Wheel Scrapes

Wheel Scrapes

I was at a Tesla Service Center the other day and asked the friendly folks there what the most common repair issue was that they were seeing on the Model S, and they said "wheel scrapes" and especially on the 21" wheels where they both low and protrude beyond the tires, and are easily scraped against curbs. I didn't think about this much at the time, especially since I opted for the 19" wheels to avoid such issues (and get longer tire life).

Sure enough, backing out of a parking space tonight I felt the tire up against the curb, and looking at it later noticed a significant scrape on my front right wheel. Looking at the left front wheel, I see some minor damage there as well-- must have been some other occasion that I didn't even notice. I've been driving cars for many decades and never scraped a wheel before, as the tires usually protect the wheel from minor contact.

Anyone else seeing this issue? If not (yet), be careful...

RZitrin1 | 4 novembre 2012

I've done mine already - right rear. From what I read somewhere, not sure where, they protrude beyond the side of the car. Which, BTW, may be good for the body.

Be careful, all.


steve | 4 novembre 2012

I knew this was going to happen. I have asked them to come up with the 21 inch design for a 19 inch wheel. They tell me that it will soon be an option. I hope they fix the protruding part if that exist on the 19 inch wheel.

TikiMan | 4 novembre 2012

Yup, when I first saw the beta up close at the Fashion Island (Newport Beach) grand-opening last year, it was the VERY FIRST thing I told one of the reps..."It's too bad they designed te wheels the way they did". He wasn't exactly sure what I meant, and then I showed him how if you even slightly graze against a curb, the rim (wheel), will get a serious scrape or dented (because it sits farther out than the tire).

This is a large part of the reason why I wish they had added sonic side-sensors, or under-mirror cameras, as it is nearly impossible to know where you are in relation to a curb when parking.

Either way, this is a problem on ALL big wheels on every car, truck, or SUV that has them. So, it's not just a Tesla thing, however, I kind wish they had thought about it.

dahtye | 4 novembre 2012

I put a relatively large gouge in my right rear rim when turning right into a driveway where the curb is a sharp right angle. There was quite a bit of fast traffic behind me and I didn't want to get rear ended, so pulled into the parking lot driveway quickly and cut the corner too tightly. The rear tire/wheel hit the high curb and I heard a frightening thud/bang - the car shuddered as did I. This was only the second day that I had my Model S!

So, be careful out there and make sure you have enough room to make those right turns. The Model S is bigger than it actually feels when driving.

rd2 | 4 novembre 2012

ScottM- Just curious, but you mentioned that the Tesla service center was doing repairs for wheel scrapes? I didn't realize those could actually be fixed. I am guessing it is not a warranty repair, right?

ScottM | 5 novembre 2012

@rd2 Yes, they said one guy already had his repaired multiple times. I doubt this would be a warranty item, although you might negotiate a "frequent scraper" discount :-) I didn't ask any more details because at the time, I didn't think it would apply to me! Perhaps someone who has had their wheels cosmetically restored could comment on cost.

jfeldman72 | 5 novembre 2012

I agree that the wheels are awesome. However, can we just take either the stock wheels wether it be the 19 inch or the 21 inch and buy an aftermarket wheel/rim?

Michael23 | 5 novembre 2012

Yikes. Well I'm used to my SUV which is wide and I'm really careful, but my tires sure are a lot thicker.

Getting Amped Again | 5 novembre 2012

My BMW rim repair was about $110 and was done while my car was being serviced. Hopefully the same can be done during a Model S service/inspection. The repair was done by a third party, not the dealer.

BYT | 5 novembre 2012

I have a wicked driveway and sometimes rush to beat on coming traffic into my driveway. My 21" rims sound are guaranteed to get dinged bad... :(

BYT | 5 novembre 2012

"My 21" rims sound like they are guaranteed to get dinged bad."

Alex K | 5 novembre 2012

I wonder how much harder it would be to repair scrapes for the 21" grey wheels? I'm sure the scrapes are repairable, but the wheel would have to be recoated with a matching color.

aaronw2 | 5 novembre 2012

I guess we could return to adding curb feelers. It's too bad that Tesla doesn't build in something like, adding curb sensors to aid in parking.

Brian H | 5 novembre 2012

That curb-alert only talks about front bumper damage, no mention of wheel warnings. Maybe that's assumed.

Steve_P445 | 5 novembre 2012

The 21" low profile wheels & tires look awesome on the Model S, but they will be very, very succeptible to scrapes. Our current Audi has 19" low profile tires and all 4 rims have been skuffed :(

My Model S will have the 21s and I'll just have to be careful.

mrspaghetti | 5 novembre 2012

Fortunately for me, it's pretty rare that I have to parallel park, so hopefully I can keep from messing up my rims for a while.

