– Ben Martens


Apps like OneDrive and Dropbox are good at syncing your files to the cloud, but what if your scenario is a little more complicated? I ended up with one such scenario due to my cheapskate reasons for wanting to keep an old Pixel phone for its free Google photos storage.

My old Pixel 4a has lifetime free photo storage on Google Photos. Any photo I upload from that phone is free whether it originated there or not. So that means that I need to take all the photos off of our new phones and push them to the old phone. I also like to keep a full resolution copy of all our photos on our file server. I had a manual way of making this work before, but this past week, I found something that seems to be working a little smoother.

There is an open source app called Syncthing. It’s available for most platforms, and while it’s not as user friendly as other options, it is pretty straightforward and has a lot of knobs for adjustment. The basic setup is this:

Syncthing runs on each of our phones. It’s configured to watch for any camera photos or other image files like screenshots or text message pictures that we save. When we’re connected to WiFi, those files get sent to our file server at home which is also running Syncthing. The file server saves them all to disk and then also sends them out to the old Pixel 4a. The Pixel 4a is also running Syncthing and is setup to receive files from the file server. It writes them to a folder on the phone and then Google Photos sees those new files and uploads them to our Google Photos account. Every file goes new phone to file server to old phone to Google Photos. It’s a lot of movement, but it’s automated.

The only hiccup is that the old Pixel 4a runs two user profiles (one for Tyla and one for me.) So I have to periodically flip back and forth between the profiles to let the syncing happen, but that’s a lot easier than it used to be.

Cedar Butte Hike

After record-breaking cold and wet March and April, May has been incredible with temperatures in the 70s and lots of dry weather. A mid-May hike would normally be “early season” conditions, but this one felt like planning for a summer hike.

The trick to hiking this time of year is that everyone is crammed onto the same hikes. Everything in the mountains is still buried in feet of snow. Any popular hike (Rattlesnake Ledge, Tiger Mountain, Mount Si, etc) is a madhouse. I searched around for a bit and found the Cedar Butte hike.

We arrived at about 8:50am after driving past an already maxed out overflow parking area for Rattlesnake Ledge. Parking at our trailhead was only about a third full. On the way up we only saw two other groups and on the way down we saw about eight. It was great to be able to enjoy the peacefulness of the hike.

The first half of the hike is very flat as it follows the old railroad grade John Wayne Trail. There’s a sign for Cedar Butte that shoots you steeply uphill. It only took us about an hour to reach the peak, so we were back in the car by around 11am. The parking lot was jammed full at that point.

For you history buffs, read about the Boxley Burst which happened right in this area. After trying to create a dam, part of the hillside blew out and wiped a town away in the middle of the night. Thanks to a vigilant watchman, everyone got away to safety just in time, but literally all they had left were the clothes on their back.

We have a busy summer ahead but I’m looking forward to squeezing in more hikes!

Tesla Model Y 20,000 Mile Review

We hit 20,000 miles on our 2022 Tesla Model Y just a few weeks short of the 1-year mark. Let’s take a look at how it’s going so far.


If you remember my very first post about the car, lifetime cost was a major factor in my purchase of the car. I’ve been interested in electric vehicles for years, but I wasn’t willing to pay extra to drive one. We would likely have replaced our last Ford Escape with another Escape so I used that as a baseline to see if an EV was likely to be cost effective. Even taking a pessimistic view towards EVs, I felt like the Model Y was likely to at least break even with the lifetime cost of the Escape in our scenario, so we went for it. I also used 100,000 miles to define “lifetime” because I knew that with a long enough time range, the EV would almost always win and again, I didn’t want to jump into anything just “hoping for the best.”

Based on the price of the Escape we were looking at an the Model Y we purchased, I needed to save $18,000 over the life of the car. This includes sales taxes and delivery fees and also assumes that we would have been able to get the Escape at MSRP. Since I have access to some special Ford plans through family and work, we hopefully could have gotten it under MSRP, but the average person walking in off the street would struggle to get MSRP.

Let’s break down the various factors in the lifetime cost of the car and see how its going. Buckle in. I have lots of data.

This is the cost difference that usually comes to mind first, and we’re really doing well in this category. My “break even” analysis was done with an estimate of gas prices averaging around $3.50 for the life of a car. (Remember I was being pessimistic about EVs so that’s why I picked a low price.) I have an app running on my machine that pulls gas prices from the 6 closest gas stations and I use the average of those prices as in my what-if analysis. The red arrow in the chart below denotes when we took delivery.

