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Tires and wear... a little frustrated about it

skboston

Member
Aug 30, 2014
249
4
Wilmington, MA
Well, I'm one of those earlier cars with 21" staggered setup and not too long ago (4 months and about 10000 miles) my rear left tire decided to play a joke with me last night. As soon as the tire sensor warned me about low pressure, I pulled over and once I got out of the car I heard the loud air noise coming out of my rear left tire and it didn't take long to realize this isn't a nail and the tire kit won't help as this is the 2nd time I have rear left tire fail in the same manner.

It was close to home, so I was able to get one of my 19" wheels from home dropped off and replace the bad tire. What I wasn't expecting is to see such bad wear on the inner side.
I knew that this uneven wear was a problem on earlier cars, but about a month ago I was at the service center for replacement of rear control arms and bushings, alignment and not even a 1000 miles driven after that, I get to see this:
20151027_113543.jpg
20151027_113549.jpg


I can't understand why Tesla didn't warn me about this bad wear on the rear tires as they must have removed the tires in the first place for the service they did and I'm sure it takes more than 1000 miles to see such uneven wear on them.
The way I see the tires, there is at least 3-4000 miles left in them only if the wear was symmetrical.
For the record my front tires look like brand new with minimal signs of wear:
20151027_120202.jpg


I don't see this as normal car behavior and despite the power to the rear wheels, this is very unusual wear and points to a flaw in the car.
What do you guys think and what is your experience?
 

Nigel Tufnel

Member
Oct 3, 2013
171
30
SF Bay Area
I wonder if you had your VIN number in your signature whether you'd be contacted by Tesla?

Although I think we have similar cars, I've not noticed your dramatic wear pattern. I do notice that the tires wear out much faster than on any car I've ever had.
 

Battman

Member
Sep 7, 2015
57
5
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Recently I had met with the service manager of Vancouver (Mark). He had warned me that low profile summer tires will wear extremely quickly along the inside just like yours did. He said to expect 12-15K KM maximum; which is close to what you got. He blamed the excessive wear on the way the car accelerates, particularly when launching hard. The rear tires angle inwards as the rear of the car squats during heavy acceleration, causing more wear of the inner part of the tire.

Unfortunately no way around this problem other than changing to higher profile tires. Also this does happen to other cars; my friends BMW 550i RWD had similar wear problems with low profile tires.
 

kort677

Banned
Sep 17, 2015
4,801
2,242
florida.
a lot of other performance cars share this issue, teslas can usually be adjusted, my SL550 would eat rear tires, 15k miles was good wear!
 

skboston

Member
Aug 30, 2014
249
4
Wilmington, MA
@Battman

Thanks for the input, I'll see what the local SC has to say about this.

I would have expected to see faster wear on the rears, although I would expect to be more even and not such a huge difference between the inner, center and outer parts of the tires.
The other thing that bugs me is why Tesla didn't warn me about the wear at my last visit, where they replaced a bunch of stuff and did an alignment of the car. I can't imagine my tires will just melt in 1000 miles as bad as they are now.

My winter wheels are 19" and had no such problem last winter (I just put them on, will go and re-check my alignment to make sure it's fine) , is it this much of a difference between 265/35/21 and 245/45/19 when it comes to uneven wear?
 

steve841

Active Member
Jan 17, 2010
1,942
648
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
I presume most of you have air suspension ....

Since I have setting to "never lower" my uneven wear is all but gone.

IMHO this is the cause for accelerated wear (along with a Tesla tech that does the initial alignment).
 

wraithnot

Model 3 VIN #2942 Model S VIN #5785
Dec 16, 2012
569
408
SF Bay Area
I have an early VIN S85 with 19" wheels and I saw a similar wear pattern with my first set of tires (although it's not as extreme with the 19" tires and I caught it before it caused a flat). I asked the service center to install the new camber bolts and it made a night-and-day difference. The rear tires still wear faster than the fronts, but the wear pattern now looks much more even. I'm not sure if this change is applicable to your car, but it's probably worth asking about.
 

blanche

Member
Jun 30, 2015
100
8
Leesburg, Virginia
All my Porsche's used to have the exact same problem. Lots of horsepower going to the rear-wheels, heavy engine sitting on top of the rear wheels, and a gas pedal that begs to be pushed. I don't think I ever got more than 10k miles out of the rear tires ever. So I'd say you're doing pretty well.

Btw, this problem was also there my BMW X5 with the upgraded summer wheels. The inner shoulder rubbed itself down in less than 10k miles while the outer shoulder looked brand new. This is pretty much the expected outcome with heavy cars, lots of HP and sticky summer performance tires.
 

skboston

Member
Aug 30, 2014
249
4
Wilmington, MA
@wraithnot

Thanks for the feedback, I'm planning to bring the wheels to Tesla to examine them and will ask about the camber bolts.

@steve841 My setup is on Normal, I used to have it to Low always, but it's been on Normal for most of the time since I had these tires installed in June.
 

