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Best way to inflate a flat tire on the road?

Discussion in 'Model S' started by cab, Sep 4, 2016.

  1. cab

    cab Member

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    Hello All,

    So as I consider a road trip here of there in the Tesla I am faced with some questions around what to do in the event of a flat tire. I know i have the option of a spare tire (in the frunk - mine is RWD) with a bottle jack and (big) wrench for the (12plbs ft tight) lugs, but I'd also like to pursue the "plug it and re-inflate it" option. I am not interested in the "fix-a-flat" slime cans. My one experience (a couple of years ago) with those little cigarette lighter powered 12v pumps was pretty unexciting. They will either blow the fuse in the pump, the car, just flat out fail, or take forever (or all of the above). I know Tesla actually sells their own for $50 or so which tells me that pump has to be uber cheap.

    Some of the slightly better pumps on amazon from VIAIR look to be a bit better, but given their current draw most seem to be better when run directly off of the battery vs . the cigarette lighter. Below is one for $50.

    Example of VIAIR Pump
    https://www.amazon.com/VIAIR-85P-Portable-Air-Compressor/dp/B0036E9VB6/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

    There are even more powerful 12 volt pumps (which can be hundreds of dollars), but then you get into some iffy areas with the Tesla's little battery. I think it has crazy low amperage if I'm not mistaken. Most of these pumps recommend you have the "engine" running to provide juice from the alternator (um...oops).

    Another option would be to carry some form of compressed air. Honestly, something like a can of fix-a-flat WITHOUT the the goo might be ideal. Alternatively, I could carry a small 5 gallon tank of compressed air per the link below).

    5 gallon air tank from Harbor Freight (note: I actually have this tank)
    5 gal. Portable Air Tank

    So, my choices seem to be:

    1. Take my chance with a cheap compressor (both in terms of the compressor and Tesla's battery).
    2. Cart around the 5 gallon tank - It could go in the frunk which might make me feel safer than having it in the hatch area.

    Thoughts? Other options?

    Note: I do realize the "spare tire" is the best option since it allows me to deal with the blowout situation that a tire repair won't handle.
     
  2. Don85D

    Don85D Member

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    Location:
    Markham, Ontario
    Our BMW motorcycle came with a plug kit that includes small Co2 cylinders to re-inflate the tire after plugging. For a large car tire you make need a few of these cylinders but certainly would be easy to carry. Pack gloves too as the cylinders get very cold when opened.

    Tesla offers a sealant and compressor kit to which you can add a plug kit. That would be the minimum kit that I would carry.

    For long trips a full sized spare is the best insurance and this is true for any car. We store our spare behind the driver's seat and in a nice black bag.

    Probably the best advice is to have new tires before any long trip. Worn tread picks up nails, in my experience.
     
    • Informative x 1
  3. FlatSix911

    FlatSix911 918 Hybrid

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    Why not go with the Tesla pump or a Fix-a-flat solution?
    Both have worked well for me in a pinch and do not require a spare tire. :cool:

    upload_2016-9-4_14-58-0.png
     
  4. UberEV1

    UberEV1 Member

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    I keep the "Slime" brand version of the Tesla fix-a-flat kit in my car and have used the compressor several times (to top off tire pressures) and it continues to work well. For how long, I don't know, but so far so good. It is small, convenient and fits easily in the back cubby holes.
     
  5. Patrick W

    Patrick W Member

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    In addition to what's already been said, Tesla suggests not putting the spare in the frunk saying the car has not been crash tested with a spare in there. In the event of a crash you don't want the spare coming through the firewall. Best to only put soft things in there. :)

    When traveling far from home I do carry a spare but I put it and the tools and inflator in the trunk.
     
  6. Xenoilphobe

    Xenoilphobe Active Member

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  7. flyeyes

    flyeyes Member

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    View attachment 193155 I have personally used the Slime brand kit with the bottle of sealant and a "cheap" compressor. Once on the Tesla, and twice with other cars. Most recently last week on my wife's BMW.

    It has worked better than I expected every time. From pulling over to driving again maybe 8-10 minutes. Probably quicker than I could change a tire with portable tools. No problems using the tesla 12v jack.

    I'm quite comfortable plugging tires, and usually carry plugs as well.

    I used to avoid the sealants, but have become a convert.
     
    • Informative x 1
  8. Patrick W

    Patrick W Member

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    I read somewhere that if a sealant is used the tire pressure sensor has to be replaced. Did yu have that experience with your Tesla?
     
  9. flyeyes

    flyeyes Member

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    Two BMW tires with sensors, and one Tesla. All continue to work nominally.

    I will say that all my positive experience has been with the $50 slime brand from Amazon. Refills are about $15-20.

    I've been unimpressed with aerosol can "fix-a-flat" in the past.

    I've also had good results with plugs and a combination jump-start/compressor/flashlight box from Costco for about $60.
     
    • Informative x 2
  10. theslimshadyist

    theslimshadyist NashVegas!

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    Even Tesla states on their website that the sensor should be replaced after using their branded product. See the attached image.

    Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 11.34.19 PM.jpg
     
  11. theslimshadyist

    theslimshadyist NashVegas!

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  12. Xenoilphobe

    Xenoilphobe Active Member

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  13. Owner

    Owner Active Member

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    I've used my Slime kit for air a lot on the road (plagued with slow leaks off and on). It works great. Not super fast but quick enough. I got the one on Amazon that is equivalent to the Tesla $50 one but a bit cheaper.
     
  14. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    I have one of those Viair compressors and it's been working great! I used it many times already. I would recommend getting a separate tire pressure gauge. The compressor is not accurate.

    To plug tires I had good success with Dynaplug. Very easy and quick and they last. I have been driving with some of those for thousands of miles.
     
  15. orangem

    orangem Member

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    Just had a tire puncture last week on a roadtrip. Tried the slime and the hole was still leaking air. Lucky I was only 80km from Toronto and Tesla sent a loaner tire over for a swap. I went to get my tire patch and figure out the slime would never work on the Conti 5p Silent 21 (OE tires). It got a sponge liner all around the inside of the tire tread and the slime was blocked from getting to the hole. So if you have a 21", better to rely on a plug.

    I do wonder though, what is the limit in terms of distance from service centre would Tesla provide a loaner tire swap?
     
  16. WannabeOwner

    WannabeOwner Member

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    Had to over inflate the SUV last week for 7 passengers and excess luggage! so very high tire pressure, relative to norm. Used the Tesla pump, as it was to hand. It took a few minutes to get up to the higher pressure required, but it managed it fine (on all four tires). The metal connectors on the high pressure hose got hot, as expected (but something to beware of). That was just running off the SUV's cigarette lighter. Thus I doubt that the Tesla air pump would have a problem inflating one tire from flat to normal pressure.
     
  17. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

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    I wil use a manual bicycle pump to add a few pounds to a tire, the workout is a side benefit
     
  18. mikeash

    mikeash Active Member

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    I bought a random 12V compressor at Target for $20 about ten years ago and it still works fine. I've never used it to fill a flat, but I use it to top off my car and bicycle tires. It would take a long time to fill up a car tire, but that's OK with me. They're cheap and small enough that I don't understand why ever car owner doesn't carry one.
     
  19. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    Sealant is a horrible idea.
    Get a cheap 12V compressor and an even cheaper plug kit. total cost will be in the $30 range and it will fix the vast majority of flat tires you could have.
    The cheap compressors aren't fast, but you don't plan to be using it very often, so it's not really an issue.
     

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