Are you a new Tesla owner trying to determine the wheel cover’s purpose? Or perhaps you’re not sure whether you want to buy a new set of wheels and want to explore the aftermarket wheel cover options before you decide.
Either way, you’ve landed on the right page.
In this article, I’ll cover all you need to know about Tesla wheel covers, which includes:
- Understanding wheel covers.
- Most common issues.
- Choosing the right model.
Every detail counts for maximizing efficiency and enhancing the looks of your electric vehicle. Wheel covers are some of the most popular and easy ways to customize your Tesla.
So, let’s start by explaining why.
Understanding Tesla Wheel Covers
The main purpose of a wheel cover, sometimes called a hubcap, is to protect the rims from curb rash or cover existing rim damage. Tesla also claims that their factory options improve aerodynamics and driving range.
If you dive into online communities, you’ll see that not everyone is excited about a few more extra miles. Hence, many Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model Y owners opt-in for more stylish and less pricey aftermarket wheel covers.
We had the Kavanic Uberturbine style 18″ hubcaps on our Model 3 for about a year. Although the company and some YouTubers promote range improvements, I didn’t notice any difference.
As I mentioned in my Kavanic review, the appearance and protection I got for my buck were good enough, and I have no regrets.
Stock or aftermarket, if you’re reading this, hubcaps are probably something you intend to buy, right?
I’ll dive into the most common issues and factors you should consider when choosing the right ones. But before that, let’s go through the stock covers offered by Tesla.
OEM Wheel Cover Options for Tesla Models
In the Tesla Online Shop, a few wheel cover options are offered in different sizes and designs depending on which Tesla Model you own or plan to buy.
Model 3 Wheel Covers
The Tesla Model 3 comes with 18-inch Aero wheels as standard. A set of wheel covers compatible with the Refresh and Pre-Refresh Model 3 equipped with an 18″ Aero wheel can be added.
Model Y Wheel Covers
The factory wheel cover option for the Tesla Model Y is 19 inches. These are designed for the Gemini wheels that come on the RWD cars, the entry point to the line-up.
Model S Wheel Covers
At the time of writing, the company only offers one wheel cover for Tesla Model S produced after 2020. These are made for vehicles equipped with the standard 19-inch Tempest wheels.
Model X Wheel Covers
While buyers used to receive wheel covers with the Model X, it seems that’s no longer the case. Maybe it has something to do with the multiple complaints that the wheel cover gets the rim scratched when you install it.
Common Issues with Model 3/Y Wheel Covers
The most common issue reported by many Tesla Model 3 and Y owners is that one or more of their factory Aero wheel covers keep coming loose. That’s to be expected if you’re not careful with potholes, but many say it happened on the highway or when driving in heavy rain.
I didn’t have this problem with the Kavanics, but it was quite difficult to remove them when we decided to buy a new set of rims.
Other Model 3 and Model Y owners share that after removing the Tesla Aero covers, they discovered significant damage to their alloy rims. Jason71 posted the following on the TMC forum:
“The Aero caps clip to the spokes of the wheels and the wheel center, and that part of the system seems to work pretty well. The problem comes where they touch against the front of the wheel.“
Considerations When Buying Wheel Covers
As you can see, the options offered by Tesla for your vehicle are very limited, and these often cause problems. Of course, companies that offer aftermarket wheel accessories took advantage of that.
You can find everything from replacements for the Tesla Model 3 stock Aero covers to Turbine, Blade, Sport, and Orbital wheel covers at a reasonable price.
Here is what to consider in order to make the right choice:
Material and Quality
Pretty much all the wheel covers you’ll see on the market today are plastic. Every single aftermarket Tesla wheel cover offered online says: made of premium ABS plastic. In other words, the material isn’t something you can pick.
As for the quality, look for brands with good ratings that sell wheel covers for your Tesla Model. If they have legit customer reviews that are mainly positive, the odds are in your favor. A little online research will increase your chances of satisfaction even more.
I already did it to identify the best in terms of durability, design, and price when writing my Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model Y wheel cover roundup.
Installation and Fitment
Installing a wheel cover on any Tesla Model is a simple DIY process you can complete in a few minutes. Sometimes, aftermarket products won’t have very good instructions, but don’t worry. You can always find a step-by-step installation video on YouTube.
Remember that each wheel cover is designed to fit a specific Tesla Model. Make sure that the ones you’re looking at are compatible with your car. For example, the Tesla Model Y 19-inch wheel cover won’t fit on the Tesla Model S 19-inch wheel.
Aesthetics and Customization
As I mentioned above, Tesla wheel covers provide protection and functional benefits but also give your vehicle a more sophisticated appearance. It’s a cost-effective customization option, allowing you to change the look of your car as often as you want.
There are many wheel cover designs. Some are more futuristic and will give your Tesla wheels a different look, while others will retain originality. The most common colors are Black, Silver, and Dark Grey, which, in my opinion, is good enough to complement any exterior paint or wrap.
Performance and Efficiency
Tesla wheel covers can impact the performance and efficiency of your vehicle. The covers can reduce wind resistance, which in turn will improve aerodynamics. I’m saying “can” because it will depend on the Tesla Model and driving conditions.
In a test conducted by Car and Driver back in 2019, the Tesla Model 3’s Aero covers improved efficiency by yielding up to 10 additional miles of range. The particular design reduces air resistance and increases airflow around the wheel for a more efficient ride.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Benefits of Tesla Wheel Covers?
Tesla wheel covers offer several benefits. The accessory protects the wheels from damage, enhances the appearance by adding a touch of style, and improves aerodynamics, which can lead to a more efficient EV. Covers are one of the best Tesla customizations in terms of price and potential impact.
What Are the Drawbacks of Tesla Wheel Covers?
The only potential drawback of having covers installed on your Tesla wheels is their impact on braking performance. While Tesla’s regenerative braking minimizes the chances, the reduced airflow can still make your brakes less effective. Honestly, I don’t think you’ll ever face this issue unless you take your Tesla to the race track. So, if you do, just take the covers off.
How Effective Are Covers in Protecting the Tesla Rims?
Covers will protect your Tesla rims from both physical damage and environmental factors such as UV rays, salt, and other corrosive substances. However, it’s worth noting that no wheel cover is foolproof, so don’t expect 100% protection if you hit a curb at 50mph.
Why Do Tesla Wheels Have Covers?
Covers on Tesla wheels are not only for protection. These are important aspects of Tesla’s design as they positively impact aerodynamics. This is crucial for EVs as they rely solely on battery power, so any improvements in efficiency will result in better overall performance.