Tire and Wheel Choices - According to Chicago Tesla Service Center Third Party Products Will Not Be Serviced!!!!

Tire and Wheel Choices - According to Chicago Tesla Service Center Third Party Products Will Not Be Serviced!!!!

I have a new P85 with one regret - the 21" performance tires and wheels.

I wanted to replace these with 19" wheels when I submitted the order, and was told Tesla "would try".. but alas no luck the car came with the 21" wheels and tires.

When I called my service center (on Grand Ave in Chicago), however, I was told some things by the parts manager that trouble me. He claimed that Tesla had recently sent out a directive to service centers that: (1) wheels (rims) not supplied by Tesla cannot be installed or supported by Tesla; (2) Tesla would not install or service any TIRES that were not sold by Tesla, so buying the tires I wanted (Conti Extreme Contact DWS all seasons) from Tirerack, and rims from Tesla would not be supported by them and they would not install them or service them (I asked 3x to make sure I did not hear him incorrectly). I was quite angry about this, and threatened to return the vehicle. Instead, I thought I would post here to see if this is indeed Tesla policy, or else what I hope it was - uninformed ravings of a green parts manager. I cannot believe that Tesla would be this stupid.

For background, in Chicago, 21" tires last about as long as a thunderstorm in LA. Potholes, speed bumps, parking curbs, etc. conspire to eat low profile tires quickly. I had 20" tires on my last two cars that I had to replace every 6 months. I eventually gave up and went to 19" all seasons. Continental in particular makes outstanding high performance all-season tires (extreme contact DWS). In my experience over the past 10 years with 2 different high performance cars (AMG E63 and a Maserati), the Conti's have been the ONLY high performance all season tire that drives great in the summer AND can get the car through in moderate snow or light ice conditions. Sorry Goodyear.

Anyway, I have never heard of a car company prohibiting owners from changing out wheels and tires. It seems crazy and very un-Tesla like. Does anyone have up to date information on the mysterious memorandum that my Tesla parts manager was referring to?

I understand that the wheels may need to meet certain weight requirements, but quality rims all have weight ratings so that is just a matter of Tesla telling us what the requirement is. As far as tires go, there is absolutely no reason to restrict my choice of tire, especially when all that Tesla can offer is Goodyear.

If this really is Tesla policy, I think we are owed an explanation as well as some more choices on what we can get from Tesla.

phat78boy | 28 juillet 2013

Is this really so uncommon? If you change your wheels and tires on a car, the manufacturer does not support their install and associated maintenance don't they? This seems commonplace to me.

If you choose to get aftermarket wheels and tires, the mounting and balancing is on you. I'm OK with that.

negarholger | 28 juillet 2013

+1 phat78boy

Tâm | 28 juillet 2013

Some restaurants would raise their eyebrows if you ask for a wine corkscrew because they prohibit "Bring your own beer", food from outside...

David Trushin | 28 juillet 2013

You should specifically ask them if they will reset the pressure sensors. That and rotation are the only real things that are important and rotation is a car thing, not a tire thing.

AmpedRealtor | 28 juillet 2013

Makes sense to me. Tesla won't service parts it doesn't sell. That's not unusual. That doesn't mean they won't rotate your tires for you - they should still do that. But if your non-Tesla rim flies apart due to a defect and rips apart the underside of your vehicle, you're on your own. If that were a Tesla rim, they would cover you. | 28 juillet 2013

My Infiniti dealer never complained about the OZ Racing rims I had on my M45, in fact, I shipped them to the dealership from TireRack and he did the install, balance for me.


diegoPasadena | 28 juillet 2013

If it's specifically the tires only that they won't service, then it makes sense. If you have your new wheels and tires installed by someone like America's Tire Co. for example, they'll service them, rotate them, fix flats at no charge - provide pretty much any service you may need for your wheels. I'm sure other retailers do the same.
Or you could post an offer to trade wheels with someone who ordered 19s and in retrospect would have preferred to have 21s.

joseph.vietri | 28 juillet 2013

Wow, this is interesting. I live in Chicago and just ordered a MS was going to order with the 19s and buy after market turbine 19s for the 21 inch look, not I'm having second thoughts. I really want the 21s but the cost and the cons of the 21s have me thinking. On the other hand I will likely only be driving the MS a few thousand miles per year and never in the snow so I might be able to get by with the 21s. I still have 5 days to change my oder before it is finalized.

jbunn | 28 juillet 2013

Makes sense to me as well. Tesla does not attempt to make money off it's service centers.