It felt pretty good to be driving a brand new electric vehicle when the average gas price as over $5.50!

Every day, I run a calculation that takes the average gas price and the number of miles we drove that day and estimates what our gas price would have been for that day. Obviously this isn’t quite perfect because we wouldn’t fill up every day, but it’s not going to be very far off and it’s way more accurate than using average gas prices over large chunks of time.

Over the last 20,000 miles we have spent $802.56 on electricity versus an estimated $4041.63 on gas for a savings of $3239.07 or $16.15/100 miles. If that keeps up, we’ll have saved over $16,000 on gas by the time we get to 100,000 miles!

Registration Fees
Washington state charges an extra $150 registration fee for all electric vehicles since they aren’t getting gas taxes. In my area, we also have registration, property, and sales taxes related to light rail buildout. The registration tax is based on their estimated value of your car. This year it cost $939.25 to put license plates on our car! It’s hard to compare this to what the Escape would be since my cost to register keeps going up (despite the car value going down) as new taxes are voted in and I’m not going to recalculate them all. But since about 2/3 of the total fee is related to that light rail tax and since the Escape was about 2/3 the cost of the Model Y, I’d estimate that we’re paying an extra $200/year for that light rail tax plus the $150 extra for having an electric vehicle. So that’s $350/year extra that we pay for the Model Y versus the Escape. Hopefully that will decrease over time as the car depreciates… it will be a race between depreciation and our ability to vote in new taxes.

Service Costs
The only service costs up to this point is a leftover bottle of wiper fluid that I’ve been using. We did have a leaky tire but that was patched by Discount Tire for free. There have been some recalls but they’re all handled via software. We’ve never had this car in for service. Our last Escape cost us $4318 in service over 105,000 miles so I’m expecting we’ll come out ahead there too.

Resale Price
How much will we sell the Model Y for? How much would we have sold the Escape for? This is where the comparison falls apart. When we get to that point, I can makes some guesses based on the current market, but it’s hard to predict going forward. But we tend to keep our cars for 7-10 years and I’ll be surprised if gas cars hold their value over that period. Pure electric cars currently make up about 6% of total auto sales and it’s skyrocketing. I’m sure there will still be a market for gas vehicles in 7-10 years, but it seems like EVs will probably be more common by that point. We’ll see.

Cost Summary

So all in all, I think we’re easily on track to save that $18,000 by the time we hit 100,000 miles. We’ll probably get there purely with gas savings so unless this car proves to be very unreliable and we have a lot of service costs, we should break even or come out ahead.

And yes, it is of course true that this is not the most cost effective way to drive around. Fixing our old car, buying a used car, or choosing a different type of car could all have been ways to save more money. My comparison was explicitly between a new Escape and a new Model Y.


  • 6181 feet – Highest elevation reached when we drove to Sunrise Visitor Center on Mt. Rainier. The battery charged 4% on the drive down. We drove 57 minutes before getting back to the same power we departed with.
  • 292 miles – Longest road trip. We drove to the Alsea, OR area.
  • 263 Watt-hours per mile consumed – A single gallon of gasoline contains 33,700 watt-hours of energy so this is the same as 128 mpg.
  • 99% – Charges (by count) that took place at home
  • 96% – Charges (by kWh) that took place at home
  • $77 – Average additional month cost for electricity (for about 1650 miles/month)
  • 24% – Energy lost to charging inefficiencies (heat, etc) and drain while sitting (running the computers, preconditioning the interior, etc.) My cost numbers above include the cost of all these non-driving uses.
  • 20 – Software updates. These have delivered many new features including Disney+, additional games, and the ability to make the car fart from my phone.
  • 18 – Counties visited (map)
  • 16 minutes – Average length of charging stops on road trips
  • 14% – Lowest usable battery reached. This equates to about 45 miles of range before hitting zero and there’s usually another ~20 miles available after that.
  • 6.89 MWh – Total energy consumed which is enough to power the average home in this area for about 6 months.
  • 4.9 metric tons – CO2 emissions avoided. This is equivalent to about 5.9 acres of forest for one year.
  • 1 – Non-Tesla service center visits. (I had a leak repaired by Discount Tire.)
  • 0 – Service center visits
  • 0 – Mobile service visits
  • 0 – Number of times battery died before reaching a charger
  • 0 – Number of brake services or oil changes
  • 0 – Number of times Autopilot killed me

(Thanks to user jonjiv on Reddit for making a similar post that gave me this idea.)

