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The case against the Pilot Sport 4S on 18" rims (retail vs OEM Tesla)

dhanson865

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Feb 16, 2013
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Knoxville, Tennessee
Regarding tires for the Model 3.

People assume the same brand, same style tire behave the same no matter the size. Manufacturers can make widely different products under the same name. They can even make OEM and retail versions or multiple OEM and/or multiple retail versions of the same size tire.

The OEM tesla tire on the 20" rim is using this name but is a superior tire to the retail 18" tire of the same name.

20" Michelin PILOT SPORT 4S 235/35ZR20 9/32 tread UTQG 500 AA A (TO Tesla, Acoustic Tech)

18" Michelin PILOT SPORT 4S 235/45ZR18 9.5/32 tread UTQG 300 A A (Retail tire)

In the retail tire you don't get the acoustic foam, you get way worse treadwear, and a slightly lower traction rating.

Both Tesla OEM All Season tires include the foam and have a higher tread rating

19" Continental PROCONTACT RX 235/40R19 9/32 tread UTQG 400 A A (TO Tesla, ContiSilent)

18" Michelin PRIMACY MXM4 235/45R18 8/32 tread UTQG 500 A A (TO Tesla, Acoustic Tech)

and the retail alternative for the 19" has a higher UTQG traction rating than the 18" Pilot Sport 4S.

19" Michelin PRIMACY MXM4 9.5/32 tread UTQG 500 AA A (Retail Tire)


UTQG glossary:

Treadwear:
"The treadwear grade is a comparative rating based on the wear rate of the tire when tested under controlled conditions on a specified government test track. A tire graded 200 would last twice as long on the government test course under specified test conditions as one graded 100."

Traction:
"Traction grades, from highest to lowest, are AA, A, B and C. They represent the tire's ability to stop on wet pavement as measured under controlled conditions on specified government test surfaces of asphalt and concrete. The testing does not take into account cornering, hydroplaning, acceleration or stopping on a dry surface. Nor does it account for the significantly different effectiveness of ABS versus non-ABS braking systems on a tire's stopping distance."

One other note about summer performance tires
https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/techpage.jsp?techid=273 Summer tires lose traction when the temperature outside is below about 45F. Consider this if you use summer tires on your car.

Those are the 3 primary OEM/Retail tires that people talk about on the model 3. The OEM tires can come from the factory or be ordered after the fact. The retail tires can be purchased from the Service Center, the Tesla website, or other retailers.

If you get the 18" Pilot Sport 4S you aren't getting Tesla OEM specific tires and they will not be equal to claims about the superior performance of the 20" version.
 

Zoomit

Active Member
Sep 1, 2015
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SoCal
If you get the 18" Pilot Sport 4S you aren't getting Tesla OEM specific tires and they will not be equal to claims about the superior performance of the 20" version.
Thanks for writing this up. A lot of people don't realize this. The OE PS4S tires on the 20" wheels will last longer and be quieter than aftermarket PS4S tires on 18" or 19" wheels. Of course, they're also $341 vs $210 and potentially have other compromises.
 

Daniel in SD

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Jan 25, 2018
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San Diego
Counterpoint, Hoosier R7s have a C traction rating: https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Hoosier&tireModel=R7&partnum=44ZR8R7
I'm not sure the traction rating means anything at all. Saying the MXM and PS4S have the same traction is absurd. Treadwear ratings are reported by the manufacturers marketing department as far as I can tell. They're supposed to be consistent within a given manufacturer but I think there is no official test.
 

dhanson865

Active Member
Feb 16, 2013
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Knoxville, Tennessee
Counterpoint, Hoosier R7s have a C traction rating: https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Hoosier&tireModel=R7&partnum=44ZR8R7
I'm not sure the traction rating means anything at all. Saying the MXM and PS4S have the same traction is absurd. Treadwear ratings are reported by the manufacturers marketing department as far as I can tell. They're supposed to be consistent within a given manufacturer but I think there is no official test.

The hoosier tires you linked to would do poorly in standing water and probably pretty bad on wet pavement. The UTQC traction rating is purely about stopping distance on wet pavement. It's even in the description of the tire

Hoosier Racing Tire Sports Car DOT Radial R7 tires are Racetrack & Autocross Only tires developed for drivers who compete in road racing where responsiveness and high levels of grip in hot, dry conditions are desirable.

Those tires aren't suitable for driving in the pacific northwest or in most any mountain chain where it'd be cooler and more likely to rain. That's why they got a C.

As to the tests meaning anything they are required by law and there is a penalty for fudging.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) established the Uniform Tire Quality Grading Standards (UTQGS) in 49 CFR 575.104.[2] When looking at UTQG ratings it is important to realize that the Department of Transportation does not conduct the tests. The grades are assigned by the tire manufacturers based on their test results or those conducted by an independent testing company they have hired. The NHTSA has the right to inspect the tire manufacturer's data and can fine them if inconsistencies are found.
 
