Damn! It actually happened. You got a flat tire.
After the cursing stops, you might think to yourself ‘what now’?
You pop the trunk and look for a spare tire to get cracking on replacing the flat.
If you’re driving a Model 3, you may be disappointed to learn:
Model 3 has no spare it. Nor does any other Tesla vehicle.
(That’s why Model 3 owners rely on aftermarket spare tire options.)
“Wait, what? No spare tire?”
“HOW DARE THEY!”
Before we dive deep into Tesla Model 3 spare tire options, let’s look at why Tesla made this decision — and yes, they do have their reasons.
Why The Tesla Model 3 Doesnt’ Have a Spare Tire
For one, it’s just not that practical anymore.
Tesla is without a doubt one of the more innovative automakers.
They pushed the idea of electric vehicles and a supercharging network when everyone thought it was crazy.
They do their homework and do what they consider is best — regardless of what other people think.
When looking at the stats on flats, Tesla realized spare tires are rarely used and decided to not put one in their vehicles at all.
Junkyard operators noticed that approximately 85% of the time, at the end of a vehicle’s life, the spare tire has never even been touched!
Couple this with the fact that 60% of people don’t even know how to change a tire and you’ve got plenty of reason to shelf the idea of including a spare.
Though many consumers continue to beg the company to include spare tires in Tesla cars,
The fact is that many manufacturers, not just Tesla, have pulled spare tires from their cars as well.
About a third of today’s vehicles no longer include a spare tire as many automakers see it as an unworthy investment.
Not only could it be seen as a waste of money but Tesla also saw it as a waste of space.
Part of the Tesla Model 3’s mass appeal is its efficient use of cargo space.
The skateboard battery-motor platform allows for massive interior room and cargo space.
So Tesla figured out why to take up valuable real estate inside the vehicle for something that rarely (if ever) gets used.
“That’s all well and good, but what can I do to prevent a flat considering Teslas don’t come with a spare?”
Let’s talk about that.
How Tesla Wants You To Prevent a Flat — And Why That Approach Sucks
Instead of including a spare tire, new vehicles come equipped with an internal Tire Pressure Monitoring System (or TPMS for short).
The system keeps track of tire pressure and warns you when it’s getting too low.
That way, you can top up the tire pressure, double-check any leakages, or simply head to a tire repair shop before the tire is completely flat.
The problem is these systems are finicky.
Internal thresholds and limits can be super sensitive.
They may regularly go off unnecessarily, causing drivers to get seriously annoyed.
So much so that many Model 3 owners complain about Tesla’s TMPS system and their “laughable” thresholds.
“It’s laughable that Tesla is forcing this with super high TPMS thresholds.
The low pressure threshold throwing warning alarms at *gasp* 39 psi is absurd. Especially considering that this is OVER the tire pressure that many TRUCKS run at that weigh substantially more than Model 3.”by voip-ninja
But don’t fret: there are better alternatives — and we’ll discuss four of them below.
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Option #1: Tesla’s Free Road-side Assistance — Is It Actually a Thing?
Another reason Tesla decided to forego the spare tire in their vehicles is because of their round-the-clock roadside assistance.
This assistance is free as long as your vehicle is still under warranty.
Tesla Roadside Assistance offers you 24/7/365 help by simply calling 877-798-3752 (for U.S. owners).
You can find the current numbers for other countries on Tesla’s website, including countries in North America, Middle East, Europe, and Asia/Pacific.
Some drivers are raving about the service on the web.
Some have even received mobile assistance in under 30-40 minutes:
Tesla employees that arrive on-site or assist over the phone are skilled and knowledgeable.
And for the most part, waiting times are reasonable and repairs get done lighting fast.
If you read the comments on both pieces of content, however, you’ll realize that not everyone has a positive experience.
Tesla centers aren’t as ubiquitous as they should be — and some owners have gotten stuck 1-2 hours away from the closest one.
This makes waiting unpractical.
