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Tire wear

It hits me as strange that some big attractions of the Model S are the drastically reduced number of moving parts, the simplicity and durability of the drive train, the pathbreaking efficiency, minimal repairs and maintenance; AND YET everybody seems fine with tires lasting only 10k miles or so. Am I right? I'm hot on the Model S and will take delivery in 2014. But I'm accustomed to tires lasting a minimum of 50k to 80k miles, and I have experienced even better wear on many of my cars over the decades. For such an efficient, long lasting, and low maintenance car I would expect tire wear also to be right up there. What am I missing?

Wow, 80K on any tires can't be that safe.

First, if you have the 21" tires like I have, and you have good alignment (like I do now), I expect I'll get 15K. These are low profile "performance" tires, you just can't expect the same lifetime. I'm sure the 19" tires will last much longer.

Secondly, the car is heavy. It is rear-wheel drive with lots of torque.

Third, don't forget that regenerative braking also wears the rear tires, significantly.
Still grinning even though I'll need new tires soon. :-)

I have just over 10k miles on my 85 with 19" wheels and the Continental tires. The Tesla service center just measured my tires at 9mm out of the 10mm tread on the Continentals. I'll probably start measuring them myself, but at 1mm every 10k miles, that is 60-70k miles on the tires before you have to change them.

@NKYTA Good points. Maybe that's the trade-off. You aren't replacing worn & broken auto parts all the time, but the greater weight, regen braking, and hot performance just chews up tires. I'm 61, and I remember tire companies advertising 80k and 100k mile tires back in the day. Just hearing about tires that last only 15k miles was shocking to me. I'll definitely select the 19s, see how they last, and enjoy the grin. Thanks.

Excellent, @mvannah. Exactly what I was hoping to hear. Thanks!

15 K miles on my 21"s. Still plenty of tread left.

19" shouldn't be a problem.
21" may not last as much.
For them 15k is about normal, but some were replaced much earlier due to issues with alignment.


Check the inside shoulder on your rear tires. Make sure you have plenty of tread there.
I was (unpleasantly) surprised at about 8k miles, so were some other owners, but it's hard to say what percentage of cars had this issue.

My 21's are now done - at 11,500 miles - tread was fine inside rear is showing cords - I highly doubt anyone can get more than 20k safely - it's a real bummer - with vampire drain and $288/each tires every 10k miles the TCO is approaching the same or more than an ICE...the tire issue is real - it's unsafe - and means I have to have the car serviced at about the same interval as an ICE - every 10,000 miles was something I was hoping to get away from...

I'm disappointed.

@dortor - sounds like you need to switch to 19" wheels and longer lasting tires. Would you consider that?

dortor, while 11,500 miles might be on the low side for low profile performance tires you should not expect to get much more than 15,000 miles out of them anyway. No performance car gets more out of those tires.

If the cost of replacing those tires bothers anyone then they should switch to 19" wheels. I've got the 21" and will stick with them but I knew upfront that I'd be swapping tires quite frequently:-(

@dortor - extreme summer performance low-profile tires on a vehicle with lots of torque don't last long. Friends with Vettes couldn't get 10k miles on them, and Porsche owners expect even less. There is a lot of camber in the rears for improved handling, and with low profile tires that puts a lot more weight on the inside edge. When I had an MR2, I was running all-season tires on it and I would still get only 25k on the rears (60k on the front).

I bought the 19" wheels specifically because I didn't want to have to replace the tires frequently. I also didn't want to have a second set just for the winter and have to switch tires at the right point, though I did go buy a set of wheels/tires for dedicated track use (BBS 20x9 wheels with 265/35ZR20 BFG g-Force Rivals) - I expect to get only 5-6 track days on them, so talk about tread wear :).