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Daniel in SD

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Jan 25, 2018
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San Diego
The hoosier tires you linked to would do poorly in standing water and probably pretty bad on wet pavement. The UTQC traction rating is purely about stopping distance on wet pavement. It's even in the description of the tire
True, but stopping distance on wet pavement is irrelevant to us who live in Southern California :p
Also the TireRack link you sent shows the 18" P4S as have AA traction rating.
If find it extremely hard to believe that Michelin found a way to increase the treadwear by 67% and keep the same traction and sell it ONLY to Tesla. I think the 500 treadwear rating is probably BS. There may be some merit to the acoustic tech...
 

dhanson865

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Feb 16, 2013
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Knoxville, Tennessee
Uhh... Your own link shows the 235/45R18 PS4S UTQG as 300 AA A

doh, my mistake, I would edit the top post but it is past the time limit for editing.

That tire is AA in almost every size so I clearly made a mistake during editing. It should be

The OEM tesla tire on the 20" rim is using this name but is a superior tire to the retail 18" tire of the same name.

20" Michelin PILOT SPORT 4S 235/35ZR20 9/32 tread UTQG 500 AA A (TO Tesla, Acoustic Tech)

18" Michelin PILOT SPORT 4S 235/45ZR18 9.5/32 tread UTQG 300 AA A (Retail tire)

In the retail tire you don't get the acoustic foam and you get way worse treadwear.
 
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dhanson865

Active Member
Feb 16, 2013
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Knoxville, Tennessee
True, but stopping distance on wet pavement is irrelevant to us who live in Southern California :p
Also the TireRack link you sent shows the 18" P4S as have AA traction rating.
If find it extremely hard to believe that Michelin found a way to increase the treadwear by 67% and keep the same traction and sell it ONLY to Tesla. I think the 500 treadwear rating is probably BS. There may be some merit to the acoustic tech...

Fff, Southern California. Where I live warnings like this apply for summer tires (from the Michelin PILOT SPORT 4S description)

Note: Tires exposed to temperatures of 20 degrees F (-7 degrees C) or lower must be permitted to gradually return to temperatures of at least 40 degrees F (5 degrees C) for at least 24 hours before they are flexed in any manner, such as by adjusting inflation pressures, mounting them on wheels or using them to support, roll or drive a vehicle.

Flexing of the specialized rubber compounds used in Max Performance Summer tires during cold-weather use can result in irreversible compound cracking. Compound cracking is not a warrantable condition because it occurs as the result of improper use or storage, tires exhibiting compound cracking must be replaced.

No summer tires going on my cars.
 
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FlyNavy01

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Apr 30, 2017
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Jacksonville, FL
It's just a trade-off between rolling resistance and "stickiness". The OEM 20's are a harder compound made for Tesla specifically, as opposed to the retail PS4S, simply to keep the rolling resistance (i.e. range) higher.

I'll be selling the OEM 20's and getting the 19" PS4S on my performance model with lightweight aftermarket wheels, with the understanding that the 19" PS4S will be a softer, stickier compound, albeit not as long-lasting or efficient. Totally okay for me, since I bought a performance car and will drive it as such.
 

dhanson865

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Feb 16, 2013
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Knoxville, Tennessee
It's just a trade-off between rolling resistance and "stickiness". The OEM 20's are a harder compound made for Tesla specifically, as opposed to the retail PS4S, simply to keep the rolling resistance (i.e. range) higher.

I'll be selling the OEM 20's and getting the 19" PS4S on my performance model with lightweight aftermarket wheels, with the understanding that the 19" PS4S will be a softer, stickier compound, albeit not as long-lasting or efficient. Totally okay for me, since I bought a performance car and will drive it as such.

I'd say that is part of it, also there is the relative vs absolute factor.

Say an AA traction grade requires X performance and a 20" tire can more easily achieve that performance than a 18" tire can. That gives Michelin room to adjust the composition of the tire to extend tread life without reducing traction in absolute terms even if the resulting tire has less traction than it would with the same compound used in the 18" tire.
 
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dhanson865

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Feb 16, 2013
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Knoxville, Tennessee
Summer tires on 8-9 months a year. Winter tires 3-4 months a year. Boom. Best traction in all situations. No one should have a summer tire out and about in freezing weather.

We get cold snaps in March and April most years, we get them in November and December also. I could safely run Summer tires from May to October. Maybe 6 months (mid to late april to mid or late October) is the best I could do and that is pushing it. No way I'm paying for 2 sets of tires and letting one dry rot while I'm not driving it. I only do 10-12 thousand miles a year as is, imagine how many years it'd take to use the tread on both sets of tires.

