Your Model 3 is full of high tech, but if you get a flat tire, can you jack your car? EVs are much heavier than standard gasoline cars; jacking them requires some extra thought. Read on to learn exactly how to jack your Model 3 and what exactly comes with your new vehicle.
The Model 3 is well equipped except for a flat or if you need to jack your car. No jack is included, but neither is there a spare tire or self-inflating kit. They can be purchased separately if necessary.
In this article, we look at why your Model 3 doesn’t come with a jack, what to do if you have a flat tire, and what to look for if you feel you need to purchase a jack.
The Reason There’s No Jack with a Model 3
Tesla cars are large computers on wheels. The Lithium Ion batteries are housed in the base of the car and are highly volatile if damaged in any way. The most likely reason they become damaged is the incorrect positioning of a jack.
And for this reason, no jack is supplied with the Model 3 when you purchase it. But in fact, the Model 3 doesn’t come with a spare tire either or any kind of self-inflating kit.
That’s not to say you can’t purchase these items from Tesla (however, the self-inflating kit is more than ordinarily out of stock) or from a third party, and we’ll look at this in more detail later in the article.
So why doesn’t Tesla supply these items with the Model 3 as standard?
Tesla doesn’t supply you with a jack, spare tire, or inflating kit for a few reasons. These include:
- Risk avoidance
- Extra weight
- Extra cost
The most important reason not to jack your Model 3 is to avoid any risk or damage to the high-voltage battery. There is a very specific way to jack the Model 3, and doing this incorrectly could cause irreparable damage to both the car and or yourself.
When a jack is used to lift a Model 3, the car must first be put into Jack Mode, the car must be on a level surface, and Jack Pads must be in place on the underside of the car at specific points.
This is to protect the Lithium Ion battery cells that cover the base area of your Model 3 except for a few inches on either side of the car at the door sill.
Tesla thinks that if there is no jack supplied, the risk of damage to the high voltage occurring is greatly reduced.
The weight of an EV and specifically a Model 3, is between 3500 lbs and 4000 lbs. Compare this to a similar-sized ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) car at approximately 3000 lbs (depending on the brand); the Tesla is much heavier.
This is because of the Li-Ion batteries onboard. The range and overall car performance can reduce by a couple of lbs.
The weight of a Jack can be as little as 2 -4 lbs but add a spare tire at another 25-30 lbs, which could significantly change your range. The extra space saved by not including them is also a bonus.
The lack of a spare tire and a jack is not specific to Tesla, as many tire brands have recently gone this route. However, most other car brands will supply you with a self-inflating kit to get you out of a pinch or have run flats installed.
This is not the case with Tesla. Although a self-inflating kit is listed in the Tesla shop, it is often out of stock, but these can be purchased from a third party online or in-store.
Tesla now fits All Season tires on all Models, but these are not run-flat tires.
Although Tesla is selling cars in enormous numbers, just under 1 million in 2021, they are still considered a small manufacturer of cars. Every dollar made at Tesla goes into making the Tesla better, but this is more to improve the car’s technology and not necessarily the finish.
It’s well documented that the Tesla finish is not as good as comparable brands because of time pressure to get Teslas off the assembly line and lack of quality control. But excluding a jack in the Model 3 is also a cost-saving measure for Tesla.
But it’s not like Tesla is leaving you high and dry if you have a flat at the side of the highway (when the most pressing need for a jack occurs). Tesla provides 24/7, 365 days a year Roadside Assist within two hours of calling.
What to Do if You Have A Flat Tire
You get a flat tire for many reasons, from bad terrain to worn tires to simply a nail in the road. Tesla tires are no different than any other tires for a flat. You can’t just hop out of your car, jack it up, and throw on the spare. There is no jack, and there is no spare. So what do we do?
Tesla offers Roadside Assist for Flat Tires if you are still within warranty, four years, or 50,000 miles. To organize Roadside Assist, do the following:
- Open the Tesla app
- Select the Roadside Assist
- Select the relevant issue (i.e., Flat tire)
- Select Request Help
Depending on your location, they aim to be with you within 1-2 hours of logging the call. When they arrive, they will either offer a loaner wheel or organize to tow your Tesla to the nearest repair shop, Tesla Service Center, or your home.
The most they will bring you is 50 miles; after that, you will be charged for mileage. Choosing a garage or Tesla Service Center over your home is always better, as you will ultimately have to bring it to a garage unless you can change a tire at home.
If you are outside your warranty and need to call a tow truck because you have a flat tire, ensure that you tell the tow truck that your car is a Tesla.