GregG | 5 novembre 2012

So, in a weak moment, i took my model S to a "brushless" carwash. i know, i know....

fifteen minutes later, gouges on each driver side wheel AND big chunk out of each tire!

cost me two tires. :-(

not sure why because i have brought Porsche Turbos here with wider tires.....

perhaps because the car itself is so wide...?

What ever, dont do this! :-)

mrspaghetti | 5 novembre 2012

Bikini washes only for my Model S!

nickjhowe | 5 novembre 2012

+1 @mrspaghet. Fortunately here in Florida we get those for about 10 months of the year.

mrspaghetti | 5 novembre 2012

Nice. Will consider moving there :)

keith.mueller | 5 novembre 2012

I had originally ordered my Signature Performance with the 19" wheels, to be practical. When I went to a second test drive to give my wife a turn before taking delivery, we saw two identical pearl white cars, one with the 19" and one with the 21". The 19" wheels really look small on the car, even though the diameter of the tire is the same. Plus the design is so significantly different. After that, I couldn't bring myself to stick with the practical choice and opted to switch to the 21's. From talking with George, I think he went through exactly the same dilemma and made the same decision I did. I know I'll call myself an idiot when I have to replace those tires in 7,000 or 9,000 miles, or when I do some damage to the 21" rim because it sticks out past the protection of the tire sidewall bead protection. But it sure looks, rides, and handles awesome. If I really wanted "practical", I probably wouldn't have opted for the Performance version, or the Signature, or maybe not even the Tesla. :>)

After having the car a few weeks, I'm extremely impressed with the handling of bumps. I'm no longer concerned that I'm going to hit some major pot hole or bridge joint and have to replace my rim or tire. The suspension does a great job of absorbing those type of bumps. I'm impressed. The way I've been driving the car, which has probably been the most fun I've ever had driving on public roads, I know I'll be replacing the tires before I know it. But it's the price of real "fun", and for me it's worth it. I'm sure I'll settle down in a year or two :>).

I'm sure the factory has gotten the message that the 21" wheels were a mistake. My suggestion was doing 20" wheels that look exactly like the 21" wheels. That way, the integrity of the design would remain the same, but the choice of tire types is dramatically better (Ultra performance summer, ultra performance all-season, winter, etc) on TireRack. It would also give that extra 1/2" of rubber protection between the road and the rim, and they may even have a better/thicker rim-protection rib around the bead of the tire.

In the meantime, I'm extremely impressed and happy with the car, and driving is fun and exciting again.

RZitrin1 | 6 novembre 2012

Second that, Keith! More fun than my old Jensen Healey, which I drove for 15 years.


Alex K | 7 novembre 2012

@,b> keith.mueller@c... | NOVEMBER 5, 2012: My suggestion was doing 20" wheels that look exactly like the 21" wheels.

Yes, I've been suggesting that too. And also using tires that have a rim protector built in:

ScottM | 7 novembre 2012

I spoke with the Tesla folks in Costa Mesa and they said they have an outside service who fixes scrapes; $175/wheel and takes about an hour per wheel.

drlinton43 | 23 mai 2013

I ordered my Tesla S with the 21" wheels. They are beautiful, but have repaired the wheels twice now. The position of the wheel in relation to the tire side wall is the only design flaw I have noticed on the car. I have driven my Porsche 911 Turbo for 6 years and never scratched a wheel. The tires need a protective outer rib to protect the wheels, or the wheels must end narrower than the tires.

pencil2man | 24 mai 2013

Check out . They are setting up a distributor in the US. My tesla ranger said they have been installing them for around $300 for 4 wheels. Needed it, scraped it. Plan to get a set.

Keith72 | 24 mai 2013

I also opted for the 21" wheels because I thought they looked so much better than the other options. I found out the hard way that the slightest contact with a curb causes a bad case of rim rash. It's good to hear that there is a way to repair the damage, but I'll be interested to see if it's a completely invisible repair.

david.cheney | 24 mai 2013

thanks pencil .. corrected link is

david.cheney | 24 mai 2013

heh, which you have to enter into the URL bar ... apparently TM does not allow external links?

jeremys | 24 mai 2013

the alloygators are awesome.. definitely recommend them. i had the black ones installed and they look like an extension of the tire. the 19" rims on my bmw had minor scuffs everywhere and i knew that the 21s would end up even worse on my tesla.

for anyone in long island/queens, i had mike from install them in my driveway for $250.

Brian H | 24 mai 2013

your actual link sez http://www.teslamotors/forum/forums/ Goes nowhere. Properly composed links work fine here.