I'll run All seasons that you very much.

But if you want to run summer tires I do think I'm suggesting you do it on something other than the stock 18" rims.
 
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Ejl80

Member
Dec 23, 2017
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Nj
We get cold snaps in March and April most years, we get them in November and December also. I could safely run Summer tires from May to October. Maybe 6 months is the best I could do and that is pushing it. No way I'm paying for 2 sets of tires and letting one dry rot while I'm not driving it. I only do 10-12 thousand miles a year as is, imagine how many years it'd take to use the tread on both sets of tires.

I'll run All seasons that you very much.

But if you want to run summer tires I do think I'm suggesting you do it on something other than the stock 18" rims.


Have you ever used winter tires and summer tires? If you ever had you'd never go back to using all seasons. All seasons suck in snow, are tolerable in summer. I only do 10-12 thousand miles a year as well. I don't understand why people are cheap about the only four things that touch the road. They are such a huge part of the driving experience. Even though both these tires are all seasons, compare the LRR tires to the tires on the 19 inches Stopping Distance and Grip With 18- and 19-inch Tires - 2017 Tesla Model 3 Long-Term Road Test. And no... it isn't because the wheels are 19 inchers. It is the tire that makes all the difference.
 

Petra

Member
Jan 31, 2015
813
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Palmdale, CA USA
Say an AA traction grade requires X performance and a 20" tire can more easily achieve that performance than a 18" tire can. That gives Michelin room to adjust the composition of the tire to extend tread life without reducing traction in absolute terms even if the resulting tire has less traction than it would with the same compound used in the 18" tire.
Except we're talking about tires that are the same width and only differ in overall diameter by 2/10"...
 

Daniel in SD

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Jan 25, 2018
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San Diego
Teslas wear out tires so fast that you'll never have to worry about dry rot unless you drive 5000 miles a year. I plan on keeping the all-seasons as snow wheels because here it can be 70 degrees at the start of your drive and snowing at the end if you drive up to the mountains.
It's just a trade-off between rolling resistance and "stickiness". The OEM 20's are a harder compound made for Tesla specifically, as opposed to the retail PS4S, simply to keep the rolling resistance (i.e. range) higher.
I suppose this is the most likely explanation, the Tesla OEM version has a harder compound with less traction. It's not hard to get an AA traction rating (there is no AAA). It doesn't seem like they're rescaled the rating system to account for modern tires.
 
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Petra

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Jan 31, 2015
813
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I suppose this is the most likely explanation, the Tesla OEM version has a harder compound with less traction. It's not hard to get an AA traction rating (there is no AAA). It doesn't seem like they're rescaled the rating system to account for modern tires.
That's what I was thinking regarding the difference in treadwear rating.
 

dhanson865

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Feb 16, 2013
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Knoxville, Tennessee
Have you ever used winter tires and summer tires? If you ever had you'd never go back to using all seasons. All seasons suck in snow, are tolerable in summer. I only do 10-12 thousand miles a year as well. I don't understand why people are cheap about the only four things that touch the road. They are such a huge part of the driving experience. Even though both these tires are all seasons, compare the LRR tires to the tires on the 19 inches Stopping Distance and Grip With 18- and 19-inch Tires - 2017 Tesla Model 3 Long-Term Road Test. And no... it isn't because the wheels are 19 inchers. It is the tire that makes all the difference.

Have you ever used your winter tires in snow, slush, or ice conditions?

In the last 5 years I've driven in snow 3 times, slush 0, ice 0. That's less than one hour driving over 5 years in winter road conditions.

It makes 0 sense to drive with snow tires all winter long because summer tires can't handle the cold, when I'm going to see 0 snow days.

So imagine that I see 50-70 inches of rain a year. I see heat near 100f every summer and below freezing every winter but I don't see snow and I can't safely drive summer tires in the winter.

It's not uncommon here in the fall/winter/spring to have a week of sub freezing or near freezing followed by two weeks of 80f followed by two weeks of near freezing. Would you really suggest I swap sets of tires every time a cold front or heat wave comes through? I sure know it isn't safe to drive the summer tires during the cold spells and I sure know the winter tires shed tred very fast when it is hot (not unsafe but very expensive to drive winter tires in summer conditions).

I mean sure I could drive a couple of weeks every year with the wrong set of tires on doing 2 pairs but it'd be expensive and suboptimal traction wise.

Simple answer, I drive "all season" tires because that is the best fit for the road conditions I face. I drive one set of tires because the only way that more than one set of tires would make sense is if I drive 3 sets. I'd have to go Summer tires, All Seasons, Winter tires, All Seasons, Summer tires. And if I don't want to do 2 sets why do you think I'd want to do 3?

