I’ve read just about every post on this forum as well as the Tesla Motors Club forum concerning the absence of a spare tire, and it amazes me that 1) many of you consider it to be a nonissue and 2) very few have contributed specific details about whether having a spare is possible and where to keep it. So, with that in mind...
First of all, flats DO occur and their frequency is random. In general, the more you use the car the more likely you are to get a flat but you could go years without having one and then have several within a short period of time. I got one the other day on my Model S (21” tires) with only 148 miles on the odometer. Fortunately, it was a slow leak and I made it home. The temporary Tesla service center is more than a half hour drive so I went to a nearby Discount Tire and they fixed it. But what if it had been a big leak? What if I had been on my way TO work rather than coming home?
Most of you seem to think that all one needs is a tire repair kit and a cell phone. Many of us have never used a tire repair kit. How dependable are they? Do they work most of the time? Isn’t it difficult to clean out the “slime” when getting the tire fixed? If the sealant works then how does the service person find the leak to repair it? I presume that the pressure monitor doesn’t get damaged. If it does, does Tesla cover it? If the repair kit doesn’t work then we’re dependent upon roadside assistance. This is a good backup plan, but how much wasted time is involved? First you have to wait for the flatbed trailer to arrive. Then there’s the process of loading the car. Then you have to drive to a service center or your home. Then the tire needs to be repaired. This process could take several hours to occur. I don’t know about you, but I have better things to do with my time. In addition, my boss would not be too happy if I miss a half day of work because of a flat tire. With a spare I could change the tire in half an hour and be on my way.
The biggest controversy concerning a spare (other than if one is needed or not) is whether or not it would fit in the frunk. A Tesla rep told me that it would but, after doing some research, my conclusion is that you cannot fit a standard sized spare in the frunk. It doesn’t matter whether you’re dealing with a 19” or 21” wheel because the tire diameter is about the same, approximately 27.7 inches. I tested this by cutting out a cardboard circle with a slightly smaller diameter of 27.5 inches, and it doesn’t fit. The width of the frunk is not the problem, it’s the length and how the back/rear of the frunk is shaped. If Tesla had made the frunk just a few inches longer and /or shaped it differently it would have been the perfect place for a spare.
Some have said that they wouldn’t want the extra weight and its effect on range. That’s understandable but the point is that we should have the OPTION of having a spare and a place to put it. To me the frunk is just wasted space which could’ve been utilized for a spare. Since a spare won’t fit in the frunk that leaves 2 possibilities – keeping a spare in the trunk or at home. Although a spare would easily fit in the trunk I’m not sure how you would secure it since there are no tie-down points that I could find. Having one at home might help but it doesn’t eliminate the problem of depending upon the repair kit or waiting for roadside assistance. Also note that purchasing a Tesla spare is a fairly expensive proposition – they quoted me $1300 for a 21” wheel with tire.
In summary, I really like my Model S, and purchased it knowing that there isn’t a spare, but I can’t believe that the engineers couldn’t have slightly modified the frunk so that buyers would have the option of keeping a spare up front if so desired.
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