I would expect to have the tires and rims serviced where I bought them, not Tesla.

drp | 28 juillet 2013

Let me know if u can find 21" tires anywhere! They are all gone! Did Tesla buy them all? I need some soon and Michelin said they will make some more in 8-12 weeks! I have 12600 miles and will need some within 8 weeks!

cfOH | 28 juillet 2013

This notion that dealerships don't service what they don't sell is entirely untrue. I've modified and replaced with non-OEM various parts on every car I've ever owned and the dealerships have always been all too happy to service whatever needed to be done. Heck, the Porsche service manager actually helped me select after-market wheels when I wanted to get something bigger and lighter than stock. Service and repairs, after all, make a reasonable profit, unlike selling new cars in many cases.

That said, Tesla may be changing the rules yet again. But, this is decidedly NOT customer-friendly and service-oriented to pull the "not my problem" card on components that are commonly swapped out like tires and wheels are.

I will be needing to swap out my P+'s tires and wheels for a winter setup in about 4 months, and AFAIK, even Tesla doesn't sell a winter setup specifically for the P+. Maybe they'll tell me to put on the same 19" set that every other MS takes, but that flies in the face of requiring 21" wheels to support the Plus package to begin with.

Captain_Zap | 28 juillet 2013

Thanks for the heads up. We were just looking into 19" turbine style winter tires and wheels. I'll start asking more questions before I jump.

I'm mostly concerned about the sensor support. I can why they wouldn't do the free rotations and such since they are operating their service centers on a non-profit basis and to support their own products.

I wonder if Tesla is avoiding stepping on the toes of other established tire service centers a la NADA right now.

Captain_Zap | 28 juillet 2013

I can understand why

I don't understand why understand disappeared.

jeff | 28 juillet 2013

By "service" I mean that (according to the parts manager) Tesla Service center won't touch them - specifically they will not calibrate the proprietary TPMS sensors. So (if the info I received is correct, which I hope it is not) you must buy tires and wheels only from Tesla, or else lose TPMS.

Wow, folks are really protective of Tesla :-) FWIW, Mercedes, BMW, Audi have no problem with folks buying their own tires. I have never heard of anything like this and would challenge anyone defending Tesla on this to point to a single car company with a similar policy on TIRES AND WHEELS. I am not talking about INSTALLATION, ROTATION, BALANCING etc. (although no high end dealer would have issues with that either); I am talking about putting the TPMS sensors on and doing whatever needs to be done to calibrate them since they are non-standard.

jeff | 28 juillet 2013

Also, if you buy tires and/or wheels from Tirerack and have them installed by a local installer.. the local installer doesn't provide any warranty. The warranty is from the tire/wheel company. So why wouldn't Tesla install tires at least, and preferably wheels? I would rather have Tesla do the install than a local installer who isn't familiar with this vehicle (aside from the TPMS issue). It is strange especially given the very limited selection of tires offered directly by Tesla. I don't think they are protecting local tire installers; I think they have some kind of a deal with Goodyear. Just a guess though. Hoping to see some official clarification of this (new) policy as others have reported that Tesla Service will do the install for them in the past.

Captain_Zap | 28 juillet 2013

It is worth finding out whether that Service Center read the memo correctly. It would be worthwhile to call Ownership Experience and have them determine whether this is a policy that is being put into place.

There has been several times in the past where Tesla buyers were uncomfortable with something new coming down the pike and Tesla responded by changing and adapting. That is what they are good at.

