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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?

There was an article on about a <10k Model S with cords showing on inside of rears. Said they found the toe was badly out of spec. That would explain the wear but not why the toe fell out of spec.

@lola or anyone else who knows. I am receiving my Model S in 2 weeks and I will ask the service center to check the alignment right off the bat. What should be the correct numbers for camber, toe and caster for the Model S? Thanks.

Is the toe issue been identified and fixed on all new deliveries?

Agree that the uneven wear is totally unaccepted. Come from BMW M and alpina. Drive hard and gid get way more miles on those cars...

There are Tesla provided specs posted over on TMC. Camber and Caster are fixed in the rear with toe being the only adjustable element. In my experience with MS, near zero toe in gives good range but a little more highway hunting. More toe in (within spec) decreases range while increasing stability (and I assume wear but I did not try - opt'd for near zero toe in).

To my knowledge, Tesla has not publicly acknowledged an issue with the rear of the car. My best current guess is transport or initial toe link torque spec too low allowing rear toe to change before delivery. I can not imagine the car could get off the production line with toe out which makes me suspect something occurred between rolling off the line and delivery to the customer. If it were one wheel, it might be something an owner could do. In the posted cases, it has been both wheels with toe out which is not an "oops I bumped it" problem.

12,500 miles on 19" tires and they're gone? Something is definitely wrong. I would be upset if I received only double that treadlife on my Primacy's.

I agree with your comments. A patient driver should be able to get 45 to 50K miles on a premium tire. Have you been able to get any additional feedback on tire wear?

I just got P85+ model and very scared about changing tires every 10K miles after reading all these posts. I drive 100 miles/day.

Can anyone with P85+ 21" wheels give some good feedback?

I heard few owners dropped size to 20" wheels / tires because they are cheaper to replace. I don't know if they have any negative impact on the ride quality or mileage.

Can 21" wheel be safely dropped to 19" with no issues?


8[.1]K in as of today with measured 29/32 on the Primacy tires across the board. The tires have been performing better than expected - 70K is my new expectation based on performance to date.

Base 85 with a driver owning two lead feet (Sep 10 pickup).



Use to search the site--there are a number of threads on the topic. You can swap 21s for 19s but you are going to see an impact to handling with the taller sidewall (although with a 100 mile commute, you might appreciate the softer ride).


In complete agreement with flyshacker.

I've owned and driven cars for more than 50 years. I have not, and would not, accept any tire wear at the incredible high rates indicated in some of these posts. I checked mine today (19 inch, standard 85) and have very little wear (12,400 miles). Maybe users should try more modest driving?? Apart from that, the car's alignment specs and/or weight distribution have to be deficient.

Smith 1: Your points are well taken, eminently reasonable, but does that account for several orders of magnitude difference in wear? I've had many sports cars; never experienced--even close--these high levels of wear cited.

Smith +1 (I know, right?)
@procarl--several orders of magnitude?? You're getting many millions of miles on other sports tires?

madbuns, I am glad you have a postive experience with primacy tires. I am assuming your p85 model allows you to rotate them. Can you give us a link to your tires purchase? I hope they work for p85+ as well. I will keep 21" wheels if they give me 15-20k miles like my other cars with high performance tires (Jaguar xkr,CLS).

@Bighorn: touché. Plead guilty to some hyberpole there.

We saw normal wear for our conti performance tires on the 21" factory wheels when we swapped out for the winter 19" wheels. That was one full year of use and 12k+ miles.
Looks like they'll be good for a couple more summers.

dortor, et al.

I'm in the same boat as you. I've owned all sorts of sports cars - 911s, RX-7s, Audi S6, Lotus Elise, Evora, etc, etc.. you said it perfectly here:

a car should [not] "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

Just to be certain, I checked.
1) Michelin PS2s have a 20,000 mile thread warranty.
2) I had a rear tire blow out at 6K miles. brand new PS2 installed at Tesla
3) Service at ~6.5k miles, tires rotated
4) Service at ~13K miles, tires rotated - advised to replace tires immediately

Now I wonder if it was excessive inside wear that caused my tire blow out. I missed a dear friend's wedding as I was stuck on the side of the road on a Sunday afternoon while I was towed to a Tesla Service Center 60 miles away on my own dime. (Tesla Roadside quoted 3.5 hours to arrive). Then I pay FULL Tesla Retail for a new tire. I don't event want to say how much that incident set me back or how pissed I was missing the wedding.

At ~13K miles, I'm quoted ~$2,400 for new tires. I'm floored. As you described, the tires look beautiful, and lots of tread left. But as I peak down on the inside, there's a deep groove with the cords exposed.

So here I am...I originally paid for the 21" wheels and tires. Paid for a blow out..and in less than 14K miles, I need another 4 tires. I love the car, don't get me wrong, it is amazing...but this tire wear is NOT normal. I drive my Tesla Model S P85 as a family sedan. I don't race it. I have a very capable sports car in the stable to get out that aggression. I don't drive it aggressively.

and the excuse of high toque and high GVWR don't add up either. My Cayenne Twin Turbo never wore through tires like this. Nearly 500 ft toque at 2.2K rpms, a curbed weight of over 5,300 lbs. and I drove that thing hard!

My local service center guys are great...they're awesome actually. nothing against them. It's not their fault! They don't have an answer that makes any sense to me. And so far I've had no recourse.

rear camber plus weight plus toe can yield inside wear and low life. Two of the three must be addressed.

