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I will never buy 21" tires again


Active Member
Apr 22, 2013

The data stated in the "Results" table under "Sidewall Height" is not reflective of the diagram.
The diagram is depicting a "Sidewall Height" as measured from the edge (O.D.) of the rim to the tread plane.

For ex: our 21" turbine "real world" sidewall is not 3.38" but a measly ~2.25"

27.75 (tire OD) - 22.50" (wheel OD) / 2 - .375" (compressed distance due to weight of car) = ~2.25"

The table above is measuring from inside the wheel at the 21" bead surface to obtain a meaningless (to me) 3.38"

A ~2.25" sidewall will barely handle a sharp bump let alone a pot hole of approx. 2" deep before the edge of the rim will sustain a deformation often along with pinched/cut/bit sidewall.

Btw, the inboard side of the rim will bend much easier upon a slight impact since it is not directly supported.

Just say NO to 21's !!
Last edited:


Mar 5, 2015
Related to this, I am about to order a 85D as a company car (my employer goes electric) for a 4 years contract. The 21'' Turbine are in the budget and they look amazing.

The question is: Should I downgrade and get the 19'', or just go for the 21''?

The thing is that if something goes wrong with the 21'' (e.g. excessive wear) the lease company would have to fix it or buy new tires, so no cost for me.

The car will be driven 99% of the time in the Nederlands. The roads here are as close to perfection as possible, with very small chances of finding a pothole.

I want the 21'' wheels mainly for looks, I think it changes the car completely.

What do you guys think? What would you do in this particular scenario?


Roadster + Sig Model S
May 17, 2009
I still would probably get the 19" rims. Check out the Cyclones. Don't look as good but if you get them powder coated the same grey they don't look bad. I have these for winter but do drive on the 21" rims for summer.


VP of R&D at ConstructBuy
Jun 22, 2015
Drummond, QC, CAN
If you're still wanting the turbine look I'd look into the Tsportline 19" TSTs. I don't like the look of the cyclones. There is something a little off with them. They almost make me think they're bent. Personal opinion. They are almost identical to the 21" turbines but at 19". I love my grey TSTs. After all the horror stories I read before I bought my car I decided against the 21s.

View attachment 84148

Thanks for sharing this comparison picture, very useful!


Dec 19, 2012
United States
I have 21's and never had a problem until a couple weeks ago when I noticed a bubble in the sidewall of one of my tires. There's no sign that it hit anything there. Even though my tires (Michelin Super Sports) are under warranty (Tirerack) I had to replace two of them due to the wear. To make matters worse, this happened right before I left on a camping trip (which I can't bring my model S - need superchargers near Bridgeport, CA). I was in the middle of nowhere when Tirerack contacted me to say that they couldn't get me a replacement tire for at least two months since there's a huge backlog from Michelin. Fortunately one of the local tire places near my house could get them, though they lost them when I came in to get them put on and I had to wait another day until they got the last two tires they had overnighted. I don't blame it on having the 21's, but I would definitely think harder about 21s instead of the 19s. When I bought my car over two years ago there was no price difference between 21" or 19" wheels. I also seem to go through the tires fairly quickly in my P85. I get about 15-16K out of a set of tires, rotated regularly. I think more life would be possible if I could get them re-mounted to swap left and right since the negative camber tends to wear the inside edge a lot more than the outside edge.


but you can call me Kabir
Nov 18, 2014
my last car (an Audi TT) had low-profile tires, and it was incredible (and awful) how often there would be tire damage that required a brand new tire.

sidewall blowouts, or punctures that led to sidewall damage... ugh. when i got my Model S i went for 19" tires -- just like OP, my motto on low-profile tires is "never again". or more specifically, "not worth it."


Jun 23, 2015
I had the exact same dilemma 2 months ago deciding between 20's and 21's. 21's look SOOO good, but the fact that they are thinner, leading to more problems, and the unavailability of 21 inch tires led me to get 20's. lets see how they turn out when i get them in a few weeks!


May 4, 2014
Denver , CO
Well, I cracked a 21" turbine wheel a few days ago on another pot hole. Air is leaking out slowly, and the replacement is $1150 from Tesla. As soon as my 21" tire tread is gone, I'm switching!


Active Member
Jan 2, 2014
Fairfax County, Virginia
I am dumping my summer 21's too. I picked up are set of stock wheels and PVD Black Chromed them. I dropped them at Tesla in Tysons to mount the Michelins and add the TPMS... will swap them out when the weather drops below 50 degrees.


Apr 17, 2013
San Diego, CA
My Second cracked 21" wheel in two years.

After an 8000 mile road trip from San Diego to Calgary and back, I also had a cracked 21" wheel on my last day, fortunately. Can't imagine what hassle it would have been to crack one in remote Canada! This crack has me down for four days: One to diagnose (at Discount Tire) one for the third party repair to come pick up the tire, two days to repair and re-install. Now, my car is on a jack stand which I am not comfortable with. I need to get a cheap spare 19" for situations like this. Anyone have any suggestions?


Well-Known Member
Oct 28, 2012
Skaneateles, NY
I am heavily leaning toward the gray TS Sportline as I think the darker color blends in better with the slightly larger sidewall well. I am considering the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3s as they retain really good grip, acting more like a performance tire, but have the tread life of an all season tire.

that's my exact setup :) i have 30k miles now on my Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3s. love their grip (not a winter tire though)..




Active Member
Nov 30, 2014
Charlotte, NC
On tirerack.com, you can get 19" rims that look like the turbines, that fit Model S, AND Michelin Primacy tires for the same money as a set of replacement Continentals for the 21" rims.


and the tires will last 2x as long and not be a nightmare in the winter.


Active Member
Apr 22, 2013
Just say NO to 21's !!
2. I would suggest you source an inexpensive factory rashed 19" Tesla OEM wheel to insure proper fitment especially since it uses factory lug nuts (otherwise you may have to keep a special set of lug nuts and socket for an aftermarket spare tire deployment)
3. Some owners carry a donut spare which is half the size and weight


Aug 26, 2011
Sydney, Australia
As I have a sig, I could have chosen anything for the same money. After previous negative experience with low profile tyres on a different car, never again! I have the Cyclones on mine. Only pity is that they don't come in grey. I suppose I could have them powder coated, but that would mean being carless for a few days.


Roadster + Sig Model S
May 17, 2009
I will never buy 21" tires again

Cool if you do, as Tesla can send you a pic of your car to your dash and touchscreen wearing gray cyclones since they were offered for a short while in some country (but I can't remember where)

I'll try and post a picture later but I powder coated cyclones grey for a winter wheel set and looks great. Why Tesla stopped selling this is beyond me.


After 2½ years and 30K miles three of my four original 21" wheels were bent. And the 21" wheels were only on the car half of the time, my 19" wheels with all-season tires were on the rest of the time. I picked up a set of the T Sportline 19" turbine wheels a couple of months ago and so far they're great. I suspect that they will hold up to our crappy Indiana (and even crappier Michigan) roads much better than the factory wheels. Just my opinion but I like the look of these wheels way more than the factory 19", which is what my all-season tires are mounted on. When it's time for new all-season tires I might by another set of the T Sportline turbines to put them on.


2013 P85+
Aug 31, 2013
One thing I found out using 19" wheels in place of my 21" OEMs is that one cannot use a wheel brush/wand for inside-the-wheel cleaning. Too bad for those that clean their own cars.

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