No spare tire...anyone have a flat yet?

No spare tire...anyone have a flat yet?

I am worried about the lack of a spare tire. Has anyone had a flat tire yet? If so, how was it handled and how long did it take for resolution? How is everyone else handling this concern?

kent | 2 gennaio 2013

Yes, I had a rear drivers side blow out going 70 MPH within the first month. Can't explain why, but the car handled so well I did not even realize I had a problem other than the noise. I drove about 3 miles before getting off the highway. I was very surprised to see the tire completely flat. Tesla Roadside Assistance took care of calling the tow truck and I had the tire replaced the next business day.

Chris DC | 2 gennaio 2013

@kent Did the tire pressure monitor not go off?

jat | 2 gennaio 2013

My last two cars before the Model S haven't had spares either, and I have never had anything that I couldn't pump back up enough to get someplace to have the flat fixed. Just last week I had a screw in my LEAF's tire, and had to pump it up with a small portable compressor and then drove it to NTB (and then to Nissan when they couldn't patch it and didn't have the right tire in stock).

I think twice in my 32 years of driving have I ever put a spare on (and one of those I wouldn't have if I had a compressor then) out of a dozen or so punctures, so while I would prefer a compact spare I am comfortable not having one and if worse comes to worse I will call for roadside assistance.

Volker.Berlin | 3 gennaio 2013

Here are a few other threads that deal with this issue. Not much first-hand experience with the Model S in there, but lots of other experience and opinions:

kent | 3 gennaio 2013

Yes, the pressure sensor light came on right after I heard a large pop. I thought I ran over something, but I was in a turn doing about 70 MPH and I think the tire separated from the rim. Tesla picked up the tire for inspection from after I had it replaced. I have not heard anything back from them. A red bar was showing across the whole top of the center screen.

fridintl | 6 gennaio 2013

Yes, be worried. I had a double blow out on Christmas about 1;00 in the morning. Getting stuck underneath the Williamsburg Bridge after hitting a pot hole on the brooklyn-Queens expressway. Welcome to New York brother, so the Tesla manager said. $2,200 dollars worth of damage tires and rims etc I can't believe the rims had to be replaced but thats what the Tesla Service center in Long island city determined.
I have an extra tire now with rim in my trunk. I am looking for a donut 21" that may fit in the front truck on my model S. Large rim and low profile tires are known to be weak against pot holes, according to many people i've talked to including Tesla Service.
Be worried my friend and I hope you'll get stuck in a more friendly place than I have.

Sudre_ | 6 gennaio 2013

Man a double blow out. That really sucks. Guess a single spare tire wouldn't have helped much. Might want to look at getting 4 spares just in case.

Pungoteague_Dave | 6 gennaio 2013

There are many reasons that 19's are preferable to 21's in my opinion, and durability leads the list, followed closely by double the tire life, cheaper tires, more comfortable ride, quieter, and less curb rash potential. The outside diameters are identical so it isn't about filling the wheel wells. I have made the performance tire mistake on prior cars, and this thread is a good reminder, never again.

jat | 6 gennaio 2013

@Sudre - +1

cosmomusic | 6 gennaio 2013

I was 125 miles away from home when I got a flat tire from a nail. I inflated tire with the tire repair kit and drove home to Marin. I had the nail removed and tire repaired. Tire was still fully inflated when I took it into the repair shop. Had to clean up the sealant from the rim but I got home w/o problems.

Carmine | 6 gennaio 2013

cosmomusic-Did the sealant mess up the tire pressure monitoring system?
fridinti-Now that you have a spare in the trunk how will you jack up the car in the event of another flat?

Carmine | 6 gennaio 2013

fridinti - Read the links from Volker in this thread. As previously discussed a donut will not fit in the frunk - not a 21", not a 19".
This continues to be my worst nightmare with this car.

Carefree | 7 gennaio 2013

Get one of these and a small compressor that you keep in the frunk. Most tire issues can be dealt with that way. Cheap, effective and it works. There are a bunch of youtube videos that show you how to use it.

TimJ | 7 gennaio 2013

I haven't had to change a tire to a spare in over ten years. Would be worried about the 21" tire though since I dro e around in Houston with many bad roads. I opted for the 19" wheels.

aa012a | 7 gennaio 2013

+1 @ Carefree

fridintl | 7 gennaio 2013

Carmine - The 21" tires are now a total nightmare for me as well.
I've asked Tesla about as spare donut. let's see what they say. . A double blowout may have been a freak accident but a single, in city traffic, can happen at any time. Telsa tire repair kit is on order now but may give one false security. Nevertheless, it's a start. Still,not good enough for me not what I've been through. When you get stuck with three people in the car, one will get a ride in the tow truck, the rest good luck.

generubin | 5 febbraio 2013

I have used tire plugs many times. They are easy, fast, and you can do it with the tire on the car and they are a permanent repair. Quality tire plug kits exist en masse, about $30. You'd need a small compressor. I have a ViAir which infinitely higher quality than the $50 Tesla compressor.

