As soon as we took delivery of our Model Y a couple of months ago I knew we’d eventually need a set of winter tires. I always buy a set of dedicated wheels for them as I’d rather swap them myself on my schedule than be at the whim of the tire place. So I found a new take-off set of wheels and tires with wheel covers identical to the ones our car came with and ordered them from ebay. The one thing they didn’t come with were the tire pressure monitor sensors as the seller had used those on his new wheels. Tesla sells them for $75 each which is steep but they seem to be the only source as for the Y they switched to a new Bluetooth version as opposed to what almost every other car (and other Tesla model) uses. At least they were in stock at the service center so I picked up a set.
Finding tires was a bit tougher than expected, everyone was already out of stock for most options in the 255/45-19 size that the Model Y Long Range uses. Apparently it’s not a particularly common size and the main winter tire makers didn’t plan for enough. I usually go with Blizzaks for my winters but they don’t even offer this size at all (Yet, I bet they will next year). I never have luck with Pirelli tires and Michelin was out of stock in both their tire options, as were the various options of the Nokian Hakkapeliita line.
After checking repeatedly at Costco, Discount Tire and TireRack, I ended up ordering a set of Vredestein Wintrac Pro tires in the appropriate size. I’ve wanted to try Vredestein for years, they are usually highly rated in Europe (as these were) but not overly common here. However TireRack sells them now so why not, in this case they are a Performance Winter Tire with a V-rating. We likely won’t be traveling fast enough to use all of that rating but our winter is usually cold without prolonged periods of snow on the roads so high speeds are common and I’d rather the feel of the tires stay more consistent after switching than otherwise.
I took it all over to Discount Tire and they put everything together for me for $80 so now I also have an extra set of summer tires and a spare set of wheel covers in the garage (as they came with the take-offs I bought). To jack the car up I first tried my trusty 3-ton jack and then realized the side of the car is lower than my Porsche was so for more clearance I had to drive it up on a set of 2″ boards I had left over from a house project. Of course I chocked the rear wheel with a spare chunk of 4×6 I had laying around as well.
To jack the Tesla up requires special care as the bottom is flat with the battery casing at the bottom of the chassis. There are four holes built in to it for jack pucks. These look like hockey pucks with a little nipple and a red o-ring that holds them in the holes while you place the jack. I got this set off Amazon for around $20 including the rather nice carrying case. I’ll only need one puck unless I use a four point lift or multiple jacks.
The wheel covers that come on the 19″ wheels of the Model Y Long Range pop off easily with a light tug, they are held on with spring clips on the back. In fact they don’t even cover the entire wheel, the outside edge of the rim protrudes a bit beyond the cover so you pull from between the spokes to remove it.
Here’s the other side with a bunch of attached clips, they come off and reattach with relatively light pressure (no tools required at all) but seem secure when on. Note the inspector’s paint pen marks around the perimeter, likely checking the clips are in place.
Once those are off and the lugnuts loosened slightly, then the car can be jacked up and the lugnuts removed entirely. I was surprised to see them being hollow, I’m more used to the acorn style (or just bolts). They are fairly large, the threaded portion is at the bottom of the holes here and the top part is the only part that fits the socket, in this case a 21mm, so they could be the acorn style but aren’t. Tesla will sell you little covers if you want to run the wheels without the covers. I have a set on hand in case I ever do, it comes with center caps for the alloys as well.
Once the wheel is off, the brakes present themselves. Normally you can’t even see these with the wheel covers on. They are quite large with 14″discs in front and the calipers turned out to be made by Brembo (in Mexico though, not Italy). Elon seems to do what he can to take cost out of his cars to keep the price as low as it can be which can turn out to be mildly frustrating at times but he doesn’t seem to skimp on the stuff that really matters from what I can see. I don’t think we will be needing to replace these anytime soon as we have both quickly mastered one-pedal driving which is surprisingly fun.
The car has enough regen built in to stop the car from speed, after just a short while you get quite adept at figuring just when to let up off the gas to get it to stop perfectly as and where desired. There are two regen settings (normal and light) and you can also set the car to hold when stopped at a light or creep like an automatic. We have ours set to hold and it does so without any intervention when stopped, even on an incline. Yes, the brake lights do come on when you jump off the gas to make it slow itself down without using the brakes. Using regen feels kind of like a steady moderate push on the brakes, nothing like just coasting.
