Driving is usually a wonderful experience. That is until the inevitable flat tire occurs when you least expect it. When that happens while driving the Tesla Model 3, you might think that you can simply go to the trunk, get the spare tire, change it out for the flat one, and be on your way in an instant. However, that is not necessarily the way it goes.
The Tesla Model 3 does not come with a spare tire, instead Tesla offers free roadside assistance for the first 4 years or 50,000 miles. You can also purchase a tire repair kit for added peace of mind.
It is always important to have plans in place for your safety. This is especially important when it comes to driving. A spare tire has long been a staple of cars in North America, but that trend seems to be reversing. Continue reading to learn all about where the spare in your Model 3 is not and what you can do about it moving forward.
IMPORTANT: If your Tesla has a flat tire right now, and need to know what to, you’ll want to read this article instead.
Is a Spare Tire Really Necessary?
The first question you have to ask yourself is if a spare tire is really even necessary anymore. Tires today are built to be durable and long lasting. They rarely go flat enough to the point that you cannot safely drive the vehicle to your next destination. In addition, blowouts are almost never heard of anymore, so most people do not even worry about them.
That is not to say that you cannot have a flat tire when driving your Tesla, but the likelihood is simply not very high. With that in mind, the question of whether or not a spare tire is really necessary becomes a valid one. It is important to take many things into consideration when answering it.
A flat tire is no longer the end of the world. In fact, many people today do not even know how to change a tire. That precludes the usefulness of a spare right out of the gate. If you are one that does not mind changing your own tire, then there are options to consider that we will cover later.
A spare tire does not solve the problem of a bad tire to begin with. It is like a band aid. You will still need to get the vehicle to a repair shop in order to either have the tire fixed or replaced. Many drivers find it easier to just get the vehicle there straight away instead of hassling with replacing the tire, only to have to repeat the process in a few hours down the road.
Why Has Tesla Opted to Leave Out the Spare?
There are quite a few reasons why Tesla designers probably decided to leave the spare tire out of the Model 3. Those reasons include:
- Impractical – The spare tire just does not carry the same importance for the average car owner today that it once did. It takes up room in the trunk, while it is something that rarely, if ever, even gets used. It just is not seen as very practical any longer, which is why Tesla has left it out of the Model 3 altogether.
- Weight considerations – Electric cars are designed to be lightweight. In order to increase the range as much as possible from charge to charge, designers are looking for any way possible to reduce the weight on the vehicle. A spare tire is simply considered to be dead weight. By getting rid of it, the vehicle instantly becomes lighter and more efficient.
- Infrequency of use – Spare tires are used so infrequently that it is difficult to see them as relevant. Today, some vehicle owners have never even used a spare tire, while many others do not even know if their car actually has one available.
- Availability of roadside assistance – Tesla is one of many car manufacturers that provide roadside assistance to its drivers across the country. In Tesla’s case, the service is actually free. It is now easier to just call for roadside assistance when the Model 3 has a flat tire than it is to try to change it yourself.
- The inefficient use of labor – A spare tire is only meant to be driven for a short while until a new tire can be installed. This is not a very efficient use of labor. It is easier and faster to just get everything done at once, which means that many drivers today shy away from using a spare tire in the first place.
These reasons alone highlight the conflict that must have taken place when Tesla was designing its popular mid-size electric vehicle. There are so many things that go into building such a vehicle that the spare tire was simply not high on the list. With most drivers never using the spare anyway, it probably seemed like an easy item to omit from the equation.
The Model 3 is not the only electric vehicle in Tesla’s fleet without a flat tire. The world’s leading electric vehicle manufacturer has actually eliminated the spare tire from all of its models. Since that move occurred, surveys have revealed that most drivers do not mind that a spare tire is lacking, with many applauding the move and appreciating the extra space in the trunk.
Do People Even Use a Spare Tire?
When making the decision to leave the spare tire out of the Model 3, Tesla likely considered whether or not people even use it anymore. The answer appears to be a resounding no. Decades ago, spares were seen as essential because tires just were not as strong and durable as they are today. In addition, there were not many options available for roadside assistance.
That has all changed today. Some drivers report going years and even decades without encountering a flat tire. If there is something wrong with one of the tires on the vehicle, it is relatively easy to get the car to a service center.
It is also interesting to point out that a recent study reveals 85% of the cars being retired today have a spare tire that was never used during their entire lifespan. This goes for the tools that accompany the spare tire as well. That means that the spare tire and the tools sat in the trunk for many years, taking up valuable space and weight without ever being used.
It is Not a Good Investment
When building an electric vehicle, every part and component that is included need to be carefully considered. In the case of a spare tire, Tesla did not see the value of including it when only 15% of its Model 3 drivers would ever even consider making use of it.
