Emergency Tire Repair – Screw in tire with audible air loss

Wheel removed for Tire Repair

It was a cold, wet, dark ride home. I was tired and keen to get home. Then I saw and heard a warning on the dash of my Model 3 – Low Tire Pressure warning. The Model 3 displays the tire pressure on each wheel, I could see the rear right tire had lost over 10 psi and was at 30 psi instead of 42. After a few minutes it dropped to 29 psi. Rather than risk running the tire too low I stopped at a gas station and added air to the tire. After re-inflating the tire I could hear air escaping from the tire and it lost another 5 psi on the way home. Clearly this would not stay inflated until the morning to allow me to call by the Tesla Service Center, so I found the only tire shop still open at 6:30 pm. Tire Discounters of Hendersonville, TN.

Reverse Logic Jack Pads

Jack Pads Required

Just one week earlier I had purchased Jack Pads made specifically for the Model 3 from Reverse Logic. The Model 3 has small and specific jacking points and a Jack Pad is required to allow for safe jacking of the vehicle using standard jacking equipment.

Jacking Point under front of vehicle with guidance hole

If a Model 3 is jacked without these pads it is possible the plastic aero covers under the car will be damaged or even worse damage could occur to the rocker panels or the battery pack. As the owners manual states, damage caused by improper jacking procedure is not covered under warranty.

Jack Pads keep the vehicle underside separated from the Tire Shop jacking equipment.

If you don’t have these pads then calling Tesla Emergency Roadside assistance is the safest option. In the photo you can see the Reverse Logic Jack Pad sandwiched in between the car and the lift. The Model 3 has foam glued to the inside of the tire to reduce road noise from the tires. To make the repair Tire Discounters cut a 3 inch square out of the foam to provide access to remove the screw embedded in the tire. The technician had to do the repair twice, the first time he had not removed all of the adhesive that holds the foam in place which caused a leak. Once the repair was good the tire was balanced and fitted back on the car.

Lug Nuts Were Re-Tightened to 129 Ft Lbs.

Torque the Lug Nuts

Tire Discounters knew to lookup the correct Lug Nut Torque setting, which happens to be 129 Ft Lbs for the Model 3. The technician remarked that the Tesla uses standard lug nuts, which for some reason surprised him. He also remarked the wheel looks better without the Aero Wheel Covers. Wish the Aero Covers came in different colors.

The best part of the service from Tire Discounters is that they did not charge a penny to perform the repair. I promised them a ride when the weather is better and it isn’t time to home at the shop. They seemed happy with that barter deal.

Tireless Wheel

Great service provided just minutes before Tire Discounters closed for the evening, all for free. Thanks guys, I’ll be back to give you the ride of your life, and again to buy my first set of tires.

Resetting Tire Pressure Warning. Hmmmm

Low Tire Pressure Warning despite normal tire pressures

Despite the tire being repaired and the car shows 41 psi tire pressure the warning persists. I googled the process and didn’t find anything straight away. I emailed Tesla Customer Support to see if they can advise me. I’m waiting for the response which I’ll add to this post once I find out the process.

Update: 2018-12-21

The low tire pressure warning did eventually go away on its own after three journeys. I never received a response to my email to Tesla Technical support. I called by the service center to ask what tire service they can provide. In an emergency the Tesla Roadside Assistance will make arrangements to get your vehicle towed to a repair facility or alternatively fit a loaner wheel and tire and get the flat tire repaired. You visit the service center once your wheel and tire are fully fixed. The Service manager indicated they encourage Tire Shops to work on Tesla vehicles and in no way want to corner the market on Tesla Tire Repairs. Tire shops don’t have the necessary jack pads, maybe Tesla should consider providing local shops with jack pads and jacking instructions to ensure both Tesla customers and Tire Shops are comfortable with getting work accomplished on the vehicle.

Update: 2019-02-03 Tesla Finally Respond to my question.

Almost two weeks after asking Tesla how to reset the low pressure warning I did receive an email response. The official word is

“To reset your TPMS you will need to drive over 10 MPH for about 10 minutes to get the sensor to reset and remove the alert. If this does not work you may need to create an appointment with your local Service Center to have them see what is going on with it.”

As I found out you have to drive the car for a bit before the warning goes away. If you have a question for Tesla’s email support, don’t expect a quick response. We maybe in “Support Hell” at the moment. At least they did answer my question accurately first time.

Parting Thoughts

I have just one question to leave you with. Once all the gas stations are closed after we are all driving Electric Cars, where will we stop to add air to our tires? What’s the answer Elon? Tesla Air Pumps (TAP) delivered by drone?

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