Here’s the flat underbody from the front towards the back (I took this after moving the jack to the rear). The hole for the jack puck is near the upper right of the picture. The flat floor ties in with plastic aero covers front and rear so it’s more or less smooth from bumper to bumper.
The front suspension is a double wishbone design with a lot of aluminum used. I was pleased to see the assembly was neatly done with everything attached securely and routed in a manner that should keep it in place. Tesla doesn’t seem to waste any money painting parts that aren’t seen often…
This is a different angle of the same upper suspension mount casting but from the other side of the car, I like looking at these castings…Like I said everything looked and felt secure to me but if you see something that looks about to fall off, let me know!
Here’s a slightly lower viewpoint from back on the original (left) side of the car.
And from the other side of the brake. You can kind of barely see a bit of the front motor unit in the back with the orange connector. The half-shafts are actually made by a Hyundai company according to the label I saw on it but most things are tagged with Tesla labels and often with their logo molded or stamped into them.
Backing out of this assembly here’s a different angle of the brake caliper. I love that hub, it looks so clean and perfect here. The rotor hats seem to have a coating on them as well to prevent rust, this’ll be interesting to see again after the winter to see how everything fared.
Time to put the new front wheel/tire on, the lugnuts require 129lb-ft of torque (that’s the highest any of my cars have ever required as far as I can recall), thankfully my wrench goes up to 150 or so. Yes, the tires appear to have been designed by Giugiaro. No, that didn’t make a difference in my purchase decision. They are made in the Netherlands though as Vredestein is a Dutch company.
The cover pops back on and covers the pretty (to my eyes) alloy and those brakes. Apparently these covers add about 3% of range. Oh, we recently got more range through an OverTheAir update, when we bought the car it was advertised as having 316 miles, now it has 325 due to some efficiencies that were found and able to be updated while we slept. Anyway, let’s now move to the back of the car.
The rear rotor is 13.2″ in diameter (the alloy wheels on my first car, the 1979 Mazda 626, only measured 13″….) and the caliper is a much more mundane design. If we rarely if ever have to replace the front, I doubt we will ever need to touch the rear. This is the end that the parking brake activates. It does it automatically when you push the gear selecter button into Park and hold it there for a second. It releases when pushed into Reverse or Drive.
This shows part of the rear casting of the car chassis. The Model 3 uses 70 different pieces assembled together, whereas the first Model Y’s did this as only two large cast pieces that were bolted together but around the end of September or beginning of October Tesla started casting the entire rear end as one piece.
I’m actually not sure which our car (two pieces of single casting) is as it was produced right during the transition period. One day I’ll probably take the trunk interior apart to figure it out as serial numbers don’t tell the whole story, the cars do not seem to be produced exactly in numerical sequence.
There are a lot of (multiple!) links in a multi-link rear suspension. But again everything seemed well put together.
A slightly better view from the other side of the brake.
Here’s part of the rear motor unit taken from a slightly lower viewpoint but still on the driver’s (left) side of the car.
This is also the rear but from the right side of the car. Interestingly there is what looks a lot like an oil filter just below the halfshaft, you can sort of see the end of the housing at the 4 o’clock position and just to the left of the black electrical thingy with the cable going into it. The other picture I took with the filter or whatever it is unfortunately didn’t turn out. It’s sized like a regular filter for an import car, is black and has the Tesla logo on it.
Doing a little research shows it’s actually a filter for the gearbox but doesn’t seem to be a regular service item. Apparently the filter does a good enough job to extend the life of the fluid to almost infinity, the Model S had a fluid change interval until it was realized that the gear oil was still in perfect condition so then they added the filter for safety and removed the call for service.
Since we’ve magically moved to the other side of the car, time to put that new wheel on as well and torque it up once it’s back down on the ground. Then just need to drive off the plank, remove the chock, mark the old wheels and tires with the corner they came off of and stack them in the garage. And then take a test drive.
The test drive went well, the new tires don’t seem any louder or drive much different than the old ones, at least not for the couple of miles I went. Tomorrow we are supposed to get a bunch of snow so that’ll be the real test and then I’ll take the covers off and re-torque the wheels once more to make sure they are solid. At this point we’ve gone 1,547 miles in the car and I didn’t mean this to be any kind of update, that’ll follow probably around the beginning of the year with some better information as to range in cold weather as well as some other insights into our experiences so far.