Tire wear

Tire wear

It hits me as strange that some big attractions of the Model S are the drastically reduced number of moving parts, the simplicity and durability of the drive train, the pathbreaking efficiency, minimal repairs and maintenance; AND YET everybody seems fine with tires lasting only 10k miles or so. Am I right? I'm hot on the Model S and will take delivery in 2014. But I'm accustomed to tires lasting a minimum of 50k to 80k miles, and I have experienced even better wear on many of my cars over the decades. For such an efficient, long lasting, and low maintenance car I would expect tire wear also to be right up there. What am I missing?

NKYTA | 20 septembre 2013

Wow, 80K on any tires can't be that safe.

First, if you have the 21" tires like I have, and you have good alignment (like I do now), I expect I'll get 15K. These are low profile "performance" tires, you just can't expect the same lifetime. I'm sure the 19" tires will last much longer.

Secondly, the car is heavy. It is rear-wheel drive with lots of torque.

Third, don't forget that regenerative braking also wears the rear tires, significantly.
Still grinning even though I'll need new tires soon. :-)

mvannah | 20 septembre 2013

I have just over 10k miles on my 85 with 19" wheels and the Continental tires. The Tesla service center just measured my tires at 9mm out of the 10mm tread on the Continentals. I'll probably start measuring them myself, but at 1mm every 10k miles, that is 60-70k miles on the tires before you have to change them.

Flyshacker | 20 septembre 2013

@NKYTA Good points. Maybe that's the trade-off. You aren't replacing worn & broken auto parts all the time, but the greater weight, regen braking, and hot performance just chews up tires. I'm 61, and I remember tire companies advertising 80k and 100k mile tires back in the day. Just hearing about tires that last only 15k miles was shocking to me. I'll definitely select the 19s, see how they last, and enjoy the grin. Thanks.

Flyshacker | 20 septembre 2013

Excellent, @mvannah. Exactly what I was hoping to hear. Thanks!

Mark2131@CA-US | 20 septembre 2013

15 K miles on my 21"s. Still plenty of tread left.

sergiyz | 20 septembre 2013

19" shouldn't be a problem.
21" may not last as much.
For them 15k is about normal, but some were replaced much earlier due to issues with alignment.

sergiyz | 20 septembre 2013


Check the inside shoulder on your rear tires. Make sure you have plenty of tread there.
I was (unpleasantly) surprised at about 8k miles, so were some other owners, but it's hard to say what percentage of cars had this issue.

dortor | 20 septembre 2013

My 21's are now done - at 11,500 miles - tread was fine inside rear is showing cords - I highly doubt anyone can get more than 20k safely - it's a real bummer - with vampire drain and $288/each tires every 10k miles the TCO is approaching the same or more than an ICE...the tire issue is real - it's unsafe - and means I have to have the car serviced at about the same interval as an ICE - every 10,000 miles was something I was hoping to get away from...

I'm disappointed.

Flyshacker | 21 septembre 2013

@dortor - sounds like you need to switch to 19" wheels and longer lasting tires. Would you consider that?

Carefree | 21 septembre 2013

dortor, while 11,500 miles might be on the low side for low profile performance tires you should not expect to get much more than 15,000 miles out of them anyway. No performance car gets more out of those tires.

If the cost of replacing those tires bothers anyone then they should switch to 19" wheels. I've got the 21" and will stick with them but I knew upfront that I'd be swapping tires quite frequently:-(

jat | 21 septembre 2013

@dortor - extreme summer performance low-profile tires on a vehicle with lots of torque don't last long. Friends with Vettes couldn't get 10k miles on them, and Porsche owners expect even less. There is a lot of camber in the rears for improved handling, and with low profile tires that puts a lot more weight on the inside edge. When I had an MR2, I was running all-season tires on it and I would still get only 25k on the rears (60k on the front).