One thing that Tesla did include on its vehicles instead is a tire pressure management system. This is a modern piece of technology that will signify to drivers when the pressure on any of the four tires is a bit low.
When the signal alerts the driver, there is plenty of time to get the Model 3 to a Tesla Service Center for a look. This can happen long before a flat ever inconveniences the driver. By decreasing the risk of a flat tire, the need for a spare tire has been eliminated even further.
Tesla Tires Are Specially Designed
It should also be mentioned that the tires on a Tesla Model 3 have been specially engineered. They are meant to reduce noise on the road via their special sound dampening foam. This foam is attached permanently to the inside of the tire tread itself. This has effectively reduced wear and tear inside the cavity itself, while also causing a noticeable reduction in noise at the same time.
While many independent service centers lack the knowledge to repair these tires, there are Tesla shops located across the country that can easily do so. Also, the materials used in these tires make developing a spare tire quite costly. It simply is not a priority for Tesla to do so, and most owners tend to agree with that move.
More Room in the Rear
One of the appealing aspects of the Model 3 is how spacious it is for a mid-size electric vehicle. With the elimination of the spare tire, the trunk size has been reduced. This results in a more spacious cabin while still providing ample room in the trunk for cargo as well. It is a good development for everyone involved.
The engine area has also been designed to maximize space. There is no longer any room for a spare tire, as Tesla has created a vehicle that is focused on efficiency and comfort. Drivers also appreciate the added performance that they get from the Model 3 due to the reduced weight. Putting in a spare tire would eliminate that advantage and not provide any additional benefit.
Where Would You Put a Spare in the Model 3?
Now that Tesla has built the Model 3 from the ground up without a spare tire in mind, it isn’t easy to envision there even being room for one. Many cars built today that do have a spare tire locate them out of the way in special compartments. While this is nice in theory, it simply creates a situation that makes them difficult to get to when needed.
If you have a spare tire, you want to be able to get to it quickly and with minimal hassle. There is simply no simple way to do that with the Model 3. If you were going to have a spare tire, you would need to put it in the trunk so that you can grab it and the necessary tools when needed.
This is possible with an optional spare tire kit that is available on the market today, but it appears that few drivers are taking advantage of that. Instead, the additional space and decreased weight of the Model 3 appear to be more beneficial than having a spare tire that may never be used in the first place.
What Could You Do with the Added Trunk Space?
The Tesla Model 3 now comes with a surprising amount of room in the trunk. Drivers no longer have to move things around just to accommodate a spare tire. There is nothing bulky in the trunk to preclude additional items from being stored back there.
The question becomes what drivers and passengers can do with that added space in the trunk. Here are some of the possibilities:
- A full load of groceries can be stored in the trunk, leaving passenger seats empty.
- Cleaning supplies and other harmful chemicals can be kept in the trunk and outside of the reach of children.
- Bulky sports equipment can now be stored in the trunk.
- Boxes can be arranged in the trunk to allow for easy storage and keep the vehicle tidier overall.
The possibilities are endless. Many people appreciate the smaller size of the Tesla Model 3, but that does not mean that they are willing to give up additional space when it presents itself. The elimination of the spare tire seems to present drivers with a gift that they are not going to easily give back.
How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Tire on the Tesla Model 3?
One of the downsides to the newly designed Tesla tire is the cost associated with repairing it. However, this does not mean there is a renewed need for a spare tire. Remember that spare tires are only designed to get you out of a jam. You need to drive slowly and only to your next destination, which is hopefully within a few miles.
In other words, a flat or damaged tire needs to be either repaired or replaced. In many cases, the tires on the Model 3 can be repaired. This is because of their design and the fact that they are so rugged and durable. However, that repair will come at a cost.
Currently, the cost to repair one of the tires on the Tesla Model 3 starts at $230. This is largely due to the amount and type of foam that is in the tires. This is also why many smaller repair shops do not repair Tesla tires. You will need to find a larger shop, such as Costco, or take it directly to Tesla Service Center.
Here is a cost breakdown of two popular places to repair a Tesla tire:
- Costco Warehouse Centers – Costco charges the standard $230 per tire but does offer a $70 discount if all four tires are repaired at the same time. Keep in mind that Costco also charges a $20 labor fee per tire.
- Tesla Mobile Service – This is a service provided by Tesla, and it also charges $230 for each tire. The labor charge is $55 per tire. The advantage here is that the service will come to you and can often fix the tire right on the spot. However, alignment is not included, so you will want to get that done soon after such a repair is made.
These are just two of the many options available to get a tire on the Model 3 repaired. The key is to get off the road as quickly and safely as possible when you know that there is a problem with the tire. This will make it more likely that you are looking at just a repair rather than a much more costly need to replace the tire altogether.
