There’s never a good time to get a flat tire. But don’t panic! In this article, we’ll tell you exactly what you need to do.
Teslas don’t come with a spare tire. If your tire is flat you should contact Roadside Assist through your smartphone app. They will either tow your car or install a loaner wheel.
Although Tesla doesn’t come with a spare, they do provide plenty of options if you find yourself in a pinch. We’ll look at what you need to do if you run into tire issues.
Tesla Flat Tire
There are many reasons why you get a flat tire and Tesla tires are no different than any other tire. But unlike most other cars, Tesla doesn’t supply a spare. This is to do with unnecessary extra weight, cost to the company, and also that most spare tires actually never see the light of day.
But what does this mean if your tire is completely flat? It means you have to call Roadside Assist. and they will come to your aid.
You do this through your Tesla app on your phone:
- Open the Tesla app
- Select the Roadside Assist
- Select the relevant issue (ie Flat tire)
- Select Request Help
Roadside Assist will be deployed as long as your car is in warranty or extended warranty – 4 years or 50,000 miles. This service is available 24/7, 365 days a year.
Depending on where you are located, they aim to be with you within the hour.
What Roadside Assist will Offer
When they arrive they will assess your tire and do one of two things:
- Organize a tow
- Offer a ‘Loaner Wheel’ – not available in all locations
Towing Your Tesla
If the tire is damaged beyond repair and they don’t have a replacement onboard Roadside Assist will tow you to either:
- Tesla Service Center
- Local tire center or
- To your home
But all must be within a 50-mile radius of your breakdown. If the distance is further you will be charged the difference. Also, note that your wheel and tire are not covered under the Tesla warranty and any costs will have to be paid.
I recommend if there is a Tesla Service Center nearby that you choose there over your home. Realistically there is no reason for you to have them tow your car to your home as you will have to organize another tow to a garage, as there s no way for you to change your tire at home.
Tesla Loaner wheels
What exactly is a loaner wheel? In some areas of North America, Roadside Assist arrives with 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 plastic bag and put in your trunk.
And you are back on the road within a relatively small amount of time and disturbance to your day.
So what do you do with this extra wheel? You will 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
There are pros and cons to both these options.
Going direct to Tesla rules out the hassle of getting your tire repaired elsewhere, or choosing a new tire and having it installed on the rim. You will still have to return your ‘loaner wheel’ to Tesla.
However, buying a new tire from Tesla may be more costly as you don’t have the luxury of shopping around. The cost of a replacement tire at Tesla can be upwards of $300. Selecting a tire elsewhere may be less expensive and a better tire, because of deals or sale prices.
Tesla doesn’t offer ‘Road Hazard Damage’ on their 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 outlets or tire shops offer this to draw you in as an added sales incentive.
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 will charge approximately $50 to swap out your wheel.
So we’ve discussed what to do if we have a complete flat but your Tesla will notify you on your dash if your tire pressure is falling. There are sensors in each tire that monitor the pressure. It’s important not to ignore tire pressure warnings as they can lead to a full flat or a blowout. Tire pressure measurements can be found on the inside of the driver’s door arch. The measurement is usually about 40-45 psi. Under-inflated tires are more likely to cause a puncture. They can overheat, or cause cracks which can cause a blowout.
You might have a nail in a tire that will leak pressure over time but may allow you to drive to a repair shop. Only do this if there’s one nearby. If the tire pressure warning appears reduce your speed and pull off the highway immediately.
A great product that’s available is a sealant compressor. It’s a handy item to have in your car for such emergencies. even more so in a Tesla, with no spare in the trunk. It works by reinflating your tire and sealing the inside tire wall. Obviously, this is only going to work if you have a slow puncture. It will not fix a fully deflated tire. But it will certainly get you to the nearest repair shop or at least to somewhere safer if you drive carefully and slowly.
Looking After Your Tires
The best way to prevent a flat is to be prepared. Trying to reduce the risk of a puncture is the best policy. This can be done by:
- Always have tires in good condition (3mm+)
- Avoid driving off-road, or on roads that may cause tire damage
- Avoid hitting curbs to prevent pinching of your tires
- Pre seal your tire from new for extra precaution
It’s not always practical or feasible to avoid a puncture but Tesla will take care of you if the worst case occurs.
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