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My first flat tire - UI fail...

Master Chief

Member
Jan 20, 2020
83
38
Norfolk, VA
Last Saturday I was beginning a 215 mile journey in my 1.5 month old Model X. We were on the Interstate about 30 miles from home when the car started shaking. I know the road, so I know that the highway is smooth on this stretch. Having probably a million miles under my belt, tire deflation came to mind immediately. I had no idea where the tire pressure display was, or if it even existed (but I figured that a Tesla had to have that information.)

I pressed the voice command button on my steering wheel and said "Show tire pressure". After a second or two, it shows "Display Tire Pressure Monitoring System" or something like that. Then it disappeared. Hmmm. Tried again. Same result. So I slowed down a bit and headed for the next exit where I knew there would be an air pump. I found the convenience store, pulled in next to the $1.50 per 5 minute pump and parked the car.

I opened up the Owners Manual on my screen and touched the magnifying glass which should indicate Search. I typed Tire into the little search window and pressed Enter. Nothing happened. Nothing. I had tried this before and thought it a fluke but this time, I really needed it. I futzed around with the Table of Contents until I found the section on Tires. From here, I had to link to the Left Steering Wheel buttons. I discovered how to select Car Status and voila! there was the tire pressure (finally). The pressure had just dropped below 15 psi, so a red alert popped up on the dashboard warning me about the safety issue. (Since the Model X recommends 45 psi, I would have liked the alert to go off at around 30 psi, but I don't want to quibble.)

As another thread on this sub-Forum discusses, the voice command in my car (except for Destination) is unusable. Nothing works. Even the "Open Glovebox" command shows up as a non-supported command. I am on 2019.40.50.7, so I should be up to date.

But I digress. I called the Roadside Assistance on my cell rather than use the app. It took only about two minutes on hold to get to a support rep. She was pleasant but didn't tell me what I wanted to hear. I was told that she could summon a flatbed tow truck to take my car to the nearest service center which was about 40 miles back past from where we had just left. Being that it was me, my wife and our dog in the car, plus there would have been a 90 minute wait to get the tow, I opted for Plan B.

She said that if the tire could be fixed, she had heard good things about Costco. Well, there was a Costco about 7 miles from where we were, so I swiped my credit card and started pumping. It took about 7 or 8 minutes of pushing really hard on the valve stem to get 45 psi back in the tire. With it hissing, we were off to Costco.

Rather than belabor you with the details, it took me 30 minutes to find out that there would be a 3 hour wait to get the tire looked at. Not one to tolerate that, I walked across the street to Target and bought a 12v emergency tire pump.

(Interesting thing to note, if the car is not turned on, the 12v socket in the back of the X will turn off after a few minutes, so we had to keep opening doors to wake the car up to allow it to continue pumping.)

While we were waiting, we found a place about a mile up the highway called Discount Tire. We called them and they said they could have us in and out in about 45 minutes and the patch would be free! Whaaaat? Yep, free.

So, 25 psi later (I think I was leaking as much air as I was pumping), we drove off to Discount Tire. They gently put the X on the rack, pulled a 2 inch masonry spike out of the tread and patched it for us. We were on our way in less than 45 minutes.

I learned that getting a flat in a Tesla is no trivial matter and that we are considering ways to be able to carry a spare and a jack to eliminate getting stuck on the highway in the future. I also learned that there are certain aspects of the Tesla's User Interface which still needs a lot of work. Still, I love my Tesla...
Tesla flat tire.jpeg
Tesla flat tire.jpeg
Tesla flat tire.jpeg Tesla flat tire.jpeg
 

HenryT

Member
Jan 29, 2020
487
383
Manchester
Glad to hear you were able to get sorted in the end.

I just wonder, as a new Tesla owner myself (and slightly anxious about the lack of a spare,), what is your 'takeaway' from this?

Carry a 12v pump and a tyre repair kit or look for a temporary spare and jack to carry, or just carry on and hope you manage again next time?
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,016
4,627
MA, NH
Sorry, but I mostly see someone totally unprepared.

Really, you had no idea how to check your tire pressure? I checked that before I left the Delivery Center !!
I also routinely check tire pressure, you may have caught that nail a week ago and you may have caught it much sooner (before it leaked so fast). It is surprising you were not notified of pressure drop sooner though.