I have the P85+ and I'm down to the wear bars on the rear at 4,200 miles. I had an alignment done when the car had around 700 miles because I was worried. My previous car was a 2012 Porsche 911S that I ran ALL OUT at the race track for 3 days, and I got more mileage out of the rear tires on that car! The wear on the Tesla is just too much. I'm looking at $2,000 a year just for rear tires with the P85+, and I don't drive it hard at all.

I have a P85+ and currently at 8k. Will most likely have to change them out in a few thousand miles. In comparison my BMW M6 would wear tires out at 15k.

After reading all these posts, I have decided to drop my 21" wheels to 19" and I will be ready with them by the time I need my back tires changed (I drive 3K miles/month so it will be by the end of January).
I wish Tesla took this issue more seriously!
After the $4000 initial expense for 21" and now another $3000 to change to 19", I hope it will still make some financial sense.

I agree generally with Smith 1's comments.

My prior car was an Audi S4 (avant) where I too experienced rapid inner shoulder tire wear (<10k). GVW listed ~4,000 lbs. The alignment was in spec. Soft performance tire rubber, vehicle weight, camber spec, and minimal sidewall height contribute to this wear. I do not believe this to be isolated to the Model S.

The superior handling of the 21s comes at a price (friction is present every time the go pedal is depressed AND released for regen/braking). There may very well be more than price and styling considerations for why Tesla offers the 19" option. As a daily driver in our household, the 19s have been more than adequate.

@ aliiranitehrani,

In reading your post, I was thinking you may have overlooked the vehicle weight compared to your other performance car comparisons. Then you drop in your Cayenne in the comparison. Unless I am mistaken, the Cayenne employs an AWD drivetrain, thus distributing the traction duties of acceleration of the 5,300 lbs beast to four tires, not just the two as is the case in the Model S.

I stopped updating the first page a while ago but it is clear that there are a lot of 21s out there getting reasonable (15k miles) wear and WHr/mile does not seem to be the underlying driver.

Has anyone tried Hankook 21"s - I am going to look into to them - highly rated, build many racing tires, usually less expensive - Sears has 245/35/21 for $188 (tread wear grade 280 - tread wear grade for the Conti's is 340)- just wondering? I would expect them to perform well, but anyone with experience?

We also have to keep in mind regen braking as additional "load" on rear tires...during regen only two tires are used to slow the car - the rears

This has got to cause more wear than other cars...

Interesting to calculate the "cost" of these regen watt-hrs vs. the tire cost - my gut tells me regen watt-hrs are very very expensive...

jed-99aggie: you're right, the Cayenne does incorporate AWD and that must have helped with tire wear. I only changed one set of tires in four years of ownership! Less than 12 months, here I am whining about Tesla tires! :-/

But my point was not about even and ordinary tire wear. The outside of my Tesla tires are in good shape, the inside are on chords! Driving conservatively on the Model S, I think I could get 20K+ miles on the Michelin PS2 IF it wasn't for the uneven wear, and that's what's upsetting...crappy wear, even with two tire rotations.

dortor brings up a another good point though. Aggressive regen must be peeling away layers of our sticky compound. I know I'm often surprised how quickly regen is able to slow down this massive 4,600 lb tank.

Overall, the message many us of on this tread and other treads are making is: <10,000 miles on ~$2,400 worth of tires is excessive...something that wasn't really part of our initial ownership cost calculations. I think our posts are more out of frustration for lack of planning than anything else.

Whether you're coming from an SUV, a sports car, or a big body S Class and 7 Series...the 21" tire wear story is a surprise to many of us.

The 19" tires seem to be wearing much more evenly. Whether that's because there aren't many of the torquey P85s with 19" tires...or because the 19" are usually sold with the 60s and standard 85 models that have less overall performance (and less aggressive drivers), I dunno.

The reply I've gotten from Tesla is I shouldn't expect no more than ~10K miles from 21" Michelin PS2 tires. This has really gotten me thinking about downgrading to some nice 20" wheels and matching them with some Michelin Primacy MXV4 tires. Hopefully that will save me some money in the long run and put an end my bitching.

Overall, it's an inconvenience to a brilliantly engineered car! Go Tesla! :-)

There are two changes I would make to a new P+ purchase.
I would get coil instead of air and set my ride height to the desired level (along with camber for the lower ride height in the rear).
I would order the 19s and then pick up a light weight set of 20s with the expanded availability of rubber (PS2s). Of course this means buying a spare rim (or rims if you uses staggered widths) because aftermarket rims are seldom available as long as I own a car. This approach provides better value and more flexibility.

WRT getting the most out of your rear tires, I've owed several cars were there was high rear negative camber but where I did not drive them enough each year to warrant doing a fix. For these cars I just rotated tires across the back of the car.

The above requires that you understand and are comfortable with the idea of running the "inside" on the outside. Common sense tells me I would rather have one less rain groove with 85% tread depth on the inside than one more groove with 30% tread depth. Discussions with numerous tire engineers dealt with the technical concerns about doing this for me but we must all make our own (informed) decisions.

and the above rotation method would usually extend 10K tire to 15K tires.....

It's not quite 2400 bucks per 10,000 miles because the fronts are going to last at least twice that, I think.

At 12K miles on my S85, the 19" OEM Goodyears are wearing evenly across the tread. They have a lot of life left in them.

I think the fact that the 19" rims wear evenly rules out the regen reasoning. I also think the fact that the 21" tires are wearing out on the inside only, also rules out the regen, driving hard, softer rubber, low sidewall sport tires etc. Tires wearing unevenly to the chords is an alignment problem either from design or impact.

There is no use saving money on gas then needlessly blowing it on rubber, great car or not that would piss me off.

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