Since the premiere of their Model S back in 2012, Tesla has been the industry leader in electronic car production. With at least six different vehicle models and about twice as many total makes, it’s easy to get bogged down in the customization options. Their newest release, the Model Y, has customizable from roof to road, and one of the main functional customization options is the wheels.
Your Model Y’s wheels will affect everything from performance on the road to sound levels in the cab, as well as aesthetics. It’s important to consider all options, standard, upgraded, and third-party, for their benefits and drawbacks before coming to a decision.
Here are the things you need to consider before choosing wheels for your new Model Y.
What to Consider with Wheel Options for a Model Y
Taking into consideration the make, at the core of your decision, you’ll want to balance performance with aesthetics. Deciding which features are the most important to you in terms of performance, such as efficiency, longevity, and durability, will help you narrow down to the wheels that work for you.
As with any other customization option for your car, you’ll want to decide what you want out of your wheels before you start looking at the options available on the market. Setting the make of the Model Y aside, when it comes to the actual wheel themselves, there are practical specifications to consider.
- Wheel Weight. This can affect your traction and acceleration. The heavier the wheel is, the more surface area will connect with the road and the more traction you’ll have. Unfortunately, this also means your wheels will wear down quicker and need replacing more often.
- Wheel Size. The wheel thickness itself can affect how stable the car is on the road and how quiet the ride is. It’ll also affect the likeliness of a blowout on the road, as a thicker wheel will handle deep potholes better than a thin one.
- Rim Sizes. The rim size of your tire can affect the smoothness of your ride. The wider the rim, the more stable it’ll be. This works in conjunction with the wheel size; the ratio is more important than the actual measurement.
Personal Preferences to Consider When Choosing Wheels
Then there are the more personal specifications that will change depending on the buyer’s needs and preferences.
- Aesthetic Appeal. Many potential Model Y buyers are concerned with the aesthetics of the model, which is understandable with this kind of investment. The coloration and cover options for the wheels will affect how they show dirt, damage, and general wear, and while not a major part of it, will change the overall aesthetic appeal of the car based on individual taste.
- Uniqueness. With the increasing affordability of the Tesla models comes an influx of Teslas on the road, and a bigger challenge with separating your car from the crowd. If uniqueness is important to you, it will be worth keeping the popularity of tire models in mind.
- Price. Possibly the most obvious factor to consider, the price should be a major part of your consideration. Look for wheels that are the best possible combination of factors within your budget.
Once you’ve decided what you want from your wheels, you can look at what’s available to you. There are three basic wheel options directly from Tesla and several more from secondary suppliers that are popular options for consideration.
Summer Versus Winter Wheels
You’ll actually have to make the decision about which wheels to use on your car twice. It’s highly recommended to have two sets of wheels: one for the warmer months and one for the colder months. This is because different weather conditions call for different specifications with the wheels.
Electrek recommends using wheels larger than 19 inches only in the summer months, as in the winter, this can affect efficiency and performance on the road. This is especially important when it comes to driving in icy or snowy conditions, as you’ll want to prioritize grip to avoid sliding. In the summer, you’ll want to prioritize lightweight, thinner options for more efficient use.
Of course, if you live in an area with fairly mild weather year-round, you can potentially stick with just one wheel set, but that does mean having to replace the wheels slightly more often because of routine wear. If you do have seasonal sets, you’ll need to consider the additional cost and storage options when looking at which tires to get.
The Basic Wheel Options for a Model Y
The easiest options for wheels available are through Tesla. As mentioned above, there are three basic wheel sets for the different lines: the 19-inch Gemini, 20-inch induction, and 21-inch Überturbine wheels.
- The basic wheels for the Standard Model Y are 19-inch Gemini wheels. These are similar in look to the Model 3’s Aero wheels. They’re fairly lightweight at 29.6 pounds overall. They’re the most efficient option, with the smallest rim with the most actual tire around it. This means they will last longer than other options, meaning you won’t have to replace them as quickly.
- The next option up is the 20-inch induction wheels. They will cost you an extra $2,000. They’re understandably heavier at 31.55 pounds overall but otherwise carry similar specs to the 19-inch base option. They are available on both the Standard and Long-Range lines, but not on the Performance line.
