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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?

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.

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?

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.

@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 (http://www.slime.com/shop/safety-spair-70005/).

An in-depth discussion of this topic, including the role of air suspension in this context, can be found here:
http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/tires-spare-run-flat

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

@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 http://shop.teslamotors.com/collections/model-s-functional I must have missed it. Thanks.

@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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

@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.

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).

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

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?

Tire rubber, wheel metal.

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.

@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.

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.

@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.


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