No spare, no run flat, no running on 3 wheels. Just a can of goo!

No spare, no run flat, no running on 3 wheels. Just a can of goo!

As delivery time approaches I worry about the lack of a full sized spare and a place to put it (since it can't fit in the frunk); or, even a doughnut that could fit in the frunk. The car with air suspension can't crawl to the nearest repair center on 3 wheels. I really don't like or want run flats, so that's not upsetting to me; but, relying on a can of tire sealant is extremely worrisome. What does that goo do to the tire, wheel and pressure monitoring system (I assume the Model S has one)? In case of a blow out does Tesla just want us to deal with the night stalkers until an approved tow truck arrives?

discoducky | 2012年9月3日

I've driven without a spare in my MINI Cooper S (19" wheels, low profile, not-runflats) for nearly 10 years and have had to use fix-a-flat once. While it's not best to use it, sometimes there is no other option and I wouldn't drive without it.

No spare, no worries for me.

Jason S | 2012年9月3日

Ask yourself when last you used your spare tire, and why.

I can't recall using a spare tire ever. Have had a slow leaks, but those were easily handled on my own terms.

I suppose I'm due for a flat, eh?

dborn | 2012年9月3日

My wife and I have both had multiple flats in Sydney. Don't know why but we seem to pick up nails/screws fairly often. Yes, these are usually slow leaks, but on at least one occasion in the last two years my wife parked in a private lot, went shopping for around four hours to find the car on its rim. No spare would have been a big deal. With the spare, no problem. I did the whole Thing without any inconvenience to her. Tyre repair place said that fix a flat ruins the tyre, and precludes a repair because of the amount of goop left in the tyre.
By the way, a nail in junction of tread and sidewall means a new tyre. Regulations in Australia equals new tyre for safety reasons.

Alex K | 2012年9月4日

@dborn | SEPTEMBER 3, 2012: Tyre repair place said that fix a flat ruins the tyre, and precludes a repair because of the amount of goop left in the tyre.

I've heard many people mention that, but for example, Slime makes a sealant that is both TPMS safe and can be "washed" out before a tire repair (

Volker.Berlin | 2012年9月4日

An in-depth discussion of this topic, including the role of air suspension in this context, can be found here:

Robert63 | 2012年9月4日

Since getting my Leaf, I have wondered about this.

But I've never used my spare. In fact, it made me wonder if this has been a "conspiracy" since day two ... sell 200,000,000 more tyres?

There are thousands of parts in an ICE that has no spare ... (ok, maybe tyres are a little more important) ... but a blown fuel pump also kills an ICE.

Sudre_ | 2012年9月4日

I have never used a spare in my life. . . Ok i used one once when I rolled my Saturn and the tire was completely ripped off the rim. The other three popped back into shape with a few kicks when the wieght was taken off the tire and fix-a-flat held while I slowly drove it up to the shop with grass sticking out between the rims.

The flats my wife and I have had over the last 10 years, actually it's been one flat, were fixed with a plug kit leaving the tire on the car and a 12 volt air pump to infate. The flat was actually a tire low on air that I inspected to find the reason why it was so low on air. That is when I discovered the screw.

I think the Tesla comes with road side service. I also think you can pick up a small spare at a junk yard pretty cheap with a matching bolt pattern. I don't want one at all because it's not free to get rid of unwanted tires. Tesla does offer a full size spare. It is sold seperately like it should be. Just tell them you want an extra tire and rim. I doubt they will turn you down. I think the major problem will be people installing the jack in the wrong place and damaging the battery.

MandL | 2012年9月4日

Tires must just be far better made than they used to be, because I'm pretty sure the roads around here aren't. I haven't had a flat in years, but still feel a little helpless driving around without a spare. I think it's a last grasp at some sort of manly self-help/control issue for me.

Theresa | 2012年9月4日

The last time I had a flat was over thirty years ago when I had my first car and I was driving on tires that were most likely illegal because of the little amount of tread that was on them. I have had tires lose air pressure slowly when they picked up a nail or screw but carrying a portable air compressor always gets me to a repair shop easily. And even those times have been a rarity for me. I can live without a spare since rubber has a shelf life too. By the time I need the spare it will probably be cracked from age.

ndt | 2012年9月4日

I've had 5 flats in the last 20 years. One on a rental car that I had to abandon to make my flight. One in town that I was able to pump up sufficiently to get to the tire store. One while commuting that was rescued with a spare. One in the evening right before a 3 day weekend (I called in a 25 mile radius and was unable to find any tire stores open) also rescued with a spare. One on a gravel road in the middle of Death Valley (it was 110F outside, and I think I would have been very sad if I not had a spare).

I will likely order winter tires, so I might occasionally use a summer or winter as a spare in the trunk. Particularly in situations where finding a replacement would be difficult or dangerous. This assumes that finding and using a portable jack on the S is practical.