- The 20-inch wheels are the largest standard option available (before the Performance line) and are available in matte black, which means they won’t show as much dirt but they will show surface damage very easily. They have more surface area, which improves acceleration but will lose some efficiency and range due to the weight.
The only available standard option for the Performance line is the 21-inch Überturbine wheel. This comes in at around 38 pounds. This wheel set is the largest and heaviest standard option for any Model Y. Unfortunately, that means that these are the least efficient wheels. The actual tires themselves are also thin enough to cause problems with potholes.
Upgraded Wheel Options for a Model Y
Many third-party wheel manufacturers detail a number of wheel options specifically designed to work with the Model Y. According to some reviewers, these options can make for a smoother, quieter ride. This is why, according to Brian Jenkins of i1 Tesla on YouTube, it’s worth the extra investment to get the best materials and wheel design possible.
T Sportline Wheels for Model Y
T Sportline is considered a gold-standard in aftermarket Tesla accessories. They are a fairly expensive brand but worth it for the quality and variety available.
- The 19-inch TS5 Flow Forged wheel weighs less than their Gemini counterparts and comes in Satin Gray and Matte Black options. They run about $1,600 for a set of four. The 19-inch TSS Flow Forged wheel comes in Space Gray and Gloss Black as options and runs slightly more expensive at $1,700 for a set of four.
- On the higher end of the price spectrum would be 20-inch TY114 Forged wheels. These come in a far more diverse range of colors than the other wheel lines: matte and gloss black, matte gray, brush satin, velocity red, imperial red, and diamond black. They’re 25 pounds each and cost $4,200 for a set of four.
- If you want to go absolute top of the line, you can opt for the 21-inch TY118 Forged wheels, which are extremely lightweight for their size, clocking in at around 28 pounds depending on the thickness of the wheel you opt for (they have a 9.5-inch and 10.5-inch option). These come in the same colors as the TY114 and TY117 wheels and start at about $4,600 for a set of four.
When it comes to quality, it’s hard to beat T Sportline—if you can keep up with the price.
EVWheel Direct Wheels for Model Y
Another well-trusted accessory company, EVWheel Direct has far fewer options than T Sportline but at a far more affordable rate.
- Their cheaper option for the Model Y is the 20-inch EVT Turbine. These fit the Long-Range Model Y and come in metallic grey, onyx black, and brilliant silver. They weigh 33 pounds each and cost $1596 for a set of four.
- The other Model Y set from this company is the Roadster design, which they’ve made for both the Model S and Model 3 before. These are also 20-inch wheels and have no listed weight. They cost $1,680 for a set of four.
While definitely cheaper than the T Sportline wheels, EVWheel direct wheels are a solid choice for those who are budget minded but still want an upgrade over the standard Model Y wheels.
Unplugged Performance Model Y Wheels
Unplugged Performance is another well-trusted aftermarket Tesla wheel provider. Their wheels are more uniquely designed than most other manufacturers, at the cost of being considerably more expensive.
- Their first wheel option is the UP-4 Super Lightweight Forged Wheel Package. These can be either 19-, 20-, or 21-inch wheels, come in a variety of colors across the spectrum of black, brass, silver, and titanium, and can be optimized for range or performance. They cost between $5,495 and $7,895.
- There is also the UP-02 Lightweight Forged Wheel Package. These wheels come in 19-, 20-, and 21-inches, and can also be optimized for range or performance. The color options are black, bronze, and silver in different finishes, and they cost between $5,495 and $7,895.
- The final option is the UP-03 Race Spec Wheel Package. Again, these come in different sizes, but those options are, interestingly, 18- and 19-inches. The color options are bronze, silver, and black in various finishes, and the sets cost between $5,595 and $5,795.
Unplugged performance is undoubtedly the most expensive wheels on our list, but you get what you pay for.
Installing Custom Wheels on Your Model Y
If you’re sticking with the standard wheels from Tesla, you don’t need to worry about proper installation. However, if you decide to go with a third-party wheel set, you’ll either need to have them professionally fitted or know how to do it yourself.
