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Best wheel for handling on M3 2021 LR (18 vs 19" vs 19" aftermarket)

which wheels to get?


  • Total voters
    13

geekflyer

Member
Oct 21, 2020
65
49
Palo Alto, CA
I'm on your same boat. My wife wants a 2021 gray/white with 18s, but I told her I'd get it for her but with 19s. After seeing them, no freaking way, so if Tesla doesn't insult me with the trade, I'd get her what she wants. Well, she also prefers another gas car, so I have a way out if the trade offer is ridiculous, since we need to trade (600 miles away). Anyway, I was wondering if it's possible to remove the aero covers, like on the previous version, if you get tired of them. By the way, what brand and model of tire comes with the 18s and 19s? Thx.
you can definitely still remove the aero covers and the 18" 2021 wheels underneath look even marginally better / sharper than the previous 2020 wheels.
The 18" come as Michelin MXM4 in tesla specific T1 spec.
The 19" are Continental ProContact RX in tesla specific T0 spec.
 

dfwatt

Active Member
Sep 24, 2018
3,004
5,030
FL
I think the general consensus on acoustic foam is that it's near-useless. And has the added 'benefit' of making most tire shops refuse patching those.

Not true. Only shops with marginally competent or minimally informed techs and/or service managers. It's actually easy to repair through the foam, and you can cut a small section out, as long as you didn't use sealant goop (which gums up the whole foam band). I've had three OEM Telsa spec Michelin PS4s tires repaired, without any difficulty and without any surcharge for that matter. In one Instance, where we had to use an inflator can, we simply ripped the acoustic foam out. Please don't repeat what is really misinformation. It is not cast in stone that shops cannot repair acoustic foam tires. It may be an index of marginal knowledge on the part of the shop, and I'm not clear that you would want to have your tires repaired by that outfit in that case anyway.
 
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MasterC17

Active Member
Dec 3, 2015
1,113
1,808
USA
Not true. Only shops with marginally competent or minimally informed techs and/or service managers. It's actually easy to repair through the foam, and you can cut a small section out, as long as you didn't use sealant goop (which gums up the whole foam band). I've had three OEM Telsa spec Michelin PS4s tires repaired, without any difficulty and without any surcharge for that matter. In one Instance, where we had to use an inflator can, we simply ripped the acoustic foam out. Please don't repeat what is really misinformation. It is not cast in stone that shops cannot repair acoustic foam tires. It may be an index of marginal knowledge on the part of the shop, and I'm not clear that you would want to have your tires repaired by that outfit in that case anyway.

Can confirm. Have repaired multiple tires with foam. Very easy, takes an extra 2 minutes.
 
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dsgerbc

Member
Jun 4, 2019
477
339
Michigan
Not true. Only shops with marginally competent or minimally informed techs and/or service managers. It's actually easy to repair through the foam, and you can cut a small section out, as long as you didn't use sealant goop (which gums up the whole foam band). I've had three OEM Telsa spec Michelin PS4s tires repaired, without any difficulty and without any surcharge for that matter. In one Instance, where we had to use an inflator can, we simply ripped the acoustic foam out. Please don't repeat what is really misinformation. It is not cast in stone that shops cannot repair acoustic foam tires. It may be an index of marginal knowledge on the part of the shop, and I'm not clear that you would want to have your tires repaired by that outfit in that case anyway.

Contrary to what the media is pushing these days, statements you don't agree with are not misinformation.
I personally had Discount Tire and Firestone refuse fixing my punctured OEM tire. That was a year ago. Maybe in states where Teslas are more popular they have caught up.

Additionally, you are pretty much at the mercy of whatever is nearest to you, should you pick up moderate leak. So, this is arguably a risk when going for tires with an acoustic foam.

If you're are picking up used OEM tires cheap - sure, the foam doesn't hurt. If you're considering paying extra $$$ for a new set, I don't see a point, just potential cons.
 

dfwatt

Active Member
Sep 24, 2018
3,004
5,030
FL
Contrary to what the media is pushing these days, statements you don't agree with are not misinformation.
I personally had Discount Tire and Firestone refuse fixing my punctured OEM tire. That was a year ago. Maybe in states where Teslas are more popular they have caught up.

