Make your EV tires last longer

Recently, I wrote about Ark Invest’s bear case about Tesla for Cleantechnica. At the bottom of that piece discussing robotaxis, I mentioned my Model 3 tires needed to be replaced. The tires lasted a little longer than 16,000 miles (25,600 km). This is not very long at all. This April marks two years since we bought the car. The tires cost $800, plus another $130 for tire replacement certificates, then installation and taxes. If I went with original equipment manufacturer tires, the Michelin PRIMACY MXM4 AC tires, the tire cost would have been $1,076 before taxes and installation. The comments of that piece were very informative on reducing tire wear. Plus, I learned some things from my local Discount Tire.

  • Keep your tires air pressure at the manufacturer set level. During the pandemic, we weren’t stepping out as much. This made it difficult to keep the tires at a good pressure. I’m going to check the pressure every month going forward. All modern cars have tire pressure management systems, which tell you the tire pressure at any given moment. You can see the manufacturer recommended level on the driver side door sticker.
  • Rotate your tires every 3000 to 4000 miles. I was rotating every 7500 miles. Tesla recommends every 10000 miles in the manual. This was a recommendation from Discount Tire. Rotation helps your tires wear evenly. I’ll give it a go.
  • The heavy weight of EV’s leads to premature tire wear. This is a given. Look for tires with maximum warranty, the shortest stopping distance, and good traction in wet and dry conditions. I picked the Michelin Pilot 3 A/S tires. They are rated for 45000 miles, good stopping distance, and since they are all season tires, good in a variety of weather. If those are not available, the Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 look like good choices. Tire rolling resistance is key, but I found it difficult to track that down. You want tires that last the longest miles per dollar spent.
  • Change lanes slowly. I had my Navigate on Autopilot set to Mad Max. This led to fast lane changes. My friend Maarten pointed out that changing lanes turns your tire sideways, which is when the most wear happens. I have reduced my Navigate on Autopilot settings to Mild.
  • Similarly, taking the car through corners at speed, leads to the tires wearing out faster from turning sideways more often. I have resolved to go slower through corners to reduce tire wear.
  • Discount Tire mentioned city driving is tougher on tires than highway driving. You are subject to potholes, road salt, debris, more stop and go driving. If you drive more on city roads, inspect your tires more often.
  • As an experiment, I have switched regeneration to low, switched to Chill mode on acceleration and braking, and made the Steering setting Standard. Let’s see if it helps tire wear.
  • Next week, I am getting new wheels, the Konig Rennform. Two of my Aero wheels hit some major road debris and got damaged. Wheels that are bent can lead to faster tire wear. Boo. I figured if they need to be replaced anyway, might as well replace the whole set so they look uniform. When I looked around, some of the cheapest wheels are some of the heaviest. I thought it made sense to pay a bit more for lighter weight wheels.
  • The new wheels are better in a way. They are lighter weight, by around 5 lbs each, than the included Tesla Aero wheels. This means it will take less energy to turn the wheels, which should improve energy efficiency and mileage per kWh. The new tires are 1 lb heavier than the OEM tires. This video from Engineering Explained on how lower weight wheels improves efficiency was enlightening. My lifetime efficiency average is about 165 Wh per mile. I am aiming to reduce that by tossing out unnecessary weigh on the car.
  • I’m going to reduce my use of Autopilot on city roads, since Autopilot tends to brake later than I would have braked.
  • And last, I will use one pedal driving mode more often. You only use the accelerator pedal, and let the car coast to a stop.

It seems terrible that I need to do all these measures to reduce tire wear. What’s the fun in that? No fun at all. Tires have a large impact on the environment, and I’m going to do what I can to make them last. My goal is have the new tires last 24,000 miles, a 50% improvement from these set of tires. As EV’s become more common over the next five years, tire wear will be a common issue. Take care of your tires and save money along the way.

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Thanks for reading!

Warmest regards,


Published by smilingdad

My story is one of tragedy and redemption. We've made many mistakes along the way regarding our money. Our goal here is to show you how to take care of your money life long, and as much as we can, help the Earth along the way. I call it sustainable personal finance and ethical capitalism. Currently, I am a part time writer for Cleantechnica and part-time licensed financial professional, along with being a full-time dad.

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