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Tires & Wheels

Tesla Model 3 Rims Ultimate Guide: Fitment, Setups, OEM vs Non, & More

My initial plan was to share the best aftermarket rim options for the Model 3, but after going through dozens of forum discussions, I had to share MUCH more about Tesla Model 3 rims.

People didn’t understand certain concepts and had plenty of concerns, so I felt responsible to explain and address everything to make life easier for other Model 3 owners like you.

Here’s what I’ll be sharing in this ultimate guide to Tesla Model 3 rims:

  • A comprehensive guide to avoid wheel fitment confusion for good
  • A brief comparison between Tesla’s OEM rims (and who should stick to those)
  • The #1 aftermarket wheel brand the Tesla community recommends
  • Exactly what aspects of a wheel impact Model 3’s range most
  • And much more

Let’s dig right into it.

How to Pick the Perfect Wheel for Your Tesla Model 3: A Wheel Fitment Guide

Credit to Tesla Motors Club

To narrow down your options, I compiled a comprehensive wheel fitment guide that helps you understand the wheel specs your car needs.

As a benchmark for our fitment guide, we’ll be taking specs out of the Model 3’s stock wheels. 

We’ll also discuss why lowering your Model 3 is a wise choice, along with some fitment suggestions that look fantabulous.

Tesla Model 3 Stock Wheel Fitments

Bolt Pattern 

Bolt pattern relates to how many bolts one wheel needs (along with the distance between the holes most farther apart). 

(infographic explaining how to measure bolt pattern)

The bolt pattern for the Model 3 is 5 x 114.3 mm or 5 x 4.5 in.

Make sure your aftermarket wheels have this exact same bolt pattern (if you’re planning to buy one). Even a small difference will result in an unavoidable fitment issue.

Wheel Size 

Depending on the trim you have, the appropriate wheel size for the Model 3 is between 18″ and 20″ in diameter.

Warning: Though it’s technically possible to deviate 1″ from the original OEM wheel diameter (e.g., 19″ to 21″ diameter wheel for the Performance model), to keep things simple, I’d recommend you stick to the exact same wheel size. 

The OEM’s wheel width is 8.5″, though you can safely go anywhere between 7.5″ and 10″ for your aftermarket rims.

I’ve heard a few horror stories of endless rattling issues from smaller (or larger) wheels.

Changing the wheel size drastically will lead you to endless research to determine whether things like brake calipers will interfere or not.

Offset 

Offset affects the position of the wheel with respect to the fender.

A higher positive offset value brings the wheel toward the inside of the vehicle, whereas a lower positive offset value brings it toward the outside of the vehicle.

A good visual representation of wheel offset. Credit to LeraBlog

For the Model 3, the most appropriate offset ranges between +34 mm and +40 mm.

Tire Sizing

Tire sizing is another important factor that comes into play if you are planning to buy a wheel and tire package.

This article explains the tire’s alphanumeric code and gives you a few snow tire recommendations for your Model 3.

For the purposes of this article, know this: 

  1. Your wheels’ and your tires’ width should be within close range. 
  2. Pick an aspect ratio to maintain the total wheel/tire diameter. The aspect ratio is the two-digit number after the slash. While 18″ wheels go well with 235/45 tires, 20″ wheels will need a smaller aspect ratio (235/35) to maintain a similar diameter.
  3. Some owners grind the upper control arm to adjust the tire with a diameter of more than 27.5″. While this approach works, I don’t recommend it.

If you’re concerned about efficiency, keep in mind that the wider the wheels and/or tires, the more your range may suffer.

***

Keep all these points in mind while selecting rims for your Model 3. Otherwise, you’ll run into fitment issues that will frustrate you badly.

Also, consider the following if you have (or intend to) lower your vehicle.

Lowering Your Tesla Model 3: What Effect Does It Have on Range and Wheel Fitment?

Before we discuss what effects lowering has on the wheel fitment of the Model 3, we should discuss why you’d have your Model 3 lowered in the first place.

Experiments have shown that lowering the Model 3 has a significant positive impact on range.

To prove this theory, Nextmove, one of Germany’s leading electric car rental companies, devised a test. They uploaded the whole procedure on their YouTube channel.

Results showed a 7% increase in the efficiency of a lowered Model 3.

Now to the question “How does the static position of wheels inside the fender change when the Model 3 is lowered?”

The answer is in the type of suspensions the Model 3 uses. 

The front wheels of the Model 3 use an A-arm suspension, while the rear wheels have a multi-link suspension. 

Once the Model 3 is lowered, the suspension’s geometry causes the wheel to move inboard. This results in more clearance between the wheel and the fender. 

As a result, you may want to subtract 4 to 5 mm from the offset on the setup you had in mind.

You can see a lot of Model 3 owners going around with poorly installed aftermarket wheels on their lowered Model 3. Either they have got the wrong wheel/tire combination, or it is just a wrong offset killing the overall flush look of the car.

