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Tesla Model 3 - 18" Replacement Tires

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This is a follow-up to our popular Model 3 Performance Tire Recommendations. If you have spent any amount of time on Tesla internet communities, you will see a steady flow of questions on the best tires to buy for the Model 3. There are a plethora of tires that fit and redditor u/twinbee put together an enormous spreadsheet a while back. Unfortunately some of the thinking on load index in 2019 no longer holds true in 2022, which we will cover in the considerations for choosing your next set of tires. Hopefully this guide narrows down your choices so you can click, buy, and be on your happy way.

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Model 3 18" Stock Wheels and Tires

Before we talk about replacement options it is helpful to discuss what came from the factory. To date, there have been 2 factory 18" wheel options for the Tesla Model 3. They are both called the "Aero" Wheel and feature a split 5-spoke design which an optional Aero Wheel cap can attach to. This Aero Wheel to increase the aerodynamic performance of air flowing around the wheel wells.

Tesla Model 3 - Aero Wheel V1 - 18x8.5" +40 ­čôŞ: Tesla. Tesla Model 3 - Aero Wheel V1 - 18x8.5" +40

The first of these is the 18" Aero Wheel V1 or "Pre-Refresh Aero Wheel". This 5x114.3 18x8.5" wheel has a +40 offset and came from the factory with 235/45R18 Michelin Primacy MXM4 tires with a foam inner liner. These specific tires are Tesla T1 designated. The Aero Wheel V1 was the standard wheel for all Standard Range (SR) and Long Range (LR) models from the beginning of production to September 2020.

Tesla Model 3 - Aero Wheel V2 - 18x8.5" +40 ­čôŞ: Tesla. Tesla Model 3 - Aero Wheel V2 - 18x8.5" +40

This was followed by the 18" Aero Wheel V2 or "Refresh Aero Wheel". This wheel has the same 5x114.3 18x8.5" +40 dimensions, but features a slightly revised spoke and Aero Cover design. They also came from the factory with 235/45R18 Michelin Primacy MXM4 tires and more recently the 235/45R18 Hankook Kinergy GT with foam inner liner which carry a Tesla T0 designation. Curiously the new tires carry the first generation specification of T0, while the MXM4 now carry a T1. The Aero Wheel V2 is the standard wheel for all Standard Range (SR) and Long Range (LR) models from October 2020 until present.

Replacement Tire Considerations

For the following recommendations it helps to know what tires fit on the Model 3. See the Tesla Model 3 Compatible Tire Size reference.

"Tesla-approved"

Many vehicle owners are afraid of straying away from the exact tire that came with their car from the factory, especially when they carry a T0 or T1 designation. You do not have to replace your tires with the same tire that came with the car or with an OE T0, T1, or T2 designation. OEM tires are often marked up over comparable tires precisely because people will avoid any research and simply buy the same tire. There are also often more affordable tires that have better wear or performance characteristics for your use than the stock tire!

"Tesla-approved" T0, T1, and T2 tires are a marketing designation indicating that reduced road noise and optimized handling, ride, and range are within Tesla's standards and that the tire manufacturer has spent money to have the tires tested by Tesla. A good tire will come from a reputable company that has done its own testing beyond that of receiving a Tesla OE designation.

Load Index and Load Range

Ensure that the load index of the replacement tire exceeds that of the OEM Hankook 94V SL. That equates to a 2,680kg or 5,908lbs load index for all four tires combined. In the past much emphasis has been put on meeting and exceeding the OEM Michelin's 98 (3,000kg / 6,614lbs) load index and XL load range. The Tesla Model 3 Owner's Manual at one point also insisted on replacing tires on your Model 3 with a XL load range. That entry in the online Owner's Manual has since been removed with the introduction of the Hankook Kinergy GT tire as the OEM tire. Fun fact, the stock Model 3 Performance tire carries an even lower 92 (2,520kg / 5555lbs) load index. 94 should be sufficient.

Foam Inner Liner

The Tesla-spec Michelin Primacy MXM4 and Hankook Kinergy GT both come with a foam inner liner to reduce road noise. While ideal in theory, hundreds of thousands of tires lacking a foam inner liner have been replaced on Tesla's without a complaint. They are a nice to have, but not necessary. Many Tesla owners have also reported tire shops refusing to patch tires with the foam inner liner.

Change Them All?

Unlike other all-wheel drive vehicles, it is not necessary to replace all four tires at the same time on a Dual Motor Tesla Model 3. It is, however, recommended that you replace tires in pairs. The exception to the rule is if you get a flat on a brand new tire. If that tire is within 1.5mm tread depth of new you will not create issues with the wheel speed sensors by replacing it with a brand new tire. Place the new tires on the rear axle.