Additionally, you are pretty much at the mercy of whatever is nearest to you, should you pick up moderate leak. So, this is arguably a risk when going for tires with an acoustic foam.

If you're are picking up used OEM tires cheap - sure, the foam doesn't hurt. If you're considering paying extra $$$ for a new set, I don't see a point, just potential cons.

What I objected to as misinformation is not that shops are sometimes adverse to repairing foam tires - that's true. It's that it's actually technically challenging. That's not true, and your post also stated that the acoustic foam makes no difference. That's also not true. So while you have some true statements you also have some misinformation
 
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dsgerbc

Member
Jun 4, 2019
477
339
Michigan
Stop throwing the 'misinformation' term around.

I think acoustic foam is a worthless gimmick regardless of likelihood of running into repair problems. The 3 is pretty noisy at highway speeds, a tiny bit quieter tires don't matter much. If you think otherwise, it's a difference of opinion.

What you can disagree with is the likelihood of running into problems repairing tires with acoustic foam. Here neither of us has done an extensive survey and we likely have difference experiences. Which, again, don't make anything misinformation.

And I said nothing about repair being technically challenging.
 
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lencap

Member
May 27, 2013
148
477
Raleigh, NC
Lots of opinions on tires/wheels. I bought a 2018 RWD LR (AWD wasn't available then) and had the same questions you do. I went with the 19" after reading this review and watching the included video. After 2 years and 26K miles I'm still happy with my decision. The range issue isn't much of an issue, especially with the higher power SuperChargers and faster charging time.

Stopping Distance and Grip With 18- and 19-inch Tires - 2017 Tesla Model 3 Long-Term Road Test
 

Webeevdrivers

Active Member
Jan 2, 2017
2,248
3,956
Canada
One of the reasons we almost got the 19's was the look. We needed the range more as we travel between BC and Socal so we went with the 18's. I did drive a model 3 with the 19's and there is a slight difference in the handling, although they seemed a little louder. A few people told us the ride would be harder with the 19's but we didn't notice that. Maybe because we run our 18's at 46 PPSA. Anyway, if you want more of the sport wheel 19 look you can go with the new orbital Aero covers that are supposed to be coming out in the new year.

Orbital

Or you can cheap out like we did and spend 40 bucks on a wrap on the existing Aeros. LOL. :) Although we'll probably get the orbital covers...if they actually start producing them. :)

50711223276_d82b9dae48_c.jpg
 
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Gsxr150

Member
Nov 13, 2019
141
124
Minnesota
Lots of opinions on tires/wheels. I bought a 2018 RWD LR (AWD wasn't available then) and had the same questions you do. I went with the 19" after reading this review and watching the included video. After 2 years and 26K miles I'm still happy with my decision. The range issue isn't much of an issue, especially with the higher power SuperChargers and faster charging time.

Stopping Distance and Grip With 18- and 19-inch Tires - 2017 Tesla Model 3 Long-Term Road Test
The difference was bigger and broader than expected. The 19-inch Continental tires made our Model 3 launch more smartly to produce a better 0-60 mph acceleration time (5.1 seconds instead of 5.3), stop shorter from 60 mph (128 feet instead of 133), and generate a lot more grip around the skidpad (0.93g instead of 0.85g).

Beyond the numbers, this simple tire change absolutely woke up the Model 3 on the handling circuit, where all of the above objective data points came together to produce a more engaging driving experience. It turned into bends more precisely, hung on through corners more tenaciously, and allowed the driver to roll onto the throttle with more authority on the way out.

In short, the 19s made our 2017 Tesla Model 3 a lot more fun, and by a considerable margin. But this was more than a performance and fun-to-drive upgrade.
Very interesting!!! "
Lots of opinions on tires/wheels. I bought a 2018 RWD LR (AWD wasn't available then) and had the same questions you do. I went with the 19" after reading this review and watching the included video. After 2 years and 26K miles I'm still happy with my decision. The range issue isn't much of an issue, especially with the higher power SuperChargers and faster charging time.

Stopping Distance and Grip With 18- and 19-inch Tires - 2017 Tesla Model 3 Long-Term Road Test

Very interesting!

"The difference was bigger and broader than expected. The 19-inch Continental tires made our Model 3 launch more smartly to produce a better 0-60 mph acceleration time (5.1 seconds instead of 5.3), stop shorter from 60 mph (128 feet instead of 133), and generate a lot more grip around the skidpad (0.93g instead of 0.85g).

