Four new tires for one flat?

Hi, I’d be grateful for any advice.
We have a leased Tesla MY, with 10 months to go on the lease, 32k miles.
One of the tires is now flat. Tesla has Roadside Assistance and would usually take us to the nearest Tesla service center, though only within 50 miles. As it is, the nearest Tesla service center is 109 miles away. Tesla offered (thankfully) to have us towed to a tire shop in the area, provided it carries the exact same tire as Tesla’s manufacturer tires. We found such a shop and the car is now there, though the tires will only be there four days later.
Once the car was at the tire shop, we received a call stating that the car’s four tires has low tread (4/32) and all four needed to be replaced.
In fact, one of these tires was replaced 9 months ago by Tesla. When asked, the tire shop said that one has 5/32 tread and also needs to be replaced.
Importantly, the tire shop maintains that they will not repair only a single tire. They will replace four at once, or none at all. This is even though we indicated that we would prefer to have a Tesla center look at the remaining three tires and we would be ok with just a temporary repair since we’d like Tesla’s opinion.
I also asked the tire shop about the tire’s life, which is for the exact same tire make & model as Tesla’s manufacturer tires. The tire shop stated that while they offer a warranty of 40k miles for this exact tire, the manufacturer tires (same manufacturer, model, everything) used by Tesla are inferior and will not last 40k miles.
I am wondering if anyone has any insights to share. We have also reached out to Tesla for guidance and still hope to hear back.
When Tesla last (once) changed a tire for us, they were able to change a single tire. I am puzzled that other tire shops can only change four tires, or none, even for just a temporary repair. Is this normal?
Thank you!

You should always replace tires in pairs.
This is from Tesla model 3 owner’s manual,

Adequate tread depth is important for proper tire performance. Tires with a tread depth less than 4/32” (3 mm) are more likely to hydroplane in wet conditions and should not be used. Tires with a tread depth less than 5/32” (4 mm) do not perform well in snow and slush and should not be used when driving in winter conditions.

Model 3 is originally fitted with tires that have wear indicators molded into the tread pattern. When the tread has been worn down to 4/32” (3 mm), the indicators start to appear at the surface of the tread pattern, producing the effect of a continuous band of rubber across the width of the tire. For optimal performance and safety, Tesla recommends replacing tires before the wear indicators are visible.

To improve vehicle handling characteristics and minimize hydroplaning in wet conditions, put tires with the most tread on the rear of the car.

If tires need to be replaced early, for example due to a flat tire, we recommend replacing the tires in pairs unless the other tires are within 2/32 in (1.5 mm) of tread depth of the new tire. When replacing tires, it is important to match the brand and model of the older tires. Always place a pair of new tires on the rear if all four tires are the same size. Always balance the wheel and tire after replacing a tire.

That tire shop is criminal. They figure you drive a Tesla so they can take you to the cleaners. If they will not replace the one tire have a separate towing company tow it to a shop that doesn’t have criminal practices.

You want one tire and in 10 months you turn the car in.


You should replace all four tires now. You will not get much more than 1/32” wear on the tires during the remaining 10 months of the lease. Is this a dual motor or just RWD? If it’s dual motor, the AWD rules should apply and you must replace all of them irrespective of tread depth. If you just have rear drive motors, tread depth rules say do it anyway. Even if you get one tire replaced now, by the end of the summer you will need at least two more tires. Get them all replaced now. BTW, is there a discount for replacing all four tires at once?


Not criminal

The shop is using good business practices . . . and good common sense

If 3 tires are 4/32" and the 4th is at 5/32" . . . the shop would be correct in saying ALL of the tires need to be replaced now


What’s wrong with tire?

I have several thoughts here.

First, even though tires are legal down to 2/32, you’re at a higher risk of hydroplaning at 4/32 and your tires will continue to wear down over the next ten months. Personally, I’d replace them all at this point for this reason alone. If you’ll be driving in any snow before you return the car, then there’s no doubt that all tires need to be replaced.

Second, tires need to match on each axle and better tires belong in the rear, so if Tesla did allow the tires to have different tread depths, you’d at least have to replace two.

