Turbine wheels are non-directional

Turbine wheels are non-directional

I just realized (after looking at the turbine wheels for I don't know how many months) that they are non-directional: the ones on the left side of the car 'point forwards' and the ones on the right side 'point backwards'. In other words the left wheels present the blunt face of the blade to the front when driving forwards, whereas the right wheels present the angled face.

I'd always assumed the wheels were mirrored on either side of the car.

Shows how much attention I was paying.

Makes rotating tires easier.

Brian H | 24 Janvier 2013

They move air across the car bottom, I believe.

jbunn | 24 Janvier 2013

Its for reverse gear.

Seriously though, tires are only rotated front to back but always stay on the same side with radials.

DouglasR | 24 Janvier 2013

Or maybe you have two left feet.

sagebrushnw | 24 Janvier 2013

@ jbunn

The preferred tire rotation pattern is front to rear (same side) and the rear to the front (opposite side). For directional tread rotation pattern, front to rear and rear to front, staying on the same side of the vehicle.

Brian H | 24 Janvier 2013

One, two, three, SWITCH!

mlascano | 24 Janvier 2013

jbunn is correct. The Model S, at least the Conti performance tires, have directional tread, so rotation is front to rear and viceversa, wheels stay on the same side.

gianni.terragni | 25 Janvier 2013

I would prefer that they were directional, namely that they extract air from the bottom of the car

Timo | 25 Janvier 2013

@gianni.terragni, that doesn't really work (much). The bottom of the spinning wheel doesn't actually move at all relative to air (it might even move slower, thanks to pressure difference), while top moves twice as fast as car moves, but the top is quite badly obstructed by all kinds of stuff like suspensions etc so airflow there is pretty much following the car. I think it would be better if the air there should actually stay there so that it doesn't cause turbulence in outside airflow.

For aesthetic reasons I would prefer directional rims too (tires are directional, so rims should be too), at least for summer tires.

gianni.terragni | 25 Janvier 2013

The main reason is the aesthetic, as for you. But I like to think that there is also a small, very small downforce at high speeds.

Brian H | 25 Janvier 2013

The turbine blades are set to move air in one side and out the other. If you have turbine blades.

nickjhowe | 25 Janvier 2013

@jbunn et al - the tires (on the S) are non-directional as well. The preferred rotation pattern is front to back AND across the car to minimise 'cupping' on the tread. I was in with Tesla Service this morning and they confirmed this. The non-directionality of wheels and tires was a deliberate choice to simplify stock management and installation.

GeekEV | 26 Janvier 2013

I have selected the turbine wheels and this concerns me, so I went and had a close look at the photo gallery on the My Tesla page. In the pictures there they are clearly directional in that all the blades angle into the forward direction (i.e. the opposite sides are mirror images of each other). What makes you say they're non-directional? Were you looking at pictures (which ones?) or an actual car?

Timo | 26 Janvier 2013

Looks like they have changed the tire type at some point. Continental Extremecontact DW is not directional (AFAIK) but the earlier (Yokohama whateveritwas IIRC) that was listed in the page was directional. Or I'm dreaming again.

Based on the reviews in the continental page they seem to wear quite fast.

Brian H | 26 Janvier 2013

they're talking about the wheels (rims, blades, hub), not the tire (rubber, treads, etc.)

rwang | 26 Janvier 2013

Every time I go to the Tesla Service Center, you see a good number of folks with the Turbine Wheels in for punctures, or replacements. Apparently, you are getting about 7 to 8k per wheel for tread life. It's why I went for the 19" instead. don't get me wrong, the turbines are gorgeous. I just don't want to spend $2000 a year to replace wheels.

Timo | 26 Janvier 2013

@Brian H, my writing was answer to nickjhowe message which definitely talks about tires. Same thing with mlascano, sagebrushnw and jbunn message. "They" is pretty much just you, gianni.terragni and Geek EV.