Beyond the numbers, this simple tire change absolutely woke up the Model 3 on the handling circuit, where all of the above objective data points came together to produce a more engaging driving experience. It turned into bends more precisely, hung on through corners more tenaciously, and allowed the driver to roll onto the throttle with more authority on the way out.

In short, the 19s made our 2017 Tesla Model 3 a lot more fun, and by a considerable margin. But this was more than a performance and fun-to-drive upgrade"
 

Sam1

Member
Sep 11, 2019
947
863
NV
The tread width for contiprocontact rx is 9.5” on a 235/40/19.

The tread width for mxm4 is 8.5” on a 235/45/18.

so the continentals literally have a full 1” wider contact patch per tire. Of course they stop better than a skinnier , somewhat similar tire.
 
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geekflyer

Member
Oct 21, 2020
65
49
Palo Alto, CA
Hey folks, so I got my 2021 M3 LR 18" a few days ago, unfortunately with a ton of quality issues (Master thread: Delivery issues (panel gaps, delivery delays / issues / problems etc)). One thing that also bothers me a bit is that the handling or steering specifically isn't really to my liking. It doesn't feel that "effortless" and just keeping the car in the middle of the lane etc. requires more power than it'd like to. Subjectively I feel there is a little bit of a dead zone / play where steering wheel movement doesn't directly / immediately translate to a trajectory change of the car. It's not terrible, but it's also not what I hoped for based on previous model 3 test-drives.

I test drove today a 2021 LR M3 with the 19" OEMs and the car felt much better to me. The steering overall felt less effortless and very precise. I could easily and confidently drive the car with just one hand (something I somehow don't feel that comfortable with my car) and it generally would just do what I tell it to do.

Note I drove both cars in comfort and standard steering mode back-to-back.

Now I'm wondering:
Can this difference in steering feel / tightness be explained purely by the different wheels/tires or is there potentially (another) defect with my car?
Note I notice this indirectness also at "normal" speeds. It'd say the most bothersome it is on freeway's if not in autopilot. Also note the difference in steering isn't gigantic and many non-spirited drivers may not even notice it, but it's noticeable for me.
I'm worried if there is actually something wrong with my cars steering the SC will simply say it's "within spec" since it still kinda works :(.
 
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dfwatt

Active Member
Sep 24, 2018
3,004
5,030
FL
Hey folks, so I got my M3 LR 18" a few days ago, unfortunately with a ton of quality issues (Master thread: Delivery issues (panel gaps, delivery delays / issues / problems etc)). One thing that also bothers me a bit is that the handling or steering specifically isn't really to my liking. It doesn't feel that "effortless" and just keeping the car in the middle of the lane etc. requires more power than it'd like to. Subjectively I feel there is a little bit of a dead zone / play where steering wheel movement doesn't directly / immediately translate to a trajectory change of the car. It's not terrible, but it's also not what I hoped for based on previous model 3 test-drives.

I test drove today a 2021 LR M3 with the 19" OEMs and the car felt much better to me. The steering overall felt less effortless and very precise. I could easily and confidently drive the car with just one hand (something I somehow don't feel that comfortable with my car) and it generally would just do what I tell it to do.

Now I'm wondering:
Can this difference in steering feel / tightness be explained purely by the different wheels/tires or is there potentially (another) defect with my car?
Note I notice this indirectness also at "normal" speeds. It'd say the most bothersome it is on freeway's if not in autopilot. Also note the difference in steering isn't gigantic and many non-spirited drivers may not even notice it, but it's noticeable for me.
I'm worried if there is actually something wrong with my cars steering the SC will simply say it's "within spec" since it still kinda works :(.
A dead spot on center can be a feature of particular tires. What kind of tires do you have on your car? An additional issue is that cars are frequently delivered with alignment problems. Have you checked your alignment?
 
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MasterC17

Active Member
Dec 3, 2015
1,113
1,808
USA
Hey folks, so I got my M3 LR 18" a few days ago, unfortunately with a ton of quality issues (Master thread: Delivery issues (panel gaps, delivery delays / issues / problems etc)). One thing that also bothers me a bit is that the handling or steering specifically isn't really to my liking. It doesn't feel that "effortless" and just keeping the car in the middle of the lane etc. requires more power than it'd like to. Subjectively I feel there is a little bit of a dead zone / play where steering wheel movement doesn't directly / immediately translate to a trajectory change of the car. It's not terrible, but it's also not what I hoped for based on previous model 3 test-drives.