Tesla needs to be towed and moved in a particular way, and to do otherwise can cause irreparable damage to the drive train or the high-voltage battery. I have explained precisely what needs to be done to tow your Tesla in the following article – What to do if Tesla battery dies.
I also wrote a whole article on the subject of a flat in a Tesla – What to do if Tesla has a flat?
Tesla Loaner Wheel
A loaner wheel, what’s that? When Roadside Assist arrives in some areas of North America, some might have a selection of tires and wheels on board. If they have a wheel and tire to match your Tesla, they will swap out your punctured/flat for the new ‘loaner wheel. Your punctured tire and wheel are then placed in a secure plastic bag and put in your trunk.
And suddenly, you are back on the road with little or no disturbance to your day bar the wait time.
But what do you do with this extra wheel? You need to make an appointment with a Tesla Service Center to swap your wheel back out.
There are two options available:
- You can go and get your tire fixed or replaced and then go to Tesla or
- You can go directly to Tesla, and they will fix or replace your tire and reinstall it for you
Going direct to Tesla rules out the hassle of repairing your tire elsewhere or choosing a new one and having it installed on the rim. You will still have to return your ‘loaner wheel’ to Tesla, so going to Tesla makes more sense, but….. buying a new tire from Tesla may be more costly as you don’t have the luxury of shopping around.
A replacement tire at Tesla can cost upwards of $300. Selecting a tire from a dedicated tire shop may be less expensive, and you might end up with a better tire because of deals or sale prices.
Tesla doesn’t offer ‘Road Hazard Damage’ on its tires. Tire manufacturers don’t offer this warranty for new tires for all the most likely causes of a puncture – nails, glass, or potholes. But many tire shops offer this as an added sales incentive to close the sale.
If the tire with the puncture has Road Hazard Damage when you return the ‘Loaner wheel’ to Tesla, they will confirm with the shop that it was irreparable, and you can then claim the cost of your new tire back.
Tesla charges approximately $50 to swap out your wheel.
Rotating Your Tesla Tires
Another reason you might look for a jack is to rotate your tires. Tire rotation for a Model 3 should be done every 6,250 miles (10,000 km) or if the thread depth difference between the tires is 2/32 in (1.5 mm) or greater, whichever comes first.
Your tires must wear evenly for performance and range, prolonging their life.
But we again come up against the problem that Tesla doesn’t want you messing around under the car. They prefer you check your Model 3 into a Tesla Service Center for a tire rotation appointment.
But the reality is that many people are more than capable of rotating their tires. If you have a flat tire, this is a different problem, as the lack of spare tires forces us to go to a Tesla Center. But tire rotation is not quite as urgent or involved. We have to be VERY mindful of the jack point position and have the correct tools required to hand for tire rotation.
What to Purchase for Tire Rotation
To rotate your tires, you will need some specific tools to complete the job. At all times, safety is paramount. The list of items you need is as follows:
- You will require a jack that can weigh up to 3 tonnes. During tire rotation, you will have two wheels off the ground at any time.
- Axel Stands
- Never rely on a jack to hold your car in place. Always replace the jack with axle stands that will hold the weight of your car.
- Jack Pads
- Jack Pads are specific to each Model, so buy a set for the Model 3. The holes that they sit into are different for each car
- Breaker Bar and Socket (or Electric Impact Wrench)
- You will need a breaker bar and socket to remove the wheel nuts.
- Torque Wrench
- A 1/2-inch torque wrench with 30-160ft-lbs is the correct wrench for lug nuts and fasteners.
Always ensure you are in a safe environment to rotate your tires. An even flat surface is required. Only take on the tire rotation job if you have the correct tools and the know-how to complete the job accurately and safely.
Here are a few common questions folks ask about Teslas:
- Does Tesla Model 3 come with charger?
- Can I use any tires on a Tesla
- Are Tesla tires all season?
- What to do if Tesla has a flat?
Check out Tesla FAQ for more common Tesla questions.
I’ve written a ton on common Tesla issues, which, hopefully, you won’t ever experience, but if you do, we have you covered with these posts:
- Tesla trunk won’t open all the way
- Why is my Tesla charging slowly?
- Is Supercharging bad for a Tesla?
Check out the Tesla troubleshooting page for problem Teslas.
Check out the Tesla charging page for common Tesla charging problems.
Check out the Tesla category page for a list of popular Tesla posts.
If you are curious about other EV models, check out the EV FAQ category.
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