If you go way back into these forums you will find extremely long threads full of concerns and rants from all of us. Tesla responded well. Believe it or not, Tesla even wrote blogs about the concerns we sent to them. Now, topics in the forums are getting duplicated and triplicated due to the sheer volume of people coming here and not having a search tool at their fingertips. The end result is that they might not be getting issues addressed, discussed or adequate recognition. The mothership wants to know what is going right and what is not.

I'm not protective of Tesla. I've done my fair share of ranting and whining, but my take away from that is the fact that Tesla does respond and make things right. As a matter of fact, they want to do even better than that.

jbunn | 28 juillet 2013

Personally, I would prefer if Tesla did calibrate the TPMS for aftermarket tires. This may change at some point. Currently though, if you buy tires and wheels and take them to your local BMW dealer, are you taking them to BMW?


You are in ALL cases taking them to an independent businessman that handles (among other things) BMW. I just sold my Volvo to a dealer that sells McLaren, Volvo and Fisker. They also trade in used cars of all types. WHY? Because they are not McLaren, or Volvo, or Fisker.

They are independent shops that make money either by billing you, or by billing the manufacturer for warranty work.

Once you understand that Tesla does NOT run a dealership model with independent owners, it makes sense. You are dealing directly with the factory and the company. Their service centers are not designed to generate a profit. They are also not designed to, no do they work on other cars.

Take your old Chevy to a Ford dealer, and he'll fix it for a price. Tesla does not have the equipment or the inclination. It's a totally different business model, and we need to change our thinking about it for better and worse.

RanjitC | 28 juillet 2013

I dont understand. My P85 came with Conti extreme contact 21s.

RanjitC | 28 juillet 2013

And I beleive the P85+ comes with Michelin Pilot Sports.

jeff | 28 juillet 2013

The P85 has the Continental ExtremeContact DW (which is "dry-wet")... the "DWS" designation (S for "snow" I think) is the all-season version which is not available (as far as I can tell) in the 21" low profile version. Tesla will only sell Goodyear for the 19" all season option and there is no all season option for the 21" (according to the Tesla Service center here in Chicago at least).

lolachampcar | 29 juillet 2013

Tesla needs to get out in front of this one as well.

They must provide TPS service for different wheels and tires as they are the only source for this service. They are within their rights to charge for it but not providing the service is going to open them to the "right to repair" fight before it needs to be fought.

Tesla uses proprietary software via Ethernet to maintain MS. This allows for all manner of service including TPS and ride height calibration. ALL major manufacturers provide access to their proprietary service software for independent shops. This allows those shops to do everything from resetting maintenance codes to software updates for various modules (I know, Tesla does this OTA). If MB, BMW, Porsche, etc all go to the trouble to provide access to this software it is a good bet that they are being forced to do so by law.

Tesla nibbling around the edges of preventing maintenance on $100K assets for something as silly as TPS calibration is opening a can of worms they would be advised to leave be. They will have to face the issue and probably in the near future but why open that can before you are forced to?

David Trushin | 29 juillet 2013

I'd do some more calling before giving up on this one. I'd check with villa park at a minimum. The service manager at vp told me that he thought that some people had problems with 3rd party wheels, but nothing about not rotating or setting tpms. With a fast growing company you are going to see missed communications and inconsistant levels on training.

ChristianG | 29 juillet 2013

@Jbunn So what your saying is that tesla is neither competent enough to change tires nor willing to buy the equipment for it?

You don't go to BMW because they have dealers to DEAL with that.

Sorry tesla did choose their service strategy, wich is that every repair and service has to go to their service centers. they brag about how great that is and how much better it will be in the future. Then they tell you all the dealer models are so bad as they want to earn money with repairs and service. And then they don't let you install the tires you want?