I test drove today a 2021 LR M3 with the 19" OEMs and the car felt much better to me. The steering overall felt less effortless and very precise. I could easily and confidently drive the car with just one hand (something I somehow don't feel that comfortable with my car) and it generally would just do what I tell it to do.

Note I drove both cars in comfort and standard steering mode back-to-back.

Now I'm wondering:
Can this difference in steering feel / tightness be explained purely by the different wheels/tires or is there potentially (another) defect with my car?
Note I notice this indirectness also at "normal" speeds. It'd say the most bothersome it is on freeway's if not in autopilot. Also note the difference in steering isn't gigantic and many non-spirited drivers may not even notice it, but it's noticeable for me.
I'm worried if there is actually something wrong with my cars steering the SC will simply say it's "within spec" since it still kinda works :(.

I mean the 18" Michelin MXM4's are 100% designed for range, and well, not much else. They don't "feel" great, they don't handle well, the traction isn't good, but the efficiency - it's really good.

So yes, this is almost certainly the tires. The 19" Continental's are a much better balanced tire. Though honestly most people buying a 3 would probably prefer the range over the feel.
 

geekflyer

Member
Oct 21, 2020
65
49
Palo Alto, CA
A dead spot on center can be a feature of particular tires. What kind of tires do you have on your car? An additional issue is that cars are frequently delivered with alignment problems. Have you checked your alignment?

I have the OEM 18" Michelin MXM4s. The other vehicle I drove back-to-back had the OEM 19"s (Conti ProContact I suppose?).

Thanks for all your thoughts. I gotta say I'm surprised that tires can make such a difference in steering feel even at mild speeds, but I guess that means I need to upgrade my tires earlier than expected lol.

I'll probably try to drive a 2021 with 18" OEMs back-to-back with mine before getting new tires, just to make sure it's really just the tires and not some steering mechanics issue.

I also asked Tesla to do an alignment on my upcoming service appointment. Hope they're actually willing to do it.
 

dfwatt

Active Member
Sep 24, 2018
3,004
5,030
FL
I have the OEM 18" Michelin MXM4s. The other vehicle I drove back-to-back had the OEM 19"s (Conti ProContact I suppose?).

Thanks for all your thoughts. I gotta say I'm surprised that tires can make such a difference in steering feel even at mild speeds, but I guess that means I need to upgrade my tires earlier than expected lol.

I'll probably try to drive a 2021 with 18" OEMs back-to-back with mine before getting new tires, just to make sure it's really just the tires and not some steering mechanics issue.

I also asked Tesla to do an alignment on my upcoming service appointment. Hope they're actually willing to do it.

When you replace those get the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S all season. Significantly cheaper and way better.
 
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geekflyer

Member
Oct 21, 2020
65
49
Palo Alto, CA
When you replace those get the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S all season. Significantly cheaper and way better.
should I maybe just get the Pilot Sport 4S (summer)? Note I'm in Northern California. While there's the occasional trip to Tahoe skiing, this happens just once a year or so and in which case we just use my friends' car instead.

Bit worried about the range hit with the Pilot Sport All Seasons. The PS4S appear better with regards to that.
 

dfwatt

Active Member
Sep 24, 2018
3,004
5,030
FL
should I maybe just get the Pilot Sport 4S (summer)? Note I'm in Northern California. While there's the occasional trip to Tahoe skiing, this happens just once a year or so and in which case we just use my friends' car instead.

Bit worried about the range hit with the Pilot Sport All Seasons. The PS4S appear better with regards to that.
I don't know if anybody has efficiency data on the Pilot Sport 4S versus the Pilot Sport 4 All Season. They're probably pretty similar because the all season was derived from the 4. Neither are any version of an absolute efficiency champ but what we found is that even with 20 inch wheels that are probably not aerodynamically all that good, lowering the car plus adding a front air dam got us back any lost mileage from oversized tires and 20 inch wheels. But if you don't need cold weather performance the 4S is the best street Tire hands down not even close.
 
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