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Can't change wheel choice once your car is in production

After getting basically no response from my earlier post saying I wanted to sell my 21" wheels I decided to avoid the hassle, take the $3500 hit and switch my order to 19" wheels. I was told today that my car (sig #802) is in production at the "body in white" stage and therefore the wheel choice can not be changed.

After pushing back, the rep I talked to went back to verify and came back with some clarification. They said that there are some aspects of the entire build process that are specifically tuned to wheel size and that's why they can't just switch sizes at the point in the process where the wheels get put on. He also said that even if I bought the optional second set of wheels they would be unable to swap the 21" wheels for 19" wheels after manufacturing and before delivery because they weren't set up to do whatever kind of alignment needs to happen when you swap wheels.

Living in the mid-Atlantic, I've always just used all-season tires, so have never had to deal with swapping summer/winter wheels before. I just assumed if I could find a place to store the other set I could spend an hour jacking the car up and down swapping them out when I needed to. Now it sounds like I'll have to haul them all to a tire shop and have some sort of laser alignment done when I swap wheels. What a PITA. All the more reason I am not going to consider doing this twice a year. Once and done. If I can't find another Model S owner who has 19s, wants to swap, and lives close enough to me to meet up at a shop where we can both get alignments simultaneously, I guess I'll buy the 19s and stick the 21s somewhere for a couple of years until I sell my Model S to get whatever the latest and greatest is then. And the worst part is it doesn't even look like I'm going to see my car soon enough to even try out the summer tires!

Mandl, really there shouldn't be any need for doing any sort of laser alignment. That's only if you change shock absorbers and/or springs normally.
I change between summer and winter tires on two cars twice a year. But I did have to do an alignment when my shock absorbers were changed.
I'm also sure you would be able to sell your 21" later.

- He also said that even if I bought the optional second set of wheels they would be unable to swap the 21" wheels for 19" wheels after manufacturing and before delivery because they weren't set up to do whatever kind of alignment needs to happen when you swap wheels.

That doesn't sound right. Both 21" and 19" tires and wheels fit in the same "box" so the alignment won't change. And Tesla is selling winter tires and wheels as a second set so they obviously don't think there will be a problem.

Mandl, is there any reason why you couldn't just purchase aftermarket wheels. Tesla specs are out, and I'm sure any wheel shop could fit 19", or 20" rims (beautiful chrome if desired) with the appropriate tire to fit your desires. Probably would be much cheaper as well. Most sites I've seen online give you chrome rim with balanced tire X 4 for less than 2.5 K. Check out custom wheel wherehouse or tirerack websites

Sounds like the assembly line checklist is done and it'll take an act of someone higher to switch out the wheels.

Getting a set of 19" wheels aftermarket locally does sounds the best idea. The tough part is hauling those extra wheels back and forth from the tire shop for the seasonal switch.

On other hand, excited for you (and me! Sig592) that the car is actually being built!

An aluminium racing jack & a torque wrench is a good investment. You can then change the wheels yourself at home in about one hour. No need to haul anything to a tire shop or pay them anything.

Takeaway point: Your Sig #802 is in Body in White stage! Parts are stamped, assembled. That's awesome! I'm S564 so I must also be in a similar state!

I was thinking about swapping wheels myself, but storage is an issue. And the fact that Tesla can't / won't do it for me gives me a bit of pause. Quite a bit actually. If the factory doesn't have the technical set-up to swap tires, I'm supposed to just drive down to Mr. Tire and trust their superior experience and technology?

I kept pushing back on the guy when he called - he insisted no, it's not just a rule, no it's not that the optional extra wheels/tires themselves aren't balanced, no it's not a suspension balancing thing (I assume the active air suspension auto compensates for things like that). I am still completely unclear what the technical issue is that keeps them from taking four wheels off and putting four different wheels on, or for that matter the parameters the robots use to build the car that could possibly be specifically tuned for one particular wheel/tire combo versus another. But he was very clear that there is a real technical issue and it wasn't just policy or process or a vagary in some ordering system.

It seems I'm still ranting. I thought I was just going to be annoyed at having to eat the $3500 difference of giving up the unwanted wheel upgrade. Now I'm annoyed that I can't and really worried about what I can / should do about it. I certainly don't feel comfortable putting some random chrome jobbies from wheels-r-us on it, and that's partly the fault of all you know-it-all gear heads going on and on for hundreds of posts in dozens of threads about all the drastic consequences of changing the coefficient of drag on the valve stems. I haven't figured out exactly how to spread some of the blame to Mitt Romney yet, but I will. Most of all I'm annoyed that there is no indication I'm going to even get my car before Thanksgiving! Just put the crappy pitted chrome door handles on there and get it to me already!

I think I need a time out...

Oh, man! I totally forgot about cD on the valve stems! Maybe we can get Tesla to come up with a shorter valve stem design, or pop-up valve stems that retract flush to the rim.

Oh, well, at least I amused myself!

I had one rep tell me that even if I bought the spare set of 19" wheels, they wouldn't even be able to deliver them to me *with* the car, much less *on* the car (and I have a Nov/Dec projected delivery date). He said I would need to get them from my nearest Service Center, which is several hundred miles away. I found this very odd, and somewhat disturbing, if true. I am hoping he was mistaken, and just meant they wouldn't install the 19" wheels for me, like MandL was told.

Why couldn't they put a spare set of wheels on the delivery truck, or in the car, even? I can see how there might not be room on a car truck, as these are designed for vehicles only. But four wheels will certainly fit in the car!

And I had better be able to swap the wheels myself, with my floor jack and torque wrench!

It does seem that they are going to have to find a way to deal with this. Lots of customers don't live in sunny CA. When I was expecting September delivery I just figured I'd drive on the 21s and work it out. Now we're looking at probable November delivery the situation is very different. I may have to take my Tesla Personal Delivery at Mr. Tire. woo. hoo. sounds like a dream delivery. I wonder if they'll let me and the Tesla rep sit in the car and go over the touchscreen while it's up on the lift?

Tell Tesla that's where you want the delivery - up on the lift.

If they can't deliver them with the car, and you can't pick them up at a store/service center, I'm sure they will happily ship them to you.

I'm sure the tow truck that follows every car has room for them.

This is even less humorous if you haven't read the MT LA to Vegas review.

MandL. If you have a garage, you should have no problem. This rack mounts high and out of the way and may be helpful.

I did speak to another Tesla rep who confirmed the tire change requires no special equipment or technique, beyond locking the Air Suspension in its highest position before using a jack to lift the wheel. He had no comment on why MandL was told this required additional equipment or effort that a delivery specialist would be unprepared, unwilling or unable to perform.

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