Aero Wheel Covers Damaging the Wheel

Aero Wheel Covers Damaging the Wheel

After taking the Aero wheels off and putting on new wheels with winter tires, I cleaned the Aero wheels and found that the Aero Wheel Covers have damaged my wheels. There is a plastic rib underneath the cover that seems to be rubbing on the top of the wheel leaving a rough black mark. Some of my wheels are worse than others, but they all have the same black scuff marks. I have a picture of one of the spots here:

This is only one spot, but each wheel has at minimum three spots like this. One of the wheels has much darker spots than this one too. This is the only one I did not have stored away yet, as it has a large paint chip that also needs to be taken care of.

Has anyone else noticed this type of scuffing on the aero wheels?

If this is happening to all aero wheels, this is a large oversight in the development of the covers and how they attach to the wheel.

lilbean | 2018年12月29日

Makes sense. I don't have any scuffs because I took the caps off after the first week.

Magic 8 Ball | 2018年12月29日

Yup, I checked, looks more like paint rubbing/damage than wheel damage. Doesn't bother me since I plan to leave the covers on, whadda you gonna do?

brad | 2018年12月29日

I took my covers off after I got the cap kit, which took a couple weeks. Not much one can do, but it sure seems like this could be designed differently to prevent this.

I can only imagine what the wheels look like for those who leave them on all the time.

Bighorn | 2018年12月29日

Yes. Apparently there is a way to remove the covers so as not to scratch the rims.

Magic 8 Ball | 2018年12月29日

Maybe use the contact TESLA links and attach the photo with a description of what you found?

brad | 2018年12月29日

@Bighorn - This isn't from taking them off. I suspect it is from the vibration of the covers while they are on causing them to rub on the wheel.

Bighorn | 2018年12月29日

I don’t know how you would discern the difference. Mine were on very tight so I didn’t suspect vibrational movement, but I’d driven about 23k miles when I pulled them off with some difficulty. I was later told by an early owner that they were instructed on how to remove them without scratching the paint.

lilbean | 2018年12月29日

My awesome detailer removed the aero covers for me.

RedShift | 2018年12月29日

I was wondering if the covers would rub against the wheels. This confirms my suspicion. However, I will leave my covers on, seeing as I painted them glossy jet black, which to my mind looks better than stock.

brad | 2018年12月29日

The spots are nowhere near the clips that hold them on the wheel. I can see from the rib on the bottom of the cover that it appears to have been rubbing on the wheel.

jefjes | 2018年12月29日

I was planning on putting mine on for road trips but maybe just leaving them off is better anyway. I know there has been considerable discussion about whether they really add any additional range and the arguments for or against seem compelling either way. Some say no difference, others say 1-2% better, and still, others say they add as much as 10%. I haven't seen any say that they actually hurt range so figured what would it hurt to put them on for longer trips. Now there appears to be a negative to leaving them on from this owners experience. Of course, if you leave them on all the time, then no one would see the marks under them anyway. Decisions decisions...

Tyguy | 2018年12月29日

Thank you for posting this, OP. I pulled mine off after delivery with plans to install them for longer trips, but the metal clips concerned me. The rubbing with the plastic rib is interesting. Looks like my covers will stay in storage.

Magic 8 Ball | 2018年12月29日

Agreed, good heads up for those that would be upset to find out paint damage on the wheel after using the covers a while. The marks in the pic. are rub marks that happen over time, not from the clips. Clip marks (I haven't seen them myself) probably a separate issue.

M3phan | 2018年12月30日

Tesla model 3 youtuber Brian from i1Tesla caught this scratching issue several months ago and posted a video on it. His scuffs were around the circumference. Thankfully I saw it as part of my delivery prep, and since I wasn’t planning the keep the aero hubcaps on anyway, I ordered my wheel cap kit, pulled the covers off on delivery day and popped on the cap kit. No scuffs. Just nice nekkid rims.

CST | 2018年12月31日

I'm seeing fewer and fewer of these covers on Model 3s, assuming this will become a non-issue as people are realizing they are ridiculous and make the car look like other manufacturer's attempt to stand out as an EV.

lbowroom | 2018年12月31日

Weird, I've pulled them off of 4 cars without any special method with no damage to any them.

gballant4570 | 2018年12月31日

I removed my Aero covers the first day of ownership. I can easily get trip wh/m below the efficiency used to estimate SOC mileage, depending on weather. My routine driving is not highway heavy, so sustained speeds over 70 mph don't make up a significant percentage of my miles. Perhaps on a road trip involving lots of highways I would see some efficiency difference comparing Aero covers off/on, but I don't plan to put them back on for road trips either. I don't see a need at this point.