Size

Most will opt for the factory 235/45R18 tire which is slightly stretched but well within spec of the OEM 8.5" wide wheels. Those interested in hyper-miling may want to move to a 225/45R18 and those interested in a little bit more grip might opt for a 245/45R18. The narrower 225 is even more of a stretch on the wheel and I personally do not recommend this while the slightly wider 245 would be a great fit on the wheel. As a general rule, a wider section width tire is going to be less efficient and reduce range while a narrower tire will do the opposite. The wider section width tire not only has more rolling resistance, but depending on the tire may also be a bit heavier. While the real life impact may not be much, it is something to keep in mind if you are trying to squeeze out every last mile of range. That being said, many have gone to wider tires not just for more wheel protection, but for more grip on spirited drives. The choice in width is ultimately efficiency vs. traction and cornering performance.

Replacement Tire Recommendations and Cost

All Season Daily Use

Tesla All Season Tires ­čôŞ: Leon Seibert on Unsplash.

The 18" Model 3 Aero wheels came equipped from Tesla with Grand Touring All-Season tires. These tires are meant to provide good tread life and a comfortable ride. You will not be winning any F1 races with these tires, but you should expect long life and decent performance in inclement weather. The current Tesla OEM tires are included in the chart for price comparison.

Size Tire Service Description Price/Tire
235/45R18 Contintental ExtremeContact DWS 06 Plus 98Y XL $208.99
235/45R18 Michelin CrossClimate┬▓ 98V XL $244.99
235/45R18 Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 98Y XL $237.99
235/45R18 Vredestein HiTrac All Season 94V SL $176.23
235/45R18 Vredestein Quatrac Pro 98Y XL $182.42
235/45R18 Michelin Primacy MXM4 - Tesla T1 98W XL $306.99
235/45R18 Hankook Kinergy GT - Tesla T0 94V SL $257.99

Contintental ExtremeContact DWS 06 Plus

The Continental DWS series is a personal favorite of mine. I have bought at least four sets over the years for the family SUVs and I am consistently amused when observing the DWS that is molded in to the tread fade away to indicate if there is enough tread depth for Snow, Wet, or only Dry conditions. The DWS is available in the OEM 18" tire size with a 98 Load Index making it a perfect replacement for those that are concerned about matching the original OEM tire load and may choose to load snowboards on their Model 3 for trips to the ski slopes.

Michelin CrossClimate┬▓

Over the years, Michelin has established a reputation for rating the best restaurants in the world and making the best tires in the world. If you need any more proof of their reputation, their tire prices command a slight premium over their competitors which many are more than willing to pay. The CrossClimate┬▓ is Michelin's long-wearing Severe Snow Service rated tire. It is easily recognizable by its aggressive tread pattern designed to increase handling and traction in inclement weather. The thorn in the CrossClimate┬▓'s tread design is the raging hum it makes when being thrown in to a corner hard. This is not a performance tire by any stretch of the imagination.

Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4

The Michelin Pilot Sport AS4 is a perennial best seller that receives glowing reviews year after year. It was specifically designed as a performance tire that could handle itself in light snow. With a 560 treadwear, Michelin also aspects these to last at least one and a half times as long as the acclaimed Michelin Pilot Sport 4S but not quite as long as the CrossClimate┬▓.

Vredestein HiTrac All Season and Quatrac Pro

While not (yet) a household name in America, Dutch tire manufacturer Vredestein has been in the business of making rubber for over a century. Their tires have been an open secret amongst European performance car enthusiasts on this side of the pond. The Vredestein Quatrac Pro is Severe Snow Service Rated and its budget pricing make it a best selling replacement. So much so that you will likely find this tire on backorder. The Vredestein HiTrac All Season is designed to be a much longer wearing tire than the Quatrac Pro though meant only to be used in lighter snow. Some may balk at the HiTrac's 94 load index and Standard Load load range, but it matches that of the factory Hankook Kinergy GT and is the budget pick of this list.

Performance Oriented

Tesla Performance Street Tires ­čôŞ: Jannis Lucas on Unsplash.

There are only four points on your car that make contact with the road and they play the most significant factor in the handling and traction capabilities of your car. The Non-Performance Tesla Model 3 still packs some serious performance punch, yet it comes with tires that are easily overcome with the platform's capabilities. The Performance models come from the factory with Max Performance Summer category tires. The expectation is that you live in a region with pleasant weather year round, or that you will switch to a dedicate set of winter tires when the fluffy stuff starts to accumulate. This might be true of you whether you own a Performance model or not. What you give up in longevity and the ability to run in inclement weather from an All Season tire, you gain in a responsive and fun tire to drive on. Please note that these tires will exhibit more road noise than a daily use all season tire. The current Tesla OEM tires are included in the chart for price comparison purposes only.

