yet.

MS #S437

TGriffin | January 14, 2014

I also notice inter cords exposed @ 9999 miles as I walked by the car. I sent pictures of the tires and a description to Tesla and they promptly sent a ranger to pickup and all written up under warranty "at first".

The tires still had amble tread on the outer 90% of the tire and like others described the worn area was in an are equal to 2" or less on the inside of both rear tires.

See link:
http://i1120.photobucket.com/albums/l487/Doubleup12/5DDFC110-2A4D-4307-B...

Once they received the car they called and just made it seem like the "tires were worn out" and this is normal near 10k miles. However they also mentioned replacing some bushings under warranty and aligning the car for free... So I will be interested to get the final paperwork and see what these bushings are. $1300 for 2 tires at 10k miles, ouch... Might be looking at other brands next round and fingers crossed that I will get more miles this time...

I have owned many high performance cars even 600+ HP Vipers that did not wear tires in this manner even when aligned for racing and track time. Inner wear is normal when aligned for high performance however some anomaly is causing these to eat the first 1-2 inches, not the inner half or 1/3 that you may see on even a race/track alignment...

I will report back what they list is replaced and will be watching the tires and this thread... Love the car however not thrilled on this one...

ben | May 20, 2014

Like everyone else, my S is eating tires, especially in the rear. I've found a distributor where if I commit to buying at least 24 tires (6 cars' worth) I can get us each 4 original equipment 19" 245/45R19 Goodyear Eagle RS-A2 (rated UTQG: 440 A A) for a total of $650 ALL IN (tires, taxes and shipping to an installer of your choice).

If you have an interest, email me at ben@cakoplans.com. Please don't beat me up--I am NOT a tire salesman--just a Tesla S owner who is interested in a deal if it doesn't take too much effort. If I can't get enough interested parties no worries. I'm just trying to help myself and at least five others save some bucks.

Suprkar | June 26, 2014

I have just received a set of adjustable links these were made as a prototype by BBC Speed and Machine. I will be installing them on my car then taking it for alignment to see what improvement I can make. I would like to get my car to the negative 1 camber or possibly a little less. I posted a picture of the links to photobucket and hope the link is correct. http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y443/polera257/IMG_20140625_122832_z... The Right most link has the Tesla bushings installed which I pressed out of my original link in the center, the left link is without bushings. The next step is to make the links from aluminium. BBC is also making a bushing which will fit the link so when these are done you will not have to press out your bushings, just purchase the links and install.

johncrab | June 26, 2014

Many years ago I had a tire shop owner tell me to be pretty gentle with a new set of tires for the first 100 miles and they would last longer. He also told me to add 2-5psi to the recommended tire pressure (always staying below the tire's max inflation pressure). He also said to get down and look at the tires and feel the rubber on the center and both edges of all four. If a rough texture can be felt, the tire is not wearing properly and the alignment needs to be checked. If everything looks normal, at 500 miles with a new car, get the alignment checked anyway. I've always done that and it has saved me some problems. On one car, I was headed for disaster but a tire shop caught it way early before any damage was done.

rick | June 26, 2014

My P85+ rear tires were replaced at 9500 miles with exactly the wear as stated here. Within a week after that, Tesla replaced the camber bolts on the rear wheels and the tech indicated this mod will enable the wheels to sit more squarely on the road and spread the load more evenly over the whole tire. With any luck this will allow the rear tires to last a bit longer. Because the tires on the front are a different size than the rear I cannot rotate my tires, side to side "rotation" would provide no benefit. As a side note, I have noticed since this mod that when driving on roads with grooves cut into the road and crack sealing with tar causes my car to want to dance a bit in the rear while tracking these surface imperfections.

TGriffin | July 9, 2014

I have had my car at Tesla Service and they old me camber bolts weren't needed as the car was within spec...

However here I am after intentionally driving a little gentler still needing tires after 10500 miles. Major inside wear.

My tire guy doesn’t understand why it is wearing so drastically in the inner "one inch". We can’t even see a performance benefit to that extreme of a camber...

My fronts are still holding up, I am thinking it will be 3:1 rear/front replacement.

Captain_Zap | July 9, 2014

@johncrab

That is due to heat cycling. New tires are not heat cycled unless you request that they be heat cycled prior to delivery. Many times there is a cost associated with that.

EdwardG.NO2CO2 | July 9, 2014

I guess a little more weight but should help.

cdjsp11 | July 9, 2014

I have a p85+, replaced the original michelin pilot sport tires with 11000 miles. Tesla Service Center did a fix under warranty. I believe the control arms and bushings. Alignment was also checked. Replaced the rear tires with perelli Nero 265 21s. I've put 12000 miles on the new tires now, and they still look good. Hoping to get at least another 5000 + miles on them. From here on out its an improvement from the original tires. The perelli's were also a lot cheaper than the michelins per tire. The original tires are still on the front with 23000 miles and still have some good life left.

TeslaTap.com | July 9, 2014

@EdwardG.NO2CO2 - Is that a custom part you fabricated? Can you tell us more?

EdwardG.NO2CO2 | July 9, 2014

@TeslaTap, no it is the picture in the link provided by Suprkar above. He had it made to assist him with alignment issues he is having. Not as pretty but adjustable.

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