Tesla Model 3 Tire Wear: Solutions and Tire Replacement Cost

By Zac Ludicrous •  Updated: 04/02/21 •  9 min read

Tesla Model 3 tire wear is a fact — hundreds of owners have gone through it.

But is it solely the fault of Tesla? Did they deliberately keep the quality of Tesla Model 3 tires low? Is it the reason for the uneven wear in the Model 3’s tires?

Nope! EV tires usually wear out quickly compared to tires on an ICE car (more on this later).

Considering all this, I’ve compiled this blog post to explain what you can do to prevent extreme or uneven tire wear on your Tesla and, if it has already happened, how you can solve it.

Intrigued? Let’s get started.

Tesla Model 3 Tire Life: How Long Do They REALLY Last?

Like everything in life (including how long my wife remains calm 😬), the #1 factor in the lifespan of your tire is… your attitude.

Although there are many uncontrollable factors, flooring the accelerator like you stole the car will inevitably wear your tires way much faster.

Material quality, tire size, road condition, and city versus highway driving are also factors, which we’ll discuss later on.

To answer the question directly, here’s the expected lifespan of a tire on average based on actual Tesla owners’ conversations:

Keep in mind that this data represents the lifespan of the stock tires.

And as crazy as this sounds, this is an improvement over previous Teslas.

Take the Model S, for example, which is 1,000 pounds heavier and has an even more powerful motor.

Owners claim to have replaced their tires after as little as 10,000 miles.

For context, that’s 10 months for the average American.

10 freakin’ months!

That’s enough to offset any environmental or financial benefit of owning an electric vehicle…

Don’t get caught off guard — take steps to know beforehand how long before your tires need replacement.

I’ll explain the actionable steps later, but let’s shed some light on a question that must have crossed your mind.

Are Tesla Model 3 Tires Covered Under Tesla Warranty?

No, Tesla doesn’t cover tires under its warranty, whether the “New Car Limited Warranty,” “Used Car Limited Warranty,” or the “Extended Services Agreement.” 

This is due to two reasons. First, Tesla isn’t the manufacturer of its tires. Second, Tesla considers tires a “normal use wear and tear item.”  

Thus, if your Tesla tires are wearing out, you can’t claim any warranty with Tesla.

Anticipating Your Tesla Model 3 Extreme or Uneven Tire Wear…

Braking distance (and therefore accident risk) is inversely proportional to your tire wear.

That is, the lower your tires’ tread depth, the longer the distance your car needs to brake completely.

Different Tesla Model 3 Tire wear measurements (by Bob Sumerel)
Stopping distance, measured in car lengths, based on tread depth. Credit to Bob Sumerel.

Tread depth is a quick measurement that tells you how long before you need new tires.

Instruments that measure tread depth cost very little.

I’d encourage you to keep a gauge in your glovebox to measure tread depth every few thousand miles.

Not only can this help you anticipate how many miles you have left (e.g., being halfway after 15,000 miles), but by measuring tread depth on both edges and the center, you may also detect uneven wear before it becomes a more costly expense.

Tesla Model 3 tire wear patterns by Research Gate
Potential problems depending on different tire wear patterns. Credit to ResearchGate.

Last but not least, there’s a tire tread depth limit for legal driving.

Most US states require a minimum tread depth of 2/32″ (or 1.6 mm).

Although this isn’t something you’ll get a ticket for, you may be unable to claim insurance coverage in case of an accident.

And in the end, the requirement is meant to keep you safe.

Stick to it.

Why Do EVs Eat Away Tires Faster?

Based on my understanding as an engineer — plus the opinion of experts and the Tesla community itself — there are some factors that lead to faster Tesla Model 3 tire wear.

In no particular order, these are:

  1. Torque: EVs are still a small portion of the market. Not many tires are designed to withstand the instant torque Tesla and EV owners may put to the test from time to time.
  2. Regenerative Braking: Tires won’t wear based on where the braking originates from, but rather based on how fast you stop. With Tesla’s default strong regen braking setting though, your rate of deceleration may end up being stronger than, say, the average Prius cruising down the road.
  3. Vehicle Weight: Self-explanatory. Lithium-ion battery technology has gone a long way, but EVs are still at a disadvantage when it comes to weight compared to an equivalent gasoline car.
  4. Wheel Size: The bigger the tire, the thinner the sidewall, which implies less material available to absorb potholes and wear. This may be a minor factor but a factor nonetheless.
  5. Wheel Alignment: As seen above, misalignment may lead to premature and uneven tire wear in any vehicle. Although unfounded, some experts (and even many owners) suspect a factory alignment issue is to blame for the faster Tesla Model 3 tire wear. Some have even measured heat through a camera to validate that the edges actually get warmer.
Model S’s excessive and uneven tire heat shown through a heat camera

Tesla’s Recommendations About Tires Replacement Interval

Tesla recommends changing your vehicle’s tires every six years or so even if the tread depth is still above the minimum limit. And when you do replace, it’s recommended to change all four tires at once and always buy Tesla-recommended tires.

In other scenarios like a worn-out or a flat tire, you should change the tires in pairs. Also, make sure you get the right size tires for your vehicle

How Much Does Tesla Model 3 Tire Replacement Cost?

Tesla Model 3 tires aren’t cheap, but only when compared to standard tires for ICE cars. If you can afford a Tesla, you’ll definitely be able to afford its tires.

Anyway, a good-quality pair of Tesla Model 3 tires should cost you anywhere from $500 to $700. If you replace all four, you’ll have to pay nearly $1,500 for a good set of tires.

Also, the price will vary according to the type of tires you buy. Winter tires may cost you a little extra than all-season or summer tires.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Tesla Tires

Is there a thing you can do to extend the average lifespan of your tires from 25,000 to 30,000 or more?

You bet!

Here’s some of the best advice from owners who successfully improved their tires’ life after being sick of replacing them so regularly.

Last but not least, if you’re coming from a gasoline vehicle, expect less tire life regardless of what you do. Period.

Tire wear is just a little-advertised fact most EV owners have to deal with.

Where to Find the Best Tesla Model 3 Tires

I know you’re going to ask the question, so I’ve compiled Tesla owners’ recommendations when it comes to finding great tires.

  1. I’ve heard many Tesla owners mention Costco as the place where they replace their tires. Costco sells tires at a great price and gives you free rotations, which beats Tesla’s service fee.
  2. Discount Tire sells tires at a discount (surprise, surprise!), provides decent warranties, and their staff is usually more knowledgeable than Costco. They may even match the price if Costco’s price is lower.
  3. TireRack has a very intuitive online shopping experience and a vast resource to guide you to tires that fit your needs, considering road noise and many other important factors.
  4. Others have trusted Amazon itself to buy tires. (Yes, they have quite an inventory of tires available. You have to know what you’re looking for though.)

You may also visit a local shop you trust to advise you on what tires to use.

In general, Tesla owners have had great things to say about the original Michelin Primacy MXM4 and Continental’s Extreme Contact DWS.

Regardless of what tires you end up choosing, make sure to follow the tips described above to get the most out of your tires.

Final Thoughts: Tesla Model 3 Tire Wear Solutions & Replacement Cost

Unfortunately, there is no solid solution to Tesla Model 3 worn-out tires except replacing them with new ones.

But yes, you can take steps to ensure your tires last you a considerable time. I’ve shared all the actionable tips with you in this blog post.

And if you do have to replace your tires, make sure you get Tesla-recommended tires, or you can go through our guide to the best tires for Tesla Model 3 and choose the best one for your electric car.

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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