2013 Tesla Model S: New Michelin Pilot Super Sport Tires
June 12, 2014
Truth be told, only one tire on our 2013 Tesla Model S was down to the wear bars and needed to be replaced. You may remember that we got out of sequence a few months ago when we replaced a single tire that was damaged. The other three have about 3,000 miles left.
So the question was this: two tires or four?
We were leaning toward four because of the noise problem that cropped up recently. Tesla service surmised that odd (and subtle) heal-toe tire wear was playing a role after they conducted back-to-back test drives with new tires and wheels they had on the shelf.
The deal was sealed when Matt Edmonds, a friend over at Tire Rack, suggested we try the Michelin Pilot Super Sport, a tire that's newly available in 245/35ZR21, the very size we need.
Their unit price of $293, only $8 more than the OE Continentals we've used so far, wasn't high enough to scare us off. And then Matt told me that a Tire Rack colleague that owns a Model S felt they were both grippier and quieter, with no detectable loss of range. Michelin backs them with a 30,000-mile tread warranty so long as they're rotated on schedule, which is pretty decent tire life on a Model S.
Sold. And the tires arrived at our door from their Reno, Nevada west coast warehouse as they usually do in one business day.
The Model S is one of those rare vehicles this side of an SUV that is cavernous enough to carry its own rather massive tires to Stokes, our usual tire shop.
While we were there we asked them to check the alignment and make any necessary adjustments.
The front was dead on. Rear camber was fine, but rear toe was slightly out of spec. It's minor stuff, though, nothing at all like the extreme and sudden shift to maximum toe-out that lunched our first set of tires last year. The marks I added after last time hadn't visibly moved. Well. Maybe a teensy bit on the left rear.
The numbers confirm this, more or less. The total toe was reasonably close to spec: 0.72 degrees toe-in compared to a maximum of 0.50 degrees toe-in. At least it was still toed in, was making no move at all toward toe-out. Whatever happened last time was NOT happening again.
But it wasn't distributed evenly left to right. The left rear was 0.08 degrees toe-in and the right was at 0.64 degrees toe-in. Our Tesla must've been dog-tracking slightly, but not enough so a following car would notice. Stokes set both rear wheels to 0.20 degrees toe-in and squared it up so our total toe-in is now at 0.40 degrees, the dead-center of the spec.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 22,829 miles