When I removed the covers, they were fitted very tightly, but their removal did not mark the wheels in any way that I could see. I can imagine putting them on & off a few times might rub the wheel finish a bit though, due to the tight fit. The fit did not seem like they would move against the wheel while in motion, but miles upon miles at higher speeds could certainly change fit characteristics over time.

Bottom line is I plan to simply leave them off. Wh/m average before cool weather (incl. a few weeks of A/C use) was in the low 230's, and has risen to low 250's to this point. Plenty of efficiency for my purposes.

gmr6415 | 2018年12月31日

Anyone know the paint code for the aero wheels? I need to repair some curb rash. I new it would come at some point. I made it almost 10k miles without it, but I've got a pretty bad area on one wheel now.

PhillyGal | 2018年12月31日

@gmr - My hubs damaged mine within like 3 weeks of me owning the car (to his defense, was moving the car slightly to shovel deep snow) and added a product called rimblades to cover the damage. I chose a lime green for fun.

This weekend I hit a curb for the very first time in 4 years, 2 Teslas and I must have hit hard enough to straight up snap the rimblade... but it surely did it's job to protect.

Just an idea for you that both covers damage and protects. I have a video on YouTube about mine covering damage. (ElectricJen)

dalesmith1962 | 2018年12月31日

@CST “… assuming this will become a non-issue as people are realizing they are ridiculous and make the car look like other manufacturer's attempt to stand out as an EV.”

That’s a matter of opinion. I find the Aero wheels look quite nice with my midnight silver Model 3. IMO, bare rims are much uglier in comparison.

I prefer to keep the covers on my Klipsch speakers too. But many people prefer to show off the copper colored tweeters. It’s all a matter of personal choice. To each his own.

lbowroom | 2018年12月31日

Never thought I'd see people argue that a plastic hubcap looks better than an alloy wheel. They kinda remind me of the ones on my '79 280zx

M3phan | 2019年1月1日

True, to each their own...and though mine are off permanently, sometimes on other 3s, when the light in the restaurant hits them just right, they look quite attractive.
; )

scrapps | 2019年3月25日

I can confirm this has happened on mine. I had the aeros on during the winter and I just took them off and cleaned them. You there's two parts where it rubs, close to the top of the spoke and then close to the middle of the two spokes. It's obvious when you look at the covers where it's rubbing. Really poorly designed IMO.

Tuning In | 2019年3月25日

In context the design is as it should be. It keeps the aero cover securely on the wheels. When Tesla designed the wheels, they intended for people to use the aero covers over them. They didn't design it with the intention of people running the wheels without the covers, though later they found that people wanted to and then started selling the wheel cap kit.

ODWms | 2019年3月25日

They made a set of very nice looking wheels under the aeros. I’m pretty sure they didn’t design and build them that attractive, and paint them that nice gunmetal color with no intention of them being seen. I admit I could be way off as I’m known to be.

kallian | 2019年3月25日

Do a wind noise test at 50mph+ with and without aeros. I did that and leaving the aeros makes it lot more quieter from wind noise.

jimglas | 2019年3月25日

I like the wheel with the aeros off, my wife likes them on
guess which way the wheels are?

mikes | 2019年3月25日

Noticed light blemished where the clamps grab the rim, have noticed as shown in picture. Had aero's on car since beginning, almost 14k miles. But did any of you have an issue with snow packing in behind the Aero Cap to the point where it would start pushing the cap off. I had this happening several times this winter. As it built up more I got vibrations from wheel imbalance and even lost a cap on the interstate due to that. Had to take Aero caps off a couple times because of this.

heil5fan | 2019年4月30日

Did anyone have this problem argued with Tesla and got it fixed? I have the same issue after I removed my aero wheel covers.

NoNaym | 2019年5月1日

Just pulled my aero caps yesterday and noticed this exact same issue. Jumped on Google, and found this thread. Pretty disappointing to see such a small design flaw in the aero caps could be causing damage to the finish on the wheels.

While I am not holding my breath, I did shoot Tesla an email asking them about this, but no response just yet....

n7vdr1 | 2019年5月1日

mine came off as soon as i got home! 70mi.

edhchoe | 2019年5月1日

I like the covers. they are there to stay on mine.

mikehen08 | 2019年5月21日

Just took my aero's off for the first time after 6,500 miles (10 months) and have the scuff marks. Anyone know how to easily get rid of the marks? I feel like it would be more trouble than its worth but figured I'd ask. Thanks!

