*This post contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.
I remember the first time I had to change a tire on a Tesla. Once I had the rubber off the rim and saw the foam on the inner liner, I was perplexed as to why a tire would have the need for foam.
Most Tesla owners have this same question.
Today I will go over all the reasons why tire manufacturers make these tires for Teslas. By the end of this article, you will not only understand why these tires come with foam. But also if the foam provides a quieter ride and whether or not your next set of tires should have this technology.
Benefits of the Foam
Tire manufacturers like Continental and Michelin use foam as a cushion for road vibrations and as a sound dampener. Think of it the same way as music studio uses foam on the walls. To absorb any and all sound decibels from escaping to the outside.
When the tire rolls over rough or uneven surfaces. The foam is a barrier to help prevent sound from traveling up the sidewalls and into the cabin.
By performing a simple search, you can find that foam-filled tires advertise sound reduction by up to 9dB (Decibels). For comparison, 25dB is the equivalent of someone whispering. So does 9 actually make a difference?
Someone like me who has worked his entire career in a shop with loud noises, no. But for those with hyper-sensitive hearing, it could make a big difference.
Aside from providing a smoother ride, it does not offer any other benefit to the ride quality.
Why Tesla Chooses Foam-Filled Tires
When you think of Tesla, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
I think of how quiet they are. I took a Tesla for a test drive for the first time and immediately said, “Wow, I can’t believe how quiet it was on the inside.”
This is why Tesla has tire manufacturers produce tires that have foam inside of them so as to further provide a comfortable driving experience.
Tesla is a cutting-edge company that uses lot of advantage to get over the competition, no matter how small. And including “internal acoustic foam”, which is another bonus perk to purchasing a brand-new Tesla.
If someone is told all the benefits of tires insulated with foam while he never driven on them, do you think they’d know which one is better?
Teslas are not cheap, and if someone want to get a car that is as comfortable as the luxury vehicle, Teslas with the foam tires is a good choice.
How Does the Foam Work
When you drive over pavement or asphalt, the uneven surface of the road cause vibrations within the structure of the tire. Even the slightest dip or crack can cause a tremble. Those vibrations lead to energy being radiated from the tire tread and sidewall.
The foam is a barrier that absorbs minute vibrations and helps prevent sound from traveling up the sidewalls and into the cabin of the Tesla. Imagine yelling at the top of your lungs, then putting a pillow over your face. Your scream become muffled, but you can still hear them.
The foam does not eliminate the noise but somewhat dampens it.
Does This Tire Have Disadvantages?
Tires with sound dampeners aren’t all they are chalked up to be. Some setbacks include not being able to be repaired, wearing out faster, and not actually providing a quieter ride.
Some tire shops won’t repair tires with foam because it requires cutting out foam in the area the puncture occurred. Have no fear. These shops are mainly “mom-and-pop shops” that aren’t willing to do so.
Large tire retailer chains typically don’t have problem performing repairs. Unless they are the Continental Pro Contact with Conti Silent Technology.
If your Tesla came originally equipped with Continental tires, odds are they have Conti Silent Technology. Tesla service centers are the only ones willing to perform puncture repairs on this specific tire. Due to Continental uses a rubber sealant to adhere the foam to the inner liner, shops do not have the proper tools to remove the adhesive and apply the patch.
The only reason tires with foam wear out faster is because they are original equipment (OEM). OEM tires utilize a softer rubber compound in the tread, which is why they wear out prematurely and has nothing to do with the foam inside.
In all of the tires, I have installed on Teslas, many customers say that aftermarket options have a much smoother and quieter ride. There is not enough data to back up this information. Therefore, it is all up to consumer perception.
Can You Put Normal Tires (No Foam) on Tesla?
In my experience, most consumers who own Teslas rarely return to foam-insulated tires. They are expensive and do not last more than 30,000 miles on average.
It is more than okay to install standard tires on your Tesla, and it will not adversely affect the ride quality or performance of the vehicle. In fact, I would argue that most standard tires provide a better ride quality. As long as you choose the right brand and quality, I can guarantee that you will be more satisfied with regular tires.
A few of the non-foam brands I recommend on Teslas are Michelin, Continental, and Pirelli. For some reason, these brands tend to have the best wear and performance.
I have been in the tire industry for a long time and have changed hundreds of tires on Teslas. All Tesla models didn’t start to come with foam insulation until 2017. And to be frank, most consumers could not tell the difference.
Whether or not your next set of tires comes with foam will be up to you. Factors in the things I discussed in this article are to decide if they are right for you. In a word, you’ll probably end up with standard tires.
If you are also curious about why Tesla tires are so expensive, you may be interested in this article.