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Roadtrip Niagara & Telsa Lifestyle

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Joules Verne, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. Joules Verne

    Joules Verne Member

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    #1 Joules Verne, Aug 21, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016
    This is a long story. One about the maiden voyage of my Model S - a family road trip to Niagara Falls: good, bad & ugly.

    THE GOOD

    Experiencing the Tesla lifestyle. That's what I keep telling my wife supercharger stops are for. Going at a more relaxed pace, some food and/or shopping along the way, all petro and carbon emissions free. We've done a few trips which required a supercharger stop, which we factored into our plans, and we both enjoyed the breaks. Now it's time for a real test... Family road trip from Boston suburbia to Niagara Falls Canada for a few days, plus a day trip to Toronto.

    The route was straightforward, essentially 90 all the way. Model S plotted the superchargers brilliantly. Basically a break every 2 hrs or so, as follows:
    • Home
    • Albany +153mi 2.5hrs
    • Syracuse +139mi 2hrs
    • Buffalo +136mi 2.5hrs
    • Niagara Canada (destination) +28mi 30mins
    The hotel:

    I appreciate five star hotels, and there are several big and beautiful casino resort style hotels to choose from. However, we chose a (3 star?) hotel which advertised Tesla charging stations: Quality Hotel. They had two Tesla chargers, and one standard EV charger. Worked out wonderfully. Free parking, semi-reserved space (overflows are allowed to park in EV spots), free 48Amp charging. Served as a great hub. Hotel was decent as well. Good service, breakfast included, very good rates, wifi, clean comfortable rooms - and we even had a view of the falls from our balcony - Bonus! I’d stay there again.

    For a day trip, we cruised to Toronto 160mi (round trip) to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame. What a shrine that is! I didn't need to charge, but the Hockey Hall of Fame had designated EV spots with chargers. So we snapped on the adapter, and charged-up.

    That's the good. Superchargers in all the right places. Great routing by nav.
    • Quick charges.
    • Things to do while charging.
    • Destination charging.
    • The car was always ready to roll before we were.
    • No range anxiety.
    Of the charger stops, Albany was ideal, being located at a mall. Lots of options. We ate lunch at the Cheesecake factory on the way there, PF Changs on the way back.

    Syracuse was somewhat lacking. Chargers were fine, just not much to do there. You have a holiday inn convention center, taco Bell, and a drug store.

    THE BAD

    On the way to Niagara, I was about 14 miles from the Buffalo New York supercharger, when a wrench was thrown into my plans. There was much debris on the road. I manage to navigate through it cleanly, or so I thought. Tire pressure alert appears on dash: 40psi, 30psi, 20psi... I pullover to the shoulder and watch it deflate. Everyone's roaptrip nightmare just hit me.

    A 13mm wrench - yes, literally a wrench - found its way into my rear driver-side tire.
    That minefield took out three other cars.

    The hook:

    Called tesla roadside assistance. NY requires a police dispatched truck. 911. Flatbed on the way. Now I get to use that toe hook that keeps bouncing around in my rear hatch. How does one attach this? The hard copy manual only shows the nose cone procedure - but I have a refreshed nose. I pulled up the manual on the touch panel, and found the right procedure for the car. Interesting design. You have to pop a panel off to expose the hole, which you can hand screw the hook into.

    My advise to all of you. Take the time to figure this out in your garage now - it'll take you 10 minutes in a normal state of mind. Trust me - you do not want to try and figure this out stranded on the side of a highway with semi’s flying by. It is nerve racking. Then there is the tow mode setting, which keeps the car in neutral, preventing the car from automatically putting itself into park. Fortunately I knew about this.

    The tire:

    Flatbed arrives, car is loaded, off we go. It was around 5PM, and the authorized Tesla garage was closed (all garages were starting to close), so we had to scramble. As you all know, we do not have a spare tire or donut, AND my tire was not fixable. Tesla recommended trying the Firestone, which was at the same mall as the super charger, and it was still open.

    They didn’t have 19” tires, and said they could order one and have it in a day or two. I’m out. We headed a bit down the road to Goodyear. Still open. Great. I have the Goodyear Eagle Touring on my car. Manager comes out, looks at the tire and says, huh… never heard of that one before. Not good. I’m out. In the meantime, the tow truck driver was calling around and found a shop a little further down the road which had a set of 19” tires (not goodyears, but we have a match size-wise): Mavis Discount Tire, here we come.

    So not only do we not have a spare, or a donut, or even a tire repair kit… we have rare tires.
    Not good when you're far away from home, and in less populated areas.
    Thats the bad.

    What makes them so rare? There’s the size, but beyond that I learned when they popped the tire off, the inside of tread wall is lined with a foam. Presumably to decrease road noise. Interesting. I wonder how that impacts tire repair kits that spray slim on the inside?

    THE UGLY

    We arrive at the tire shop, and the MS is being unloaded from the flatbed. Wooden 2x6 planks are used by the wheels to prevent it from bottoming out. The tire shop mechanics (kids really) were really excited about seeing the MS, came over to help out. Big grins. They assisted with the boards, only to carelessly whack the driver door with one... Punching two sizable dings into it.

    Ouch!

    Aluminum panels folks.

    I was stunned. Disbelief. Heartbreak. Talk about making a bad situation worse. The kid ran away, never to be seen again.

    On a positive note, the manager came over and took responsibility. He and corporate handled the situation professionally, and within 7 days I had a check in hand to cover the costs of the repair.

    Moving on:

    With the new tire installed, I was free to continue my family roadtrip. We hit the super charger in Buffalo, and while waiting got a MUCH needed beer, and some Buffalo wings at Duffs Famous Wings (when in Buffalo...). Then got the hell out of there.