Some owners have even had the misfortune to find Tesla’s service department closed — and no tire repair shop capable of fixing their flat:
So while it’s good to know you have Tesla’s assistance as an option,
For true peace of mind, you’re going to want other alternatives.
Option #2: The Best Tire Repair Kits Available for Tesla Model 3
Tesla itself offers a kit that includes everything you need to repair minor tire damage.
UPDATE: Tesla has discounted their tire repair kit for the time. According to many reputable sources, this is due to the supply shortage — and many speculate the product is likely to come online again.
Its competitive $70 price makes the choice appealing for Tesla owners who prefer OEM products.
The product has an air compressor to top off your tire pressure and a one-piece sealant canister to patch up punctures.
The Tesla kit gets the job done but there’s another option that offers more bang for your buck.
The BETOOLL tire repair kit comes with the tools and repair plugs you need to fix up your Tesla’s tires.
However, it doesn’t include a tire inflator, making it ideal for people who have an inflator pump already.
Made from steel, this kit’s tools are easy-to-use and super durable with instant sealing plugs for punctures or rips.
Small but mighty, the compact BETOOL kit fits inside your glove compartment or the Model 3’s front trunk.
If you’re looking for a kit with a tire inflator pump, the option below from Slime will fit the bill.
This kit gets the job done in 15 minutes.
Sealing any punctures up to 14” in diameter, this kit’s inflator also plugs into your Model 3’s 12v accessory port and includes a pressure gauge.
Still not sold on tackling your flat by yourself?
Here’s your best alternative then.
Option #3: The Only Aftermarket Spare Tire Worth Talking About
What if you actually want a spare tire?
You all know that blowouts can happen — and neither a tire inflator nor a sealant will help in those instances.
Fortunately, aftermarket manufacturers have brought many great alternatives to market.
One, in particular, designed specifically for the Model 3 stands out as the one hundreds of owners trust.
Best Tesla Model 3 Spare Tire Option Overall: Modern Spare
I researched for hours, and to my surprise, only one name came up over and over on threads, videos, and other discussions: Modern Spare.
Unlike classic donut spares, their kit comes equipped with highway-capable (81mph rated) tires from quality brands like Continental or Pirelli.
Though you can’t expect eye-popping beauty on these products, Modern Spare’s 18’’x4’’ wheel actually looks decent.
Several members from the Tesla Motors Club have found Modern Spare to be a perfect fit for their needs.
If you want a reasonably-priced spare tire that gives you peace of mind and doesn’t look embarrassing, look no further.
The spare tire does take up a decent chunk of your cargo space. If you’re smart like this Model 3 owner, though, you can easily avoid this issue.
Also, Modern Spare sells a tool kit that includes a jack and all the tools you’d need to change a damaged tire.
Unfortunately, I’ve heard some complaints about the quality of their jack and tools. I’d recommend buying the spare tire from them and purchasing tools elsewhere.
Mike from the Tesla Frugal Guy YouTube channel gives a full overview of the Modern Spare.
Many Performance owners have concerns about fitment with their Performance calipers. Mike makes it clear and confirms it:
The Modern Spare is designed to fit all Model 3 trims, including the 18” Aero Wheels, the 19” Sport Wheels, and the 20” Model 3 Performance.
The price point is competitive with most aftermarket spare tires.
Given how much of a life-saver a spare tire can be under certain circumstances, it’s well worth it.
It has everything you need:
Tire quality is top-notch, it fits the Model 3 perfectly, and its aluminum alloy makes it lightweight enough to carry around with negligible impact on range.
Overall, considering how many hundreds of Model 3 owners recommend the product, I’d recommend it without a second thought.
Fits: Fits all the Model 3 years and trims.
✅ Compatible with every Model 3 version (inc. Performance)
✅ #1 widely recommended spare tire for Model 3 owners
✅ Highway-speeds-capable tires (rated for 81 mph)
✅ Lightweight aluminum alloy
✅ Complete kit available (with all tools required)
❌ The extra tools are average quality at best
❌ Fairly competitive price
Alternative Spare Tire For The Model 3: Hyundai Genesis 18’’
Although not specifically made for the Tesla Model 3, the Tesla community has found this spare tire to be a great alternative that fits.
