Yes, Tesla Uses Special Tires: (9 Important Differences)

There’s no arguing – Tesla makes a unique car. Going further than any company before them has in electric vehicle production, Tesla broke ground with a host of new technologies and features.

While they may not be the most flashy of the car brand’s qualities, it turns out that this extends even to Tesla’s tires, which differ from your typical air-filled tires in more than a few ways.

Though Tesla’s tires aren’t always custom-made for their vehicles, the company does make sure to choose tires that can handle the unique challenges of an electric vehicle.

To learn more about what sets these tires apart, check out the details in the list below.

Ways that Tesla tires differ from standard tires

1. They’re much quieter.

The lack of an internal combustion engine already makes it so that EVs lack the roar of a typical gas-powered car.

But Tesla has also taken steps to reduce the noise levels of their tires, using a layer of sound-absorbing polyurethane foam within the tire.

You may not realize it over the sound of your engine, but tire noise accounts for much of the loudness of traffic, especially at cruising speeds, where the engine noise drops off dramatically.

Since EVs have all but eliminated engine noise, the sound of standard tires is even more noticeable inside the cabin.

But Tesla’s foam-lined tires make for both a quieter ride for those inside the car, and for less noisy traffic in pedestrian areas and neighborhoods – something we’d call a win-win.

2. They’re made with more durable materials.

Teslas, along with other EVS, have a few key differences from standard cars that make regular tires a bad fit. For one thing, EV motors allow for nearly 100% of the vehicle’s torque to be available immediately, meaning that there’s more power behind the wheels when you go to accelerate.

This can result in a lot more wear on the tires when speeding up or slowing down, and cause uneven wear on the front and back wheels.

But Tesla’s tires are formulated to address this, providing increased durability with thicker sidewalls and a specific blend of rubber and synthetics. This selection of materials makes all the difference, as it affects all of the tires’ interactions with the road, including:

  • grip,
  • stopping power,
  • and pressure retention.

Tires are some of the parts of a Tesla that are outsourced.

3. They have EV-specific tread patterns and compounds.

Another difference is in the specific patterns and design of the tires’ tread.

Tesla’s tread patterns feature an exceptional tread depth for improved grip, and the compounds used to treat Tesla tires also provide them with lower rolling-resistance, meaning that it’s easier for them to be in motion.

This efficiency in design allows Teslas to devote less power to moving their tires, increasing the vehicle’s range significantly compared to standard tires.

4. They come with increased load-bearing capacity.

Another unique aspect of Tesla’s EVs is that their battery packs often cause them to weigh more than a standard car for the same amount of power provided.

This presents another challenge for Tesla’s tires, as they need to be able to handle the effects of a greater than average load. As a result, Tesla tires are often larger than standard tires, both to increase their weight-capacity and to provide a greater area with which to grip the road.

5. They’re significantly more aerodynamic.

Running on battery power means that every little increase in efficiency counts. Tesla is aiming for the maximum possible range on their vehicles, knowing that it matters when it takes your drivers time to charge their cars.

Even Tesla’s hubcaps are specially designed with this in mind; their aero wheel covers may not seem like much, but they’ve been shown to increase range by about 10 miles when compared to test runs done without the wheel covers.

Much lighter than typical wheel covers and proven to decrease wind resistance and turbulence, the aero wheel covers are another example of Tesla’s extreme attention to detail.

6. They can be more difficult to repair, and more expensive to change out

Some Tesla owners have been disappointed to find that a trip to the mechanic’s for a punctured tire required more labor and was more expensive than fixing a standard tire.

Fortunately, as EVs become more popular – and Tesla’s sales are quickly gaining ground – more mechanics are becoming familiar with the specifics of Tesla tires, and their repairs are becoming more commonplace.

Tesla’s premium tires also come with a premium price – at usually around $150 – $250 per tire, they’re three to four times as expensive as standard tires. Considering their benefits for vehicle performance, however, we think the investment is worthwhile.

7. They don’t come with a spare.

No donuts here – you may be surprised to find that Tesla has nixed the classic spare tire feature found with most cars. In fact, most electric cars don’t have spare tires.

This was done for several reasons, since reducing weight and increasing cargo space was a priority for Tesla – the Model 3 in particular is known for its efficient storage capacity.

This also is a growing trend in the car industry, however, as nearly a third of newly released cars in 2020 were made without a spare tire. This makes sense, given recent data showing that spare tires go unused on up to 85% of vehicles.

Here are a few electric cars with spare tire.

8. You can’t drive on them if they’re punctured…

Many cars today have tires that are designed to be driven on for short distances even if they’ve been punctured, by making it so they resist the effects of deflation.

This means that even if you suffer a tire puncture while driving, you won’t lose air immediately and can wait until you reach your destination to change your tire.

The demands placed on the tires of EVs, however, means that using run-flat tires would decrease performance more than Tesla seems willing to sacrifice, so this capability isn’t really an option for the brand.

Don’t get too worried – Tesla does offer free roadside assistance in the event of an mishap, and the service has a track record of being timely and professional.

9. …but they’ll last you longer

Despite the few downsides of Tesla tires, the high quality demanded by the mechanics of Teslas EVs means that their tires often last longer than those on a standard car. Their superior durability ensures that they’re more puncture-resistant than regular tires, and reduces the tendency of the tread to wear down over time.

Tesla’s OE tires can last you between 30,000 and 40,000 miles, while standard tires when placed on a Tesla can be worn down 3,000 to 10,000 miles sooner.

Final thoughts

Tesla-certified tires are always classified as OE, and easily identified by the T0, T1 & T2 markings found on the sidewall.

Ultimately, Tesla’s tires offer both advantages and disadvantages to drivers, but come out on top as far as performance and efficiency go, doing a great job of meeting the demands of the everyday Tesla driver.

If you require tires for special circumstances, such as extreme weather conditions, off-roading, or precision handling, you may want to swap them out – just make sure to do your research to ensure that the trade-offs make sense for your EV. 

Sources

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