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Anyone else ticked off the Model S has no spare tire?

Sitting on the side of the road, waiting for a tire service truck to bring me a replacement tire and wheel. So I have plenty of time to post this. :wink:

I understand offering "full service" instead of a spare is nice for some people. But most of us can change our own damn tire. If we had a spare. In less time than it took for the Roadside Assistance to answer my call, much less for the service truck to get here.

To me, this design flaw is part of the same arrogance that gave us poor cup holders (under my elbow? really?), poor sun visors, no storage, no grab handles, and all the other annoyances that have been written about so much. The designers valued their "look" so much that they sacrificed the consumer's convenience. Silly. Rude, really.

Obviously, I could buy a spare wheel and tire. Has anyone done that? Since there is no tire well in the car, did you just throw the spare in the back or the frunk? And buy a jack? And a tire cover?

I have purchased a tire re-inflation kit (with sealant gunk) for true emergencies, when I really, really don't want to be stuck on the side of the road. But I am a bit hesitant to use that in "normal" situations. I would like to hear expert opinions on that subject as well.


There's a temporary repair kit that can get you back on the road to have it changed later.
If it's a huge issue an inflated 19" wheel/tire will fit in the frunk (rear wheel drive only).
While I understand your frustration, I think the trend in the industry will be away from carrying around a heavy spare for year upon year that may only be needed once or twice in the lifetime of the vehicle.
Lots of cars nowadays don't have spare tires anymore. It's not about arrogance. It really makes sense to not have a spare. I have driven about 400,000 miles in my life. The number of flat tires I've had during that time? One.

Obviously, some will have more (especially if your wheels have tiny sidewalls), others less. But the point is, it's an infrequent-enough occurrence that carrying a 50 pound inflated wheel/tire and a jack around with you everywhere you go is just silly. It wastes a ton of energy (that's a lot of extra weight), and a lot of space. And yes, manufacturers are going this way as fuel efficiency standards go up. But it's the right thing to do.

A patch kit will do the trick instead with far less weight and space consumed.
I purchased a spare (BMW X5 spare tire) that fits in the front trunk just fine, along with my charging kit. It is mostly for when I am on road trips where dealing with a flat would not be very convenient. For daily driving to work and back, it's optional but I usually just leave it in there because the Model S has so much storage space, I don't need to use the front trunk much. Unfortunately I have had a few flat tires a few times (but not in my model S yet). My parking lot at work also has a bunch of nails and screws hidden about (used to be a pro-build home construction facility before it became Racine Railroad Products).
Sitting on the side of the road, waiting for a tire service truck to bring me a replacement tire and wheel. So I have plenty of time to post this. :wink:

That's my biggest worry. I seem to average a flat at the side of the road every two years, and usually during a winter snowstorm. Last time it happened, I just pushed my OnStar button and a service truck had swapped out my full-size spare and I was on my way to work. Arrived maybe an hour late. Hasn't happened with my Model S yet, and sure Tesla Roadside will come, but with no spare I'd bet anything I'd lose more than an hour out of my work day having it flat-bedded off and dealt with. From what I understand, in my neck of the woods they don't bring you a wheel, they flat-bed you away.

I have winter tires and rims. I am toying of the idea of putting one extra wheel in the frunk (apparently, it will fit) but not necessarily any tools or jack. That way I could call Tesla or the auto club and they could come out and mount it for me and I could be on my way, then deal with tire repairs after work at my leisure.
I just carry a can of Fix-a-flat that is sized for SUVs and safe for TPMS. Problem solved.

Perfect for when you get that little nail in your tire:

  • Funny
Reactions: Snowstorm
I bought the Tesla-branded repair kit when I bought the car, for this reason, although it obviously doesn't cover the flat mknox just posted (wow). After carrying around a full-service spare with my last car for 15 years and not using it even once, I'm not too bent out of shape about it, though as they say, past performance does not guarantee future results.