So if this is true, it's defenitely bad news. | 29 juillet 2013

To be fair to Tesla, let's remember they are a start-up and need to decide where they put their focus and effort. Say, they decide to support TPMS calibration for third party rims. Minimally, that would entail researching the calibration requirements, updating the software, QA testing, possible re-tooling at the service centers, and training the techs. All this is going to take money, time and resources aways from getting other things done that are probably higher priority to the company and to the folks on this forum.


lolachampcar | 29 juillet 2013

No Omar, I do not believe it does.....

First, there is the issue of pairing TPS sensors with your car. You buy new rims/tires and keep the old in your garage. You purchase four new TPS sensors from Tesla for your new rims. They are the only ones with access to the routine to pair new sensors therefor they MUST do it. They can charge you but they MUST do it.

Second, there is no way a manufacturer will accept the liability of tire pressures for anything they do not certify for sale on the car. What they can do is produce a single sheet of paper as an owner request for a change in TPS range. The owner writes in the front and rear pressure ranges or thresholds then signs it (or Docusign on line). The owner assumes the liability for the changes he/she makes both in tire/rim choice and pressures.

The underlying point here is that Tesla is trying to protect a closed system whereby they are the only ones that have access. This is akin to their "the warranty is void if you do not pay us $600 a year in an annual service" trick. That one did not fly nor will this "you bought the car but you can not fix it" will not fly. The right to repair is a much bigger deal and a harder problem to address.

Good management does not need to be clairvoyant to the point of seeing the writing on the wall before its written but they must be competent enough to deal with it once its up for everyone to see. This is the tip of the RtR iceberg and telling people they can not modify or otherwise customize their toy is going to go over like a rock cloud.

Tesla, someone has the spay paint and they are doodling on the wall........

jbunn | 29 juillet 2013

Sure Christian. If that's what you think I'm saying, then yeah. That's exactly what I meant to say, you just put it better.

To everyone else, what the OP said was Tesla will not install third party rims. And they will not install third party tires. This makes sense. Let's say after install you decide you have an issue. With the tires and rims that Tesla sources, they go back to their suppliers. But if you brought in the tires, what do they do? Think. They don't have a relationship with YOUR supplier. Best they can do at that point is to tell you that you now have a three wheel car and a tire you need to return to whoever you got it from. And were we expecting a loaner, by the way?

This isn't all that hard, guys. Go to Les Schwab or wherever you want to get your tires and rims, and get them installed. Or if you bought them online, take them to a tire center and get them installed. Those guys will be happy to perform this service for a price. It's what they do for a living.

If after install the Tesla TPS squawks, call Tesla and have them adjust it. That piece of hardware they will support.

lolachampcar | 29 juillet 2013

If I were Tesla, I would not touch a customer's rims and tires if they showed up on my doorstep. There is no upside and all the downside in the world.

randyy | 29 juillet 2013

Just call ownership and have them escalate the question... very simple just pick up the phone.

You'll probably have a firm answer with 24 hours.

erickitain | 29 juillet 2013

Hard to believe that they care about which tires as long as they are compatible with the TPMS. Let us know what Tesla says when you clarify

jbunn | 29 juillet 2013

They don't care. What the original poster says is they don't want to install other party tires.

Bob W | 29 juillet 2013

This directive also prohibits the installation of Alloygator rim protectors by Tesla personnel, as far as the Fremont SC is concerned. I was told by the SC that top management was concerned about "liability issues" for installing any 3rd-party non-standard equipment on a Tesla.

carlk | 29 juillet 2013

I can understand where they are coming from. It will imply Tesla approve your after market part if they install and calibrate it for you. On the other hand they may not want to approve/acknowledge any parts without a thorough testing for legal reasons if nothing else. Why not just purchase the OEM tires from Tesla?

