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Nightmare Tesla experience- all from a flat tire

Tesla and other automakers are now claiming (so consider the source and take with a grain of salt) that with the average grid mix in the US, the emissions break-even on a car like a Model 3 is actually under 10,000 miles now.
screw emissions i bought my tesla for the speed and power. it happens to be electric, but I'd buy a car if it ran off baby seal tears and had the same power. and all this crap isn't even CLOSE to the OP about lug nuts.
Which BTW is an easy 5 min job to remove a locking lugnut off a car when you don't have the key, there is a dozen different tools that all do the same thing (nut extraction). And tire shop that cant remove it is just saying that because they don't want to be liable for any potential damage (next to zero chance of damage when done properly). Just go to home depot and buy the tool and take the damn thing off yourself.
 

Skotty

2014 S P85 | 2020 3 P19"
Jun 27, 2013
2,589
2,059
Kansas City, MO
As for the lugs, after thinking a lot about it, I would probably either try an angle grinder or maybe even a welder, but you would have to be super careful and know that there is a risk of damaging the wheel and/or lug.

For angle grinder, I would attempt to grind a slot that I could put a metal bar in and then twist the bar; kind of like turning it into a blade edge screw.

I'm not a welder expert, but welding metal onto the end of the lug nut is the other approach I was thinking about.

I agree this is a bad situation. Enough so that it would be advisable that people keep this in mind, and always check the lugs of whatever used car you are about to buy. Don't buy it if it has security lugs and they don't have the adapter for it (request they deal with it as part of the purchase, or walk away).
 
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Reactions: brainhouston

Skotty

2014 S P85 | 2020 3 P19"
Jun 27, 2013
2,589
2,059
Kansas City, MO
You are massively overestimating the effort required to remove these “security” lugs.
I've done a lot of automotive maintenance and repair in my life. However hard you think something might be to fix, it's actually harder. Trying to grab an awkward lug in a tight space that is torqued to 120 ft-lbs -- and there are 4 of them if you want to fully fix the problem on each wheel -- I would probably set aside a whole weekend for this. Further complicated by really not wanting to risk damaging the wheels or studs due to how expensive any of those might be to fix or replace. The work you have to do is exactly the work the lug is designed to prevent you from doing. It's going to be a huge PITA. If you know some tricks, do share if you haven't already.
 
As for the lugs, after thinking a lot about it, I would probably either try an angle grinder or maybe even a welder, but you would have to be super careful and know that there is a risk of damaging the wheel and/or lug.

For angle grinder, I would attempt to grind a slot that I could put a metal bar in and then twist the bar; kind of like turning it into a blade edge screw.

I'm not a welder expert, but welding metal onto the end of the lug nut is the other approach I was thinking about.

I agree this is a bad situation. Enough so that it would be advisable that people keep this in mind, and always check the lugs of whatever used car you are about to buy. Don't buy it if it has security lugs and they don't have the adapter for it (request they deal with it as part of the purchase, or walk away).
the method wouldn't really work on tesla rims because the jugs are so far inset from the outer lip of the rim. Years ago i welded a socket to the lug nut on my old mustang (2006) rims when the lock key broke it was super easy and each wheel took about 5-7 min to weld, unscrew, and cut apart to use again.
For these style rims on tesla the only simple option is to buy a bolt extractor, something like this. or this, or this.

I've done a lot of automotive maintenance and repair in my life. However hard you think something might be to fix, it's actually harder. Trying to grab an awkward lug in a tight space that is torqued to 120 ft-lbs -- and there are 4 of them if you want to fully fix the problem on each wheel -- I would probably set aside a whole weekend for this. Further complicated by really not wanting to risk damaging the wheels or studs due to how expensive any of those might be to fix or replace. The work you have to do is exactly the work the lug is designed to prevent you from doing. It's going to be a huge PITA. If you know some tricks, do share if you haven't already.
No need to set aside a weekend you're looking at 2-5 min on each wheel to remove the security lock. just grab a bolt extractor for a 21mm (13/16") smack it on with a hammer and then the impact driver and poof bobs your uncle. You people are overthinking this simple job.
 

Skotty

2014 S P85 | 2020 3 P19"
Jun 27, 2013
2,589
2,059
Kansas City, MO
Okay. I didn't know they made lug/nut extractors like that. Assuming they work, does this make the locking lugs entirely irrelevant and useless? Or are thieves lazy or clueless enough that they won't have these in their toolkits? I don't use locking lugs so I don't think about this stuff all that often.
 
So I took delivery of my 2021 Model S Plaid last week. 10k miles. Bought off Tesla site. Blue with cream interior. Was perfect on the inside and outside on delivery. Other than the driveshaft vibration from 35-50 mph was perfect. Fast forward a week later and get nail or something in my rear tire. Pretty big leak as it is flat in 8 hours after filling it. Take it to Firestone. Oh. They don’t have the pads/cups to lift a Tesla. Didn’t know about needing that. So take to discount tire. They have the pads/cup to lift it. They lift it and up and ask me where the wheel lock key is. I didn’t know it had wheel locks and didn’t think to check on delivery. I can’t find a key for wheel lock anywhere in car. Discount tire can’t remove without it.

Next day after driving 2 mpg on a flat tire to a gas station close by, I fill up and head to work. Another discount tire says they can break it off. So I head over there after buying a friends air pump and refilling, only to be told they can’t break the locl because it would damage the wheel. Have them fill tire up more and head to Dallas Tesla service center. There they try a random box of other manufacturers wheel lock removers and none fit right. They said it must be a Tesla wheel lock and each Lock is specific to the one key that it comes with. So there is no “master key”. So now it’s sitting at Tesla while they find out what to do. The service advisor said they have to look at pee-delivery pictures to determine if the wheel locks where there before delivery or after, “because some people put the lock a on after to game the system”. Whatever the hell that means. Inferred I might be responsible for wheel replacements (21 inch arachnids) depending on determination of that. I’m clearly furious at this point. I’m a physician and have no benefit of installing wheel locks to get something from Tesla.

So now it’s just sitting at Tesla Dallas. No phone call yet from anyone. Flat tire that can’t be fixed because the wheel can’t be removed. Anyone have any advice? This is f’n awful. Oh, and i have to take Uber rides to and from work (30 min drive each way) because my $121,000 car i bought from dealer can’t provide a loaner. After 4 Porsches and good Service, this sucks. I’ve only owned a Tesla for 9 days and starting to regret it.
You can use de-icing fluid to break the wheels locks, that how the thieves use De-icing fluid, Wheel locks are useless just buy time so the thieves have a harder time. Look up on google for de-icing fluid spray on wheel locks. good luck.
 

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