This is my X trunk and I more or less have the same thing in my Spare-less Chevy Volt

Ratchet (for jack)
Socket for lug wrench
Lug wrench
Porsche Aluminum Scissor Jack
Fix a flat (only for winter tires with no noise suppression foam in case plugging is not an option)
UMC (Tesla Pouch with 4 adapters)
4 Jack Pads (K-Motor Pouch)
15-20A 120V cheater adapter
Hitch Tow bar and 2" ball
High CFM Compressor
Plug Kit
24" Extension for the Jack

Sometimes it's easier or safer to plug tire with it removed from the car, which is why I have the jack etc.

49507932017_4cb4490f99_h_d.jpg
 
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mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,016
4,627
MA, NH
On an M3, swiping right below the car's avatar gives me my odometer while swiping left gives me tire pressure readings. Not the same on an X?

It's a little different on the X. You scroll through different displays with the Steering Wheel left thumb wheel while held in. There is about 7 different displays you can default on the left 1/3 and the same 7 on the right 1/3. So you can choose what to default and it doesn't take much to flip it to something else as you drive (just push and roll wheel). If navigating the left panel always switches to a mini navigation display regardless of your choice. I default to trip computers on the left and a mini Energy graph on the right.
 

Akikiki

A'-Lo-HA ! y'all
Nov 26, 2012
6,383
4,494
Kaneohe, HI
Master Chief, you sound by your handle to be military and Norfolk is a hint. Your experiences sound like you were unprepared for that mission. Good recovery though and glad you adapted to the situation. I bet nothing like that happens to you again. More and more new cars do not come with a spare.

There's a couple of threads here on backup processes for having a spare. Lugs are torqued at 145 ft-lbs, so you are going to need an extension on your wrench if you decide to change it yourself. Caution there are specific places to place a jack pad to raise the car. Good think Discount Tire knew. Else it will hurt the battery.

Some Service Centers have spare wheels/tires at the ready for these situations. Not all, so Roadside would not know that until you talked to the right person at the SC. Tesla doesn't own flatbeds, so they contract the tow to locals. Doubtful the tow had a spare to fit though.

Welcome to the forum. Welcome to the Tesla family. Invest some time and learn more about your new vehicle. No offense intended. Just some firm love to ya.
 
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Uncle Paul

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2013
6,242
6,742
Canyon Lake,CA
This is the new normal for many modern cars. To reduce weight and cost, many do not come with spare tires nor jacks. Many come with little air compressors and bottles of sealant.

Lug nut torque spec on my X is 129 lbs.

Old fashioned way of looking at your tires, usually lets you know which has gotten low.
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,016
4,627
MA, NH
This is the new normal for many modern cars. To reduce weight and cost, many do not come with spare tires nor jacks. Many come with little air compressors and bottles of sealant.

Lug nut torque spec on my X is 129 lbs.

Old fashioned way of looking at your tires, usually lets you know which has gotten low.

You could be down 10 lbs and not notice it on some tires. Especially Tesla tires that run on the high side. The tire shape barely changes between 45 lbs and 35 lbs. And a drop in 10lbs is a huge hint. If you can see it, it's REALLY low. So much easier to glance at TPMS.
 
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Akikiki

A'-Lo-HA ! y'all
Nov 26, 2012
6,383
4,494
Kaneohe, HI
My last few sw version spit out a message to me when I drop to 40 psi. Keeps me on my air-gauge-inflater toes.

@mswlogo, REALLY good list (and pic). I believe very helpful to many that will see your post. In behalf of those that follow, thanks.
 
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Master Chief

Member
Jan 20, 2020
83
38
Norfolk, VA
Glad to hear you were able to get sorted in the end.

I just wonder, as a new Tesla owner myself (and slightly anxious about the lack of a spare,), what is your 'takeaway' from this?

Carry a 12v pump and a tyre repair kit or look for a temporary spare and jack to carry, or just carry on and hope you manage again next time?

I will always carry a 12v pump with me. Using Slime to stop a leak should only be used in the most dire of circumstances IMHO. It really makes a mess of your tire when the go to fix it or replace it.

If I could buy a "donut" that is less than 6" wide and would fit in the trunk where the third row would go, I would consider it.
 