You can get it on eBay for very cheap (usually 25% less than Modern Spare), and some Tesla owners have found used versions for MUCH less than.
Here are some remarks from a Model 3 owner who bought one and went for a spin to put it to the test:
“I bought a Hyundai Genesis 18″ spare on eBay for $100 with free shipping. I mounted it front and back and took a drive each time for a few miles.By Gene.
It works perfectly. The standard Tesla lug nuts fit the wheel just fine. The tire that comes on this spare is easily rated for the weight of the Model 3. The diameter is the same as tires that come on the 3. This mini spare takes up way less room in your trunk and weighs 15 pounds less than bringing along a full-size Aero wheel and tire.’
Just make sure you buy the 18’’ diameter version. There’s a 17’’ diameter variant that may not fit.
And keep in mind: I found no evidence that this will fit the Model 3 Performance version, which has a bigger caliper. It’s an additional risk that needs to be considered if you own that Model 3 trim.
Option #4: Replace The Tire (It’s Cheaper)
Tesla Model 3 owners already expect to pay a bit of a premium when it comes to any repairs on the vehicle.
Tires are no different. Especially if it’s a non-repairable puncture that caused the flat and you’re looking at replacement vs. repair.
Since spare tires for Tesla cost from $300-$400, however,
You might want to simply replace the flat tire altogether. It comes in slightly cheaper after all!
Take your vehicle into the Tesla dealership and you’re looking at $230 per tire plus $55 for labor to replace.
You might be able to get it replaced at a Costco for slightly cheaper.
Before opting for this option, though, assess the tire damage to determine whether you can patch it.
You’ll definitely save some money if that’s the case.
Other Tools & Products to Consider
Tire Plug Kit from Slime
This plug kit from Slime is widely recommended by the Tesla community to tackle small leaks.
It’s also among the most highly rated on Amazon with an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.
The plugs in this kit are of splendid quality. Given that inserting them into the tire takes a lot of force, the T-handle tolerates the pressure quite significantly.
This video from the Ghettodiy YouTube channel perfectly explains how to use this kit for your Tesla:
However, there’s no razor included in this kit to cut the excess off. You’ll have to buy something to cut separately.
Overall, it’s a nice plug kit that can save you frustration. I’d recommend always having it in your car.
Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor
Viair 88P air compressor enjoys a good reputation on Amazon with an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars and 5,000+ total reviews —
Following are its major pros as per customer comments:
- Robust quality—hose heavier than expected.
- Can inflate big tires. Tesla’s 42 psi tire pressure is an easy task for this compressor.
- Fairly quick to inflate tires.
- Very fairly priced as compared to other options.
- Doesn’t heat up.
A customer complained that public air machines can only inflate up to 32 psi, but tested this champ on his brother’s Tesla — and it worked like a charm.
Notice also how the product has small “plastic legs” so that the compressor stays in place while you inflate the tires.
I LOVE that from this product.
However, it has no carrying case so you might have to buy one.
And since it draws energy from a 12V battery, you’ll need to dismantle a few pieces to actually have access to the battery poles.
Apart from that, no major downside to this product has been reported.
It’s a worthy investment for Tesla owners looking for a tire inflator capable of pressurizing a tire to 40+ psi fast.
Tesla Model 3 Spare Tire Options: Final Thoughts
Tesla has got plenty of rationale for why they went without a spare tire and most drivers ultimately don’t seem to mind.
Relax, know the multiple ways to deal with an unexpected flat, and when a flat happens you’ll have a tire to spare, the tools to fix things yourself, or the means to get assistance immediately.
Modern Spare is ultimately the only satisfactory product among the very few Tesla Model 3 tire options that owners have tested successfully.
Considering its price point, its weight, and its convenience, it’s no wonder Model 3 owners recommend it across the board.
Modern Spare will be the obvious choice for 90% of owners reading this article.
Zac LudicrousMechanical 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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