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Model 3 Performance Wheel Damage at Car Wash

Have you received track damage?


  • Total voters
    10

trak0r

Member
Jun 5, 2019
49
47
Indiana
Hello all,

I recently swapped my wheels for my other set of race wheels for an upcoming event and to my dismay, I found the front driver side wheel to have extensive damage to the inner rim lip. After considering the location of damage and frequency of local car wash visits, I believe the damage is caused by the wheel track contacting the inner rim lip as it is pushed down the track. After inspecting the Tesla rims I noticed that the inner rim lip actually sticks further out then the sidewall of the Pilot Sport 4s tires! Because of this, the tires don't provide cover for the inner rim lip and the corrosion protection paint and aluminum is constantly being shaved off. I honestly think this is ultimately a design trade-off for the sake of aerodynamic wheel efficiency, but now I have shaved rims that will allow salt during winter to attack alluminum and reduce useful life of wheels.

As for my other wheels, I have 255's on stock width rims, and they provide some inner rim protection. Perhaps I will choose a wider tire when my current Pilot 4s's wear out.

Anyone else had issues? If you auto wash your Model 3 Performance, or possibly 19" sport wheels, you might want to see if you receiving damage too.
 

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Brnn

Member
Aug 5, 2019
139
61
United States
That sucks, but at least it’s on the inside. Use some touch up paint (or a wheel repair fill if it really bothers you) and don’t use an automatic car wash again.
 
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gcmak

Member
Jul 26, 2019
208
180
San Francisco
Surprised to see the sidewall cracking already. Not that it's a safety issue. Will have to look at mine. You also have to be careful if storing those wheels because the'll hit the floor with no protection. Your local tire store will also damage them when they set em down.
 
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trak0r

Member
Jun 5, 2019
49
47
Indiana
That sucks, but at least it’s on the inside. Use some touch up paint (or a wheel repair fill if it really bothers you) and don’t use an automatic car wash again.
Thanks for the tip.

The inner rim lib is gouged in hundreds of places over this summer. Since there will be massive salt during these heavy winters in Indiana, I'm wondering what is the right sealant for repair to being back to factory spec. I'm not sure touch-up paint will solve the problem long-term since the factory coating is a very thick hard enamel type of material that I think is required to offer proper protection. Anyone had their inner rims refinished? I'm very worried about exposed alloy being eaten away by salt. Might be in an irrrational fear ;$
 

trak0r

Member
Jun 5, 2019
49
47
Indiana
Surprised to see the sidewall cracking already. Not that it's a safety issue. Will have to look at mine. You also have to be careful if storing those wheels because the'll hit the floor with no protection. Your local tire store will also damage them when they set em down.
Well, when they are constantly being gouged, the enamel plating is being ripped off as well. This is definitely not normal wear and tear and the local car wash is now investigating after I filed a damage claim. All of my rims have been affected as I've rotated them throughout the year, however this one is the worse of the bunch. I wish Tesla had put slightly wider tires on the rims... Like 255's
 

gcmak

Member
Jul 26, 2019
208
180
San Francisco
Well, when they are constantly being gouged, the enamel plating is being ripped off as well. This is definitely not normal wear and tear and the local car wash is now investigating after I filed a damage claim. All of my rims have been affected as I've rotated them throughout the year, however this one is the worse of the bunch. I wish Tesla had put slightly wider tires on the rims... Like 255's

Or slightly narrower width rims would work too or just design the rim differently. There's quite a few things that could be done here. I made the mistake of taking a 2016 A3 with the upgraded wheels (18") to one of those washes with the rails. It'll mess up both the inside and outside of the wheel...so I just don't go to places with rails. In fact I've kind of just switched to using ONR...minimal effort and tons of water savings.

Good luck with your claim!
 
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TW14 9LF

2nd EV
Oct 28, 2018
289
259
SoCal
Surprised to see the sidewall cracking already. Not that it's a safety issue. Will have to look at mine.

I'm also surprised that the sidewalls are cracked so badly, is it that way on the outside as well?

@gcmak - why don't you think that (sidewall cracking) is a safety issue? I would think it is a safety issue, as it would be more prone to blowout?