Most of the data above comes from TeslaMate. I’ve been running that data collection software from the first day we got it. The list of stats above is just the beginning. I could go on for a very long time with all the random stats and charts!


If we’re just going to break even, is it worth it? Absolutely! This car is a great fit for us. Here are some of my favorite things other than saving money:

  • Charging at home is so convenient. I think this is a major point that many prospective buyers miss. Sure, stopping at gas station is faster than stopping at a charger, but you know what’s stopping at a gas station? Charging while you sleep! We plug in every night and in the morning we’re full again.
  • It’s fun to drive. We have the slowest Tesla that they make and that means it goes from 0 to 60 in only 4.7 seconds. The instant torque is quite an experience and I can see why people burn through their first set of tires quickly.
  • Getting a new car always feels good because you get rid of all the problems you knew your old car had. Our Escape was always dripping oil and needed a turbo replacement. I love walking into the garage and not smelling anything or having any mystery drips coming out of the engine bay.
  • The charging network is incredible. We’ve never seen a Tesla charger that is out of service. No other charging network comes close and if you’re in the market for an EV, I think this should be a major decision point for you. I feel confident going anywhere in the Tesla because I know I’ll always get a charge easily. I would be extremely hesitant to plan a road trip on another charging network.
  • In contrast to the point above, I’ll also mention that the charging network isn’t as important as it’s made out to be. “I can’t buy an electric vehicle because we don’t have many chargers around my house.” The charging infrastructure around your house is nearly irrelevant assuming you can charge at home. The only time we need supercharging is when we’re far from home on a road trip.
  • The Autopilot feature is incredible. I wrote a full post about it, but in short, it’s still a feature that I use almost every time I drive it. It works everywhere, but I generally use it on the highway when I’m not doing a lot of lane switching. While I know that I’m still responsible for the vehicle, it’s nice to have a robot doing most of the work. I feel much less tired after long drives. You don’t realize how much energy it takes just to stay in your lane until you go an hour or two without doing it!
  • One of the best summaries I can give of the car is that even after a year, I still walk into the garage and smile. I still look forward to driving it.

The car gets an “A”, but there is always room for improvement.

  • I don’t like how long it takes the car to fall asleep. It’s the difference between using a couple hundred watts versus using only a few watts. Once the car is asleep, using the app wakes it back up, even if you just want to check your charge level. Thankfully I run TeslaMate so I can see basic info about the car without waking it up, but I don’t know why this isn’t built into the default software or why it sometimes takes a few hours for the car to fall asleep. In terms of actual money, it hardly matters, but I’m obviously interested in overall efficiency so it bugs me.
  • For the most part, I’m ok with almost all the controls being done through the screen, but I wish there were physical controls for the windshield wipers. About a week ago they added the ability to remap one of the steering wheel buttons to control the wipers but it’s still a combo button press to do something simple.
  • The battery does degrade over time. Tesla says that batteries lose about 5% in the first 25,000 miles on their way to losing 12% over the first 200,000 miles. TeslaMate keeps track of that data too (of course) and our car is at about 2.5% loss. I knew this before I bought it and it doesn’t impact us at all. I think it’s mostly a matter just having confidence that our battery will follow that curve and not die prematurely.
  • The cruise control is a “Traffic Aware Cruise Control.” Most of the time this is great. It means that I set a maximum speed that I’m willing to go and the car will go that speed or follow the car in front at a specified distance. It automatically sets to be x mph above the speed limit and knows when the speed limits changes. BUT, it’s not perfect. Once every few thousand miles, it does brake when I’m not expecting it to and when I can’t figure out a reason for it to brake. I still use it all the time, but this could be better.


If we were making the choice again today but with the added knowledge we’ve gained, it would be a no-brainer to buy it again. Prices have come down since we bought it and there are federal incentives that may or may not apply in various scenarios. I’m pretty confident that this will end up saving us money versus the Escape in the long run, or if not, it will be so close that I’m happy to have paid a few extra bucks for all the convenience and fun that it offers.

