Tesla vehicles are perfect in so many ways, but not when it comes to tires. If you own a Tesla and participate in any Tesla clubs or online forums, you know that tire-related questions, complaints, and commiserations are very common topics. So how do you know where to go in order to get the best prices and service for replacement tires and tire services for your Tesla Model 3, Model Y, or if you have a unicorn Model S or Model X?
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We found information on that question in two main places. First, we scoured the Tesla clubs to see what trends owners reported. We took note of where owners reported good results when looking for help with Tesla tires. Then we called Tesla. We spoke to an experienced service writer employed by Tesla who works in the Peabody, Massachusetts service center. This is a high-volume service center. It’s not the oldest one in New England, but it has been open for many years. Last, I’ll incorporate some of my own experience with tire shops. I test cars, and I test tires. Last fall, I counted how many tires I owned for my personal cars and came up with 23. It’s an addiction, but I can quit anytime I want!
What Did Tesla Tell Us About Tires? I am no stranger to Tesla service centers. As part of my vehicle reporting research, I have visited to pick up test-drive cars, tour the facilities when they open, and get images. What struck me every time I looked into a Tesla service area was how tire-centric the shop seemed to be. There are tires stacked everywhere, and many of the vehicles in for “service” are actually there for tire-related needs. Rotations, repairs, and new tires. I spoke with my contact at Tesla primarily about the Model 3 and Model Y. No offense to our Model X and Model S owners, but you are a tiny minority of Tesla owners. Tesla barely sells Model X and S cars in America today. By contrast, the Model 3 and Model Y are top-sellers in their size and shape segments, not just the “EV segment.” The experienced Tesla employee we spoke to validated the short tire life reports posted by owners on many Tesla club posts.
Here are the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y lifespans an experienced Tesla service employee says that he and his Tesla Service Center co-workers have observed:
Trims Other Than Performance Most common tire lifespan is 25K to 35K miles. Expected Min 15K, expected Max 45K
Performance Trims Most common tire lifespan is 15K to 20K miles. Expected Min 5K, expected Max 25K
You don’t have to be a tire expert to see that Tesla vehicles use up tires a lot more rapidly than mainstream vehicles their size. Teslas go through tires roughly twice as fast as a car like a Civic or a crossover like a RAV4 does. In fact, given that the majority of vehicle maintenance costs are tire-related, Tesla's high cost for tires negates much of the savings in maintenance over ICE cars.
Related Topic: One Winter Prep Item You Must Not Skip With An Electric Vehicle Tesla’s owner's manuals state that the tire rotation schedule is every 6,250 miles or when tread depth varies by 1/16th of an inch - whichever comes first. Tesla also recommends tire balancing as needed and wheel alignments as needed. Unhappy with this schedule? Blame Tesla. It is not our opinion. Related Story: Tire Biz Expert Reports EV Owners Suffer Sticker Shock Syndrome
Best Place To Get Tires and Tire Services For Your Tesla - At a Tesla Service Center If you live near enough to a Tesla Service Center, having the Tesla Service Center handle all of your Tesla tire-related needs is a great option. Many Tesla Service Centers also have mobile Tesla vans that can also help you at your location. It’s worth asking if they can help you if you get a flat. There are only two downsides to using Tesla for your tire needs - Cost and inventory. Tesla’s employee with whom we spoke said to us, “You don’t have to bring your Tesla to a Serice Center for tire-related work. You can go anywhere, and it may save you money.” If cost is your first priority, we suggest heeding this advice. However, Tesla vehicles are luxury-priced, not affordably-priced. We respect that there may be Tesla owners who prefer to bring their Tesla to a Service Center for tire needs, particularly if they are having other things done to their Tesla. Perhaps a brake cleaning and lubrication and brake fluid quality check? Or maybe to have the air filters changed out. All of these are part of the Tesla recommended services in the owner’s manual. Or maybe you getting glass services or are having a misaligned interior panel fixed. Who knows? The point is, if you are already going to be at Tesla’s Service Center anyway, why not let the experts help you with your tire needs?
Availability is also a reason to explore other options. Will Tesla have Michelin CrossClimate2 tires, winter tires, or some other popular non-OEM tire model in stock? Almost definitely not. Maybe they can get the tires you want for you, but a tire retailer may likely have them on the shelf.
Cons of Using Tesla Service Centers Higher than average costs. Limited in-stock availability.
