If you own or plan to own a Tesla, we aren’t surprised you want to know everything about it. You may have heard someone tell you that Tesla puts foam in their tires. Is that really true? We know it sounds bizarre. Why would they do that? Doesn’t foam seem a little low-tech for Tesla? Let’s find out!
Does Tesla Fill Their Tires With Foam?
No, Tesla doesn’t fill their tires with foam. They purchase tires from manufacturers like Pirelli and Michelin and put them on these vehicles. It just so happens that they select tires with a layer of foam attached inside by the manufacturers.
These tires come this way from the factory. So if you imagined a Tesla assembly line grabbing tires and injecting them with foam, you were wrong. The tires they select come that way from the factory.
It’s true Tesla often has the tires they select for a certain model modified to work well for the car. However, the foam is already a part of the OEM tires before modification. As innovative as the company is, Tesla didn’t invent foam-filled tires.
They have been around for quite some time now. Tire companies add foam as a standard to their higher-end tires because it fulfills a luxury purpose. The tires don’t need any foam to run normally.
Also, read: Can Any Electric Car Use Tesla Charging Stations
Why Are Tesla Tires Filled With Foam?
- Why does Tesla select foam-filled tires? Tesla originally only opted to use foam-filled tires in the 2017 Model X and S. However, the glowing customer reviews prompted Tesla to add them to all their models after adding them to their flagship model.
- It all has to do with tire noise. Tesla cars don’t have large and loud internal combustion engines. Wouldn’t you expect a much more comfortable ride without engine noise? That would be true if it weren’t for the other sounds now prominent in the cabin.
- Once the rumble and roar of the engine were gone, the sounds generated by the tires and wind noise from outside became really bothersome. How does one go about solving this problem? Wind noise reduction kits can help the wind noise. The hooting sounds of the tires are another story.
- The answer is more straightforward than you think. Have you ever seen a recording studio in real life or on television? Do you have a friend who has a podcast or a home theatre? What do all these things have in common? Foam!
- Foam insulation or noise-proofing material. It’s used on the walls of professional studios to your friend’s home theatre to reduce unwanted noise. Who knew you would find foam insulation in tires too?
- This isn’t your average wall insulation foam or what you buy at the craft store.
- The foam used in Tesla OEM tires is specially designed using innovative chemical engineering. The final material has improved sound-absorbing properties and is proprietary technology belonging to tire manufacturers. Michelin calls its foam solution Acoustic Technology, while Pirelli has its PNCS or Pirelli Noise Cancelation System.
How Does Foam Make Tires Quieter?
- Tesla OEM tires are filled with foam because the foam reduces the noise created by tires. To understand why that happens, let’s remind everyone what sound actually is.
- Sound is a vibration in air picked up by our ears and transformed by our brains into a sound. Sounds travel in waves in the air, liquids, and solids. Without any matter, there would be no sound. That’s why we can’t hear the explosions happening in the sun.
- When sound waves travel, they spread and pass the vibration into everything they touch. When they hit our eardrum, they make it vibrate as well. That vibration gets processed into sound in our brains.
- The inside of the tire is hollow and filled with air. Tires spin very fast while hitting a hard road. The vibrations inside the air cavity of a tire create what’s known as cavity noise.
- The axle carries the cavity noise vibrations to the car’s cabin. To reduce the sound, you must reduce the strength of these vibrations. The strength of sound vibrations is called its amplitude. When sound waves hit smooth and rigid materials, their amplitude remains unchanged, and they bounce off.
- When sound waves hit soft porous materials like foam, their amplitude is reduced as part of the energy gets absorbed in the material. This energy dissipates in the form of heat. The naturally porous structure of foam makes it ideal as a sound-insulation material.
- How the foam is structured and produced differs from tire company to company. As the foam is structured and manufactured differently, its ability to absorb sound is also different. Michelin claims to reduce the interior noise by 20%. Pirelli’s PNCS claims to reduce the perceived noise by half.
Read 13 Tires that Tesla Model 3 Owners Swear By
Are the Tires Filled Entirely With Foam?
No, the tires are still mostly filled with air. Companies exist that fill your tires with foam. They replace the air in the tire, and polyurethane takes its place.
This process is used for construction vehicles to prevent flat tires. That makes the tires much heavier. That’s not a quality you’d want in a road or track car’s tires.
That’s not the case in Tesla or any electronic vehicle tires. The sound absorption system in various manufacturers’ tires uses a layer of foam attached to the inside of the tire. That amount is enough to cancel the sound significantly without hampering the tire’s performance.
Do You Need to Buy Foam-Filled Tires?
Suppose you want to buy new tires. Are you bound to buy the same foam-filled OEM tires the car came with, or are you free to choose any? To be frank, you can slap any tires on your car, and it will work. However, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
There are certain parameters tires need to fit to be used in electronic vehicles. As long as the tires you decide to use fit these parameters. You can use them whether they are filled with foam or not.
We can’t think of any reason you wouldn’t want to benefit from the sound reduction. The difference is night and day. However, you can do whatever pleases you in the end.
Check out: Why are Tesla Electric Cars Good for the Environment?
Properties of Electronic Vehicle Tires
Here are the things that make electronic vehicle tires different from regular ones.
