Tesla cars are known for using high-quality parts with long lifespans, including tires. But how long do they last?
Officially, the tires installed at the factory on Tesla vehicles last around 30,000 miles. That said, owners have reported good tread depth well beyond 40,000 miles. The practical lifespan range of Tesla tires is 20,000 to 40,000 miles.
In this article, we’ll cover how long Tesla tires tend to last under varying conditions. We’ll also go over the differences between electric car tires and gas car tires, along with the pros and cons of Tesla tires. Finally, we’ll give you a few ways to increase the lifespan of your tires.
We sourced the information used in this article from tire manufacturers and the Tesla website. Additionally, we interviewed a mechanic and parts department technician who has experience working with electric cars and tires.
What’s the Tire Lifespan of Tesla Vehicles?
Tesla cars use exceptionally good tires, which is especially important on electric cars. The average tire life of Tesla tires is 25,000 to 30,000 miles depending on road conditions and driving habits.
A 30,000-mile life expectancy is longer than the average tire because Tesla tires are made with higher-quality materials and stronger rubber than the average cheap production car tire.
In some cases, Tesla owners have reported longer Tire life than the factory expectations. This is likely because the cars were used on freshly paved roads and with mild acceleration.
The average lifespan of Tesla tires in the real world is probably more like 20.000 to 40,000 miles, as enough owners continue measuring acceptable tread depth beyond the 30,000-mile mark.
Do Electric Cars Wear Tires Out Faster?
In many cases, electric cars tend to go through tires faster than conventional gas-powered cars. That means that many tire shops replace tires on electric cars between 3,000 and 10,000 miles sooner.
But why? Aren’t electric cars supposed to be more efficient with everything? Well, no—not with tires. You see, electric cars have 100% of their torque available instantly. This means that there’s a lot more raw power behind the tires during acceleration.
Sometimes, tire wear on electric cars is due to aggressive acceleration from a stop, which essentially does a small burnout and progressively shaves material off the tires. Other instances can be attributed to the additional load applied to tires during regeneration.
We spoke to a seasoned dealership mechanic about this problem. When asked what happens to electric car tires over time, he said the following:
“Electric cars come in with crazy tire wear after not a whole lot of miles. We see (electric car tires) from the drive wheels completely worn out after 10 or 20,000 miles, and the rear (tires) still in great shape. It makes tire rotations pretty complicated.”
Do Tesla Cars Have Specialized Tires?
Sort of. Tesla cars use tires designed to handle the wear of starting torque and regeneration load better than conventional tires. If owners used the proper tires, they wouldn’t encounter the rapid wear problems that owners of other electric vehicles complain of.
How are Tesla Tires Different?
In many cases, Tesla chooses the premium version of a tire to achieve better results over tens of thousands of miles. Sometimes these tires aren’t designed from the beginning for electric cars—they just have traits that make them better suited for instant torque.
These tires have thicker sidewalls and more durable rubber or synthetic rubber construction. They’re always radials, as bias-ply tires are far too obsolete to be used on Tesla vehicles.
Tesla Tire Life Expectancy Differences
The life expectancy of Tesla tires varies between vehicles, as does the importance of tire rotation. Theoretically, the front tires of an all-wheel-drive Tesla should wear out before the rear.
But the rear tires on a rear-wheel-drive Model 3 will certainly wear out quicker than the front tires. Here is the tire rotation and replacement schedule for Tesla cars.
Can You Use Standard Tires on a Tesla?
Sure, you can put whatever tires you want on a Tesla, as long as they fit. But there’s a pretty long list of reasons why you shouldn’t. Tesla tires are of much better quality than traditional tires, which means that their on-road performance is also better.
Tesla tires have superior stopping power, grip, anti-slip properties, pressure retention, and puncture resistance than cheap highway tires. If you live in cold weather, these tires can resist snow sliding better, and the summer versions also handle the heat like none other.
Additionally, the cost of high-quality tires isn’t that much more when you consider the long-term benefits. Why buy tires that wear out twice as fast? That’s an extra trip to the tire shop, an extra purchase of four tires, extra scuffing on the wheels, and more waste in a landfill.
