Flat Tire

Flat Tire

I started writing out a long winded story about my morning and flat tire. I will just hightlight the important points.

1. Tesla service is amazing. They went way above and beyond to get me taken care of. Good luck finding a 21" tire if your tire is shot. Les Schwab Tire was 3 days out and Tesla would have to bring one from Seattle down to Portland. Fortunately the Tesla service center (not open yet) had one that needed to be repaired, so they loaned it to me until they can get a new tire. Tesla was even considering taking one of the tires off their test drive car to get me back on the road. I have never had service like that before. They didn't fuss about the trouble or anything. They just flat (pun intended) took care of me without questions.

2. The Model S is one very heavy car. The lift at the tire center could not lift the car up because so much weight is in the center. Lifted the Chevy Tahoe after me right up, but couldn't get the tires off the ground on my car. The guys had NEVER had a car they couldn't lift. Even the truck lift couldn't get it up. It took a 3.5 ton manual jack to get it lifted (yes, I had it in jack mode!).

3. Everyone needs to push for visibility on tire pressures. This is not a "fun thing to have" or "special wish" and I am sure someone will post that it is covered on several forum topics, so not to worry. It is a safety issue and until you get into a situation such as mine (which I take full responsibility for, not Tesla's fault in any way) you don't realize the importance of having the pressure information. Yes, we all have those things we "want", but this is flat out a safety thing that we should be requesting from Tesla by emailing our Ownership Experience contacts. The information is there in their subsystems. It just needs to be added to the screen for us to see.

4. If you get the low tire pressure warning, check your tire pressure. I made the mistake of assuming it was the same warning I got when I took delivery of the car and just needed to "top off" the tire pressure when I got home. I got very lucky and should have had a blown out sidewall on my tire. I made an assumption (you know the saying), so don't make the same stupid mistake I made. Again, having the tire pressure information would have quickly told me what I needed to know, but being to work on time was more important, so I just figured it was below 40 psi again.

5. Next time you are in to the service center have them adjust your tire pressure warning level. They know it is set too high, so just remind them to take a look at it.

6. People love this car. It was the hit of the morning for Les Schwab. Employees, their customers, everyone was having a blast checking out the car. They didn't want to take it out of the bay as I waited 2 hours for a solution. The guy helping me out had to get a picture because his brother didn't believe it was there. At least maybe for all the effort Tesla put into my morning, I may have gotten them a few referrals!

7. I got to watch the service guy perform some stuff on the car and it was pretty cool to see some of the internal workings and check out the car without a tire on.

Feel free to post any questions and I will do my best to answer them.

GLO | 12 dicembre 2012

Nice! Good to hear these stories...

walla2 | 12 dicembre 2012

Strange, I was looking at goo options today as I have quite a distance to travel to service. Great service story. Thanks for the tips.

TikiMan | 12 dicembre 2012

Yes, I agree about the tire-pressure monitor (including psi level for all tires). I had a similar situation on a few past cars that had a TPM system, and always quickly knew if it was just cold-low-pressure, or a possible flat-tire, and it saved me a few times.

Alex K | 13 dicembre 2012

@jamesgx | DECEMBER 12, 2012 : 3. Everyone needs to push for visibility on tire pressures.

Yes, this feature is currently 2nd on the Prioritized Software Enhancement List ( The feature is labeled g. Individual tire pressure readouts.

I know this is not an official software list from Tesla, but if you go to the link and vote for this feature and some others you like, maybe Tesla will take notice.

Vawlkus | 13 dicembre 2012

Any pictures? Just for scrapbooking :P

jamesgx | 13 dicembre 2012

No pictures. I should have thought of that and wish I would have.

aa012a | 13 dicembre 2012

I just wanted to share this as it has saved me a few times when I used to ride my motorcycle (with no spare tire or space for a can of goo of course) :)

Its an OLD but reliable solution until you get to the tire repair shop.

kgmd | 14 dicembre 2012

To add some details here, I've had my model S Sig since early November, and the TPMS had faulted every day at I'm on the car with the 21" tires and wheels. I've been told many tales about the cause, but decided to swap out the 21's for dedicated snows on 19" wheels with new TPMS sensors in the new set. Now have 8 tires, 8 sensors, and the same TPMS issues of faults every day AFTER driving for 30 minutes or so. Intermittent warning light on the display panel. Will stay on for some time, then disappear.
Having it looked at today again finally. There is an internal antenna in the vehicle that senses the TPMS sensors in the wheels, and sends that info back to the car. This antenna seems to be an issue inside the car.
More to come, but "The boy that cried wolf" issue is real, and very concerning. I'd agree that a dash display of the pressures in each wheel is a must for this car!

Michael S | 14 dicembre 2012

Funny. I had had the "fake" tire pressure problem in my roadster. After two trips to the shop to fix it, I just learned to ignore it. Looks like they are using the same crummy system that was in the roadster. My model S does not seem to have this problem (thankfully).

BYT | 14 dicembre 2012

I purchased this for my Model S yesterday and waiting for it to come in the mail.

FYI, I also get the TPMS warnings every cold morning and then the messages go away in the afternoon.