Putting It All Together: Fitment Suggestions for Flush Looks

Stock Height Square Setup

Offset: 30-32
Wheel size:18 x 8.5″, 19 x 8.5″ or 20 x 8.5″
Tires:235/45R18 235/40R19 235/35R20

Stock Height Staggered Setup

OffsetFront: 30-32 | Rear: 35-40
Wheel Size18″, 19″, or 20″ (keep both the front and the rear same)
Wheel DiameterFront: 18 x 8.5″ | Rear: 18 x 9.5″Front: 19 x 8.5″ | Rear: 19 x 9.5″Front: 20 x 8.5″ | Rear: 20 x 9.5″
TiresFront: 235/45R18 | Rear: 265/40R18Front: 235/40R19 | Rear: 265/35R19 Front: 235/35R20 | Rear: 265/30R20 

Lowered Square Setup 

Offset: 25-28
Wheel size:18 x 8.5″, 19 x 8.5″, or 20 x 8.5″
Tires:235/45R18 235/40R19 235/35R20

Lowered Staggered Setup

OffsetFront: 25-28 | Rear: 30-35
Wheel Size18″, 19″, or 20″ (keep both the front and the rear same)
Wheel DiameterFront: 18 x 8.5″ | Rear: 18 x 9.5″Front: 19 x 8.5″ | Rear: 19 x 9.5″Front: 20 x 8.5″ | Rear: 20 x 9.5″
TiresFront: 235/45R18 | Rear: 265/40R18Front: 235/40R19 | Rear: 265/35R19 Front: 235/35R20 | Rear: 265/30R20 

Armed with this knowledge, let’s review each of the most recommended wheel options (OEM and aftermarket ones) in a bit more detail.

Tesla Model 3 OEM Rims Comparison

As of this writing, Tesla offers two types of wheels for the Model 3. A third set of wheels, Uberturbine, was offered previously but has been out of stock for a long time.

Tesla’s current wheel offerings are:

  1. Aero wheels
  2. Sport wheels

Both wheels have various benefits, but it all comes down to your preferences. 

Do you want more range? Or do aesthetics tickle your fancy? Here’s a brief comparison of both tires to make the decision easier for you.

Aero vs Sport Wheels: A Brief Comparison

Looks

Tesla Model 3 Rims
Model 3 with aero wheels. Credit to anonim1979
Model 3 with sport wheels. Credit to IchDotchNicht

The aero wheels’ aesthetics were largely despised by the Tesla community after their introduction. However, little did they know that it was actually only a removable cover; the rim beneath was quite attractive.

So if you’re one of the owners who just hate the looks of the aero wheels, you can just remove the covers as this owner did:

Tesla Model 3 Rims
Image Credit to Sanjuvarma

I removed the Aero wheels as soon as the delivery guy left my premises. I hate the Aero wheels!! Got the brake calipers painted, looks amazing!

Sanjuvarma

On the other hand, the sport wheels remained a huge success in terms of aesthetics. 

If you can sacrifice some range for aesthetics, go for the sport wheels. Otherwise, stick with the aero wheels.

Efficiency

According to the VP of Engineering at Tesla, the aero wheels increase the range of the Model 3 by as much as 10%.

To know if this is a fact or not, Dirty Tesla took the challenge and compared efficiency between aero and sport wheels.

Skip ahead to 6:57 for the efficiency numbers. Numbers taken from his Teslafi app.

For him, the aero wheels did make a difference, but only about 5%. This is still significant but results can vary on an individual basis.

What about the aero covers?

Curious how the efficiency fluctuates with and without the aero covers, Andrew from the Tesla Torque YouTube channel conducted a very thorough test as well.

As it turned out, the aero covers did create a difference—but much smaller than the difference between aero and sport wheels.

Jump to 6:25 to see the results. Hint: it’s closer to 1% than 10%.

Cost

The Model 3 19″ sport wheels are $1,500 more expensive than the simple 18″ aero wheels. 

Most people don’t mind paying that extra money to get better aesthetics; however, if you’re a price-conscious Model 3 owner, you can stick with the aero wheels.

Just remove the aero cover while commuting locally and you should be fine. The underneath rim is absolutely great, if not stunning.

Best Aftermarket Rims for Tesla Model 3

What if neither OEM option pumps you up?

If that’s the case, you have plenty of choices — and I covered the 6 favorite wheel brands among Model 3 owners in this article.

There’s a specific brand that stood out among all for its seamless online shopping experience, wheel quality, and outstanding support:

Favorite Brand: T Sportline Wheels

Tesla Model 3 Rims
Credit to T Sportline

If you’ve done even 10 minutes of research on wheels for your Tesla, you’ve probably stumbled on T Sportline.

Their explicit targeting of Tesla owners means you get a smooth buying experience.

Their rim specifications perfectly match Tesla’s requirements, taking most of the hard work out of the process. No fitment issues whatsoever.

And even if you run into any issue, just contact their customer support. Their representatives are extremely cooperative based on most owner experiences.