AlMc | 24 mai 2013

I do not know if other people have found the 'gators' in the US. I had to order from the UK manufacturer/distributor. Takes about 2-3 weeks to get them. Plan accordingly. Cost about $100. They have had so many ordered by Tesla owners that they have a 10% discount for us.

snowmass4 | 25 mai 2013

I managed to scrape the drivers side front wheel. The pattern is strange, and I have no recollection of any curbing. Obviously, the passenger side would be far more common. I suspect that I managed to scrape the rim after hitting a large pot hole. Time for alloy gators or owning 21" rims is going to be very expensive.

nav66 | 1 juin 2013

I had my first 21" wheel scrape a couple of hours ago... still not completely over it, and I had to come back and read this thread for catharsis. And it didn't take much to cause a little damage. I was backing out of a parking space with a curb on the right side, misjudged the point I should start turning, and my wife and I just stared at each other as we felt a gentle rise in the direction of the right rear tire.

So it sliced a bit of the Continental tire, and scraped just the edge of the rim about five inches along the circumference. But you wanna talk about dejected, wow, that is me.

And I had waited for five months to get the 21" as one of my last due bill items. I had been so proud of myself for the seven days during which I hadn't scraped them...

So, I will drive by the Menlo Park service center to see what they say about it. I'll report back to let you all know the results.

Sorry for my belly-aching. Now for a beer, and maybe some sad country music...

Mark K | 1 juin 2013

21 inch allow wheels and low profile tires: $3,750.

Repairing each scraped rim: $150

"Beer and sad country music": Priceless.

Fix it. Cheer up. And get some of those alloy gators.

Anthony H | 1 juin 2013

Been there. The repair work is remarkable!! Now I'll buy the gators!

GeekEV | 1 juin 2013

@pencil2man - Rangers will install then now? Which service center told you that? When the San Rafael center picked up my car about two weeks ago the porter hadn't seen them before, but was very impressed with them. I wonder if that's what made them decide to start offering installs?

Steinwand | 1 juin 2013

I didn't go with the 21" partly because of the easy scrape issue but wanted something more than the plainer look of the 19". I took my 19" wheels in and had them painted black and then put on a lathe to take the top surface down to bare aluminum then clear coat on everything.
Here are the pictures:

As these are still the original wheels I have the center logo which is also nice.

Brian H | 1 juin 2013

Uploaded with

nickjhowe | 2 juin 2013

@Steinwand - very nice!

Pbfoot | 2 juin 2013

I have the gray 21" wheels and scraped the rear passenger rim on a curb a couple of weeks ago. Found a local shop in metro DC area, took it in, after an hour wait it was repaired. I can't tell the difference from the original rims, the color matching is great and I'm very happy with it.

Just wanted to let those who have gray rims know that if you scrape, it can be repaired.

nav66 | 2 juin 2013

@Mark K -- thanks. Will take your advice and get the gators!

@Pbfoot - good - my confidence in getting a repair job just went up.

carlk | 2 juin 2013

keith.mueller@c... Same as you I saw two white MS a few weeks ago at Costco parking lot in San Jose. The one with 19" rim just looks ordinary. Somehow I think 19" on black car does not look too bad.

As for the rim rash I got plenty on my 6 yr old car with low profile tires. You get over it pretty fast after the first one. I don't even notice it other than when washing my car. I don't think others will too. Once the Porsche service manager casually mentioned they can fix it when he was inspecting my car but he didn't sound like it's something I need to do either.

mervyn | 6 juin 2013

Having two of mine done as we speak. I have the guys here from Dent-Wizard in Phoenix doing mine at my office. They charge $125 per wheel. I used them once before on my wife's S550 and you could not tell.

StefanT | 6 juin 2013

Pbfoot - who in DC and how much did it cost?

pencil2man | 7 juin 2013

The Atlanta service guys quoted about $350 installed.

asim77 | 14 juin 2013

@Steinwand How much did this cost, and where did you get it done?

Also how much did painting the brakes cost?

GeekEV | 14 juin 2013

Apparently I curbed my rear wheel recently (don't even remember doing it). Thank goodness I had the AlloyGators installed. They did their job nicely, the wheel is fine but the gators were pretty scratched up. I used their scraper tool to clean up the worst of it, but I bet the gators could be polished up to almost normal.

Brian10 | 10 juillet 2013

I just had my AlloyGators installed. I've owned my S for 4 weeks and had curb rash on three wheels. Not only do the AlloyGators look great, but the best part for me was that they cover up the curb rash. I was going to pay to have the curb rash repaired but now I don't need to.

GeekEV | 10 juillet 2013

@Brian10 - I've found they tend to slip out a little bit over time, though the clips should hold them in safely the OCD in me doesn't like that. If you pick up a rubber mallet like this one you can pound them back in nice and snug from time to time. It takes a good deal of force on an inflated tire, so whack away. Just be careful not to hit the bodywork. :-p