I bought the 19" wheels specifically because I didn't want to have to replace the tires frequently. I also didn't want to have a second set just for the winter and have to switch tires at the right point, though I did go buy a set of wheels/tires for dedicated track use (BBS 20x9 wheels with 265/35ZR20 BFG g-Force Rivals) - I expect to get only 5-6 track days on them, so talk about tread wear :).

dortor | 21 septembre 2013

I've owned low profile tires for several years now on several vehicles…

a) I've easily gotten 15-18k on them (911's and BMW's)
b) I understand why they are wearing - I know all about the camber
c) I was _NOT_ informed by tesla that tires would last only about 11 miles - which is 1/2 their rated tread wear rating - I discovered this via the forums as it evolved over the past few months
d) there is plenty of tread on the tire - it's been worn on the inside edge as people know
e) the car can not have the camber "taken" out due to limited suspension adjustment - so I can not decide how I want my tire to wear - this is a design flaw on Tesla's part.
f) this is the first car I've owned in 30 years of owning cars where un-even tread wear like this is expected/accepted/ignored

I'm still disappointed - I don't think a car should "cord" the inside edge of a 20k mile tire in 11k miles while there is plenty of tread left on the other 96% of the tire surface - on any other car we'd be screaming bloody murder about a design that causes un-even tire-tread wear…

jat | 21 septembre 2013

If you care enough, you could dismount the tires and flip them around, so effectively you get 4 orientations (front/rear inside/outside).

dortor | 21 septembre 2013

not going to run "corded" tires even flipped around - once you wear the inside edge the tires are no longer safe - so I don't really consider that an option

there is no way a proper car should cord the inside edge while leaving >20% tread wear on the rest of the tire - certainly not by design.

earlyretirement | 21 septembre 2013

Based on what dortor is saying Tesla definitely needs to address this issue.

Dortor, has Tesla addressed this at all? Have you talked to management and did they say anything?

fuellss | 21 septembre 2013

Welcome to the world of high performance tires. 7.5k and still looking new (more or less). I signed up for tire rotations every 6k miles at my local America's Tires store - $80.00 for the life of the tires. Hopefully able to get 25-30k out of these first sets.
My MB ML SUV got 11k on the tires (new) and brakes every 15k miles. Talk about cost of ownership!

jat | 21 septembre 2013

@dortor - well, obviously if you are going to do that, you do it before you wear it down to the cords. At what mileage did you first rotate them?

If cars shouldn't wear the inside edge on the rears more, then there are a whole lot of cars that are poorly designed. Or perhaps they are designing for different preferences than what you want - such as prioritizing handling over tire wear. As I said before, my MR2 wore through the inside rear quickly, friend's Vettes had the inside down to no tread while the outside looked brand new, etc.

@earlyretirement - exactly how should Tesla address it? By not offering 21" wheels with extreme performance tires?

@Calover - if you bought the Tesla maintenance agreement, you get free rotations there.

KR1 | 22 septembre 2013

If the inside of the tire wears out at 11k and perhaps twice as fast as the outside, then rotating the tires at 2/3 of 11K (about 7.5K) should get you to 15K with both edges worn the same

jat | 22 septembre 2013

@KR1 - rotating the tires without dismounting them does not change which edge of the tire is on the inside, you only change whether it is mounted on the front or the rear.

KR1 | 22 septembre 2013

Sorry, I wasn't clear. You would have to have the tires remounted the other way around on the wheels. I just had a look at the Michelin Pilot Sport PA2s that are supplied on the P85+ and the tires have different inner and outer treads so you can't do the remounting trick.

bonaire | 22 septembre 2013

Is the overall weight an issue? Remove 800 lbs and they may wear slower.

BarryQ | 22 septembre 2013


lolachampcar | 22 septembre 2013

First, I've not had a single problem running "inside" on the "outside".

Two, I would rather have one less rain groove at 80% tread depth then one extra rain groove at 30% tread depth. I've found best results rotating across the car at 35% inner tread depth (with other cars. My MS P85+ does not have the stock -2.2 degrees of rear camber).

jat | 22 septembre 2013

@lola - so your custom suspension parts work on the P+ the same as the P85?

lolachampcar | 23 septembre 2013

Geometry is the same on both cars; you just use the + bushings when you do a +.

San Diego Tesla | 23 septembre 2013

I have a P85+ with slightly more than 4K miles and I am almost down to my wearbars on the inside rear tires. This is absurd. I drove a BMW M3 with the identical tires before buying the M and got 15K miles on the rear tires. I'm very disappointed with the tire wear. No excuses! Tesla needs to fix this problem immediately. I can't give this car an unqualified recommendation to the dozens of people who ask me about it each week until they do.

