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The Tesla Model X needs a third tire wheel option


Dec 23, 2013
United States, NE Ohio
This is a long story that I believe highlights the need for an alternative wheel / tire option from the factory from Tesla for people that use their Model X as their primary car and drive outside of the network of Tesla service centers. The Tesla is my only automobile so it gets used in all kinds of weather and conditions, I suspect that is not the case with a lot of people.

I recently undertook my first long cross country drive in my 2016 Model X P90D. NE Ohio to Omaha, NE and back in 6 days. My car is factory equipped with the 20 wheel option, 255 45 20 front and 275 45 20 rear, Michelin with foam inserts. Being a retired engineer and knowing most of the trip past Chicago was Tesla no man’s land I took one of my Tesla supplied 19 inch mounted snow tires as a spare. I used the rear compartment anchor points and strapped it into the trunk of the car. While off I80 in Coralville ( Near Iowa City ) Iowa looking for the supercharger I saw a low right rear tire pressure alarm at a stop light. I let the car rock forward and could tell the tire was not yet flat. In the 30 to 60 seconds waiting for the stop light when I started to roll again I could tell the tire had gone flat. I had a 600 ft or so to drive to get to a safe place to pull off and though it likely I would ruin the tire but had to drive to a safe place. I hooked up my Tesla supplied 12 volt compressor and could immediately hear the leak, there was a large chunk of metal in the center of the tread and the air leaked out immediately.

I knew Tesla was not likely to be helpful but called Tesla roadside assistance and explained the situation and they agreed that AAA would be a much quicker response so I called them. AAA came out put my snow tire on and I went over to the supercharger to charge. I have been a AAA member for probably 50 years and get lots of maps and travel info from them all the time. This is my first car without a spare, jack and lug wrench. I have always changed my own flats. So after 50 years I got to use AAA flat service. While at the supercharger I looked for a Michelin tire dealer since I still had about 1100 miles of driving and again did not want to go without a spare.

I found a local Discount Tire operation about 2 miles away and proceeded there. After removing the tire from the rim the bad news was I had destroyed the tire getting to a safe place after it went flat. The exceptionally helpful sales guy, Anthony Olson, did not have a tire in stock so called to determine if any of their multiple locations in Iowa had the tire, none did. I believe he then called Michelin who told him they did not have availability and also that Discount Tire, who was the largest Michelin Tire dealer in Iowa, was not authorized to sell the tire!! After lots more phone calls he found a substitute tire at one of his Discount Tire operations in Omaha, 200 miles further down the road where I was heading. He made the arrangements and the next morning in Omaha I went and got the Falkan brand tire installed on my 20 inch rim and my 19 inch mounted snow tire was back in my trunk strapped down as my spare.

After arriving home I called my local tire dealer that deals in multiple brands including Michelin. He has no availability on the OEM Michelin tire, I contacted the local Costco who deal in Michelin tires he said he did not know why but he also could not get the correct tire Michelin Latitude Sport 3 275/45/20 110Y XL acoustic tech.

For people that live / travel outside the network of Tesla Service Centers the OEM Michelin tire is an unacceptable choice. You MUST be able to find a tire in remote locations if you have tire failure. Especially in a car with no spare!

The obvious solution is a non staggered 19 inch setup that does not use a Tesla exclusive tire.

I had previously priced a set of 19 inch rims from Tesla and was thinking about installing summer/all season tires on a set and selling the staggered 20 inch set. This experience has confirmed that to be the right decision. I now need to schedule a trip to the Tesla SC to get the correct tire installed and then have a tire I have no use for the Falan

I would like to send this note to Tesla any idea on the best way to do that?


Retired Professional Engineer


Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
West Vancouver, British Columbia
Ron, thanks for posting your story. Based on where you live and travel, it sounds like you would want to carry a 20" Michelin OEM spare, or switch to 19" wheels and carry a 19" spare.

Call Tesla and ask them for an email address so you can email them your story. See this page for Tesla contact information Contact | Tesla


Dec 23, 2013
United States, NE Ohio
The front and back tires are a different size with the 20s, staggered setup.

The rear tires are too wide for the front and the front tires don't have the proper load rating for the back. Converting to a square 19 inch setup solves both of those issue.


Active Member
Apr 10, 2014
I took one of my Tesla supplied 19 inch mounted snow tires as a spare.
How come you had to wait for AAA? Did you take a spare tire, but not a jack?

You also don't need the replacement tire to have the acoustic foam in it. I certainly wouldn't worry about that if I was trying to replace a spare on a trip. There are also a few other brands of tires that are in that size available as well.

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