I've owned low profile tires for several years now on several vehicles…

a) I've easily gotten 15-18k on them (911's and BMW's)
b) I understand why they are wearing - I know all about the camber
c) I was _NOT_ informed by tesla that tires would last only about 11 miles - which is 1/2 their rated tread wear rating - I discovered this via the forums as it evolved over the past few months
d) there is plenty of tread on the tire - it's been worn on the inside edge as people know
e) the car can not have the camber "taken" out due to limited suspension adjustment - so I can not decide how I want my tire to wear - this is a design flaw on Tesla's part.
f) this is the first car I've owned in 30 years of owning cars where un-even tread wear like this is expected/accepted/ignored

I'm still disappointed - I don't think a car should "cord" the inside edge of a 20k mile tire in 11k miles while there is plenty of tread left on the other 96% of the tire surface - on any other car we'd be screaming bloody murder about a design that causes un-even tire-tread wear…

If you care enough, you could dismount the tires and flip them around, so effectively you get 4 orientations (front/rear inside/outside).

not going to run "corded" tires even flipped around - once you wear the inside edge the tires are no longer safe - so I don't really consider that an option

there is no way a proper car should cord the inside edge while leaving >20% tread wear on the rest of the tire - certainly not by design.

Based on what dortor is saying Tesla definitely needs to address this issue.

Dortor, has Tesla addressed this at all? Have you talked to management and did they say anything?

Welcome to the world of high performance tires. 7.5k and still looking new (more or less). I signed up for tire rotations every 6k miles at my local America's Tires store - $80.00 for the life of the tires. Hopefully able to get 25-30k out of these first sets.
My MB ML SUV got 11k on the tires (new) and brakes every 15k miles. Talk about cost of ownership!

@dortor - well, obviously if you are going to do that, you do it before you wear it down to the cords. At what mileage did you first rotate them?

If cars shouldn't wear the inside edge on the rears more, then there are a whole lot of cars that are poorly designed. Or perhaps they are designing for different preferences than what you want - such as prioritizing handling over tire wear. As I said before, my MR2 wore through the inside rear quickly, friend's Vettes had the inside down to no tread while the outside looked brand new, etc.

@earlyretirement - exactly how should Tesla address it? By not offering 21" wheels with extreme performance tires?

@Calover - if you bought the Tesla maintenance agreement, you get free rotations there.

If the inside of the tire wears out at 11k and perhaps twice as fast as the outside, then rotating the tires at 2/3 of 11K (about 7.5K) should get you to 15K with both edges worn the same

@KR1 - rotating the tires without dismounting them does not change which edge of the tire is on the inside, you only change whether it is mounted on the front or the rear.

Sorry, I wasn't clear. You would have to have the tires remounted the other way around on the wheels. I just had a look at the Michelin Pilot Sport PA2s that are supplied on the P85+ and the tires have different inner and outer treads so you can't do the remounting trick.

Is the overall weight an issue? Remove 800 lbs and they may wear slower.


First, I've not had a single problem running "inside" on the "outside".

Two, I would rather have one less rain groove at 80% tread depth then one extra rain groove at 30% tread depth. I've found best results rotating across the car at 35% inner tread depth (with other cars. My MS P85+ does not have the stock -2.2 degrees of rear camber).

@lola - so your custom suspension parts work on the P+ the same as the P85?

Geometry is the same on both cars; you just use the + bushings when you do a +.

I have a P85+ with slightly more than 4K miles and I am almost down to my wearbars on the inside rear tires. This is absurd. I drove a BMW M3 with the identical tires before buying the M and got 15K miles on the rear tires. I'm very disappointed with the tire wear. No excuses! Tesla needs to fix this problem immediately. I can't give this car an unqualified recommendation to the dozens of people who ask me about it each week until they do.

Pay attention! We obviously need to check especially us with the P85+ wider tires.


If you're going to replace tires, take a look at the Michelin Pilot A/S 3 which came out around June of this year. It is an all season tire but drives like the ultra performance summer tires. Top rated reviews from Tire Rack, Consumer Report and other individual testers. I know this is going to be my replacement tire.

I brought my P85 in for its 12,500 service and was very surprise to be told I needed 4 new tires. I had 19" goodyears on it. One of the reasons I went for the 19s instead of 21s was to avoid having to get new tires every year. I was certainly disappointed. I've had the car almost 10 months and rotated the tires at 5000 miles. I'm a pretty conservative driver most of the time, although I do floor it for fun a few times a week when I'm in the clear.

That sounds a lot like an alignment issue that ended up getting all four due to rotation. Just a guess but you may want to have rear toe checked.