    The ordeal setback the plan by 4 hours, a temp tire, a matching tire (installed once I got back home), and both the car and Tesla lifestyle came away with some battle scars.

    We made it over the boarder to Niagara Falls Canada, and the rest of the trip went without a hitch.
     
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  2. Sir Guacamolaf

    Sir Guacamolaf The good kind of fat

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    I carry a tire patch kit, and pliers in the car and the tesla tire pressure thing. Unless the tire is unrepairable, I can repair it myself in about 20 minutes and be on my way. I highly recommend checking out how to do it - it's not hard, and it'll cost you about 20 bucks in parts.

    Brings me to a different Q - say you have 21" wheels, and spare 19"'s in the garage. Can you use the 19" as a spare in a pinch?
     
  3. Patrick W

    Patrick W Member

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    Sorry to hear an otherwise great trip was marred by a tire problem.

    It's because of stories like yours (maybe it will help to know you are not the only one this has happened to) that I finally bought a spare, jack and tire changing tools.

    I don't keep them in my S. Just when I'm traveling to places where service could be problematic. I've had to use them but it's just nice knowing they are there.
     
    • Like x 1
  4. Joules Verne

    Joules Verne Member

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    Here are some photos to go along with the tale.

    DSC_5722_s.jpg
    Niagara Falls is absolutely beautiful

    IMG_0373_s.jpg
    The wrench thrown into my plans

    IMG_0368_s.jpg
    Foam inlay within the tire

    IMG_0372_s.jpg
    Battle scars
     
  5. theslimshadyist

    theslimshadyist NashVegas!

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    What is this?
     
  6. Joules Verne

    Joules Verne Member

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    Thanks. I was able to compartmentalize the incident, so apart from that we had a great trip.

    Do you bring a spare tire as well?
    Problem with family road trips is luggage. Seems a spare tire would occupy a lot of the space.
     
  7. theslimshadyist

    theslimshadyist NashVegas!

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    You could always resort to this right here! ;) j/k

    Tesla+black.jpg
     
  8. theslimshadyist

    theslimshadyist NashVegas!

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    Wow! I just noticed all the "rim rash" on the rear wheel in that photo. Yikes!!! :eek:
     
  9. Sir Guacamolaf

    Sir Guacamolaf The good kind of fat

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    This - Tesla — Tire Repair Kit (you can find cheaper/better alternatives on Amazon).
     
  10. theslimshadyist

    theslimshadyist NashVegas!

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    Ahhh, gotcha. Cig lighter compressor and yes, I have one that isn't "Tesla" and got it for about $20.
     
  11. Joules Verne

    Joules Verne Member

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    It would not have helped in my situation. The gash was too big, and tire deemed unrepairable.
    I will look into it though - for next time - next situation.

    I'm wondering if this approach is any good:
    https://www.amazon.com/Slime-70005-Safety-7-Minute-Repair/dp/B001DZFZPG/ref=sr_1_19?ie=UTF8&qid=1471820070&sr=8-19&keywords=tire+repair

    Regarding your question, seems like a dangerous configuration to mix tire sizes - I'd say no.
     
  12. theslimshadyist

    theslimshadyist NashVegas!

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  13. Patrick W

    Patrick W Member

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    FWIW, the folks at the Tesla store said the "goop" that comes with the non-Tesla kits can ruin the pressure sensors in the tires.

    Not sure if that was a sales pitch (I don't really think so) but it was only $30 more for an official Tesla kits so rather than risk it I went with Tesla.

    Plus, as mentioned earlier, I also have a spare tire. Most likely would use that so may never use the kit.
     
  14. Patrick W

    Patrick W Member

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    Yes, a spare to match my other tires. It does take up a fair amount of space but then considering how much storage room there is in an S (frunk + trunk) I've not had a problem there.
     
  15. Joules Verne

    Joules Verne Member

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    Tesla says the same thing about their own kit on their webpage:

    "Please be advised that the product works as a temporary fix. The tire repair kit is not recommended as a permanent repair solution. The damaged tire should be replaced along with a new TPMS sensor at the earliest convenience. (Replacement tire and TPMS sensor not cover under warranty)."
     
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  16. ShockOnT

    ShockOnT Quickish

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    You can, but you'd need to keep the speed under about 80kph (50mph).
     
  17. Half Dollar Bill

    Half Dollar Bill Traveller, teacher, poet, accountant

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    I read in another thread a few days ago that the tires with the foam inlay CAN be patched. Tesla instructed that you scrape away the foam around the puncture, patch it like normal and remount the tire. Only for tires that can be fixed, of course.

    If I remember the thread I'll post the link.
     
  18. ElectricTundra

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    A non-repairable flat and poor availability of new tyres while on a road trip is my biggest concern with my S. This especially with a car full of gobs of stuff that I'd not want to leave in there while it sits in our outside of a garage for a night or two.

    I'd love to see something along the lines of a spare inner-tube that's folded up inside and that can be pressurized in the case of a major puncture like the OP's wrench. I'd guess the potential liability of someone using it when the tyre itself has lost its integrity would be an issue but I'd guess there are many instances when the tyres integrity is still good, the puncture is too big for goop, but would work with an inner tube.
     
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  19. Joules Verne

    Joules Verne Member

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    There is one important detail that I managed to leave out of my story. The road trip tie-in. Now why would one take their brand new Tesla on an 1100 mile road trip to Niagara Falls? I'll let the picture do the talking.


    IMG_0717-s.jpg
     
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  20. paulkva

    paulkva Member

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    Frankly, on TMC, I'd expect a common response to be: If one is taking a road trip, why wouldn't one take their Tesla?! (Notwithstanding any remaining gaps in charging availability of course.)

    ...says someone who's in the middle of a 1300 mile road trip in his not-so-new Tesla to PA, upstate NY, CT, Boston, and NJ... ;-)
     
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