Aero Covers and high speed

Rafael

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#1
A word of advice.. If you plan on speeding. And I mean seriously speeding, take off the Aero Covers. They can come loose. This is not speculation.

i.e.:

A half mile speed test on a Model 3 will take you beyond 130Mph (209km) and there is a good chance that one or more covers can come off the wheel.
 
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#2
A word of advice.. If you plan on speeding. And I mean seriously speeding, take off the Aero Covers. They can come loose. This is not speculation.

i.e.:

A half mile speed test on a Model 3 will take you beyond 130Mph (209km) and there is a good chance that one or more covers can come off the wheel.
Sounds like they put the “Aero” in wheel :)
 

Rafael

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#4
How far do they travel when they come off? Do they just rapidly disassemble at that point?
I don't think there's an exact science to that, as many things will influence it (speed, surrounding object, etc.). What I have seen most of the time, is that when wheel covers come off, they travel a good amount as if it was a wheel, and as they lose speed they come to a rest and might glide to a halt.

I think because of the way the Model 3 covers are designed, they might actually survive pretty good. Unless another car crushes them. But there is always a risk of impact with something or someone. Just something to keep in mind.
 

jsmay311

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#5
A word of advice.. If you plan on speeding. And I mean seriously speeding, take off the Aero Covers. They can come loose. This is not speculation.

i.e.:

A half mile speed test on a Model 3 will take you beyond 130Mph (209km) and there is a good chance that one or more covers can come off the wheel.
Ok, I'll bite: How do you know?

(Having taken them off before and observed the rather right fit that they have to the wheel, and also observing how the cover's design ensures that they're well-centered on the wheel and therefore shouldn't wobble, I would've expected them to be quite stable even at higher speeds.
OTOH, 130mph is really fast!)
 

Jakesthree

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#6
I would hope this kind of speed would be on a track or closed road so unlikely to hit anything. Of course if this was done on a public road then it's the driver that needs to be removed from the vehicle.
 

John

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#7
Great. Now someone's going to start posting how Aero wheels are not only an assault on the senses, but a road hazard.
Sigh. Some people...
 

NRG4All

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#8
Ok, I'll bite: How do you know?

(Having taken them off before and observed the rather right fit that they have to the wheel, and also observing how the cover's design ensures that they're well-centered on the wheel and therefore shouldn't wobble, I would've expected them to be quite stable even at higher speeds.
OTOH, 130mph is really fast!)
That is a feature of the Aero Wheel Covers. They are meant to come off at that speed to crash into the police car that is behind you, possibly saving you a ticket and impoundment.
 

Rafael

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#9
Wheel covers, or Hub Caps, as they used to call them, have been around since the 1930s (I think with Cadillac), and some manufacturers have done a better job than others to help them stay on the cars.

Some could come off at low speeds, some at higher speeds. When I posted this entry, I didn't mean to imply that the aero covers will definitely fall off, or that if they do, they could only come off at very high speed. Very high speeds will simply increase the chances of it happening.

I hope that Tesla's would remain on the wheel no matter what the speed is, but this is an item that is not bolted or really secured on the wheel. You don't even need a tool to take them off. A gentle tug can remove them by hand. As such, it can fall. It could fall because of a pot-hole, or simply because it got loose with time.

On my part, I suggest that every now and then, Aero Cover should be inspected. Growing up in the seventies and the eighties, it was very common to see wheel covers fall off from running cars. I have even seen it happen in the last decade too. So, unless Tesla found a way to 100% prevent them from falling, keeping an eye on that is suggested. I took them off a few weeks ago, from a Turo rental I had at home, to test how hard they are holding onto the wheel, and in my opinion, they're not as solid holding on to the wheel as I hoped.

Mine will be the aeros (I finally configured my 3. Waiting for VIN), and I already ordered the lug nut covers and center cap, for when I am not on long road trips. After a while, I am planing on some installing some lightweight aftermarket wheels, like Enkei, Sparco, or O.Z. Racing for the more permanent look.

Cheers.
 

Maevra

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#13
I doubt the aeros would fly off without some previously unnoticed failure/ damage.

As seen below, most hubcaps only have retention rings or clips, but the Tesla aero cover has a center cap that is secured to the wheel hub AND several (four?) secondary clips on the spokes.

Regular hub cap:


Tesla aero cap:


For the aero cap to fail and fly off, both that center piece AND the smaller clips on the spokes would have to fail at the same time.

As mentioned, maybe if you hit a pothole or were going over really bad roads, the vibrations could shake/weaken the material enough to that point, but you’d have to be nuts (or James Bond) to go over bad roads at high speed anyway.

FWIW, I’ve gone up to ~112mph and had no issues with aeros whatsoever. I’m not worried. Periodic checks of the caps and cleaning are a good idea of course to make sure all is in order.

ETA: Seems like judging how easy or hard it is to “pull off” the aero covers isn’t a good test of how well they stay on the car at speed. After all, pulling a wheel off from the side is much easier than trying to rip it off from the front or back. I’m sure a smarter person than I can explain this with a better example, but that’s my two cents.
 
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#14
Interesting topic. About a month ago, I was driving on a Florida highway and I saw a Model 3 drop a hubcap. I heard a scratching noise on the road as the car passed by me, at a pretty high rate of speed and I saw the thing pass right by my Honda. The driver of the Tesla must have heard it too, because he immediately slowed down and took the shoulder lane. I’m pretty sure he stopped to pick it up. That stretch of highway is pristine, so I don’t think he hit an imperfection on the road. If/when I get a Model 3, I’m definitely not getting it with those hubcaps. I reserved in October of 2016, so I’m sure I still have a long wait to go.
 

Maevra

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#15
Interesting topic. About a month ago, I was driving on a Florida highway and I saw a Model 3 drop a hubcap. I heard a scratching noise on the road as the car passed by me, at a pretty high rate of speed and I saw the thing pass right by my Honda. The driver of the Tesla must have heard it too, because he immediately slowed down and took the shoulder lane. I’m pretty sure he stopped to pick it up. That stretch of highway is pristine, so I don’t think he hit an imperfection on the road. If/when I get a Model 3, I’m definitely not getting it with those hubcaps. I reserved in October of 2016, so I’m sure I still have a long wait to go.
Thanks for sharing that’s probably the first true witness account we have of a Model 3 aero cover flying off! When you said high rate of speed could you guess how fast he was going vs. your own speed?

Hearing a scratching noise when it passed you makes me wonder what could have been making the sound (was the cover was loose, or the wind was finally getting the better of the cover, etc.).
 
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#16
The noise I heard made me look, and that’s when I saw the cover. It was running as a wheel parallel to the Tesla and the noise was the sound of the cover running on the road.

I was doing at least 65-70, so I think the Tesla was going over 100Mph. It passed by me as if I was braking, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was going at about 120Mph. But without a radar gun, I’ll never know.
 
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Michael Russo

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#17
Shall we edit the title to ‘The incredible UFO Model ≡ Aeros story’?! :D
 

PNWmisty

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#19
My previous post explains why I posted this. I only mentioned the speed because the car is advertised as having a top speed of 140Mph.
I guess if the covers were not engineered to stay attached at 140 mph, the car shouldn't be advertised as having a top speed of 140 mph, at least not one equipped with factory Aero Wheels. Any real world rims that detach at speed may or may not have been properly installed.