One other problem with carrying a spare that hasn't been mentioned here yet is that you need a pretty hefty jack for the Model S. The weedy little emergency jack I had on my first car just wouldn't cut it.
Would you rather pay for a spare tire, jack and wrench, as well as lose the space they take up and pay the energy cost to lug them around everywhere? Most people say no, and thats the way most cars are going. If you disagree there is plenty of space for a spare in the S, and you can get one, with a jack for $300 or so. You could also switch to runflats (which I think is a worse idea).

I bought a spare since neither of my cars have one and I'll throw it in the car if I think it might be useful. Most of the time it stays home though.
I thought it was legally mandatory for cars to have a spare or run flats

here is a list from last year of cars that consumer reports has recently tested without them. Most came with an inflator though.

Acura RLX
Audi TT
Buick LaCrosse
Cadillac CTS
Cadillac SRX
Cadillac XTS
Chevrolet Camaro
Chevrolet Malibu
Chevrolet Spark
Chevrolet Volt
Dodge Caliber
Dodge Dart
Fiat 500
Ford C-Max
Ford Focus
Ford Fusion
Ford Mustang
Honda Accord
Hyundai Accent
Hyundai Elantra
Hyundai Sonata
Hyundai Veloster
Infiniti G
Kia Forte
Kia Rio
Kia Soul
Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Mazda MX-5 Miata
Mitsubishi i-MiEV
Nissan Leaf
Porsche 911
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Panamera
Scion iQ
Smart ForTwo
Toyota Prius
Volvo C70
Volvo S60
The question with buying your own spare is always, where do you put it? You touch on this, since it's an obvious question.

The thing is, if Tesla included their own spare, that question doesn't just go away. They'd have to find a spot too. And since the rest of the car is taken, their location would necessarily intrude on cargo space somewhere. It could be done a little nicer, but the end effect will be much the same.

Personally, I'd rather have the extra cargo space.
that will buff right out.

Perfect for when you get that little nail in your tire:

View attachment 94529

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another point that hasn't been made yet is that, it's safer to stay in your car and wait for the tow truck driver than to be outside and be exposed to get hit by other cars when you're trying to change your tire.

with the way people drive distracted these days, it's something to be on the safe side on.
here is a list from last year of cars that consumer reports has recently tested without them. Most came with an inflator though.

FWIW, my Cadillac CTS (on your list) came with a full-size spare and there was no extra cost for it. The owners manual did talk about a compressor kit for cars "in jurisdictions with no spare tire". At the time, I thought that meant Canada required a spare, but my Model S doesn't have one, so who knows?
It can happen at any time. I had a flat on the evening of July 4th on a Model S with something like 5k miles on it. My previous car also got a flat at a young age. It happens.

A lot of cars are coming without spares because it can be a safety issue. Changing a tire on the side of the road is an inherently unsafe situation. This is worsened by the extreme weight of the Model S, which only amplifies the risk of jack failure. I'll say that while I haven't personally witnessed such a failure, I have seen the aftermath of a failure on a coworker and it was not pretty.

Then you're carrying the weight of a spare you'll rarely if ever use, plus the space considerations other have mentioned. It's not a coincidence that spare tires are becoming less common every year.

In the RWD Model S you could fit a spare in the frunk, but AWD owners are out of luck in that department. I just take the compressor/goop and know that if the flat is really bad I'll have to call someone.
FWIW, my Cadillac CTS (on your list) came with a full-size spare and there was no extra cost for it.
What is the cost to lug around all that weight everywhere you go for the life of the vehicle? And that doesn't mention that you paid for it as part of the purchase price, they didn't throw it in of their own goodwill. Plus you lose all the storage space it takes up.

In all my years of driving I have never changed a tire on my car, and I drive around for work all day every day. I have had flat tires, but I've been able to patch them and be on my way faster than I could have changed a tire, and the patches last the life of the tires (never had a patch fail)

A spare tire makes sense if you're going on safari hundreds of miles from the nearest service, there are some things a patch kit just won't fix. But the rest of the time, carrying a spare tire is a waste of energy, space, and cost, for the extremely unlikely event you'll ever need it. A patch kit and compressor on the other hand are smaller, lighter, and cheaper than a spare tire, and can fix 90% or more of flats without having to jack up the car or take the wheel off, and as an added bonus, they're permanent so you don't need to go to a tire place afterwards.