I can't say I'm overly enthused about the trend towards removing spares, but Tesla is just following the industry trend. The S will be particularly hard to find replacement tires for on short notice. The tire size is not exactly common.

stevenmaifert | 2012年9月4日

Spare tire = Peace of mind... especially on a road trip to out-of-the-way places. How much i$ that worth to you?

Sudre_ | 2012年9月4日

It is worth exactly what Tesla will charge to sell you an extra tire. I do not unsterstamd the problem at all. When did Tesla say you can not by rims or tires from them? You ppl are nuts. Just purchase an extra tire. It's just not a free spare.

The jack may be a good argument. You will need to know how to jack the car up.

TonyF | 2012年9月4日

@ Sudre_ +1. Those wishing for a spare can easily have one.

stevenmaifert | 2012年9月4日

@Sudre_ & TonyF I didn't know it was that easy. Could either of you point me to the link where I can order a spare? It wasn't available as an option when I finalized my order and isn't showing on the Model S accessory page I must have missed it. Thanks.

gimp_dad | 2012年9月4日

@stevenmaifert for a simple part like this I would recommend just calling the shop. This isn't much different from buying a new tire, seat belt bracket or windshield wiper blade. It might be possible to buy one online but I doubt that is their priority right now with their online store.

When I took my Model S delivery I needed a NEMA 6-50 connector (since the HPWC is not yet available). The delivery specialist ran to the shop and picked one up from stock in their parts bin and brought it back to me. I'm sure they will similarly be stocking extra tires and rims for repair work at the shop.

Sudre_ | 2012年9月4日

I don't see spare windshield wiper blades or brakes listed either but I bet you can buy some if you need them.

cablechewer | 2012年9月4日

I have had to use my spare about once every 3-4 years. The last time I picked up a jagged piece of copper. It made a hole too big to patch (about a 1cm diameter). The tire deflated to the rim Very quickly. If that had happened without a spare I would have needed a tow truck. I doubt a can of sealant would have worked for that. Even if it did I assume I would have had to jack the car up to re-inflate the tire.

Mark E | 2012年9月4日

I've had 7 or 8 flat tyres in the last 10-12 years alone, and my current car uses a space saver with a compressor. I now also carry an emergency plug kit but luckily haven't had to use it.

Over the years I have had quite a few punctures and the array of objects that end up in a tyre is astounding - my first was a 6" nail that went head first into my rear tyre on a motorcycle!

Since then I've 'collected' 2 keys, one in a car the other on my bike (motor), an assortment of screws, a horseshoe nail, pieces of metal bracket, and a wooden golf tee.

All but one of these have occurred around the Sydney metropolitan area - once again lucky. A number of them have happened at night, or on the weekend - meaning that without a spare tyre the car would be stuck until Monday morning.

Of more concern is that finding a 21" matching tyre 300km out of Sydney on a Saturday afternoon could present a real problem. Not only is it an unusual size, but the tyre shop is likely to be closed.

jbunn | 2012年9月4日

I think I had one in 15 years, and it was the exploding tires on the Ford Explorer circa 1998. Other than that, no. My wife's Volvo has no spare eiether. My explorer got rear ended, and the bumper is bent to the point where I could not lower the spare anyway. So we have two cars now on a tightrope with no safety net. Ah well. It's the new trend, apparently. But any junkyard can sell you a spare. Just have to get the lug pattern right. Size doesn't matter if you're limping to the next payphone. | 2012年9月4日

I see this as sort of an analog to "range anxiety". I have driven vehicles without spares (to make room for plug-in batteries) for about 10 years. I don't carry a spare on my motorcycle and have done x-country & Alaska/Yukon trips. For me it was the realization that any problem can likely be fixed with time & a credit card.

Bubba2000 | 2012年9月4日

I suspect that the main reason Tesla did not include a spare donut tire is the added weight and reduced milage per charge. For many people who just drive in the city or even on the interstate, road side assistance is easy to get and most insurance plans cover that. Anyway, a donut tire does not go far and car ruin the other tires. A full size spare tire would be expensive and too heavy. May make sense to keep an extra tire at home... how expensive can it be? $250-350? I may just share at spare time with buddy in town.

Of course, this sedan is not for off road, remote use like the Death Valley. There are other suitably loaded options for that, like a GM or Ford SUV/Truck, etc.

ndt | 2012年9月4日

@jbunn - you remind me of my other blowout story. My wife's Explorer rolled after striking a tire and blew out 4 firestones. No injuries and the spare didn't help.

@bubba2000 - agree that I probably wouldn't take the S to remote areas. However, the need for an SUV/truck/4WD on gravel or seldom traveled roads is vastly overstated. Plenty of remote places in the US and Canada you can get to without exceeding the off-road capabilities of a Ford Focus and where a breakdown can endanger your life. I would hope that the tire is still one of the most unreliable parts of the Model S.

