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Tires! A Cautionary Tale

Koolio46

Member
Aug 26, 2020
468
193
Boston, MA
I have the performance package with the 21" tires. I got a screw in a rear tire right in the middle of the tread. Easy fix I thought. WRONG! Took the car to a local big box tire facility and when they pulled the tire it had the acoustic foam! The manager remarked that he didn't even know Perelli made an acoustic foam tire. He said they cannot patch it because the foam is glued into the tire and it would ruin their tool. So he said I needed to contact Tesla because he could not order that tire. So I called Tesla roadside service and they said the foam tires cannot be fixed and it would cost me $462.50 for a new one. I just about blew a gasket. My front one that I destroyed a year ago was only $325 and it was truly unusable. This situation is I have a simple screw puncture. So I read an obscure thread on here about taking it to a "small shop" and get a plug. So I found a hole in the wall small tire shop that would do plugs. However when I got there the owner said "we can patch that tire! We have done it before on Tesla's. I explained what the other guy told me and what Tesla said about needing a new tire and he laughed. So I watch in delight as they carefully pulled back the acoustic foam, removed the residual glue, put a bonafide patch on and the reset the foam with some of their glue. I looked perfect when done! Total cost... $25. Your results may vary.
That’s great to hear.

If you google how to repair a tire with foam insulation, one of the results is a how to article from GM (of all companies). They show exactly what your tire repair person did - carefully cut and remove the foam, patch the hole, re-apply the foam piece.
 

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
10,202
5,108
Plugging a tire requires a significant amount of strength, and experience. A rear flat? Requires a jack and removing the wheel from the car.

Fact: not all Tesla owners are capable of plugging a tire, especially on the side of the road. A flat tire is NOT the time to learn this.

Current water-based sealants are useful, as a last resort, in an emergency: awaiting roadside service when it's 20f or 110f out and they're 2 hours away.
I wouldn't say it takes experience (there are instructions that come with every kit) and if you follow the instructions (which usually ask to take the wheel off the car regardless of which wheel it was), it doesn't really take much strength either, given you can use your entire body weight on the reamer and plug tool (especially with a kit with a t-handle).

It takes more strength to remove the lugs with the tire iron (although a tip in many manuals is to loosen them first by standing on the tire iron, before jacking up the car), but that's a procedure you are supposed to learn just from cars with a traditional spare.

Certainly the sealants are far easier for most people, but they can ruin sensors and some shops refuse to work on tires that have such sealants applied, due to the mess they make. Also not sure how it affects the foam (it might be possible to still clean a regular tire, but that goop is likely going to be hard to clean off the foam).
 

Pianewman

Member
Oct 28, 2020
949
633
Fort Worth
stopcrazypp: I agree with all of the above. However, all of the above is moot with most Amuhricans. I'm afraid the vast majority will sit in their cars, earbuds in, waiting for roadside assistance..
 

Canefan456

Member
Sep 26, 2020
77
77
Atlanta
Plugging a tire requires a significant amount of strength, and experience. A rear flat? Requires a jack and removing the wheel from the car.

Fact: not all Tesla owners are capable of plugging a tire, especially on the side of the road. A flat tire is NOT the time to learn this.

Current water-based sealants are useful, as a last resort, in an emergency: awaiting roadside service when it's 20f or 110f out and they're 2 hours away.
My puncture was on a rear tire and I was able to plug it without removing the wheel but it wasn't easy. A front tire would be much easier to do with the wheel remaining on the car.
 

monteitis

Member
Feb 15, 2021
39
41
Greater Los Angeles Area
stopcrazypp: I agree with all of the above. However, all of the above is moot with most Amuhricans. I'm afraid the vast majority will sit in their cars, earbuds in, waiting for roadside assistance..

Man I don't want to believe that!

Shop can remove your emergency plug and patch it for a better repair. I'd carry a cheap plug kit, I guess the space killer would be a tire iron and a portable jack rated well enough for a heavy EV.