Is anyone or has anyone replaced the tires on their Model S with 21" rims? If you have/are, are you going with run flats or something that has a longer drive range then 18k?

kgmd | 14 dicembre 2012

The model S also uses the exact same sensors as come with the Roadster, although I'm not sure that the system is the same. The tire sensors are made by a third party supplier, and they have confirmed that it's the same sensor as in the roadster. I had tried to purchase 4 sensors separately from them, as Tesla only offers one non-studded tire option for winter, and I went with a different Manufacterer. .

kgmd | 14 dicembre 2012

As a follow up, it seems that a faulty antenna pick up in the wheel well is the culprit in my case for the TPMS systems issues. New part on the way, so we'll see if that does it.

lajollan | 14 dicembre 2012

I had that same problem with the tire sensor in my Lexus. Low pressure warning on for months. Finally took car in and was replaced for free.

cerjor | 31 dicembre 2012

Went to Les Schwaab today to ask about them repairing a tire after Goo had been used. He said no problem for them. However that stuff can ruin the pressure measuring device that is inside the tire. Later I had a discussion with someone from my Tesla service center and he confirmed that. He also said a new one costs $200. No Fix-a-Flat for me.

Carmine | 1 gennaio 2013

This is one of my major stresses. See my thread: http//
Now, not even a can of goo! Was this source at the service center reliable or was that just an "off the cuff" response? As mentioned on another thread recently, it is difficult to pick out fact or fiction coming from various Tesla employees. Although, I do feel they are really trying to be as helpful as possible.

Alex K | 1 gennaio 2013

See the thread at where sealant is discussed. There are sealants on the market that are TPMS and tire safe.

lolachampcar | 1 gennaio 2013

How about we all source a cheap rim/tire combination with a simple jack and wrench to act as out own spare?

Anonymous | 1 gennaio 2013

what about built in jack system? can you raise car to change tire? We are going for test drive on thursday and want to see the jack in action for tire change.

JoeFee | 1 gennaio 2013

SD Service CRT said tesla goo in thier flat kit will not hurt tire sensors.

jat | 1 gennaio 2013

@lorrainesteinel - the "Jack" setting simply turns off automatic levelling of the air suspension, it doesn't actually jack up anything.

jdb | 8 gennaio 2013

Had one of 21" performance tires go flat overnight in garage less than 3 weeks after delivery, no rhyme or reason. Tesla guys came to house within 24 hours and replaced, no questions asked. I never had performance tires before and suspect that these Continental 21" need careful watching. OTOH, never had a car manufacturer make a home visit to replace tire, so TSLA gets an A+ for first service call. Another happy customer. And in meantime two of my friends have placed deposits for Model S within past week after seeing my Sig vehicle, did not get test drive or even ride in car yet. The beat goes on.

JThompson | 8 gennaio 2013

jamesgx: Thanks to you and other Owners sharing these stories!

wbrown01 | 8 gennaio 2013

That front trunk looks like it may fit a donut. Because one of these days I may want to travel across country and if the can of goo does not fix it I should have a real spare. Either that or be stranded in some wasteland.

Pungoteague_Dave | 14 maggio 2013

Even if you have a spare, how will you install it? No way will a regular scissors jack safely lift this car. I had it on the hydraulic 4-post lift in my garage a couple times - takes twice as long to raise as a regular pickup truck due to weight. The only answer with any disabling event on a Model S is to call for service. No self-help here...

PorfirioR | 14 maggio 2013

There was a post a little while ago of someone claiming that a standard 19" Tesla tire can fit in the frunk with some carefully orchestrated maneuvers without any scraping or jamming.

However, I am with @Pungoteague_Dave on this one, why go through the trouble and the risk?

I once did a number on my daughter's 7 series BMW trying to figure out how to jack the thing up. Chivalry died that day. No more tire-changing heroics for me.

Donny B. | 14 maggio 2013

I was able to change all the tires on my Model S (replacing the 19" winters with the 21" summers) using a standard 2 ton rolling hydraulic jack. Don't know what all this fuss about the weight of the car is all about. It's not that much heavier than a BMW M5, for example.

Sudre_ | 14 maggio 2013

You are all in luck. This morning I came out to my car to the tire sensor telling me I was low on air. I checked all the tires and sure enough the driver side back was low, at ~30. I knew it was a nail and sure enough I found one in the middle of the tire.

I used a plug kit very similar to the ones that have been mentioned in these threads. I left the wheel ON the car. I marked the tire with blue tape on the sidewall and with the drive side door open creeped the car back until the mark was between 4 to 5 o'clock. Raising the car to 'very high' makes whole the process easier. I turned my little 12 volt air pump on to keep air in the tire while I pulled the nail and reamed the hole with the reamer. Then I inserted the plug with the plug tool. It was not easy but it was a heck of a lot easier than removing the tire... and safer. It took about 10 minutes. The 19" tire in a tough tire. It was rather difficult to get the reamer in.

After work I took the car by the Tesla service center since they are close. The guys gave it a quick inspection. It was holding air fine and they felt my repair job was satisfactory.

This is how I have been fixing my rare flats almost my whole life. This is probably the first flat I have had in 10 years altho I did plug one on my wife's car a few years ago (passenger front). Front tires are a LOT easier because you can position the nail at 10-11 o'clock and turn the wheel so the nail is easy to get at.

bradslee | 14 maggio 2013

+1 Sudre

That is why MS owners should have the Slime 70005 Flat Tire Repair Kit or equivalent kit in their MS. No spare tire is necessary. The kit will do the job.