Keith
 

XLR82XS

D M C
Jul 26, 2019
3,141
1,794
SWFL | Vegas
I have 19s. Good to know about the 255 rubber. I was thinking of 245 when it's time to replace but now may consider 255 when it's time for new rubber.
 

gcmak

Member
Jul 26, 2019
208
180
San Francisco
I'm also surprised that the sidewalls are cracked so badly, is it that way on the outside as well?

@gcmak - why don't you think that (sidewall cracking) is a safety issue? I would think it is a safety issue, as it would be more prone to blowout?

Keith
It's usually a sign of rot but Michelins have a tendency to show these cracks which I've been told my tire companies and installers are superficial, since the internal structure is what counts. That said, is the tire potentially weaker against abrasions, potholes, and hard hitting curbs? I guess, but I have no evidence to say one way or another.

If the tire is actually old/dried and cracking like our family had a 9 year old tire - that's a whole different story. The compound itself was rock hard. If the tread on top is also cracking like the sidewall, then it's time to go...
 

trak0r

Member
Jun 5, 2019
49
47
Indiana
I'm also surprised that the sidewalls are cracked so badly, is it that way on the outside as well?

@gcmak - why don't you think that (sidewall cracking) is a safety issue? I would think it is a safety issue, as it would be more prone to blowout?

Keith

Update: I've been working with the local car wash. The regional manager was good enough to let me inside the track area to help identify/document the issue. I found several bolts, that attach the 'banana peel' (yellow plastic surface that the inside of the wheel is designed to rub the entire journey through car wash) to the metal track, were protruding into the wheel path. In my case with rim lips being around (see attached) 1.75" off the bottom surface of the track and slightly wider than the tire, meant that it was constantly hitting each bolt that is not recessed (see attached). In one of the pictures, you can clearly see the bolt is being torn up by something harder than rubber... This is what caused the progressive gouging of my rim lip and removal of the protective enamel. Since I had rotated each wheel progressively since I purchased the vehicle this year, all the wheels have some damage, but the pictures I attached previously was much worse due to the length of time since I last rotated wheels. In general, I now believe that some of the scraping, in the 'banana peel' surface is due to me now damaging their track since my rim lip is 10 grit. The manager admitted that he believes my rims are being damaged on the track and suggested I cancel my membership too. According to the manager, this 'banana peel' doesn't appear to be properly maintained.

As for cracking, this isn't happening due to age of course (tires manufactured recently, <1 year, but can double check). This might be happening just after it gouges the rim lip and then hits the tire. The outer sidewall isn't showing cracking yet.

To wrap up, he indicated he will be speaking to the president of the company and other engineers etc about the problem and the way forward. Obviously, for me, begrudgingly due to little time, it is back to hand washing. I also requested that their should be a policy in place that people with 'Tesla' like rims be warned of the impending damage that could occur should they choose to be customers. If you visit a track car wash that is designed to contact your wheel in a rotating way (unlike the conveyor style where wheel doesn't rotate), then you might want to check for damage.

I'll keep you all posted on future developments in the legal/settlement process so others might be better prepared during their investigations.

- J
 

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kumarnis

New Member
Oct 6, 2019
2
0
Indiana
After seeing this post I went and saw my model 3 wheels (I have 19 inch sport wheels) and it turns out that I am having similar issues too. However I have that on all four wheels because I got them swapped few months back and never cared to notice it before. It's not that severe as compared to the whats shown in the post though but certainly I think over time it can cause corrosion. Even on the 19 inch wheel the inner rim lip sticks out a little and I guess that allowed it to rub against something, may be metal.
I am thinking of raising a claim with the car wash company and also checking with Tesla if they could do anything about it.
 

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xilex

Model P3D
Jul 5, 2018
350
206
Cypress, CA
I was more concerned about the outer rim since I know it is so easy to incur curb rash damage, so I've avoided my go-to hand car wash place that I took my old car to that uses the same track system and some guys quickly hand wash it then it runs down the rinse and air dry section. But now you've informed us even the inner rim can be damaged on the track! Ultimately I found a few full service car wash places around my area (10-15 miles away but worth), so I'm sticking with them.
 

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