For a spare, I'm thinking 19 inch wheel with lowest possible profile tire available will likely fit the frunk. Diameter will not match but should be able to limp home at 55 mph or less. Well, that's my plan as soon as my S shows up.

Timo | 5 febbraio 2013

I don't think TC would like smaller diameter tire much. It spins faster so it might think that tire is slipping all of time

generubin | 5 febbraio 2013

You can turn off traction control (can't you?). A 19 inch alloy whell with a 245/30/19 gives you overall diameter 24.8 inches. According to the measurements of others, this may fit in the frunk. The diameter of the original 19" tire is 27.7 inches. You have a radius reduction of only 1.5 inches which is a rotational difference of 5%. If you needed to drive long distance, this is doable as long as tractiob control is defeated. Better to move the spare to the front to save the rear differential from making differentiating all the way home. This is true of any car with a mini spare.

danielccc | 5 febbraio 2013

Definitely anywhere in the New York metropolitan area I would not get the 21" wheels, unless the use of the car is to cruise up and down Park Ave at 30 MPH.

19" is plenty.

Superliner | 5 febbraio 2013

You might get away with different diameter tires on the front (probably trigger an ABS warning light) But I would NOT RECOMMEND different diameters on the rear or drive axle. The different rotational speeds places additional stresses on the differential and or spider gears / clutch packs etc. making excess heat etc. I'd shy away from doing that.

Brian H | 5 febbraio 2013

Don't count on fitting a spare in the frunk. Aside from making it useless for anything else, it can only be done with a smaller tire, which is a BAD idea even for very short mileage. Plugs etc. put far less stress on the car.

RZitrin1 | 5 febbraio 2013

I think other threads examined the issue of fitting a spare in the front trunk. It won't fit, I'm almost sure. I've tried it with smaller tires just to see and those didn't fit. The actual 19" wheel doesn't come even remotely close to fitting.

nickjhowe | 5 febbraio 2013

I just measured the frunk. There is a c.27" clearance at 90 deg and 180 deg, but only c. 23" at 30 deg (give or take, measured from the front latch). No way you can get a 27" diameter tire in there,

Maybe 24 or 24.5.

mmknox | 7 febbraio 2013

I tend to get at least 1 flat a year. Last time (in my ICE) I pushed OnStar and they sent someone to install my full-size spare and I was on my way. Only about 1/2 hour late for work. Without a spare, I would have lost much more time having it towed and dealt with.

Here's an idea: Why can't Tesla Roadside trucks carry a spare? They pop it on the car for you, take your wheel back for repairs and you come by at a later, more convenient time to settle up?

Brian H | 7 febbraio 2013


djp | 7 febbraio 2013

How about deflating the spare so it fits in the fruck, and use a 12V compressor to inflate it when needed?

reitmanr | 7 febbraio 2013


I like this idea. Not sure it helps on longer drives away from service centers. Probably still need a flat kit. Do most tow service trucks carry a flat fixer kit?

jjaeger | 7 febbraio 2013

Interesting data points on this thread. Guess I am in the lucky group - 30 years of driving and no flat yet. Keeping fingers crossed now that I have no spare (or donut) in the trunk...

Brian H | 8 febbraio 2013

How are you at folding inch-thick rubber? Still not enough room.

R.P.M. | 8 febbraio 2013

Inject tire with the fluid, it will coat the diameter of the tire and become a semi solid. In the event of a puncture it will seal the puncture permanently and you never know it's in the tire.

I have a GTR and I replaced the run flats with non-runflats because the ride was too harsh with the run flats. Getting a flat was a big concern of mine. I have used tyre shield and never looked back.

bbalter | 8 febbraio 2013

I was told by Tesla that the distance of the lug nut holes from the center is different than on other cars so non-Tesla rims will not work. Telsa is apparently considering an optional spare of some sort. Telsa sells a compressor with a can of fun-flat liquid. I have another car with a folded inflatable tire on a narrow rim. If Tesla introduced that and sold it with their compressor, all would be good in the world.