Akikiki

A'-Lo-HA ! y'all
Nov 26, 2012
6,383
4,494
Kaneohe, HI
Look through TMC. There's some discussion about a BMW wheel/tire that will fix the S/X. Modernspare.com used to show one, but currently does not. I can't remember which BMW one fits, is why I recommend reading up about them here.

And saying again, be care about where you place the jack. There are jackpads you can buy that fit.
 

Master Chief

Member
Jan 20, 2020
83
38
Norfolk, VA
Master Chief, you sound by your handle to be military and Norfolk is a hint. Your experiences sound like you were unprepared for that mission. Good recovery though and glad you adapted to the situation. I bet nothing like that happens to you again. More and more new cars do not come with a spare.

Guilty as charged, I suppose. Yes, retired in 2003 but born and raised here in Norfolk. Kaneohe is a nice place. Been there a few times. Picnicked at Bellows one weekend, too. Many Superchargers on Oahu? I have one about 2 miles from my house, so I am happy with my unlimited Supercharging on my X.

Nothing prepares one better for adversity than adversity. You can bet that I will be kitting up soon.
 

Akikiki

A'-Lo-HA ! y'all
Nov 26, 2012
6,383
4,494
Kaneohe, HI
Superchargers? What's a supercharger? The local Tesla club keeps track of numbers of Tesla we find in the wild. Current number we know of is 1540. Many of those owners live in high rises and can't charge at home. They are out hunting for a public charger often. Why? Cuz, we have no Superchargers. Tesla has marked on the ground where two will go, but that's been since 2016 and nada so far. And why is that? Land. Property. No one wants to give up the footprint for even 1-2 stations.
 

HenryT

Member
Jan 29, 2020
487
383
Manchester
I will always carry a 12v pump with me. Using Slime to stop a leak should only be used in the most dire of circumstances IMHO. It really makes a mess of your tire when the go to fix it or replace it.

If I could buy a "donut" that is less than 6" wide and would fit in the trunk where the third row would go, I would consider it.


Sounds sensible.

Rather than slime, I had in mind a tyre (tire!) plug kit like this sort of thing - Robot Check

I keep one on a motorcycle I own (though not had cause to use it so far)and may get another for the car. That and a 12v pump.
 
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boaterva

Supporting Member
Apr 2, 2016
7,565
3,736
Northern Virginia, USA
Always carry a 12v pump, but we don’t go far enough out to worry about the spare. It’s definitely a good idea to check the pressures when you take off even though the car does complain on low air now.
 

Master Chief

Member
Jan 20, 2020
83
38
Norfolk, VA
Superchargers? What's a supercharger? The local Tesla club keeps track of numbers of Tesla we find in the wild. Current number we know of is 1540. Many of those owners live in high rises and can't charge at home. They are out hunting for a public charger often. Why? Cuz, we have no Superchargers. Tesla has marked on the ground where two will go, but that's been since 2016 and nada so far. And why is that? Land. Property. No one wants to give up the footprint for even 1-2 stations.
On my trip from Norfolk to Metro New Jersey last month, two of the Superchargers along the way were on the grassy area behind a Wawa gas station. Virtually no additional footprint. Actually the biggest requirement is the room for the transformers, probably about the size of three 8 yd. dumpsters side by side. (Tesla probably doesn't want to pay Hawaii's price for electricity...)
 

Robwoodruff

Member
Nov 21, 2016
159
355
Ohio
After I got a flat tire in my first Tesla, a passerby with a plug kit and a 12 volt inflator fixed my tire and got me going. As soon as I got home, I bought plug kits and inflators for all my cars and taught my wife and kids how to use them. I've now had three more flats in different cars and have been able to get home or to a tire shop each time. Don't drive without them.
 
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Master Chief

Member
Jan 20, 2020
83
38
Norfolk, VA
After I got a flat tire in my first Tesla, a passerby with a plug kit and a 12 volt inflator fixed my tire and got me going. As soon as I got home, I bought plug kits and inflators for all my cars and taught my wife and kids how to use them. I've now had three more flats in different cars and have been able to get home or to a tire shop each time. Don't drive without them.
Which plug kit do you use? Did you have a jack or just roll the car until the nail is visible.

Also, don't forget to carry a pair of needlenose pliers to pull the hazard out of the tire!
 
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