I suppose if I had all the money in the world I could just have twice as many cars, get in the car with summer tires if it'll be warm enough and get in the car with winter tires if it will be cold enough. Then I wouldn't be swapping tires all the time and could swap for even a partial day or partial week and swap back. If you'd like to buy me another car I'm willing to do that. It'd cost me an extra couple hundred a year in tags and insurance but it'd be cheaper than hitting the tire shop 8 times a year to switch wheels (when you factor in not buying extra wheels).
 
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Ejl80

Member
Dec 23, 2017
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Nj
Have you ever used your winter tires in snow, slush, or ice conditions?

In the last 5 years I've driven in snow 3 times, slush 0, ice 0. That's less than one hour driving over 5 years in winter road conditions.

It makes 0 sense to drive with snow tires all winter long because summer tires can't handle the cold, when I'm going to see 0 snow days.

So imagine that I see 50-70 inches of rain a year. I see heat near 100f every summer and below freezing every winter but I don't see snow and I can't safely drive summer tires in the winter.

It's not uncommon here in the fall/winter/spring to have a week of sub freezing or near freezing followed by two weeks of 80f followed by two weeks of near freezing. Would you really suggest I swap sets of tires every time a cold front or heat wave comes through? I sure know it isn't safe to drive the summer tires during the cold spells and I sure know the winter tires shed tred very fast when it is hot (not unsafe but very expensive to drive winter tires in summer conditions).

I mean sure I could drive a couple of weeks every year with the wrong set of tires on doing 2 pairs but it'd be expensive and suboptimal traction wise.

Simple answer, I drive "all season" tires because that is the best fit for the road conditions I face. I drive one set of tires because the only way that more than one set of tires would make sense is if I drive 3 sets. I'd have to go Summer tires, All Seasons, Winter tires, All Seasons, Summer tires. And if I don't want to do 2 sets why do you think I'd want to do 3?

I suppose if I had all the money in the world I could just have twice as many cars, get in the car with summer tires if it'll be warm enough and get in the car with winter tires if it will be cold enough. Then I wouldn't be swapping tires all the time and could swap for even a partial day or partial week and swap back. If you'd like to buy me another car I'm willing to do that. It'd cost me an extra couple hundred a year in tags and insurance but it'd be cheaper than hitting the tire shop 8 times a year to switch wheels (when you factor in not buying extra wheels).


It does the same things here. And yes, I've driven in snow, etc. We get almost the same amount of rain. So this whole thread is about you warning people that summer tires might not work for THEM because they don't work for you? And that tire OEMs make custom tires with the same names as other tires for different car manufacturers? This isn't common knowledge?
 
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Knightshade

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Jul 31, 2017
12,830
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Have you ever used your winter tires in snow, slush, or ice conditions?

In the last 5 years I've driven in snow 3 times, slush 0, ice 0. That's less than one hour driving over 5 years in winter road conditions.

It makes 0 sense to drive with snow tires all winter long because summer tires can't handle the cold, when I'm going to see 0 snow days.

Except that they work better than all seasons when it's cold.

And summers work better than all seasons when it's warm.

All-seasons suck. In all seasons.


So imagine that I see 50-70 inches of rain a year.

And every stop you make in it with all seasons will be significantly longer than with dedicated seasonal tires.

Edmunds tested all 3 types of tire, keeping the rest as similar as possible (same car, and same tire maker in same size- Michelin in fact!)

In wet (non-freezing) conditions, the all seasons finished a distant third in stopping distance from 60 mph-taking almost 60 feet longer to stop on all seasons than summer tires. (Winters still managed to beat the all seasons by almost 35 feet).

In snow conditions the all seasons again take nearly 60 feet longer to stop from 60mph than the proper (winter) tires for the occasion. The summers of course suck here- but it sounds like you virtually never drive in snow anyway so not much issue there either way.

Only in warm and dry do the all seasons manage a non-embarrassing performance, and even then they come in second best to the summer tires- with the AS tires taking "only" 11 extra feet to stop from 60.


I mean sure I could drive a couple of weeks every year with the wrong set of tires on doing 2 pairs but it'd be expensive and suboptimal traction wise.

Instead you're on all-seasons. Which are sub-optimal traction wise 100% of the time.... so there's that.

It's not really that much more expensive either, since the 2 pairs aren't both driven all the time it's not like you replace 2 sets just as fast as you'd otherwise replace 1... (unless you're comparing excellent performance summer tires to crap "touring" all seasons- which will indeed last twice as long but offer really garbage traction the whole time in comparison)


Simple answer, I drive "all season" tires because that is the best fit for the road conditions I face.

There's literally never a time all seasons are the best fit for any road condition.

They're often the best fit for "not doing a little extra work to knock 20-30% off stopping distance" I guess... but that's not an awesome goal.
 

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