Brian H | 8 febbraio 2013

I can imagine derbies where the MS all had four narrow inflatables on, and half the challenge was not to spin out by losing control or a tire! ;)

dborn | 8 febbraio 2013

When they eventually get around to right hand drive, for the Australian market, we are going to need a spare of some sort. Our distances and road quality make them an essential item. Larger rim size tyres are not that freely available, and even in Sydney are a special order at most tyre shops. Usually take 2 or 3 days for stock to come in before fitting can happen.

Danny Deaver | 8 febbraio 2013

I just ordered a spare tire & wheel for my model S from the Tire Rack. They assured me it is the correct bolt pattern, offset, stud hole size and correct center hole size. It will not fit in the trunk, but I wanted a spare just in case. We live in New Mexico and I wouldn't want to wait for Tesla to send me a spare. Total cost was $326.61 including shipping. This doesn't match the original wheel, but It is only for emergencies. My salesperson was Marshall at (888-727-8092) (ext.4792) Hope this helps.

rlpm | 8 febbraio 2013

Danny, where in NM? PM me on TMC, same username.

Danny Deaver | 19 febbraio 2013

ripm, I live in Albuquerque,NM

wsjarriel | 6 giugno 2013

Has anyone here actually tried to change a flat on a Model S themselves? I had a slow leak from a nail and took the car to DTC to have the tire fixed (for free I might add, can't say enough about their customer service). They used a air wrench to remove the lug nuts. When they started to put the wheel back on the car, they asked me what the torque for the lug nuts was supposed to be. I had to call Tesla for the answer, 140ft/lbs!! I don't know about you folks, but I don't think I could take a lug nut off with a conventional tire iron, that was tightened that much. DTC used a 36" long torque wrench to put the nuts back on, and their guy (much younger than I) had to put quite a bit of effort into it.

That being said, I just high a large pothole here in Houston on the way home last Monday. Trashed both lefthand wheels and tires. Waited almost 3 hours to get towed to the Tesla service center, and they still have the car. Not sure what the real solution for this is.

jat | 6 giugno 2013

@wsjarriel - a spare wouldn't have helped in that case.

wsjarriel | 6 giugno 2013

My point exactly. I have considered run flats, because I don't relish sitting on the side of the road for 3+ hours waiting on a tow between Houston and Austin (I have family there), but there are too many disadvantages to the runflat tires as well. As I said, I'm not sure what the real solution is.

jat | 6 giugno 2013

@wsjarriel - I think for most people the occurrence of flats that can't be fixed with the spray glue but that could have been fixed by carrying a spare around is low enough that you don't worry much about that case.

jat | 6 giugno 2013

@bbalter - you have to get the right offset, but there are third-party rims that will match.

dborn | 6 giugno 2013

Are there not plain pressed steel rims at low cost that will match the bolt pattern and offset? I feel sure there must be. One can then also buy a really low cost tire, given that this is meant as an emergency stopgap to enable you to get to a tire service for repair. One then, with mismatched tires on the same axle, would need to drive slowly, say 25 to 30mph. Here in Australia, roadside assistance can take all day to arrive. Towing is incredibly expensive, and why would you get a tow just for a flat? All over Australia, nails and other debris seem magnetically attracted to car tires. All tire repair shops seem to have a line of cars waiting all the time!!!
The main issue seems to be where to store one. For those who dismantled the car, could the frunk liners not be re designed to make the extra space to support this or is the metal behind the liner too tightly applied?

carlk | 6 giugno 2013

My many years experience with no spare tire in Porsche is leak caused by nail puncture is always slow enough that you will have enough time drive home or to gas station after the TPM warning. I never even have to use the sealant came with the car. Keep a rechargeable air pump in the garage and carry it with you so you can still drive the car in case it will take a few days to order the new tire.

MichaelN | 17 agosto 2013

About a week after I got my car we picked up a steel tire balancing weight, right through the passenger rear tire - Sat 5:30pm - Tesla roadside got me towed home, but NO 21" extremes to be found anywhere - took the tire off and while deflated put into frunk to test the space, tight but could be pushed to sit on floor, then took rim and tire to Tesla and got it replaced - took it home and again put into frunk, this time inflated, would fit but 3"off floor - so my idea is, short of finding a doughnut, is to steal a rim (have to, otherwise $750), buy a tire (check out Sears/Kmart), have it mounted and beaded, then remove stem to deflate - push gingerly into frunk (make sure you have a jack, actually, just the tire will do - AAA or Tesla Roadside will come out and change the flat) - and if you have a flat, pull out the deflated one, make sure the stem is installed, inflate with Tesla compressor - and away you go - that is my theory anyway -

bdukov | 17 agosto 2013
Have you found a 21" donut yet? If so, where did you get it?

Badbot | 25 aprile 2016

Titan Exhaust Car Jack. air bag jack that can also use compressor air.