Geek EV just managed to submit his message while I was writing mine.

nickjhowe | 26 Janvier 2013

@Geek EV - you are right. The My Tesla diagram does show both left and right wheels pointing forward at the top. Maybe they planned to do this originally, but on my car - and on all the cars I looked at at Tesla Service - the blades on the right side point backwards.

@Timo - thanks for the info on the earlier tires.

So - to reconfirm - in its current configuration the wheels and tires are the same on both side of the car and can be swapped left-to-right.

Getting Amped Again | 26 Janvier 2013

The images in your My Tesla section are computer generated renderings. Might have been a miscommunication between the engineers and the computer artist. It's a significant error that wouldn't have happened in the days of studio photography!

GeekEV | 26 Janvier 2013

@nickjhowe - Yikes! Doesn't it look "wrong" that way? Does it bother you? I'm guessing not if you never noticed before... On principal, it sounds like it might bother me - I'll have to contact Tesla Ownership and see about changing my order if it does. Time to go locate a real car and take a closer look.

GeekEV | 26 Janvier 2013

I've just had a closer look at some of the actual photos elsewhere on the site - it doesn't really look wrong like I thought it might. Here's hoping my OCD doesn't get the best of me now that I know it's wrong. :-o

Brian H | 26 Janvier 2013

It's not wrong. It's an airflow thing.

nickjhowe | 26 Janvier 2013

@GeekEV - it does bother me. I'd created a false memory that the wheels all pointed the same way, hence the surprise when I realized they didn't! But I guess I'm going to have to live with it. :-) It doesn't bother me enough to drop a couple of grand on different wheels.

Anthony H | 26 Janvier 2013

@Brian H, what on earth is your background/occupation?

@TINO F, I agree; the right amount of self-acknowledged OCD is a benefit; a tab bit too much is debilitating.

I also assumed they would look correct from either side. I get the air-flow justification; I'm just thankful I cant see them from inside the car while parked!

Anthony H | 26 Janvier 2013

Sorry, @TINO F, that was meant for @Geek EV.

Brian H | 26 Janvier 2013

Small business accounting, and computers. Latterly, online editing.

DouglasR | 26 Janvier 2013


and don't forget spell checking.

Anthony H | 26 Janvier 2013

(off topic)
@Brian H, you must have a wide range of clients/industries. Great perspectives.
...and spell-checking.

Brian H | 26 Janvier 2013

past tense. Pretty much retired, now.

rlpm | 27 Janvier 2013

I had the stock directional wheels on my '94 Nissan 300ZX twin turbo. They were manufactured that way to help cool the brakes. Hopefully in normal circumstances, we'll all be driving with one pedal, regenerating rather than converting forward momentum to heat.

Also, on that Z, the front wheels weren't as wide as the backs. And the tires were direcitonal as well. So tire rotations required exchanging tires but not wheels, independently front & back, and rebalancing each corner.

Using non-directional wheels & tires makes rotations much easier.

As long as while the car is in motion, there's not a significant effect on drag, or cooling the battery pack/inverter/stator, or the climate control heat exchanger, everything should be fine. I doubt there's much effect on any of those.

J Nemeth | 27 Janvier 2013

My 84 corvette had turbine wheels that were designated left and right side. GM said they were designed to cool the brakes and to not get the sides reversed. They also said not to mount aftermarket wheels because the brakes would run hotter. But everyone did, and unless you were on the track. I doubt anyone noticed a difference.

From the corvette forum:
Well, we did an unofficial test at the track. I noticed my buddy's wheels were on backwards and stated they needed to be correct in order for the cooling of the brakes.

He reversed them and had them mounted properly and noticed a huge difference in braking.

The 84-90 were designed to draw air in, where the 91-96 were designed to draw air out.

Sounds like the Tesla Turbines are cosmetic only?


TeslaLABlue | 27 Janvier 2013

@rwang. I went to local tire store, they called the manufacturer of the tires and said we should get 20-30k out of them with proper inflation.