GeirT | 12 octobre 2013

Pay attention! We obviously need to check especially us with the P85+ wider tires.


jhw1009 | 12 octobre 2013

If you're going to replace tires, take a look at the Michelin Pilot A/S 3 which came out around June of this year. It is an all season tire but drives like the ultra performance summer tires. Top rated reviews from Tire Rack, Consumer Report and other individual testers. I know this is going to be my replacement tire.

RobS | 12 octobre 2013

I brought my P85 in for its 12,500 service and was very surprise to be told I needed 4 new tires. I had 19" goodyears on it. One of the reasons I went for the 19s instead of 21s was to avoid having to get new tires every year. I was certainly disappointed. I've had the car almost 10 months and rotated the tires at 5000 miles. I'm a pretty conservative driver most of the time, although I do floor it for fun a few times a week when I'm in the clear.

lolachampcar | 12 octobre 2013

That sounds a lot like an alignment issue that ended up getting all four due to rotation. Just a guess but you may want to have rear toe checked.

dkelly | 12 octobre 2013

There was an article on about a <10k Model S with cords showing on inside of rears. Said they found the toe was badly out of spec. That would explain the wear but not why the toe fell out of spec.

Wrief | 12 octobre 2013

@lola or anyone else who knows. I am receiving my Model S in 2 weeks and I will ask the service center to check the alignment right off the bat. What should be the correct numbers for camber, toe and caster for the Model S? Thanks.

mathiasc | 13 octobre 2013

Is the toe issue been identified and fixed on all new deliveries?

Agree that the uneven wear is totally unaccepted. Come from BMW M and alpina. Drive hard and gid get way more miles on those cars...

lolachampcar | 13 octobre 2013

There are Tesla provided specs posted over on TMC. Camber and Caster are fixed in the rear with toe being the only adjustable element. In my experience with MS, near zero toe in gives good range but a little more highway hunting. More toe in (within spec) decreases range while increasing stability (and I assume wear but I did not try - opt'd for near zero toe in).

To my knowledge, Tesla has not publicly acknowledged an issue with the rear of the car. My best current guess is transport or initial toe link torque spec too low allowing rear toe to change before delivery. I can not imagine the car could get off the production line with toe out which makes me suspect something occurred between rolling off the line and delivery to the customer. If it were one wheel, it might be something an owner could do. In the posted cases, it has been both wheels with toe out which is not an "oops I bumped it" problem.

Thomas N. | 13 octobre 2013

12,500 miles on 19" tires and they're gone? Something is definitely wrong. I would be upset if I received only double that treadlife on my Primacy's.

byerspp | 28 novembre 2013

I agree with your comments. A patient driver should be able to get 45 to 50K miles on a premium tire. Have you been able to get any additional feedback on tire wear?

pramod1969 | 1 décembre 2013

I just got P85+ model and very scared about changing tires every 10K miles after reading all these posts. I drive 100 miles/day.

Can anyone with P85+ 21" wheels give some good feedback?

I heard few owners dropped size to 20" wheels / tires because they are cheaper to replace. I don't know if they have any negative impact on the ride quality or mileage.

Can 21" wheel be safely dropped to 19" with no issues?


madbuns | 1 décembre 2013

8[.1]K in as of today with measured 29/32 on the Primacy tires across the board. The tires have been performing better than expected - 70K is my new expectation based on performance to date.

Base 85 with a driver owning two lead feet (Sep 10 pickup).

GRIN :) | 1 décembre 2013


Use to search the site--there are a number of threads on the topic. You can swap 21s for 19s but you are going to see an impact to handling with the taller sidewall (although with a 100 mile commute, you might appreciate the softer ride).


procarl | 1 décembre 2013

In complete agreement with flyshacker.

I've owned and driven cars for more than 50 years. I have not, and would not, accept any tire wear at the incredible high rates indicated in some of these posts. I checked mine today (19 inch, standard 85) and have very little wear (12,400 miles). Maybe users should try more modest driving?? Apart from that, the car's alignment specs and/or weight distribution have to be deficient.

procarl | 1 décembre 2013

Smith 1: Your points are well taken, eminently reasonable, but does that account for several orders of magnitude difference in wear? I've had many sports cars; never experienced--even close--these high levels of wear cited.