You might be under the impression that electronic vehicles are lighter than cars with internal combustion engines. However, that couldn’t be farther than the truth.
Electronic vehicles are astoundingly 10% to 20% heavier than gasoline engine cars. Batteries are heavier than people think. The added weight comes from the batteries, the battery’s metal armor, and reinforced suspension.
You cannot use tires that aren’t ready to bear the extra weight. Keep this in mind that electronic vehicle tires are built from the ground up.
This article has extensively covered how foam is used to reduce sound in Tesla’s tires. Tesla isn’t the only electronic vehicle company to use foam-filled tires. Noise cancellation is a coveted feature in all Electronic vehicle tires. The cars don’t need it to run properly, but it considerably impacts ride comfort.
Rolling resistance is the energy needed to keep the car tires moving constantly. If the rolling resistance is high, the wheels quickly stop when they aren’t fed any more torque from the engine. Increased rolling resistance means extra kinetic energy gets lost easily in the form of heat against the rolling resistance.
If the rolling resistance is low, the wheels keep rolling long after your foot is raised from the accelerator pedal. Electronic vehicles can reclaim the energy in these wheels as they roll through regenerative braking.
That is why electronic vehicles prefer tires with low rolling resistance. While choosing your tires for your Tesla, if you want to benefit more from regenerative braking, then you need low-rolling resistance tires.
Electronic vehicles don’t have to wait for the engine to build up torque and send it to the wheels. While in electric cars, torque is instantly generated and sent straight to the wheels. Wheels designed for electronic vehicles have more traction than regular wheels.
This is so that they can handle all the torque suddenly coming and going. When you combine high-traction wheels with the quick responses of an electric vehicle, it’s a whole new driving experience.
Electronic vehicles accelerate faster, brake faster, and start to beat ICE vehicles in all performance categories. The tires have to bear the brunt of this superiority.
If you use regular tires or not EV-rated tires, they will wear down faster. EV-rated tires are made to be more durable with tougher materials.
Are All EV Tires Filled With Foam?
Most Electronic Vehicles OEM tires come filled with foam. Most EV-rated tires on the market will likely have foam in them. That’s because the noise-canceling feature of foam-filled tires is considered an EV must-have even though you don’t technically need it to drive.
It won’t damage your vehicle if you use tires without it. You might wish to change tire types or brands once you’re through the first OEM ones.
People do that because they consider the modified TO tires too expensive.
If that’s the case, we recommend looking through all the specs of the tires that came with your Tesla. Check the max load, tread depth, and rolling resistance rating. Try to match these specs on any tires you get, whether they have foam or not inside.
Ensure that you get the same size or the size mentioned in the owner manual or Tesla’s website. You should also ensure the tire pressure is consistent with the company’s recommendations. We have shared how Tesla and EV tires differ from regular tires to help you make informed decisions.
You will sacrifice cabin comfort by not getting tires filled with foam. We understand if you decide to do that.
Click this link: How Many Amp Hours is a Tesla Electric Car’s Battery?
DIY Foam Tires
- Can you believe that people have experimented with adding foam to their tires by themselves? Making the foam-filled tires standard in all cars was a wise choice for Tesla. Even though they are more expensive, it is an intuitive product. People feel the difference, and they don’t wish to turn back.
- However, not everyone can afford to keep replacing their tires with expensive OEM tires.
- You’ll find videos of people adding the foam to imitate the results. They clean the inside of the tire with rubbing alcohol or spirit.
- That ensures there’s no waxy residue becoming an obstacle for the adhesive. Using silicone-based adhesive they have to lie around; they line the inside of the tire. Then they cut a piece of foam to fit the tire’s width and attach it to the inside surface.
- Some people have tried this and are happy with the results, while others don’t think it made any difference. Let us tell you why this is not safe at all. No matter how strong the adhesive you use, you cannot guarantee that the foam will never come loose while driving.
- It can vibrate inside the tire, affecting the steering at fast speeds if that happens. Please do not put yourself or others at risk to save a few bucks.
- Either use the standard foamless tires or invest in the foam ones. There’s no safe shortcut in the middle. Companies specifically make the foam used inside Tesla tires for this purpose. You will not be able to imitate similar results with ordinary foam anyway.
Tesla does not fill their tires with foam. They choose OEM tires with foam installed by the manufacturers. Electronic vehicles are best paired with foam-filled tires since they reduce the road noise entering the car’s cabin.
Since the constant noise from the internal combustion engine is absent in an electric vehicle like Tesla, you notice the hum from the tires. This noise is bothersome; manufacturers line tires with foam to get rid of it. You don’t have to use foam-filled tires on your Tesla, but you’ll miss out.
Read more on electric vehicles:
- Are Electric Car Batteries Bad for the Environment?
- What Companies Benefit from Electric Cars?
- What are the Best Electric Car Stocks to Buy
- A Complete Guide to Electric Car Jack Kit
- The 10 Best Electric Cars for Commuting: Find the Right One for You
- 13 Tires that Tesla Model 3 Owners Swear By
- The Definitive Comparison Between BMW i3 and Tesla Model 3
- What You Should Know About Cabin Overheat Protection in Tesla EVs? [7 Reasons]
- Can You Tow a Tesla Using a Tow Truck? [11 Main Reasons]
My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.