Until then, ICE for long trips methinks.
 

Hayseed_MS

Who's the Good Doge?
Jan 19, 2021
1,114
3,728
Strongbadia
Man I don't want to believe that!

Shop can remove your emergency plug and patch it for a better repair. I'd carry a cheap plug kit, I guess the space killer would be a tire iron and a portable jack rated well enough for a heavy EV.

Until then, ICE for long trips methinks.

What does EV v ICE have to do with a flat tire?
 

ChrisMPK

Member
May 15, 2018
78
82
Monterey Park, CA
What does EV v ICE have to do with a flat tire?

Nothing. Tires are tires. I've plugged many tires, front and rear and it really doesn't take that much strength on a passenger vehicle. With summon it would actually be a much easier job to get the patch lined up for easy access. I've also done it on heavy duty truck tires many times and that requires a good bit of strength.
 

HughH

Member
May 27, 2020
14
0
Arlington TX
Sadly, you're not the first to tell this story. Glad your tire is repaired.

I haven't asked, but I believe I've seen that Discount Tire does this routine repair.
I have had two Pirelli flats on two different Bimmers and Discount refused to fix them due to Pirellis instructions. Each was close to $400. BTW - They were both run-flat tires and the puncture was right in the middle of the thread.
 

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
10,202
5,108
I have had two Pirelli flats on two different Bimmers and Discount refused to fix them due to Pirellis instructions. Each was close to $400. BTW - They were both run-flat tires and the puncture was right in the middle of the thread.
For run-flat tires, pretty much all manufacturers officially do not recommend repairing, due to possible hidden damage to it after running them flat. See note from the Continental page I linked:
"SSR TIRES: Even a trained tire specialist may be unable to recognize internal structural damage to a Self Supporting Run flat (SSR) tire resulting from having been driven in an under inflated or zero pressure condition. Such damage may not be visible on the surface of the inner liner or sidewall making it impossible to determine the tire suitability for repair or reuse. Continental does not recommend any repair to or reuse of Continental SSR tires. "

Tires with acoustic foam however are no different than regular tires, the repair shop just needs to cut out a portion of the foam and proceed with a regular tire repair.

That said, as I link above, Pirelli's official warranty guidelines recommend against repairing even their PNCS (acoustic foam) tires. They offer a Road Hazard warranty in lieu. However, Continental in contrast does allow repairing them (even provides linked guide).
 
Sep 10, 2017
381
327
Buffalo NY
This tire plugging nonsense is just that, nonsense. I’ve driven 10’s of thousands of miles with plus’s in tires. FYI, my last Volvo had the dumb foam in the tires, had a plug in one of those tires for like 20,000miles. I’m still here, no issues. If the plug is in or near the sidewall, I’d get a new tire, but other than that, just plug the tire and get on with your life.
 

Hblick48

Member
May 13, 2020
125
86
Folsom, CA
Its a PITA, but I carry a Modern Spare and their toolkit. Slime, air pimp and plugs do you no good if you have a sidewall puncture. I can have my Tire changed before roadside service is even dispatched.
 

Automobilist

Member
Feb 18, 2021
59
53
Orange County, CA
As I read through this, I find this thread is a good example of how the car you come from can pretty significantly affect your perspective of Tesla's (or any car for that matter).

Coming from around 13 years of BMWs (which all had run-flats). The concept of repairing a tire after a puncture is already pretty alien to me (it cannot be done (safely) on run-flats, and on top of that they tend to be extremely expensive). Basically a 21" run-flat can easily run over $600 installed, and in many cases if they're worn you'll need to plan on replacing both tires on the axle. Basically if you get a puncture on run-flats with a BMW you are easily looking at $800 - $1200 for the tires, and another $250 for a full alignment.

Thankfully in all of that time I only ended up getting 2 flats, and my wheels were significantly smaller than 21".
 

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