Bighorn | 1 décembre 2013

Smith +1 (I know, right?)
@procarl--several orders of magnitude?? You're getting many millions of miles on other sports tires?

pramod1969 | 2 décembre 2013

madbuns, I am glad you have a postive experience with primacy tires. I am assuming your p85 model allows you to rotate them. Can you give us a link to your tires purchase? I hope they work for p85+ as well. I will keep 21" wheels if they give me 15-20k miles like my other cars with high performance tires (Jaguar xkr,CLS).

procarl | 2 décembre 2013

@Bighorn: touché. Plead guilty to some hyberpole there.

Captain_Zap | 2 décembre 2013

We saw normal wear for our conti performance tires on the 21" factory wheels when we swapped out for the winter 19" wheels. That was one full year of use and 12k+ miles.
Looks like they'll be good for a couple more summers.

aliiranitehrani | 8 décembre 2013

dortor, et al.

I'm in the same boat as you. I've owned all sorts of sports cars - 911s, RX-7s, Audi S6, Lotus Elise, Evora, etc, etc.. you said it perfectly here:

a car should [not] "cord" the inside edge of a 20k mile tire in 11k miles while there is plenty of tread left on the other 96% of the tire surface

Just to be certain, I checked.
1) Michelin PS2s have a 20,000 mile thread warranty.
2) I had a rear tire blow out at 6K miles. brand new PS2 installed at Tesla
3) Service at ~6.5k miles, tires rotated
4) Service at ~13K miles, tires rotated - advised to replace tires immediately

Now I wonder if it was excessive inside wear that caused my tire blow out. I missed a dear friend's wedding as I was stuck on the side of the road on a Sunday afternoon while I was towed to a Tesla Service Center 60 miles away on my own dime. (Tesla Roadside quoted 3.5 hours to arrive). Then I pay FULL Tesla Retail for a new tire. I don't event want to say how much that incident set me back or how pissed I was missing the wedding.

At ~13K miles, I'm quoted ~$2,400 for new tires. I'm floored. As you described, the tires look beautiful, and lots of tread left. But as I peak down on the inside, there's a deep groove with the cords exposed.

So here I am...I originally paid for the 21" wheels and tires. Paid for a blow out..and in less than 14K miles, I need another 4 tires. I love the car, don't get me wrong, it is amazing...but this tire wear is NOT normal. I drive my Tesla Model S P85 as a family sedan. I don't race it. I have a very capable sports car in the stable to get out that aggression. I don't drive it aggressively.

and the excuse of high toque and high GVWR don't add up either. My Cayenne Twin Turbo never wore through tires like this. Nearly 500 ft toque at 2.2K rpms, a curbed weight of over 5,300 lbs. and I drove that thing hard!

My local service center guys are great...they're awesome actually. nothing against them. It's not their fault! They don't have an answer that makes any sense to me. And so far I've had no recourse.

lolachampcar | 8 décembre 2013

rear camber plus weight plus toe can yield inside wear and low life. Two of the three must be addressed.

rdalcanto | 8 décembre 2013

I have the P85+ and I'm down to the wear bars on the rear at 4,200 miles. I had an alignment done when the car had around 700 miles because I was worried. My previous car was a 2012 Porsche 911S that I ran ALL OUT at the race track for 3 days, and I got more mileage out of the rear tires on that car! The wear on the Tesla is just too much. I'm looking at $2,000 a year just for rear tires with the P85+, and I don't drive it hard at all.

bradtesla | 8 décembre 2013

I have a P85+ and currently at 8k. Will most likely have to change them out in a few thousand miles. In comparison my BMW M6 would wear tires out at 15k.

pramod1969 | 8 décembre 2013

After reading all these posts, I have decided to drop my 21" wheels to 19" and I will be ready with them by the time I need my back tires changed (I drive 3K miles/month so it will be by the end of January).
I wish Tesla took this issue more seriously!
After the $4000 initial expense for 21" and now another $3000 to change to 19", I hope it will still make some financial sense.