Size Tire Service Description Price/Tire
235/45R18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S (98Y) XL $289.99
245/45ZR18 Contintental ExtremeContact Sport 100Y XL $213.99
245/45ZR18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S (100Y) XL $257.99
235/45R18 Michelin Primacy MXM4 - Tesla T1 98W XL $306.99
235/45R18 Hankook Kinergy GT - Tesla T0 94V SL $257.99

Michelin Pilot Sport 4S

Is it cheating to recommend a tire that comes on the Model 3 Performance from the factory? The Michelin Pilot Sport 4S (PS4S) is so good that it is chosen by a majority of the entries in the week long One Lap of America event where cars shuttle from track event to track event across the country. While the PS4S comes in the factory 235/45R18 size, I suggest moving to the 245/45ZR18 for a better fit on the rim and more handling and traction abilities. The 245 is cheaper to boot.

Contintental ExtremeContact Sport

A more affordable alternative to the PS4S, the Continental ExtremeContact Sport (Conti ECS) is a summer only performance compound. Like all Continental tires, you can expect a quieter and smoother ride than many other brands. Many Porsche and BMW owners are repeat buyers of the ExtremeContact Sport and applaud their relatively long life. The Conti ECS is slightly behind the PS4S in all out grip, but fairs better in resisting hydroplaning than the Michelin in the wet. With the world the way it is, you may find the Michelin PS4S out of stock and the Continental is more than a worthy alternative.

Track and Autocross Use

Tesla Track and Autocross Tires ­čôŞ: Trevor Ryan

If for whatever reason you are using your stock wheels as a track set... hey, email me. Emotive offers a wide selection of wider 18" wheel options that will optimize grip and performance for the track and also offer a much wider selection of performance tires. For further tire research for wider aftermarket 18" tires see the post on mounting APEX EC-7 wheels to the Emotive shop car. This track use section assumes you have not upgraded to a wider wheel or you have to keep your stock wheel width for autocross classing purposes.

I recommend moving to a 245 section width on the stock wheel based on tire selection alone. While the Yokohama ADVAN A052 is a wonderfully sticky tire, it is the only tire in the factory size and the next section width up. Both 245/40R18 and 245/45R18 sizes are within 3% of the OEM tire diameter and allow the use of many popular tuner tires. For track use, I would recommend the 45-series profile as the Model 3 feels like it runs out of steam on long straights. A smaller overall diameter changes the gearing to magnify this effect. This limits the choices to just the Bridgestone Potenza RE71-RS. There are far worse problems in life than having to buy the hottest new performance tire to hit U.S. shores in 2022. On the flip side, autocrossers may prefer the stronger theoretical acceleration of the 245/40R18. A 255/40R18 will fit on the wheel and the car, but the 255 section width is better suited to a wider wheel than the OEM 8.5". The extra section width may still benefit autocrossers so they are included in the table below. As with previous recommendation tables, the current Tesla OEM tires are included in the chart for price comparison purposes only.

Size Tire Service Description Price/Tire
235/45R18 Yokohama ADVAN A052 98Y XL $287.83
245/40R18 Bridgestone Potenza RE-71RS 97W XL $248.87
245/40R18 Continental ExtremeContact Force 97W XL $277.00
245/40R18 Falken Azenis RT615K+ 97W RF $191.00
245/40R18 Falken Azenis RT660 97W XL $239.13
245/40R18 Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3 97Y XL $246.99
245/40R18 Hankook Ventus R-S4 93W SL $242.59
245/40R18 Kumho ECSTA V730 97W XL $186.74
245/40R18 Yokohama ADVAN A052 97Y XL $282.76
245/45ZR18 Bridgestone Potenza RE-71RS 100W XL $272.84
255/40R18 Bridgestone Potenza RE-71RS 99W XL $250.68
255/40ZR18 Falken Azenis RT660 99W XL $256.13
255/40ZR18 Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3 99Y XL $300.99
255/40R18 Yokohama ADVAN A052 99Y XL $295.91
235/45R18 Hankook Kinergy GT - Tesla T0 94V SL $257.99
235/45R18 Michelin Primacy MXM4 - Tesla T1 98W XL $306.99

As a generalization, the use case for each of these performance tires is as follows:

Use Case Tires
Autocross and Time Attack - put down a flyer of a lap on relatively cold tires. Longevity is sacrificed for ultimate grip. Bridgestone Potenza RE-71RS, Falken Azenis RT660, Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar 3, Kumho ECSTA V730, Yokohama ADVAN A052
"Endurance" Track Tires - trade outright lap times for longer life. Continental ExtremeContact Force, Falken Azenis RT615K+, Hankook Ventus R-S4
Daily #becauseracecar - drive to the autocross, track, and the grocery store. Continental ExtremeContact Force, Falken Azenis RT615K+, Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar 3, Hankook Ventus R-S4, Kumho ECSTA V730

Bridgestone Potenza RE-71RS

The Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R was once the mega autocross tire before the Yokohama ADVAN A052 came along. Its long awaited successor, the RE-71RS, has already been available overseas and is finally making its way to U.S. shores. If the RE-71R was fast, the RE-71RS is faster. Bridgestone claims the 71RS will improve lap times at Tsukuba by half a second over the 71R. No small feat for a track that laps around the 1 minute mark. Oh, and it is supposed to last longer to boot.