However, there’s a catch.

Few and far between cases have been posted of people having problems with the president of the company.

It seems like he isn’t as polite as you’d expect from a guy running a successful business.

T Sportline’s own branding on the rim caps also puts off some Tesla owners.

The good news though is that you can replace their cap with a Tesla rim cap with genuine branding.

Replacement starts @7:44.

All in all, given a lot of positive T Sportline comments from Tesla owners and their competitive pricing, you won’t have to look elsewhere.

Yes, overall looks may not tickle everyone’s fancy, but if you want peace of mind knowing the wheels are specifically designed for your car, then they’re a great choice.

Pros:

✅ Rims specifically designed for Tesla

✅ Unique turbine style

✅ Cooperative customer support

✅ Online shopping

Cons:

❌ Branded rim caps not many owners like

❌ Mixed experiences with the owner of the company

Here are three of my favorite rim designs, but you’re free to shop around on their website if you don’t like these.

Best Aftermarket Rims for Tesla Model 3 - TS5 Wheels
TS5 Wheels
Tesla Model 3 Rims
TST Wheels
Best Aftermarket Rims for Tesla Model 3 - TSS Wheels
TSS Wheels 

Frequent Buyer Concerns

Cast vs Flow Formed vs Forged Wheels: What’s Better?

Cast wheels are affordable and more easily available due to their simple manufacturing process: melt metal into a mold. But they’re heavier and more brittle than the other wheel types.

Flow formed wheels, after being cast, are placed on a spinning machine where steel rollers compress and stretch them to the required specifications. 

That makes flow-formed wheels stronger and lighter than cast wheels while still being reasonably priced to most people. They’re usually the best bang for your buck.

Fully forged wheels offer the ultimate strength, but the modern manufacturing process makes them 24 times more expensive than other wheel types.

Want to geek out on the engineering behind wheel manufacturing? Check out this great explanation by Jim Carson, owner of the auto and tire center Quick Lane Orangeville.

Review starts @ 0:22

Will Aftermarket Rims Negatively Affect Range?

Most owners don’t experience a noticeable difference in range when upgrading their wheels, but this will depend on many factors (city/highway mix, driving style, previous wheel/tire setup, etc.).

In general, differences in wheel weight and aerodynamic profile will have a small or negligible impact.

The biggest impact can occur in changing the wheel size and/or tires.

As an example, a Model 3 owner reported a 10% decrease in efficiency by going from the 18″ aeros to the 19″ T Sportline TST wheels.

Another Model 3 owner reported a whopping 20% difference by getting aftermarket wheels along with wider tires, even though he stuck to the same wheel size.

From what I’ve researched (and as an engineer myself), so long as you stick to the same wheel size and tires, a ± 4%–6% in range would be the maximum you’d expect.

This impact isn’t always negative either.

Users have reported small improvements in efficiency by using lightweight, fully forged, narrow aftermarket wheels with OEM tires.

If you’re concerned about losing too much range, read that last paragraph again.

That’s the recipe to having a small, neutral, or (possibly) positive impact on the range with your newer, fancier wheels.

Aerodynamics vs Lightness: What Helps Preserve Range More?

I don’t have data to back this up, but I’d argue that the aerodynamic profile of the wheel has more impact than its weight. Wheels are just a relatively small percentage of the entire vehicle’s weight anyway.

As an example, even with the heaviest wheels on earth, the range will decrease only as much as having one or two more passengers on board. And that is not much.

Can you put any wheels on the Tesla Model 3?

Technically, you can put any wheels on a Model 3. However, the wheels you select must match the fitment requirements included at the start of this article, namely, bolt pattern, offset, and wheel size.

Once you’ve read our fitment guide, you’ll understand what wheel perfectly fits your Model 3.

Does the Model 3 need wheel alignment?

Yes, the Model 3 needs wheel alignment—preferably every 6,000 miles. Even the slightly misaligned wheels can highly damage the efficiency of your car, so it’s important to keep it in check.

What is the bolt pattern on a Model 3?

The Model 3 uses a 5 x 114.3 mm or 5 x 4.5 bolt pattern.

Final Thoughts: Tesla Model 3 Rims Guide

Good-looking rims offer a great deal of style.

In fact, if you play around a bit with the rims and fitments, you can get a very aggressive look out of your car—kind of like you see in the Fast & Furious movies.

In the end, whether it’s about the wheel fitment, range, or best aftermarket rim for Model 3, I hope this guide answers all the questions you have about the Tesla Model 3 rims. 

Still, if you have any questions, comment down below and I’ll do my best to help!

By Zac Ludicrous

Mechanical engineer by profession. TSLA shareholder before the hype. EV enthusiast all day long. Zac enjoys learning about the future of battery technology, autonomy, and EVs. He considers Tesla Model 3 the most important vehicle of the 21st century -- and is in a quest to improve the ownership experience of every Model 3 owner he possibly can.

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