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Wheel/Tire Comparisons

caddieo

Member
Mar 21, 2013
876
21
Palm Coast, FL
I am having trouble deciding between 21 and 19 inch wheels. I get the impression that tire longevity is much shorter with the 21 inchers. In addition, 21 inch replacement tires appear to be a whole lot more expensive than 19-inchers especially if Z-rated. Anybody out there care to clarify/confirm/refute this issue? Also, what would be the difference between the two in terms of drivability, performance and range?
 

efusco

Moderator - Model S & X forums
Moderator
Mar 29, 2009
5,425
685
Nixa, Missouri, United States
I am having trouble deciding between 21 and 19 inch wheels. I get the impression that tire longevity is much shorter with the 21 inchers. In addition, 21 inch replacement tires appear to be a whole lot more expensive than 19-inchers especially if Z-rated. Anybody out there care to clarify/confirm/refute this issue? Also, what would be the difference between the two in terms of drivability, performance and range?

Someone more expert may correct me, but your summary is pretty accurate...a quick look on tire rack will give you prices for comparison.

The 19" seem to be more efficient and add a bit more range compared to the 21"

I think it's fair to say that if you're getting the performance and want to drive it as a performance then you should probably bite the bullet and go for the 21". For me in my standard/non-performance the 19" are great and I'm happy to have the improved efficiency.
 

dsm363

Roadster + Sig Model S
Moderator
May 17, 2009
18,279
160
Nevada
The 21" rims are basically for looks and better traction. Since you live in Florida, you can probably get away with summer tires all year around so the 21" rims and tires are a possibility but they will last probably 1/2 as long as the all season 19" tires.
 

yobigd20

Well-Known Member
Oct 28, 2012
5,929
540
Skaneateles, NY
in addition to the above posts, from what I've read the 21s ride harsher than the 19s, and more prone to rim damage. so with the 19s you get better range, better ride comfort, ~50-~100% longer treadwear (related to this, less toe/camber wear on inner tire, some owners needing 21" replacement after 6000-7000miles), 19s cheaper to replace, easier to replace too (more options with 19s), and much more unlikely to scrape rims on curbs or dent/damage them when you hit a pothole. pretty much and easy choice I think...unless you don't mind replacing the 21s a few times a year.
 
21" replacements are ~ $200 at sears for the conti's. I drive hard (read :spinning on takeoffs) and my tires are getting punished ~ 25-30% left after ~6000 miles but I think they would last for 20k if I wasn't killing them + all of our roads through the hills are windy and I have tried to get into a full slide several times.

we do have some crappy roads in the cities of Humboldt but most of our freeways are decent (until slides/ Earthquakes mess them up) Pot holes are mostly avoidable or not quite wide enough/deep enough currently for a problem.

Parking next to curbs is tricky since the car is so wide and hard to judge the edge with the extra width in the rear
 

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