Examining Tesla Model S Excessive Rear Tire Wear Via Thermal Camera – Video

JAN 30 2015 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 25

Rear Model S Tire

Rear Model S Tire

“Thought I’d try out the new Thermal Camera on the Model S. Got a Interesting idea, the Model S has excessive tire ware in the rear, why not “SEE” it! And that I did. You can clearly see, the inner toe much warmer (Though the reading wont show it), and that is exactly where the tire ware is. Notice the fronts, fairly nice and even! Too bad the rears aren’t adjustable. That Negative camber is TIRE MURDER!”

Being a heavy car, the Tesla Model S will be tough on tires, but the negative camber in the rear (non-adjustable) simply kills the inside of the rear tires.  In fact, it’s not uncommon for the rear Model S tires to need replacement in less than 10,000 miles (and this has nothing to do with wheelspin or burnouts).

YouTuber Kman Auto examines the Tesla Model S’ tire temperatures via a thermal camera and notices that the inner portion of the rear tires are considerably hotter than the center or out sections.  This heat contributes to wear.

Meanwhile, the front tires display a more even heat pattern.

If the negative camber could be reduced in the rear, the wear would be more even across the tire.

Here’s a sample image of a Model S rear tire in dire need of replacement at just under 10,000 miles.

Tesla Model S Rear Tire

Tesla Model S Rear Tire

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25 Comments on "Examining Tesla Model S Excessive Rear Tire Wear Via Thermal Camera – Video"

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David Murray

I’ve had two Nissan Leafs with similar problems on the front. Front tires don’t seen to last more than 10,000 miles.

Kosh

hmmm.. we just passed 15K miles on the Leaf, will have to look. We did have them rotated at 7500.

Djoni

Hmmm again!
Just pass 69 000 km (43 125 miles) on my MY2012 Leaf and half of that on the Brigestone Ecopia that still useable for a last summer (+ ou – 15 000 km).
Not very long, but way better than Tesla it seems.

io

Hmmm #3.
I have a 2012 Leaf, and my original Ecrapia lasted 60’000km, 40kmiles. Well below what Bridgestone claims for the same rubber sold retail, 65kmiles, but decent still.

But yes, I do rotate them. I also had the alignment corrected as I noticed the fronts were wearing a bit unevenly (but in my case, the outer edge was the one wearing faster); too soon to tell if that fixed it.

Granted, while I still love to launch at lights (that instant torque is just too damn addictive, still not tired of it), I don’t drive like I stole it… Well, not all the time anyway. 🙂

Go to a garage, that actually knows how to set up the wheels correctly.

jelloslug

I had to replace the stock Ecopias on our ’13 Leaf at about 19k miles.

Ahldor

This is important. I’ve read on Tesla forums that many have had their tires replaced due to exessive wear. And it isn’t cheap either.

I hope Tesla will have a closer look at this and see if they can come up with a solution. It might be that Tesla have not considered the massive weight of the car and it’s distribution over the tyre.

Yes, it’s a problem.

Jouni Valkonen

Dual motor drive more or less addresses this problem because torque is distributed evenly on all tires. This is one more example why dual motor EV is actually cheaper than single motor EV. Not only does dual motor offer better range and efficiency but also the tyre wear and strain for drivetrain are lower.

TomArt

That seems like a reasonable assumption – it will be interesting to see how that plays out.

Nix

Over-inflation would slightly reduce the wear, but it would undo all of the cornering/handling benefits of the factory negative camber setting.

It would be smarter/more effective/cheaper to simply install an aftermarket set of cam bolts if somebody is looking for a fix. They would be installed in place of the lower bolts in this picture:

The last 2 sets of cam bolts I bought for a European car and for an American car were $41 and $55 dollars, respectively. It is just a matter of finding a cam bolt the right length, diameter, and torque spec.

Nix

My bad, this was supposed to be in response to Evil Attorney

Evil Attorney

Would over-inflating the tires help address this issue? Everyone on the Volt forums seems to think over-inflation helps with even tire wear.

I put about 30k miles on my leased 2011 Volt before giving it back and saw no uneven tire wear. And the Volt is by no means a light car.

MTN Ranger

I agree, my 2012 Volt had much more even wear with 44PSI. For the first six month I kept the tires at 36-38PSI and they were developing wear on the inner side. After adjusting to the higher PSI, I went 2.5 years with wear even across the tire.