It is also important to make sure that your tires stay in proper alignment, particularly after one of them is repaired. This is the advantage of having the repair done in a proper shop that has the tools and technology required to make that happen. If that is not possible, then balancing should do the trick until you are able to get the car to a shop.
A car that does not have properly aligned tires can result in damage to the wheels, in addition to the tires. Due to the unique design of the Tesla, this can become a costly repair. That might be perceived as the downside to not having a spare tire, but this can be overcome with the numerous other options that are available to get a repair completed quickly.
What About a Spare Tire Kit?
Now that you are aware of some of the many reasons why a spare tire is not included with the Tesla Model 3, it is time to talk about the availability of a spare tire kit. This will cost you, but it will provide you with peace of mind if you are the type of driver that really likes the idea of always having a spare available.
There are complete spare tire kits available on Amazon for about $300. It comes with a ‘donut’ spare tire, a jack, a wrench, and a carrying case. These kits are meant to allow owners to take care of their own temporary tire repairs that should last until they are able to get the care safely to an authorized service center.
Spare tires do not replace regular tires. They are a temporary solution. However, these spare kit provide a solid solution if you really want to carry around a backup tire.
Where Does the Spare Tire Kit Go?
You might be wondering where this spare tire is meant to be stored if you do actually decide to purchase one. After all, Tesla has gone to great lengths to get rid of the spare tire in all of its vehicles, meaning there is longer much space for it.
The spare tire and tools come housed in a storage case that, when closed, only has a width of six inches. That is not bad. Even drivers with the most cluttered of trunks can probably find room for the Spare Tire Kit if they really want to.
What Comes with the Spare Tire Kit?
Naturally, you need more than just a spare tire when you have a flat tire. If you are going to put the spare on yourself, you will need some tools in order to complete the job.
Those who buy the Spare Tire Kit will be happy to know that they will also receive a low-profile scissor jack. It even comes with a ratcheting handle. This will give the person changing the tire the leverage that they need to get those lug nuts to move.
Is Tesla’s Free Roadside Assistance Enough?
Tesla offers 24/7 roadside assistance free to all of its owners for the duration of the vehicles warranty, so there really is no need for a spare when help is just a simple phone call away.
Tesla Roadside Assistance is available every minute of the day, every day of the year. The service remains valid for as long as your vehicle warranty does, which is 4 years or 50,000 miles on new Teslas, and the remainder or 1 year 10,000 miles on used Teslas.
When you have a flat tire or some other issue that requires expert help, just place a simple call from anywhere in the country, and a technician will come out to your location as quickly as possible. You can even contact Tesla roadside assistance via the Tesla mobile app.
Because of the way Tesla tires are designed, they very rarely suffer any extreme damage. Because of this, the roadside service offered by Tesla is usually sufficient to get the tire repaired and the driver back on their way in no time at all. They bring all of the tools that they need to get the job done effectively.
There will be some occasions where a serious issue arises with a tire on the Model 3. In that case, Roadside Assistance can still do what is necessary to get the car safely to a service center in order to get the problem fixed. They already receive great reviews in terms of their:
- Technician skill level
- The practicality of each service performed
- Speed of each repair
- Quick response time
These factors combine to once again highlight why Tesla has essentially scrapped the spare tire altogether. There simply is no real need for it.
What Happens if Your Model 3 Tire Cannot Be Repaired?
A spare tire is only meant to buy you some time. You will need to quickly get that regular tire put back in its original spot. In most cases, that will happen by way of a repair. It might cost you some money, but it is cheaper than a complete replacement.
However, there will be occasions where your tire cannot be repaired. In that case, you are looking at a cost of between $200 to $400 for a single tire, or $800 to $1,600 for a complete set of Tesla Model 3 tires. Keep in mind that it is not typically recommended you replace just one tire in a set, as that will likely mean that you end up having to replace it much quicker than the others as a result.
If you keep your tires properly rotated and aligned, they should wear out at roughly the same rate. Once the tread is sufficiently thin, you will want to look at getting a replacement set. This will minimize the risk of something going wrong as you are driving. That will also minimize the chances that you would ever need a spare tire in the first place.
If you replace one tire without replacing the set, you will eventually run into a situation where the remaining tires have worn out, leaving you with only one good tire. Instead of continually replacing a tire, you will end up buying an entirely new set once again just to get everything back on schedule.
Remember to keep your tires properly inflated and get them checked out at the first sign of trouble. If you do that, you may never even have to wonder where the spare tire in your Model 3 is.
Not having a spare tire is not the end of the world. There are so many other options available today to get your flat tire repaired or replaced that most people simply find no need to take up more room in their trunk with a spare. However, you do have options if you would like to have a spare in your Tesla Model 3.