Best Place To Get Tires and Tire Services For Your Tesla - Costco Scour the Tesla clubs, and you will quickly find that a LOT of Tesla owners like Costco. Many Tesla owners are already members, and they know that Costco offers tremendous value and low prices. Costco also offers rotation, balancing, inflation checks, and flat repairs for the life of the tire. According to Tesla of Peabody, Mass., Tesla charges $65 to rotate tires. If you instead use Costco after your first tire replacement, you can save as much as a thousand dollars just in rotations over 100,000 miles of service life. Costco even offers free nitrogen if you like to think there is a benefit to using it.
Cons of Using Costco Does your local Costco tire shop offer wheel alignments? Hmm. That is sort of a problem. Most folks like to have that option when they buy new tires to ensure the best treadwear and longest life.
Best Place To Get Tires and Tire Services For Your Tesla - A National Or Regional Tire Chain Big-name tire chains can help you with all of your tesla tire-related needs. Most top-rated tire retailers offer the same benefits as Costco does, but almost all will also align your car, and they may even be able to do any brake-related maintenance. Inventory is a plus for these chains. If they don't have it on sight, the chances are very good they operate a local warehouse with on-the-spot tire delivery.
Related Story: Goodyear Introduces a Tesla Model Y New Tire Chains like NTB, Town Fair Tire, Goodyear, Firestone, Pep Boys, Walmart, and Discount Tire all offer great prices and service. Or they don’t. Read reviews on Google Maps to find out if the chain near you is making customers happy. We suggest sorting the reviews by “Newest.”
Cons of Using Tire Chains Each one has its own workforce and quality of work.
Best Place To Get Tires and Tire Services For Your Tesla - Tire Rack With Your Local Trusted Mechanic We are big fans of Tire Rack and Discount Tire (Now merged). These online retailers are a trusted source of tire information, and they offer great on-the-phone help. It is hard to beat the prices these online retailers offer for rubber.
Cons - You are still going to need a local installer. Who will be less than thrilled you showed up with your own rubber to save a few bucks.
Best Place To Get Tires and Tire Services For Your Tesla - Your Local Trusted Mechanic (Without Tire Rack) As I have explained, I am a tire addict. Over my many decades of life, I have tried pretty much every tire retailer chain in the New England area. Except when I get a flat in front of one of them, I never use them anymore. The reason is that I’m tired of shoddy haphazard work. The last two times I tried to use a tire chain, the tires were not properly balanced. So bad the car had to go right back. More than once, my rims were damaged by unskilled techs. I simply do not trust these bottom-dollar employers to have skilled or caring technicians in their employ. Don’t get me wrong; I’m sure there are some great ones, but I have been burned too many times. I prefer local shops with highly-skilled and highly-motivated mechanics and tire techs. Shops vary in what they offer. I look for modern mounting and balancing equipment like Hunter Road Force machines. I speak to the owners and become comfortable with the shop’s work, or I won’t work with the shop. The biggest surprise I have had is that many local shops have prices equal to or very near to Tire Rack for the rubber itself. So I see no downside.
Cons - Some shops don’t specialize in tire work. Best Place To Get Tires and Tire Services For Your Tesla - Mobile Tire Companies Here in Metro Boston, there is a company I often use. It is called Boston Mobile Tire. The owner, Jay, is a trustworthy guy who knows so much about tires I consider him a leading expert and often ask him for help with tire stories. Jay offers on-site tire services, and he is meticulous in his work, using the most modern equipment along with hand-held torque wrenches. Many high-end car owners work with Jay.
Cons - No alignment options, difficulty dealing with frozen lug nuts.
Conclusion - Best Place To Get Tires and Tire Services For Your Tesla If you own a Tesla, one of your highest cost of ownership categories will be tire costs. In addition, tires will also be the most frequent maintenance you have performed on your Tesla, as often as twice or more per year, depending on how much you drive. Having a trusted tire service provider is a must. No single option will fit all Tesla owners. We hope that our detailed overview sheds some light on the available options. If you own a Tesla, please tell us in the comments below where you have found the best overall tire services. Image of Tesla service center and mobile van by John Goreham. Boston Mobile Tire Image courtesy of Jay Condrick.
John Goreham is an experienced New England Motor Press Association member and expert vehicle tester. John completed an engineering program with a focus on electric vehicles, followed by two decades of work in high-tech, biopharma, and the automotive supply chain before becoming a news contributor. In addition to his ten years of work at Torque News, John has published thousands of articles and reviews at American news outlets. He is known for offering unfiltered opinions on vehicle topics. You can follow John on Twitter, and TikTok @ToknCars, and view his credentials at Linkedin