KeithE | 29 juillet 2013

Funny I called the Queens service center today to ask the exact same question and spoke to a rep for 15 minutes. I am looking at changing out my 19" wheels and tires for 20" wheels with a sporty look and better performance. I was shocked and disappointed to hear they would not install them even for a fee. He said you have to be very careful given the torque of the vehicle and the heavy weight of the ms. I am very upset about this because as others have said this is not like any other dealer. Any Porsche, Audi or BMW dealer would be happy to install aftermarket wheels for a fee. They don't warranty or rep the safety of the wheels and tires you choose but should be able to advise you properly. He refused to even share the wheel spec of their wheels. Ie load.... I hope Tesla is listening and reconsiders. If anyone knows wheels I'm considering the Gianelle Cuba 10 in 20x8.5 with 255x40 tires and +35 offset. | 29 juillet 2013

@lolachampcar: fair point - I can see that being workable.


jbunn | 29 juillet 2013

Keith, why are you upset about it? Take it to Porsche, Audi, or BMW, and you're done with it. They are happy, you are happy.

And no, it's not like any other dealer. It's NOT a dealer. At all. Anywhere. Tesla has showrooms, and they have service centers. They do not have any dealerships, period.

Me personally, I like Les Schwab. Probably a west coast thing, but if you ever get a flat they fix it for free and remount it. But Tesla service is not a tire dealer.

KeithE | 30 juillet 2013

Given the unique design of the car ie the battery pack and torque specs, I am concerned about having a local tire dealer do the install. The last thing I want is to have them damage the battery jacking up the car or messing up the abs brakes configuration. If its not a big deal as I suspect it shouldn't be then ultimately I will go for it. I would prefer to have tesla service offer this so I can trust they know their vehicle best. My point is a service center should offer service on your vehicle at your request and denying tesla owners that option is not good customer service. They have nothing to loose by making customers happy.

ian | 30 juillet 2013

And everything to lose by making them unhappy.

Sorry to finish your sentence KeithE! ;-)

This is a serious issue that I know they will change their stance on. They have too. There's nothing special about their wheels and tires or ABS such that they can't be swapped for any wheel or tire that will fit.

ian | 30 juillet 2013

And meet specs of course.

cfOH | 30 juillet 2013

When I picked up my car at the Ohio SC yesterday, I asked about a winter setup. They first said "you can use winter tires on your existing rims." I then informed them that winter tires don't come in 21" diameters.

They then said I can just use the normal winter package on my P+. I said that doesn't make sense because why would Tesla require me to buy 21" rims and wider rears if the car would perform fine without them? They didn't know.

I then asked, "Can I just buy a set of TPMS sensors and use them with 3rd-party wheels?" They said "Sure." I asked how much and they said they think they're $125 apiece. That's $100 more than most other manufacturers' TPMS sensors.

I support Tesla. I really do. But there IS a line between paying a brand-loyalty premium and extortion.

L8MDL | 30 juillet 2013

Welcome to the "no dealers" model - it's a b%$ch not to be able to negotiate, isn't it? It will be interesting to see how Tesla plays this out...

lolachampcar | 31 juillet 2013

Yea, I caught that "you absolutely, positively MUST have staggered wheels on that Plus package to the tune of $4500 else the back end will pass you without any warning at all" (of course Tesla did not say this - I'm being dramatic) then following it up with "but it is perfectly ok for you to buy our 19" set up for winter". There is a huge (disingenuous) inconsistency there.

WRT liability, it is all new to Tesla so "legal" will have WAY more input on decisions than they otherwise would. There are only a few Musk capable types at the company and there is probably a small army of attorneys. Issues like this are always run by legal and the easiest thing for them to do is say no. It takes someone with stones to weight the benefit of a not very profitable act against the potential liability and come down on the side of the customer. They will get there in time via the normal channels (SCs and customers constantly complaining until they have to give in) or someone like Musk will step in say "just do it". We will see.

I'll be the lawyers were having a fit over that 17" distraction while the guy that runs the show just said do it!

lolachampcar | 31 juillet 2013

Here is another example......

By my estimate, it is far more dangerous to have tons of camber in the rear for oversteer margin than not.

Here is my thinking.

