In my previous posts What It’s Really Like to Own and Drive a Tesla Model Y (2023), I talked about my experience as a Tesla owner. In this updated article, I want to share comprehensive and affordable tire and rim coverage for your EV.
Some of you may know that I bought a Tesla Model Y in Oct 2022 and have never regretted the decision. It’s a wonderful car for many reasons. Most EVs do come with decent coverage and warranty in general but it does not include tire or rim protection. This isn’t news to car companies as most of them do not provide such coverage. Why? I’m no expert but just take a look around the cars on the street today, and you will notice that nearly every single car has some sort of tire and rim damage. It’s unavoidable and happens to everyone sooner or later.
Tire and rim damages are especially common among EVs because they are generally heavier, and the metal of EV rims sticks out further than the tire rubber. This is especially true for Teslas. I have heard that this is by design and improves the performance and speed of the car. However, this design leaves the metal rims as the first point of contact for curbs during misjudged turns.
Wheel vs. Tire vs. Wheel
The wheel is the metal unit that attaches the wheel hub to an automobile via an axle, while rims are the outermost part of the wheel assembly.
Ways to damage your tires and rims
Obviously, nobody does this on purpose, but damages to your tires and rims can happen easily such as:
- Driving on a flat tire (when your tires aren’t properly inflated)
- Driving over curbs
- Road salt in winter if you live in a colder climate
- Parking too close to the curb (i.e. curb rash)
- Not avoiding potholes
Are tire and rim coverage really necessary?
Some people are OK with covering or living with vehicle damage including tires and rims. Sure, a small scratch is more cosmetic, but severe damage can cause more major issues down the road.
For example, if your tire is deflating quickly, and you find yourself filling it up every few days or weeks, you may have some tire damage that is causing a slow leak. If you continue driving on this tire, you could be at risk of a serious blowout, so you should get it fixed right away.
What about driving on a cracked rim? Driving on cracked rims should be avoided as the least impact can cause a blowout and result in an unfortunate accident. If you spot any signs of a crack or related damages on your rims, it’s always a good idea to pull over and ask a certified mechanic to check it.
How much would you have to pay out of pocket (without coverage)?
Let’s use Tesla as an example.
How much does it cost to replace Tesla tires?
The price may vary but generally speaking (as of 2023), the lowest end set of 4 tires costs about $450 for all 4 and the highest end tires cost about $1,200 for all 4. Most Teslas come with higher-end tires.
How much does it cost to replace Tesla rims?
Typically, Tesla rims will cost between $200 and $500 per rim. So for an entire set, you’d pay between $800 and $2,000. Buying them directly from Tesla will cost the most, but you can find some after-market options online.
In conclusion, you could be looking at hundreds if not well over a thousand dollars in fixing or replacing tires and/or rims.
Will car insurance cover damaged tire and rim costs?
It depends on the insurance and your specific coverage. There may be situations when your standard auto insurance policy covers the cost to repair or replace your tires. If you have collision and comprehensive coverage, your insurance company may cover certain scenarios when your tires are slashed, stolen, or in an accident. But car insurance typically does not cover flat tires and regular wear and tear.
“It’s important to note that while insurance might be able to help in these situations unless you’re in an accident, it may not be worth filing a claim. Both collision and comprehensive coverage have a deductible, which you must pay before the insurance company helps with repair costs. When you meet your deductible, there might not be much left for your insurer to pay.”Kelly Blue Book
EV Shield by RoDo: Best for EV Tires and Rims
- Works for Tesla or other EVs
- Comes with cosmetic rim repair coverage
- Provides full replacement of tires and replacement/repair of rims
- 24/7 roadside assistance
- Car rental reimbursement and trip interruption coverage
- $0 deductible
- Unlimited uses
- Includes all mounting, balancing, sales, tax and labor
- YOU get to choose any licensed facility (no need to wait for a callback, you are in charge!)
- Terms from 1 year to as many as 7 years at a fraction of the cost of identical dealership coverage options.
You can review a sample contract here.
Fidelity Warranty Services: Best for Full EV Coverage After Warranty Expires
Unlike EV Shield, Fidelity Warranty Services offers Road Hazard Tires and Wheel Protection, as well as full EV Coverage. You can purchase either of these products as needed.
Their products include:
- Battery Coverage
- Vehicle Service Contract
- Term Care Select
- Total Loss Protection (GAP)
- Maintenance Plan
- Paintless Dent Removal
- Excess Wear and Use
- Road Hazard Tires
- Vehicle Protection Plan
- Theft Deterrent
- Windshield Protection
- Other additional coverage
Road Hazard Tire offers you:
- Deluxe Coverage covers the repair or replacement (if not repairable) of tires or wheels that are damaged due to a road hazard, lifetime benefit of $5,000
- Premium Coverage includes Deluxe Coverage plus cosmetic wheel coverage
- Both plans include up to $50 reimbursement for alternate transportation and towing/roadside assistance
Unlike the other plans, Fidelity Warranty Services requires you to give them a call (instead of providing an estimate through the web). You may purchase a service contract from one of their more than 3,000 participating auto dealerships. Call (800) 327-5172 to locate a dealer in your area.
AAA Tire and Wheel Program
The AAA Tire & Wheel Program provides its members with the extra protection needed from road hazards such as shattered glass, nails, and potholes with the benefits of repairing or replacing tires, wheels, and rims if structurally damaged due to road hazards.
This program includes:
- Wheel Damage
- Paintless Dent Repair
- Lost keys and others benefits
Compared to the previous two coverages, AAA seems quite accessible to consumers and is a well-known brand in the US. However, their coverage seems more general and not specific to EV. It’s worth submitting your information to get an estimate, and then following up with questions related to your EV.
Conclusion: is EV Tire Coverage worth it for you?
I think so and I strongly recommend signing up for tire and wheel coverage to anyone owning a Tesla or an EV living in the United States.
While wheel and rim protectors may sound like a good one-time payment at first, most of them only work once before you have to replace them again. They are often made of plastic and take a professional to install them properly which ends up costing $300 or more with material and labor, I much prefer EV Tire Coverage that puts my mind at ease and knows my Tesla will be in good shape.
What are your thoughts and questions? Please let me know in the comments below.
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