Timo | 2012年9月4日

A full size spare tire would be expensive and too heavy

I have never thought of how heavy tires actually are, but quick net search revealed that 245/35R21 weights a bit under 30 lbs (+ rim).

That's not really heavy, less than 1% of the car weight, so that can't be a reason. Reason probably is just that full size 21 inch tire takes quite a bit space which is out of advertised storage space (about 5800 cubic inch just for tire itself + what it takes to fit it securely into trunk), and cost of the tire (not cheap).

Brian H | 2012年9月4日

And how much does the wheel it is mounted on weigh? ;)

Timo | 2012年9月4日

D*mn it, which is which tire and wheel, which one of those was the one with the rim? Did I get that wrong way around again?

Brian H | 2012年9月5日

Tire rubber, wheel metal.

ChristianG | 2012年9月5日

Buying a tyre yourself doesn't solve the problem where to put it. Do you use it regurarely? Nope but I needed it more than my airbag and probably every other crash safety feature of my car.

EdG | 2012年9月5日

@ChristianG: Looking at the risk/reward, you might want to keep the safety features you haven't been using on a regular basis. The value of what you're risking is very high in comparison to the risk of not having a tire.

ericbrec | 2012年9月5日

My husband and I have a Roadster and had the misfortune of running over a blade from a boxcutter this weekend. The car immediately alerted us that the right rear tire was losing pressure. My husband pulled the blade out of the tire and grabbed the "fix flat" goo. Following the directions on the can, he positioned the car so that the slash in the tire was at the bottom of the tire (to block the hole to prevent leakage), screwed the hose on the can to the valve of the tire, and watched as the tire inflated with goo. He then drove about 10 miles downtown to a tire shop and had his tire repaired.

The shop charged $25 to cover the repair and the hassle of cleaning out the goo. My husband was more than happy to pay the extra for cleaning out the tire since he didn't have to go to hassle and mess of changing to a spare. In fact, we're thinking of buying a "fix flat" can for our other car just to avoid needing to use the spare.

BYT | 2012年9月5日

@KarenB, thanks, this real world example really covers what fears many may have. The only time the fix-a-flat wouldn't work is if the damage was sidewall. Sidewall damage is usually the result of a car accident or possibly if you rub the tires against the curb too often, but then those pretty Model S rims would be shot over time as well.

olanmills | 2012年9月5日

"I've driven... for nearly 10 years and have had to use fix-a-flat once"

I, on the other hand, have had two or maybe three (I can't remember) flat tires in the past five years, all due to running over small, sharp objects, such as a small screw.

MandL | 2012年9月6日

I have a slow leak in a tire in my Kia. Put some fix-a-flat in it a few weeks ago, but it didn't stop the leak (probably because the tire was only about 5lbs down when I put it in). I just stopped at Sam's Club to ask them to plug it and they absolutely refused to even try to fix a tire with FAF in it.

All this tire drama. When is the Model H (for hovercraft) scheduled for it's debut?

BYT | 2012年9月6日

LOL, an Electric Hovercraft... NICE! Icy or wet roads... NO PROBLEM MON! Stopping distance however could still be a problem?

Brian H | 2012年9月6日

Not to mention bird strikes.

Robert22 | 2012年9月6日

According to the Jalopnik interview, Elon has his own idea for a VTVL electric jet. Wanna bet it looks like the Stark jet in Ironman? ;)

Tomas | 2012年9月8日

Spare tires are remnants of evolution. Like appendix and tonsils, they once had some useful purpose, now they are just a pain in the ass. In the old days roads where bad, tires were worse.... and no cell phones, so yeah, you could get stranded. Now with high tech materials and steal belts, how often do they actually "blow out"?
Now, for sure, if you're driving a pickup around the middle of no where, you need a spare. But a Tesla, with it's range limitations, will always be close to home, likely in an urban area and no more than 30 minutes from a tow truck. Why waste the space and weight for something you will rarely, if ever, use?
Everything, from mobile phones to airplanes are designed by balancing cost and benefits. Tesla got it right.

PS. I've had a roadster for three years and never needed a spare. I've had many leaks-- the damn thing is a nail magnet-- but never a blowout.

Brian H | 2012年9月8日

Tonsils, and the appendix, are actually perfectly functional. It has been found they are repositories of 'probacteria', protected enclaves that can replenish damaged internal bacterial colonies (which we depend on to live, and whose members outnumber 'own cells' by 10:1).

jerry3 | 2012年9月8日


I intend to take plenty of road trips with my Model S and many times I'll be in the middle of nowhere. I wouldn't even assume that a tire store in the big city where I live would have a tire in stock should I ruin one beyond repair, and there's not a snowball's chance that a there would be one in a small or medium sized town.

