a man fixing a flat tire

Car: argh done get a flat tire with a Tesla with these things!

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Well we just got a flat with our Tesla and what a nightmare. They basically don’t provide you with anything that you need so here are the just haves so you are not like me:

The main thing to realize is that Teslas are not designed with any failsafes if you have a flat. The only Tesla solution it tow it somewhere.

  • Have a tire pump. We use the Helteko which works well and is powered by your car battery assuming of course your battery is working.
  • Buy Tesla Pucks because there are all these concerns about destroying the battery pack with out these rubber thingies. They are $25 for on Amazon but that’s cold comfort literally. Order them asap.
  • People hate it but for emergencies carry Fix It this can destroy the tires but is way better than being stuck somewhere. Just be aware you need to replace these $8 things every two years or so (we have some that were completely dead when we used them).
  • As soon as your tires wear out get tires that DO NOT get the Foam insulated in them. These have a layer of foam glued to the bottom of the tire, so the slime stuff cannot get in. They are designed to reduce road noise, but the tire fix and flat slime will not work as the foam just absorbs it. We know. And yes you make destroy your tire but at least you will be on your way to getting it working
  • Have a Jack with as mentioned above pads so that you can lift the car safely. The Tesla lug nuts are on tight, so you may need an impact wrench to get it off. Ordinary cars don't need such high torque.
  • Buy a tire repair kit (easier with non-foamed tires). And practice filling a hole. It the hole is small then you do not need slime, but you will need to take the tire off to work on it (it's less dangerous that way)
  • You really want to make sure you have a Tesla Spare tire kit and a Jack. That’s because the will not change your tire and if it’s a new car then you get towed to a Tesla service center. Cold comfort on Christmas Day I can tell you. At least with this you have. A chance of changing it. It’s expensive at $480 but worth it for long trips. The Jack includes a rubber pad on it by the way.
  • Call Tesla Roadside Assistance, they are going to have the best service for you. If you are out of warranty then it is very expensive to tow. It’s $400 to tow it 30 miles, but in most cases in urban areas, this is way more worth it than having a tow company that has never seen a Tesla try to lift it and maybe destroy the pack. And their folks are likely to be less busy and understand a Tesla. Note that these folks will never repair or swap a tire for you you have to go to a service station.
  • Create a random appointment in the Tesla service. This is because there is no way to call anyone at Tesla (Elon is such an idiot sometimes), so instead, create an appointment and then you can text and call a human. They are pretty understanding at the lower levels, so if you can talk with a human they can squeeze you in to do a tire swap.
  • Get AAA as a backup but just know on holiday travel days like now you can call them at 7 am and they won’t have appeared by 1230pm so they are pretty useless but a decent backup if all else fails. they will tow for 5, 100, or 200 miles but you have to get them there first. And you need to have those darn Jack pads too. Although some say if you are very careful and have some wood or rubber and it’s fine, jack pads are $25 bucks so cheap insurance.
  • And the AAA application is useless they give you an estimate and never update it. Calling them takes 10 minutes and it is outsourced anyway but it is better than calling random tow truck companies 🙂 It's now 130PM and it says, we will be there by 11:12 am. Hah!

If you are lucky enough to have a company that gives you a spare, you don't need the above but everyone needs

You still need to do a few things that are common as well:

  1. Have a tire pump. We use the Helteko as noted above, just make sure not to bend the tube so much when you jam it back into the bag as this gets brittle and breaks.
  2. Have a jumper cable set.
  3. Keep a portable battery kit. I don't have a recommendation because I've tried the various portable 12V batteries and either they don't have enough power or they die after a while because lithium batteries need to be refreshed the Weegos I bought all died because once they are deep discharged they are dead.
  4. Battery-powered flasher and triangle and make sure the batteries are good. Flares are pretty dangerous and modern battery-powered ones are very bright.
  5. Have duct tape, water, gloves, a warning vest, raincoat, and headlamp because it is never nice when things break :-0

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