MrJones390

Space Boat
Jun 26, 2015
246
47
Los Angeles
I told the Service center that "I noticed the inner edge of all my tires are at 0/32 even though the outer and center are at 4-6. Is this an alignment issue, or is it normal?" and here is their response:

"It’s normal. Tesla Model S’s rear suspension cambers are slightly negative (negative camber) to enhance the handling and performance of the vehicle. This negative camber means the inner edge of tires will wear more quickly than the middle and outer edge. This occurs on every Tesla Model S."
 

bluetinc

Member
May 11, 2009
760
176
MD
I also have an early P85 and dealt with this same issue with my service center. There is also a very long tread here on TMC with lots of great details about this issue and alignment numbers. Your wear looks to be from incorrect toe on the rear wheels, rather than the camber (like they flipped positive and negative). The incorrect toe will cause the very inside edge of the tire to scrub, which is what you see. The camber settings would cause uneven wear, but that would be gradual across the entire tire. There was a period where the alignment machines at the service centers had the incorrect settings for our cars. Do you have the alignment sheet to show what your car was before and after the alignment? With correct toe, and the camber set within specified limits (usually requiring the new bolts on the older cars), you should be able to almost entirely eliminate this. My current 21" tires have even wear across the entire width of the tire. I use my auto lowering, and have it set to lower at 50mph.

Peter

- - - Updated - - -

What the response is describing is a wear pattern that looks like (inner) 2 -----3------4 (outer). That could be considered normal. You described (inner) 0 ----- 6------6 (outer). What you describe is not normal.


I told the Service center that "I noticed the inner edge of all my tires are at 0/32 even though the outer and center are at 4-6. Is this an alignment issue, or is it normal?" and here is their response:

"It’s normal. Tesla Model S’s rear suspension cambers are slightly negative (negative camber) to enhance the handling and performance of the vehicle. This negative camber means the inner edge of tires will wear more quickly than the middle and outer edge. This occurs on every Tesla Model S."
 

artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,260
3,244
Timonium, Maryland
Well, I'm one of those earlier cars with 21" staggered setup and not too long ago (4 months and about 10000 miles) my rear left tire decided to play a joke with me last night. As soon as the tire sensor warned me about low pressure, I pulled over and once I got out of the car I heard the loud air noise coming out of my rear left tire and it didn't take long to realize this isn't a nail and the tire kit won't help as this is the 2nd time I have rear left tire fail in the same manner.

It was close to home, so I was able to get one of my 19" wheels from home dropped off and replace the bad tire. What I wasn't expecting is to see such bad wear on the inner side.
I knew that this uneven wear was a problem on earlier cars, but about a month ago I was at the service center for replacement of rear control arms and bushings, alignment and not even a 1000 miles driven after that, I get to see this:
View attachment 99340View attachment 99341

I can't understand why Tesla didn't warn me about this bad wear on the rear tires as they must have removed the tires in the first place for the service they did and I'm sure it takes more than 1000 miles to see such uneven wear on them.
The way I see the tires, there is at least 3-4000 miles left in them only if the wear was symmetrical.
For the record my front tires look like brand new with minimal signs of wear:
View attachment 99342

I don't see this as normal car behavior and despite the power to the rear wheels, this is very unusual wear and points to a flaw in the car.
What do you guys think and what is your experience?

As others have indicated this is not a flaw in the car but the result of incorrect alignment.

You need to do two things.

1. Get a correct alignment done. And it doesn't need to be done by Tesla service -- any good alignment shop can do this. Mine is never done by Tesla but by a local guy who knows his stuff and I completely trust.

2. Consider installing adjustable rear camber links. There are a number of threads on this topic and I advise you review them.
 

skboston

Member
Aug 30, 2014
249
4
Wilmington, MA
@artsci

I've done 2 alignments in 4 months, since I was in an accident and then at Tesla for Service, where I specifically asked for alignment as I didn't trust the body shop with their work. if I can't trust Tesla SC to do the alignment according to specs or make the correct adjustments on the the suspension, how does that makes it my fault? I can't go every week to check my alignment and make sure it has the correct settings.

I'll review the other topics on the subject, speak and drop the wheels at Tesla and see what happens from there.

@bluetinc

I don't have the numbers on the alignment, doesn't show it on my sheet when I got the car from Tesla. Thanks for your input!
 

Jool

Member
Jun 26, 2015
285
6
San Diego, CA
That is some seriously terrible inner tread wear. My old G35 coupe had staggered wheels and a bad habit of eating through tires in 15k miles or less. But the wear was much more gradual from the outer to inner parts of the tread. You'll definitely want to look into getting an alignment - make sure they set the rear toe spot on!
 

mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
9,413
11,016
California
I think this is unique to rear wheel drive and 21" wheels.
My 85D with 19" wheels has perfectly even tire wear. After 20,000 miles all four tires are worn equally (rotated twice) and the tread wear from inside to middle to outside is also even (less than 1mm difference)... and still lots of tread left on the tires (original Michelin Primacy).
 

Alysashley79

Active Member
Oct 4, 2013
1,201
513
Seattle(ish) WA
I have a rwd p85 wth primaries. I've got 69k and been through three sets of tires. First set was sort of like your tires but was all 4 tires second set was even wear and now my last set I have on only about 5k into them. I would ask where you live. You can have a good alignment done somewhere and then hit a pothole which will completely throw off alignment. Another thing I always ask is when they had their machine calibrated. That alone can make even the best tech do a terrible job on your car.
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Mar 8, 2012
19,729
22,808
Texas
The inside wear shown in the photos is mainly due to toe-out. The camber amplifies the wear. I had this on the original 19" tires. One the toe was corrected, the problem went away. Of course, ti would also be nice to be able to adjust the camber so that toe being out wouldn't kill the tires so quickly.
 

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