Third, in this situation, it might have been better to order from Tire Rack and ship the tires to one of their local installers. You probably wouldn’t have had to wait for four days. Be prepared to do that if this ever happens again.

Finally, if it’s true that you’re not allowed to use tires of your choice, this points out another reason why leasing is a worse choice than buying. I’d hate to be forced into using certain tires if they had poor snow traction, to be more specific.

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The OP can count this as one more vote for replacing all 4 tires.

Thank you to everyone who posted. All this is very helpful!

Yeah, as above, but I would be surprised if at lease turn in you weren’t charged for excess wear on the tires. It might in there on page five someplace. So pay me now or later as they say.

Or, it might be possible to be charged for “non-matching” tires. :thinking:

I’m not about to lease a vehicle, simply because it is the most expensive way to possess a vehicle, but the nitty-gritty details buried in the lease agreement could make leasing an even less-desirable proposition.

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I had a set of used snow tires/wheels for my last lease. Was a Honda. Easy to source. Sold them for what I paid. Used Tesla wheels? Kinda rare.

Manager or store policy, and I’ll bet this policy changes depending on the customer. Dirty business holding a traveler with a flat tire hostage.

Where I work, they replace a dozen tires with road hazard policy each day, no one is required to buy a matching tire or three more to make a set. I can recommend the replacement of other tires but the customer can decline the sale.

Without inspecting your tires, a Tesla representative can only recommend new tires.

With 4/32" or 5/32" of tread, I would continue driving on those tires and make the decision later on. Don’t try to scare me about snow traction, it was 106 F today.

Is there another tire store in town that can order a tire?

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Another option is buying online and shipping the tires to the tire shop. Tire Rack has four 255/45R19s General Altimax RT45s for $838.44 delivered to my zip tomorrow.

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Don’t most car company’s include a owners manual when you buy or lease a new car???
I think I would check it to see what it has to say… just a thought… :man_shrugging:

That booklet sitting in the glove compartment (actually, more like 4 or 5 booklets nowadays) is known as The least-read best-seller. :smirk:

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Sometimes they are hidden with the spare tire or where the spare used to be.

The guy was towed in with a flat tire that needed to be replaced. So ordering from tire rack, or towing another 100 miles for someone that will sell just one tire, is likely not a very practical solution. I’ve been hundreds of miles from home with a tire issue and you just punt to resolve the problem as best you can at the moment. If that means four new tires, just be happy the were in stock and could get you right in.

I’m with you, Nevada. These slimy businesses taking advantage of a stranded motorist is sick.

There’s no reason if you have ONE flat tire that a shop HAS TO change all 4. The shop is not doing a state inspection, and does not have the ability to “fail” the other tires. Just sell me one tire and put it on, thank you.

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This is a picture that I took from a Lexus owners manual back in 2018, read it very carefully…I have seen this in many different year make and model Lexus and Toyota vehicles, not in all but a lot of different ones…

Also some Jeep AWD’s will break the chain or damage the transfer case if running different roll out tires…
Had a customer that only put 1 tire on a TT and it cost them about $3000 in damage…

A lot of vehicles require all 4 tires unless within certain parameters, some require 2 at a time and some doesn’t matter…

Not sure about the OPs vehicle, but saw a lot of drivetrains damaged due to not doing the correct thing…
And as far as the shop goes, it is cheaper to loose the sale of one tire then to buy the customer a new driveline, and as the perfectional, it is your fault…

The Subaru in my area will send out the new tire and have the tread cut down to be within 2/32 of tread depth so you don’t have to buy 4 as long as they can get the same tire…

Why is the tire flat? This is a very important question and needs to be answered first.

If the leak is in the sidewall, or you drove the car more than the few feet it takes to stop and damaged the sidewall, then the tire needs to be replaced. If it is punctured in the side tread, then it needs to be replaced. If it is punctured in the center tread area of the tire, it can be plugged and does NOT need to be replaced.

Read this, it is a good guide on repair areas of tires and non-repairable tires.