Yes, a Tesla is a car, but it isn’t really a normal car. With so many features that differ from a regular vehicle, it’s perfectly reasonable to wonder whether the standard maintenance procedures are going to apply.
With that in mind, in this article we aim to tackle the question, do Teslas need alignment? Could your EV’s wheel be off-centre, and what about the toes? Today, we’ll answer all of these questions and more.
Does My Tesla Need Alignment?
As a Tesla driver, it’s a welcome convenience that you can skip the regular oil changes and tune-ups that a run-of-the-mill fossil-fuelled car would call for. However, despite these differences, all models of Tesla do still need to have their tires rotated and wheels aligned from time to time.
Looking to each of the respective manuals, we see that the EV car brand universally recommends rotating the tires of the cars they produce every 6,250 miles (10,000 km) or if the tread depth reaches or exceeds a difference of 2/32 inches (1.5 mm).
Tire rotation is a great practice for maintaining even treadwear and maximizing the lifespan of the tires themselves. But it’s also a handy opportunity for you to notice if wheel balance or alignment may have become an issue.
If tire wear is uneven—appearing deeper on one side of the tire than on the other—then it’s time to get the balance and alignment checked and adjusted as necessary.
Historically, Tesla vehicles have exhibited a few issues in the area of alignment, but the company definitely takes addressing such problems seriously. In 2021, the brand recalled 2,791 units of Model 3 and Model Y Teslas in order to fix a problem with alignment.
It’s great to know that Tesla are intent on providing the best alignment performance possible, but that still leaves responsibility with us as drivers to monitor for signs that it’s time for a checkup or fix.
How Can I Know When My Tesla Needs Alignment?
There are three simple ways to assess whether your Tesla’s alignment may be a little off.
The first is to determine if the car pulls to the left or right when in motion. This can be achieved by driving along a straight, flat, and quiet road, and carefully releasing the steering wheel for a moment to see if the car continues to move in a straight line. If it moves to one side or the other, then you know that something is amiss.
The second indication that your Tesla needs a pit stop for realignment is if the steering wheel is not sitting straight. To test this, head for the same flat, straight, quiet road mentioned above and once again cautiously and attentively release the wheel. This time, look at the steering wheel itself to see if it is perfectly centred, or angled a little to the left or right. If the positioning isn’t symmetrical, then misalignment is the cause.
Finally, some Tesla drivers like to invest in toe plates so that they can monitor their alignment at home in the garage. To do so, when parked with the steering wheel straight, position your toe plates flat against the outside edge of each of the wheels—looking at one pair of wheels at a time. You can get a clear picture of the status of your alignment by measuring the distance between the toe plate edges at the front and the rear of the wheels in millimetres. If the front measurement is larger than the rear measurement, then this is called “toe-out”. If the rear measurement is larger, then that would be “toe-in”.
Getting Your Tesla’s Alignment Serviced
While many of the maintenance or repair tasks that your Tesla might require can only be carried out at an official Tesla Service Center, this isn’t necessarily so when the time comes to get your alignment adjusted.
Despite the process being relatively simple, only some repair shops are happy to take care of this issue for Tesla-driving customers, while others are not so keen. If you don’t have a Tesla Service Center nearby, you may well strike lucky by shopping around until you find a place with the experience and know-how you’re looking for.
Of course, some Tesla owners prefer to stick to the expertise of the Tesla Service Center’s specialized mechanics. To make this decision for yourself, you’ll likely have to weigh up issues of distance to the service center and your instinct in terms of how you’d like to care for your car. Either way, an alignment fix for a Tesla isn’t a particularly expensive issue, so you shouldn’t have to worry about it breaking the bank.
So there you have it. Now you know exactly how to monitor the alignment of your Tesla and when to get it looked at. This is a relatively small and simple burden to bear when driving a car that generally requires little input—and a great way to extend the life of your tires and maximize your driving experience.