Lots of camber will save your bacon on that one occasion where you whip the wheel much harder than you really should have at speed to avoid something while simultaneously running out of talent to correct for the back stepping out. Like a police officer pulling his weapon, this will probably never happen to most but it is a real and valid concern.

Lots of camber will also wear the inside of the rear tires. There is sufficient evidence to suggest a wide disparity in the rear shoulder wear rate. Unless you are aware of the issue, you are not likely to routinely crawl around on the ground under the back of your car to check the wear on the inside shoulder. The results have already been seen. Several forum members have posted pictures of rears where they have gone though several layers of cord before identifying the problem. This tells me to a certainty that there will be a loss of pressure due to inside shoulder wear. If that occurs at speed, there will be a dramatic moment.

It is difficult to weight the two outcomes. MS has the camber so we can not judge the fleet's willingness to swap ends. My car does not have the camber so I am confident it is a non-issue (but then that is just me). By the same token, all cars have the camber thus we will see the tire wear.

For me, it comes down to "I know this will happen with a significant percentage of the fleet" versus "someone way out on the bell might have an issue". As a society I feel we have taken to focusing on the ends of the bell curve while loosing sight of the center.

cfOH | 31 juillet 2013

For years, the 911 had a reputation for being extremely (by comparison) tail-happy and rotatable, not always on purpose. That didn't keep it from being an extremely popular car for enthusiasts. IMO, I'd rather let the stability control systems do their best while leaving a little up to the skill of the driver in order to minimize the wear of a fairly expensive part.

A thought: To what extent could tire width (contact area) be used to substitute for camber? Could 275- or 285-width tires compensate for dialing back the camber to something in a more reasonable -.5 to -1 zone? The rear wells look like they still have some room in them even with 265s on.

lolachampcar | 31 juillet 2013

A TMC member was comparing wear on his MS to his R8. I pointed out just that (your point). MS uses camber to comply with FMVSS 126 (regulation regarding stability control on new production cars) while the R8 uses tire width. The down side for MS would be range reduction.

Dwdnjck@ca | 31 juillet 2013

I have a spare set of Tesla 19 inch wheels and tires. I would be happy to work out a trade.

jkirkebo | 31 juillet 2013

"Yea, I caught that "you absolutely, positively MUST have staggered wheels on that Plus package to the tune of $4500 else the back end will pass you without any warning at all" (of course Tesla did not say this - I'm being dramatic) then following it up with "but it is perfectly ok for you to buy our 19" set up for winter". There is a huge (disingenuous) inconsistency there."

The implication is you will not use the car to it's fullest potential when the winter rims are mounted. The staggered setup is neccessary for that and you have to drive much more carefully in winter. Of course anybody would do that anyway, since traction is quite limited on snow and ice.

I'd like "winter mode" as an option, with torque limited to half the usual amount or so on the P85 and a lower pedal response (like eco-mode in the Leaf).

cfOH | 31 juillet 2013

@jkirkebo: But winter tires will be on my car for ~4 months a year due to temperature, not snow & ice. When it's 35 degrees and dry, I should be able to have just as much fun as when it's 65 degrees and dry, but summer perf. tires can't cope with freezing temps.

Ideally, I'd like a staggered 19" or 20" setup with winter performance tires, something that Tesla doesn't currently sell and apparently won't even accommodate.

fluxemag | 31 juillet 2013

I have 20" wheels with Conti Extreme Contact DWS tires that I bought from tirerack. It never even occurred to me to have Tesla install them. Probably would have cost 2x as much. Just go to your local tire shop. Keep your existing TPMS and you should have no problem.

cfOH | 31 juillet 2013

@fluxemag Some of us want two sets of tires permanently mounted on separate summer/winter wheels. For that, we need another set of pressure sensors, which will then need to be "authorized" (enabled) by Tesla every time we swap. Whether they're willing to do that is what's in question.

Brian H | 31 juillet 2013

And the alarmists get far-end-of-bell-curve "precautions" legislatively imposed on all, to the not-Unexpected-Detriment of the beneficiaries. Arghh.