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Flat Tires & Bent Rims - Everyone Has Different Experiences

Nate977p

Member
Jul 28, 2017
521
529
Boston
Hello All!

Getting another flat fixed today and figured I would share some thoughts.

When I started a thread on a way to carry a spare tire in a Model 3, there was much treating myself and others who wanted a spare like crazy people. I get that many people have not experienced non-repairable flats or bent rims and that is awesome! But myself and many others have - everyone has different experiences.

Thus I wanted to share my experiences with my Model 3P.

Reference: Live in Boston (well 1 mile outside) and drive about 30-35k miles per year. Since COVID (March) probably only have drove about 4k miles. I consider myself a good pothole avoider, but not crazy about it (I.e. I am looking and avoid them, but don't swerve every 30 feet for one).

Bought Car Sept 2018
  • November 2018: All 4 OEM rims bent. Tesla said they all needed to be replaced. My local trusted shop said some were bent worse than others, but salvageable, but yeah all were bent. I bought 19" rims and snow tires.
  • May 2019: Put summer rubber on the winter 19" rims - liked the look and the 20" were all bent anyways
  • Feb 2020: Hit pothole on the 90 turnaround in Allston lose 2 rims and 1 tire (non-repairable). While only lost 1 tire, rim damage was so bad, even with the flat fixed, car was not right to drive.
  • July 2020: Screw in tire right on sidewall (non-repairable)
So all in all I have been through 6 rims and 2 non-repairable flats in about 21 months.

I just wanted to share my experiences. Not end of the world of course, but everyone has different experiences and needs!
 
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Nate977p

Member
Jul 28, 2017
521
529
Boston
What tire pressures are you using?
Ever thought of going with 18"?

Try to keep it around 38-42.

And I looked at 18s but the clearance over the brakes bothered me. Even though they cleared, it was so small that I really did not want to have virtually no clearance.
 

XLR82XS

D M C
Jul 26, 2019
3,127
1,762
SWFL | Vegas
#1 issue: Boston roads. The roads there are just as terrible, if not worse, as Detroit and fully understand why you'd have wheel/tire issues.
 

Hblick48

Member
May 13, 2020
125
87
Folsom, CA
Bent trims can usually be repaired, especially if bent on the inside. No need to replace. The lower the profile of the tire, the more likley that it will bend...less rubber between the road and rim.

I was in the wheel repair business for 10 years, and successfully repaired thousands. Need a reputable shop that has the right equipment, heats the wheel, and knows the proper techniques.

Google "bent wheel repair Boston". You will find many shops that do that kind of work. We charged $125 plus tire service (if necessary). Much cheaper than new ones.
 

Nate977p

Member
Jul 28, 2017
521
529
Boston
#1 issue: Boston roads. The roads there are just as terrible, if not worse, as Detroit and fully understand why you'd have wheel/tire issues.

Haha yup no question there. It amazes me when I drive through towns like Newton, where average homes are over $1m, the roads are such crap.
 

Nate977p

Member
Jul 28, 2017
521
529
Boston
Bent trims can usually be repaired, especially if bent on the inside. No need to replace. The lower the profile of the tire, the more likley that it will bend...less rubber between the road and rim.

I was in the wheel repair business for 10 years, and successfully repaired thousands. Need a reputable shop that has the right equipment, heats the wheel, and knows the proper techniques.

Google "bent wheel repair Boston". You will find many shops that do that kind of work. We charged $125 plus tire service (if necessary). Much cheaper than new ones.

Thanks!

And agreed, it's why I went down to 19 and wanted to do 18, but like I said, clearance just concerned me.

As for fixing them, shops around here were 200-250 per fix as it was the bend and visual repair (pothole ate the face). And the rims were I think about $300 each, so made more sense to get new :(.

As for the Tesla 20", they are just sitting. If I bent all 4 in 2 months, and all the bend issues on the forums, I wasn't going to pay $500-$1000 to fix them to just bend again in months. Need to sell them still (obviously warning buyer of bend).

Edit: 1 of the 19" bends was bent in a way it was unrepairable even if I wanted to
 
Last edited:

WarpedOne

Supreme Premier
Aug 17, 2006
4,356
6,490
Slovenia, Europe
Try to keep it around 38-42.
And I looked at 18s but the clearance over the brakes bothered me. Even though they cleared, it was so small that I really did not want to have virtually no clearance.

Uh, sorry, I've totally missed the 'performance' part of your M3 ... so, 18" are out of the picture,19" it is.

You can be a bit more 'strict' with pressure and not go below 42 while cold as the goal is keeping rims away from the road as far as possible.
38 may not be far from 42 but every mm of distance matters when you are targeting a miss and not a hit ...

Alternative would be a tire with higher sidewall on those 19" rims, say 235/45R19. These have 10% (almost half an inch) higher sidewalls. But you'd be out on your own regarding legal stuff.

Or 245/40R19, +5% (+5 mm) sidewall height.
 

Nate977p

Member
Jul 28, 2017
521
529
Boston
Uh, sorry, I've totally missed the 'performance' part of your M3 ... so, 18" are out of the picture,19" it is.