If you want to get it done through Tesla themselves, it would cost, including the wheels and other physical parts, somewhere around $4,500, although the cost of labor on its own is far less, totaling between $60 and $100 according to some estimates. Other repair shops might be significantly cheaper. It depends primarily on your location and the actual parts being used.
If you’re familiar with car repair and maintenance, you can save the cost of labor by replacing the wheels yourself. In some cases, you’ll need a special tool for replacing the wheel covers, which is usually included in your glove box, but if not, can be replaced fairly easily online or substituted with an allen wrench. From there, the replacement is fairly similar to most any car model.
Tesla recommends tightening the torque down to 129 foot-pounds and setting your tire pressure to between 40 and 45 psi. Additionally, Tesla offers certain roadside assistance options 24/7 during the warranty period. They also offer loaner wheels for blowouts and towing and transportation services.
Using the Model 3’s Wheels on a Model Y
Because the Model why is incredibly similar to the Model 3, you might consider looking into wheel options for the Model 3 for a cheaper option or if there is a particular wheel model you liked on your previous model.
It’s definitely possible to convert Model 3 wheels over to your Model Y, but there are some issues you will need to address. The Model Y is set higher than the Model 3 (by two inches), meaning that Model 3 wheels will be smaller on the Model Y. This won’t be too big of an issue with a thicker tire but may cause problems with the suspension if the tire is too thin.
Other Customization Options
As of now, across all three makes, the Model Y comes in five different color options: basic white, black, blue, midnight silver, and red. While white is the default color and comes at no extra cost, the other four options can range from $1,000 to $2,000 extra.
The interior of the Model Y is significantly more minimalistic than previous models, featuring an all-in-one central console screen. It can be either all black or black and white, although the black and white option is $1,000 extra. In the Standard and Long-Range makes, you can opt for a seven-seat configuration for an additional $3,000.
You can add an optional tow hitch for $1,000 on all three makes. You can also opt for a Full Self Driving Model Y. Tesla has yet to come out with a price quote for this option, but it’s incredibly likely that it will be the most expensive upgrade available for the model.
The Model Y’s Wheel and Other Specs
Your wheel options will vary based on your choices with the actual car itself. The specifications of your particular Model Y should impact the kind of wheels you choose for it.
Although more realistically categorized as a crossover vehicle, Tesla labels the Model Y as a mid-sized SUV that, like the company’s other models, runs completely on electricity. It’s also a “smart vehicle” – most of its functions can be controlled via your phone. It’s larger than the Model 3, at 68 cubic feet of cargo room, and is similar component-wise; Forbes lists it as a “taller, more bubble-shaped Model 3.”
It comes in Standard, Performance, and Long-Range, with pricing from $40,000 to $62,000. The standard Model Y has a range of 230 miles before it needs recharging, and an acceleration speed of 0-60 mph in about six seconds. This goes up to 4.8 seconds on the Long-Range Model Y and 3.5 seconds on the Performance Model Y, with the range going as high as an estimated 315 miles in the Long-Range Model Y.
Model Ys come standard with autopilot steering, acceleration, and braking, as well as anti-collision software. It also has a powered liftgate hatchback, which offers significantly more interior storage space than its predecessor. According to Tesla, the Model Y comes standard with two independent motors with digitally controlled torque for the front and rear wheels.
The Model Y is covered by warranty in much the same way that the Model 3 and Model X were: up to four years or 50,000 miles standard, with a powertrain option of up to eight years or 100,000 miles. This doesn’t include complimentary scheduled maintenance.
The Model Y’s Accessibility
The Model Y is designed to be more affordable, to make the electric vehicle more accessible to the average family than its more-expensive predecessors. It’s a solidly reliable vehicle according to reviews and is available with so many customization options that it really feels like Tesla has found a way to allow customers to get exactly what they want and avoid what they don’t.
Although it’s remarkably similar to the Model 3, the wheels are what set the Model Y apart. Their new and improved designs, more diverse options, and the availability of third-party wheels mean that the tailored options for your particular driving environment are more advanced than ever. They’re also aesthetically pleasing and can be tailored to your car’s design and, in some cases, changed on the go.
Because of this, the wheel choice in your Model Y is more important than other Tesla models. Make sure to do your research, compare your options, and choose the wheel options that are right for your particular situation.