Continental ExtremeContact Force

The Continental ExtremeContact Force is a relatively new tire meant to bring their ExtremeContact series in to the endurance performance tire game. It is stickier than the Hankook R-S4 stalwart and just as consistent in testing. Feedback so far on the tire has been limited not only because of the time it has been on the market, but likely also because those Hankook R-S4 drivers still have not gone through their current set of tires.

Falken Azenis RT615K+

The Falken Azenis RT615K+ is a street tire worthy of race cars. In fact, this used to be the required spec tire for the Spec Corvette series I run in and I can testify to the fact that they wear like iron. This specific design has been around for ages and currently wears the + to show that it has a slightly newer compound. If the Hankook R-S4 is sold out this is a good alternative and is worth trying because I doubt there will be a RT615K++. For the price this is likely the best value you will find in high performance tires.

Falken Azenis RT660

The Falken RT660 has been compared to the likes of the venerable Bridgestone RE-71R. It needs a bit of heat to get going, but the handling is razor sharp and responsive. This is your budget alternative to an ADVAN A052. While perhaps more suited to autocross given its heat characteristics, the tire seems to respond well to heavy cars like the Tesla Model 3 on track and our batteries are more likely to reach temperature warnings before the RT660 start to fade.

Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3

The Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3 (SC3) was originaly developed for the Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE and Camaro ZL1, a heavy, high horsepower vehicle just like the Model 3. OEM development typically means a higher level of testing, quality, and longevity. This is General Motor's brand on the line. The Emotive shop car runs the SC3 as a track tire and for dropping off packages at FedEx or UPS. The Goodyear's consistency lap after lap is key to improving your driving, but please note that in smaller section widths (255 and below) a deeper mold is used which gives it slightly more tread life but less support in the outer shoulder blocks. All the more reason to upgrade to a wider wheel. Wink wink.

Hankook Ventus R-S4

I have a lot of experience with the Hankook Ventus R-S4. Perhaps too much. My experience with this line started with the R-S2, then R-S3. The R-S4 then found their way on to both my track Miata and ///M3 street car. These are tires that will not die which means I have limited chances to try newer tires! That is perhaps the only downfall of this "endurance" masterpiece. You may not set your personal bests on the R-S4, but you will go track day after track day after track day and wondering how this tire possibly carries a 200 treadwear rating.

Kumho ECSTA V730

In recent years Kumho has dropped in popularity as the budget pick tire, but they are still at the game. The ECSTA V730 in Grassroots Motorsports' testing has shown it could be a Hankook Ventus R-S4 in disguise. Andy Hollis writes, "nearly as quick as the Falken Azenis RT660 and almost as consistent as the Hankook Ventus RS4". The V730 may force you to be a smooth driver to eek out all of its performance which may be a great driver training tool The price point of the Kumho's in 18" Model 3 sizing makes it all the more enticing.

Yokohama ADVAN A052

The Yokohama ADVAN A052 is a motorsports compound used in Global Time Attack and the only tire on the list that comes in the stock 235/45R18 size. As it turns out, this is also a great race tire for light rain. Its tread grooves make for excellent evacuation of water and hydroplaning resistance if you are not wading in deep puddles. Oddly enough, they are also quieter than many high performance 200 treadwear tires for driving around town. The A052 is widely known as the king of street tires, but they are designed for quite a bit of camber and wheel width so it is hard to recommend the 235. This tire does not love heat so use it for autocross or that one flyer of a Time Attack lap at full state of charge.

Mounting and Balancing

For more than two decades, I have given Tire Rack and my local tire installers a whole lot of money. At the age of 16, I was swapping out perfectly meaty tires for high-performance replacements. As a former autocrosser and current amateur racecar driver, I burn through at least 5 times more tires than the average consumer. Tire Rack's prices can often beat what I can get here at the shop and their comprehensive network of reviewed recommended installers ensure you have a local expert you can rely on. On top of that, you can drop ship to the shop so you don't have to dirty your white interior or futz with the back seats. In the meantime, happy motoring!

About the Author

Steven Chen

Chief Engineering Officer at Emotive Engineering. Addicted to cars. Send hate mail to steven@emotive.engineering.