You can be a bit more 'strict' with pressure and not go below 42 while cold as the goal is keeping rims away from the road as far as possible.
38 may not be far from 42 but every mm of distance matters when you are targeting a miss and not a hit ...

Alternative would be a tire with higher sidewall on those 19" rims, say 235/45R19. These have 10% (almost half an inch) higher sidewalls. But you'd be out on your own regarding legal stuff.

Or 245/40R19, +5% (+5 mm) sidewall height.

Huh, I always thought lower PSI was less risk? Lower PSI is more flex = more grip overall, more flex if you hit a pothole, and less range. Higher PSI= more range, harsher ride.

I am running 255 :) but sidewall height is the same. Rim offset was not enough so if I did taller sidewall, it hit suspension. I had my shop order all different sizes :)
 

Matezz

Member
Aug 7, 2019
11
2
Beaumont, TX
I keep my M3P tire pressure at 42 and assure you, they can take some beating.
On other hand, I have managed to grind both of the rear wheels unfortunately, but that was just a cosmetic repair.
For my next long trip however, I'll get the aftermarket 18" wheel/tire kit.
 

WarpedOne

Supreme Premier
Aug 17, 2006
4,356
6,490
Slovenia, Europe
Huh, I always thought lower PSI was less risk? Lower PSI is more flex = more grip overall, more flex if you hit a pothole, and less range. Higher PSI= more range, harsher ride.

Rims get bent when there is no air left between them and deforming rubber.
While there is still air in between, the force is applied over whole rim circumference and there is no rim bending.
Lower PSI gives more flex at same force as higher PSI and consumes less energy over the same distance/deformation.

I am running 255 :) but sidewall height is the same. Rim offset was not enough so if I did taller sidewall, it hit suspension. I had my shop order all different sizes :)

You've tried 235/45R19 and 224/40R19 and they didn't clear?
Anyway, for starters you try keeping your tires at 42 at least.
 
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KenC

Active Member
Sep 4, 2018
3,559
3,231
Maine
Hello All!

Getting another flat fixed today and figured I would share some thoughts.

When I started a thread on a way to carry a spare tire in a Model 3, there was much treating myself and others who wanted a spare like crazy people. I get that many people have not experienced non-repairable flats or bent rims and that is awesome! But myself and many others have - everyone has different experiences.

Thus I wanted to share my experiences with my Model 3P.

Reference: Live in Boston (well 1 mile outside) and drive about 30-35k miles per year. Since COVID (March) probably only have drove about 4k miles. I consider myself a good pothole avoider, but not crazy about it (I.e. I am looking and avoid them, but don't swerve every 30 feet for one).

Bought Car Sept 2018
  • November 2018: All 4 OEM rims bent. Tesla said they all needed to be replaced. My local trusted shop said some were bent worse than others, but salvageable, but yeah all were bent. I bought 19" rims and snow tires.
  • May 2019: Put summer rubber on the winter 19" rims - liked the look and the 20" were all bent anyways
  • Feb 2020: Hit pothole on the 90 turnaround in Allston lose 2 rims and 1 tire (non-repairable). While only lost 1 tire, rim damage was so bad, even with the flat fixed, car was not right to drive.
  • July 2020: Screw in tire right on sidewall (non-repairable)
So all in all I have been through 6 rims and 2 non-repairable flats in about 21 months.

I just wanted to share my experiences. Not end of the world of course, but everyone has different experiences and needs!
Two things, Boston roads and you drive alot. Rather than thinking you've been through 6 rims in 21 months, think you've been through 6 rims in 50+k miles of driving. One rim every ~9k miles. Driving through Boston is dreadful, and at those high speeds, with such small gaps between vehicles, it's hard to avoid the giant potholes and road debris, etc.
 
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dmurphy

Buster: 11/25/14 - 6/20/21. So sorely missed.
Dec 7, 2018
3,554
4,741
New Jersey - Morris County
Two things, Boston roads and you drive alot. Rather than thinking you've been through 6 rims in 21 months, think you've been through 6 rims in 50+k miles of driving. One rim every ~9k miles. Driving through Boston is dreadful, and at those high speeds, with such small gaps between vehicles, it's hard to avoid the giant potholes and road debris, etc.

A rim every 9000 miles?

I've driven at least a half million miles by now in my lifetime, and I've gone through exactly... zero. And it's not like I live in a great road state; welcome to NJ.
 
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Wennfred

Supporting Member
Apr 4, 2019
2,954
1,895
San Diego
I said it before and will say it again, after watching YouTube video “Out of Spec Motoring” and his blow out, I knew that the Patch/Plug Kit I carried in the trunk wasn’t going to be enough. Once the OEM wheel hits a pothole, the tire expands and the wheel cuts the sidewall of the tire. You can’t patch or fix that. Also someone stated that the bent wheel can be repaired, that bent wheel also is cracked. I purchased a spare from Modern Spare. 15 minute swap and you’re on your way. These Modern Spare tires are rated at 80 mph and will get you to your destination where you can find a tire shop to replace the blown tire. This picture is on my Model Y, I made an OEM 18” aero spare for my Model 3, and I take that one on long trips like to Las Vegas.

73E635B6-D1E8-4887-8CDB-F1F2715D2551.jpeg
 

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