Foottraffic | 2019年5月21日

Depends how much scuffing. If it rubbed deep pass the paint, you’d have to touch it up. If it is superficial scuffing, you can use some car polish to polish the scuff out. I took my caps off at 50 miles and there was already scuff marks on the rims. I suspect it’s from vibration due to wind buffeting and wheel motion. If you plan on putting the covers back on, you can put some 3m paint protective film at the points where the rubbing occurs to reduce the risk of the covers scuffing the rims again.

aperfectecho | 2019年5月21日

I have the same issue. About 7k miles on mine, took off the covers over the past weekend. There are scuffs from the clamps, and the rim at the edge (where the Aero cover sits) is blemished on all 4.
That said, i got the touch up paint someone mentioned, and will lightly sand, and fix myself. Not a big deal.

NoNaym | 2019年5月21日

So I am at the Fremont Service center right now for an appointment, and after reviewing the marks around the perimeter of the rims (where Aero cover sits), they basically tried to push the blame to me and said that Tesla will not cover this issue under warranty. Pretty disappointing as this is definitely a flaw in their design. Looks like I'm going to have to do the same as others by attempting to clean this up myself. I totally agree this is not a huge deal, but for someone who has very little experience doing any sort of car paint touch up (or any sort of body repair), this does not seem like a super easy fix.

Jtwo | 2019年5月21日

It happened to me also. I took delivery of my car in September and decided to leave the aero covers on for the winter. In that time I did curb the aeros once. When I took the aeros off, one of the wheels looked like I had curbed it.

I'm not going to worry about it because sooner or later something's going to happen, it always does.

mikehen08 | 2019年5月21日

Thanks for the suggestions/updates everyone.

@Foottraffic - what kind of polish could I use to try and get it out?

@aperfectecho - Can you please provide the link for the paint? I dont see it in this thread.

I may decide to fix myself or just say to hell with it or just put my aeros back on :-)

aperfectecho | 2019年5月21日

This is the link for the paint. It is not an exact match, but quite good. I bought it after seeing a link in another thread here, and have been happy with the results

CharleyBC | 2019年5月21日

My wife used that Ford touchup paint to fix some rim rash on our aero wheels, and it looks fine.

mikehen08 | 2019年5月21日

@aperfectecho Thank you! and good to know Charley thanks for your feedback

Foottraffic | 2019年5月21日


It depends on how scuffed the paint is. The top most layer of paint on the rims is a clear coat layer and that is the layer that polish works to make things look shiny. If the clear coat is already scuffed away, you'd have to repair the clear coat. If the clear coat is still relatively intact, you can err on the safe side and use a fine polish to bring some shine back while reducing you risk of breaking through the last bits of clear coat. Your local Oreilly Auto Parts, Autozone, and etc. should carry Meguiar's stuff. Just look for something like "Ultimate Polish". for your purpose, you should avoid the stuff that are marked "Compound" which are more abrasive and are formulate to remove more material.

madkim23 | 2019年5月21日

If you’re looking for an exact match, the old dark grey 21” inch turbines on the S is the same paint. It also appears to be the same color as the 19” and 21” carbon wheels you can get on the S now.

I curbed my wheel the first month after I got my 3. A nearby service center uses a mobile wheel guy who sets up on their property for wheel work. He repaired my wheel and told me they were an exact match. He actually had a set of turbines he was refinishing and put them side by side. I’ll take his word for it since he’s doing Tesla’s wheel work on site. Looks identical to me.

NoNaym | 2019年5月21日

@madkim23 Any idea where to find that dark grey or carbon paint? Not sure if I see it on Tesla's store page. Or if it is there, I'm not quite sure which is the correct color...

NoNaym | 2019年5月21日

Metallic Grey maybe?

mikehen08 | 2019年5月21日

@Foottraffic Certain spots are definitely worse than others for some reason so it is definitely a possibility that it is rubbed down to the paint. But I haven't looked close enough to be able to tell for sure. I'll look for the polish and see what I can find

I'll also check out the Model S wheel paint to see whats out there


Foottraffic | 2019年5月21日

Also as for paint, I found that Mazda's New Warm Gray Metallic 21R. to be a good match for my set of rims I would say it only had a barely discernible shade difference. I Previously tried the Dupli-Color AFM0360 Dark Shadow on a couple of spots of curb rash and it was okay, but not nearly as good a match as the 21R. I went with the 21R when I had to repair a significant amount of curb rash on a set of M3 rims.

madkim23 | 2019年5月21日

@NoNaym - sorry, not able to help you there. I just relied on the guy who fixed my wheel. You may try the service center to see if they can point you to Tesla wheel paint. If not, you can try some of the options suggested or search for wheel touch up paint companies online and see if they have a common color for dark grey, carbon, or metallic grey for the S or 3.

madkim23 | 2019年5月21日

I found this on a TMC thread. The link to it on Tesla’s site was broken, so it does not appear to be offered online. Use this as a reference if you call the service center.

Model S Touch-Up Paint
Grey (WHEEL)
SKU: 9000001-W2-A

NoNaym | 2019年5月21日

Thanks @madkim23!