We asked a dealership parts technician about using standard tires on electric cars. He said:
“People come in here trying to save money with the cheaper stuff, but they’re always back for a rotation months too late. I tell them that the tire rotation intervals are different if you don’t use the right kind of tires…so they end up needing to replace all four early.”
In many cases, the situation described by the parts technician ends up costing more than purchasing the correct tires. Saving money on cheap tires now is a great way to waste it on the right ones later—after the cheap tires wear out early.
Recommended Tesla Tire Replacement Intervals
Tesla recommends rotating the tires every 6,250 miles—and a few more or less shouldn’t make much of a difference. Also, you should rotate your tires if the tread depth difference between them exceeds 2/32 of an inch.
Disadvantages of Tesla Tires
Tesla tires, though higher quality, aren’t perfect for everyone. For example, owners of all-wheel-drive Tesla models who want to use their cars on dirt and gravel roads have a limited selection of tready tires to choose from.
Believe it or not, some rural Tesla owners live on dirt roads, and you can’t do much with thin all-weather highway tires in three feet of mud. But luckily, this isn’t often the case.
Another more universal disadvantage is that Tesla doesn’t usually provide flat-run tires, which is almost a guaranteed feature of numerous other modern sedans.
Many new car tires are designed to get to safety on a blown tire, which saves the rim and keeps the vehicle controllable in the event of a mild blowout. For now, Tesla owners will have to make do with a tow.
Do Tesla Tires Cost More?
Yes. Generally speaking, tires for electric cars (Tesla-brand or otherwise) cost more than equivalent road tires. This is due to the higher-quality materials used in electric car tires.
But how much more do specialized tires cost, and are they detrimental to road performance? Generally, electric car tires can cost a few hundred dollars more than standard tires.
In some cases, the tires used by Tesla cars are just premium versions of standard tires, and they’re often found on other vehicles. An example of this is the Michelin Pilot Sport 235/45/18 tire used on the Model 3. These are premium tires and are designed to last longer than entry-level 235/45/18 tires.
Do Tesla Cars Come With a Spare Tire?
No, Tesla cars don’t come with a spare tire. This isn’t uncommon, as cars have largely dispensed with spare tires for years. But Tesla isn’t responsible for this trend.
In the 1980s, most cars came with a full-size spare on a matching wheel. As cars got smaller and more efficient with space, automakers replaced the full-size spare with a compact spare known as a ‘donut’ in some regions.
Tesla cars have neither a full-size spare or a hilarious donut tire. Instead, you can use a tire patch kit and an inflator, which (regretfully) doesn’t always come standard.
This is perhaps based on the assumption that most Tesla owners live in areas where tow services are close by. But out in the middle of nowhere, a blown Tesla tire means you’re just about out of luck without a patch kit.
Some Tesla owners purchase a donut-style spare with the same bolt pattern as their cars. These tires will fit in the trunk, and they’re a worthwhile investment to make as long as you also have a jack.
Tesla offers a tire inflator and repair kit for around $70 on their website. This kit includes a bottle of sealant, a compressor, an inflation needle, a tapered nozzle, and a convenient storage bag.
But remember that a patched tire won’t last long, so it’s important to replace it as soon as you get to a tire shop.
How to Make Tesla Tires Last Longer
So, how do you increase the life expectancy of your Tesla tires? First, avoid hard acceleration. This is the single greatest cause of tire wear, and electric cars can burn tires to bits shockingly fast if subjected to frequent aggressive acceleration.
Additionally, avoid driving on poorly-maintained roads, dirt, or gravel. If you really want to extend the life of your tires, limit how fast you drive (especially on exceptionally hot days) as high speeds accelerate tire wear.
Hard braking is another reason why tires wear out early. Tesla tires are more resistant to this than cheap highway tires. But you can still wear flat spots into the tires if you have a habit of activating the anti-lock braking system every time you pull up to a stoplight.
And most importantly, rotate your tires at the recommended intervals. Unevenly worn tires, which are almost always the result of failing to rotate them soon enough, can mess up the performance of your car and even necessitate early replacement.
About THE AUTHOR
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding