2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: Tire Sidewall Bubble

December 26, 2013

2013 Tesla Model S

Ruh roh. In Corvallis, OR, at the halfway point of my road trip, my attentive friend at Spriso Motorsports pointed out that the driver-side rear tire of our long-term 2012 Tesla Model S had a little bump in the sidewall. The bubble appears far more prominent in the purposefully lit, super-ultra macro photo above than it did in real life. Guy's got some eyeballs on him.

This is normally the kind of thing that should be addressed promptly. Always one to push my luck, I instead decided to keep an eye on it and make an audible if it appeared to worsen over the course of my trip. Yeah, I'm nutty like that. On the plus side, the bubble didn't change at all over the course of the trip. And with plenty of time to kill during the frequent stops at the Superchargers, I had to do something to keep myself occupied...

The combination of the Tesla's extremely short sidewalls and impossibly heavy 21-inch wheels make its tires more susceptible to this kind of sidewall damage from sharp-edged potholes or impacts.

As an aside, I think the likelihood that this sidewall issue had anything to do with the Tesla's shimmy is nil. But you never know. We'll get the tire replaced and see if the shimmy changes. But in the meantime, Dan is riding on snow tires during his holiday road trip.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

Most Recommended Comments

By gslippy
on 12/23/13
8:10 PM PST

This flaw may not be very serious. But the 21" tires are beginning to seem like more of a liability than an asset to the car. I'm guessing the 19" tire/wheel package is much easier to live with.

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