Around town I'll keep the spare at home but when traveling it's a must to carry it with me. One of the selling points of the Model S is that it's a "car", not an "electric car".

And Brian's correct, tonsils and the appendix are functional and provide a valuable service.

dborn | 2012年9月8日

Tonsils and adenoids and appendix are vital to the immune system. In Sydney Australia, we get numerous nails. The expense and inconvenience of a tow for a simple DIY job which gets you on your way fast, and to a tyre shop for a repair while you stay mobile makes a spare essential. I blew out a tyre earlier this year in a 3 mile an hour impact with a raised kerb which I failed to see while making a U turn. Took 3 days for the tyre place to get a replacement in. In a major city like Sydney!!!

Sudre_ | 2012年9月8日

I will admit that although I think the spare tire is over emphasized when I looked at the donut tire in my Saturn while packing for a long drive this evening I decided to leave it there in the trunk next to my plug kit, air pump and fix-a-flat. The 12 year old thing is untouched and looks brand new but I just can't take it out.

I get what people are saying. I will see how it goes with the Tesla and no spare. Worst case I will buy a little mini spare (donut tire at most $200) and a small hydraulic jack($70) which both will be cheaper than one Tesla full size tire and rim. I'll keep them in the frunk.

Actually what happens if you put the car in jack mode then place a couple boards in the right spot and then take it out of jack mode?

jerry3 | 2012年9月8日

Sudre -- what happens if you put the car in jack mode then place a couple boards...

No one has tried it yet. What should happen is that the tire should lift of the ground but until someone confirms that it's just speculation.

Carmine | 2012年9月8日

Sudre- That's the reason I started this discussion. I have no problem paying for a doughnut to settle my neurosis. The problem is where to put it and how to secure it. Yes, it will fit in the frunk but I would prefer to put it under the floor panel where the jump seat would go if stored (since I'm not getting one.) Does anyone know if it will fit there? Now, I'm not asking everyone to get a doughnut. Again, I'm just asking where to put it and how to secure it. As far as flats, I drove for 30 years without one (without steal belted radials.) Since using steel belted radials came out, I have had 5 flats.

Robert22 | 2012年9月8日

Tonsils and adenoids provide no unique immune function critical to human health, and no increase in the rate of any disease after their removal. The appendix has indeed been *postulated* to be a reservoir of commensal bacteria useful for re-booting one's bowel flora should one contract cholera or a nasty post-antibiotic C.diff. bacterial infection. In practicality, all of the above ultimately wind up in the garbage can thousands of times a day. For the overwhelming majority of humans, they perform no function meriting their retention once they become noticed (inflammation, pain) which is why surgeons still remove them incidentally if they happen to be in the neighborhood.

Per the Tesla rep, they've tried to put both the 19 and 21 inch tires in the frunk without success. They fit, but the hood doesn't close fully.

jerry3 | 2012年9月8日


Did they say if they tried it without the liner?

BYT | 2012年9月8日

Wait, what happened to the Jack Mode option where the car will lift it's tire for you to change it? Was this removed? We can still swap tires that way, can't we? Maybe it's not in the first build of the software for the car, but my understanding is it would eventually.

I agree with Tomas, I think the spare tire is as needed as the spare tire around my midsection. If you need to swap for Winter and Summer driving, then the Jack Mode which lifts 1 wheel at a time while stopped would make this process easier.

jerry3 | 2012年9月8日

The jack setting is still there, but apparently the manual says its for use when lifting it on a flatbed. Seems strange that if that's the only use they should call it jack mode though. So I think the jury is still out on this until someone tries it.

jerry3 | 2012年9月8日

The jack mode wouldn't lift one wheel at a time. At best you would put a jack stand under it, then switch from jack mode to low and two of the wheels would come off the ground as the car pivots on the jack stand as all four wheels are rising up.

Robert22 | 2012年9月8日


He did not mention whether it was plus or minus the liner.

I seem to recall Rod and Barbara describing a jack mode issue with a tow truck on another thread.

Carmine | 2012年9月8日

Guys, we're just rehashing what's been said already. A 19" or 21" are the SAME overall diameter and will fit in the frunk only if the lining is removed. That's not the question. The question is, will a doughnut fit under the rear floor panel where the jump seat stows and
is there a way of securing it in either location.
P.S. I'm an allergist/immunologist and tonsils DO serve a useful immunologic purpose, but not necessarily unique, even if they become acutely infected. Only when they are chronically infected do they become a problem; and, only under certain circumstances do they need to be removed. For that reason the number of tonsillectomies have been greatly reduced over the past several decades.

Tomas | 2012年9月8日

Ops. Sorry mate. It seems I was being a typical small-minded American, forgetting that the there is a big world out there.... A world that Tesla is changing too!
My apologizes. And good luck with the tires.