TomArt

If these are performance tires, then 10k miles does not entirely surprise me. But above comments talk about similar problems on a Leaf? What tires are you using? There is no excuse for a set of non-performance tires to last less than 40k miles, at the very least (excluding damage, etc.). I expect, and usually get, 50k to 60k miles on a set of tires without getting all the way down to the wear bars.

Bill Howland
My problem with the roadster was the original rears went bald at 4000 miles. I replaced them at 6000 with a non-recomended set since obviously I didn’t want to use the tires that tesla spec’d. At 22,000 (got 16,000 miles on my rears, the tires were fine at the outside edge but the belts were exposed and broken on the inner edge. Had my mechanic check the camber, and got an adjustment procedure from a friend at Tesla, which said to replace the shims in order of removal to which my mechanic said, “What Shims?”. Oh Great! My Lotus Glider was made on either a Monday or a Friday. I was told by Tesla “You should only use our tires since they were Specifically chosen for the Roadster’s characteristics!”, which was nonsense since the Lotus Elise had the exact same thing, and is 1000 pounds lighter in the rear. The spec called for neg 1.6-2.0, and on my car the rears were -3 and -3 1/2. So my mechanic found some scrap shims and, as a compromise between what I wanted and what was there before, adjusted each to minus 1.5 (just slighly less camber than the minimum tesla recommends,… Read more »
ffbj

Right. As an owner I think it is important to get to know your vehicle. Tires will last a lot longer if take care of them and look at specific things that effect them. Peeling out at every intersection will also cause tires to age prematurely, not that you do that, but plenty of people do.
Manufacturer’s suggestions, well in regards to tires I would just use my own judgement and those of a qualified mechanic,with predictable results.

M999

How would adjusting the camber change the handling of the car. You’d better test that first before you recommend that to the general public.

JakeY

Last I read, the current negative camber of the Model S is that way to meet federal requirements for straight line stability. Some of the “experts” have safely adjusted the camber (such that there is still reasonable straight line stability) with some custom longer upper arms, but definitely not recommended if you don’t know what you are doing.

Bill Howland

m999 reread my post. THe car from the factory was 1.0 , and 1.5 degrees out of spec, respectively. Now both tires are 0.1 degrees out of spec and my mileage improved.

Nix
Looks exactly like the wear pattern on every single high performance car set up for hard cornering that I’ve ever seen/owned. Performance has a price. If you don’t have the staggered wheels, reduce the recommended 5,000 mile rotation down to every 3,000 or 2,500 miles. On the other hand, BMW and Mercedes have been telling drivers for decades not to rotate their tires ever, and just stop whining and buck up and buy new tires more often for your very expensive high performance car. It isn’t a Camry or an Accord. If you want to see that same tire wear pattern, see every single “test drive” that Top Gear does on high horsepower AMG’s. Clarkson makes it a point to wear out the inners and then show it on camera every single time. If it really bothers somebody to change a few hundred dollar rear tires on an expensive car, do what Mercedes owners have been doing forever, and install aftermarket cam bolts into the non-adjustable suspension and make it into adjustable suspension. Turn the cam bolts to adjust to whatever setting you want, it’s your car, do as you please. You don’t have to ask the factory to do… Read more »
Bob Hodgen

It’s the 21 inch wheels and tires on the performance and performance plus Model S’. The cause is excessive camber. This is to tame snap oversteer and provide stability.

The 19 inch wheels and tires do not have this problem. We have 17,000 miles on our S85 with minimal wear front to rear.

Martin T.

Agree – either you won’t looks or functionality.
Some “people” get that mixed up.

The Crux of the issue is that all that Torque load can do strange things to suspension and if the slimmer tyres are less forgiving on the 21″
What exactly were they expecting?

I see plenty of modified cars locally with 22″ wheels and lowers – looks cool bro – but I would hate to be driving it or riding in them as they drive and ride like crap.

Don’t know if people will get this as it seems the visual desire for larger wheels erodes all aspects of engineering logic.

Nix

Bob — Tesla agrees with your post, and say so right on their design studio page:

“21-inch wheels with low-profile performance tires wear faster and reduce battery range compared to 19-inch wheels with all season tires. For best results, follow recommended tire maintenance including tire rotation.”

http://my.teslamotors.com/models/design

Paul

Immediately pointing the finger at Camber is a mistake.

Quite a few General Motors vehicles with independent rear suspension (IRS) had the same tire wear issue for decades. The solution that eventually went into production was the addition of a tie-rod to maintain the correct toe adjustment at all ride heights.