*This post contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.
Today, I will go over why Tesla cars are recommended to have a higher than average tire pressure rating. Tesla is one of the few cars with a tire pressure recommendation over 40 PSI. Most vehicles of the same size as Teslas carry pressure between 30-38 PSI.
Several factors lead to why they chose such a high pressure rating, such as energy consumption, vehicle weight, and performance.
Long Range, Lower Energy Consumption, And Performance
Most have no idea how much the tire’s pressure is can affect the energy consumption of an electric vehicle.
In my experience, I have noticed Tesla pushes the thresh hold of tires in trying to get the most miles per charge. The tires you find on most Teslas have a maximum cold tire pressure rating between 45-48 PSI. Considering how energy efficiency can be improved by 3 to 7% with proper inflation, you can see why they would inflate the tires to the limit.
The difference in energy consumption may not seem like a world of difference. But the costs would add up if you were to constantly run the tires below the manufacturer’s recommendation.
When tires have more air in them, it decreases the rolling resistance. Rolling resistance is typically associated with fuel economy but also affects how a vehicle performs.
Rolling resistance is the amount of friction generated from rubber on the road. Lower pressures cause more friction because of the wider footprint a tire has. The more resistance a tire has makes it, the more challenging for the vehicle to move forward.
Along with acceleration and braking, when tires don’t have enough air, it causes the sidewalls to not have enough support. When the sidewall of a tire can’t properly support the vehicle, turning and traction are less safe because of the amount of flex allowed.
Tesla boasts about how well its vehicles perform and how many miles per charge they get. Neither would be possible without pumping the tires up with as much air as possible.
Electric cars, in general, are some of the heaviest vehicles on the road. Since tires are the only thing supporting the entire vehicle’s weight, there will need to be more pounds per square inch inside the tire.
On average, a Teslas battery weighs between 1,000 to 1,200 pounds. That is over three times the weight of the typical 4-cylinder motor. You can see why they require high air pressure.
Tires have load index ratings, which are responsible for identifying the weight they can handle at a specific pressure. The more air they have, the more weight they can carry. If you look at the max pressure of the tires for Teslas, you will notice that the recommended inflation is almost the same.
If they aren’t maxing out the pressure on these tires, they wouldn’t be able to carry the weight of these vehicles. In simple terms, Tesla is trying to have low-profile tires carry the weight of an SUV. This also factors into why tires on Teslas rarely last longer than 30,000 miles.
The weight of these vehicles is single-handedly the most important factor as to why they run such high air pressures.
Do you know that a tire can decrease 2 PSI for every 10-degree drop in temperature?
The average vehicle owner needs to improve at performing routine tire pressure checks every month. This plays a role even more so when we get into the months of winter. We can see the temperatures go from the high 70s down to 0 degrees, which would be a loss of 14 PSI if unchecked.
Temperature change is not the main factor in why Teslas have high pressures, but it’s one I always like to mention when talking about tire air pressure. If more people know the effects temperatures have, they would take care of their tires more often.
To avoid losing energy consumption, performance, and safety. Check your tire pressures once a month during warm weather and twice a month in the winter.
Technology is constantly advancing for these cars to get more miles per charge. But I don’t foresee Tesla going away from high tire pressure until they can shave a significant amount off the battery’s weight. Even then, they might keep it because of the difference it can have on fuel economy.
Remember to always follow Tesla’s recommended tire pressure.
Do you need a complete guide on checking and adjusting your Tesla tire pressure?
I got you covered. Click here to learn all you need to know about maintaining pressures in your Tesla tires.