EVs are here to stay, but it will take a long time for all use cases to be met by them. I’m just happy that our use case has been nailed!

Eureka Filming Site Visit

I’ve been burning through the Eureka (2006-2012) TV show episodes on Amazon Prime. I’m a Stargate fan and this was recommended to me as something with a similar vibe (and a lot of crossover actors.) Like Stargate, a lot of the filming happened in the Vancouver, BC area.

I was curious where the downtown Eureka scenes were filmed so over many episodes, I carefully looked for clues and searched and searched and searched around on Google Street View until I finally found a couple blocks on Wellington Ave in Chilliwack, BC which looked similar. (Shortly after that, I found this website which lists out all the filming locations for many different shows. Derp.) That’s only a couple hours from our house and it seemed like it could be a fun family adventure day so I looked up a few other possible activities and we set off.

Our first stop was the filming location and even though it has been 10 years, I was happy to see how much it felt like walking through Eureka. It wasn’t quite the same vibe I had walking through Radiator Springs at Disneyland, but it was similar.

With my own nerdery satisfied, we set off to find some food at Cookies Grill. I don’t remember how I stumbled on this place (Yelp?) but I suspected it would be a winner since Tyla and Elijah love breakfast and Cookies serves breakfast for lunch. It lived up to their expectations and they honestly talk about driving all the way back there to eat again some time.

While we were walking around Eureka, there were a few other people there looking in the shops, etc. One of the couples seemed like maybe they were Eureka fans too but that seemed unlikely and I wasn’t about to start that weird conversation. When we drove ~10 minutes to get to Cookies Grill in a random strip mall area, we got out of the car and the same couple was in the parking lot! Weird things happen in Eureka.

It was still raining but we went for a hike anyway to see Bridal Veil Falls. The path is almost smooth enough for a wheelchair (except for a couple stairs) and it’s only ~5-10 minutes long, but it’s steep. The falls are beautiful though and the length of the tiny hike was about perfect for our day.

From there we stopped for ~10 minutes at the Chilliwack Supercharger on Luckakuck Road and then continued our journey via Lickman Road. As we giggled about the street names, we drove to Chilliwack River Valley Honey where we picked up a few jars of delicious honey. (Before we left home, I verified that we could get back across the border with it.)

Our border entry into Canada had been quick and while the internet said the return trip would be quick, the line of about a dozen cars was moving very slowly. They were carefully inspecting everyone, searching a lot of cars, and even pulling some cars off to the side for additional inspections. As we approached the booth, I was prepared for a lot of questions, but apparently we are super boring and we were almost waved right on through.

Despite what the border guard must have thought of our story, we loved it! It was a lot of driving for one day, but Elijah had fun going to Canada for the first time that he can remember, and we all enjoyed the random sites. There were quite a few other attractions in Chilliwack that looked interesting (water parks, giant lakes/parks, disc golf, etc.) so who knows, maybe we’ll be back!

More Power!

A common soundbite against electric vehicles is that our nation’s power grid is already falling over, and we’ll need massive amounts more power to charge electric cars. A common retort is that we already have enough power or that the decrease in power hungry oil refinement will offset the change. As is usually the case, reality is somewhere in the middle.

If everyone switched over to an electric vehicle today, we’d need about a 25% increase in power production. That’s a lot, but it’s not going to happen overnight or even this decade. This article from the New York Times dives into the topic with a good overview and then there’s even more backing data in a reports from University of Texas at Austin’s Energy Institute and the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Power companies have been planning for this for a while and they have a demand curve to work with as consumers switch over when they’re ready. It’s an issue that needs to be carefully planned for and there will be bumps in the road, but it’s not a non-starter for electric vehicles. It will also be interesting to see what kind of benefits we get from the grid of the future when huge numbers of cars are able to feed power back into the grid as needed.


If you saw my OneNote page for project ideas, you’d find a multi-year section with ideas for some kind of custom LED installation. My goal was to have every LED be individually addressable so I could make color patterns.

A couple of months ago, I was watching the weekly “Maker Update” video which shows interest projects going on in the maker community and was turned on to this LED wall project by Tech Random. Price has always been a major breaking point for me in the past when I’ve researched this along with confusion about exactly what kind of power supply I need. This project looked good enough to follow so I gave it a shot. All the materials and instructions are in that link so if you’re interested in doing it yourself, I recommend you use that as your shopping list.

If you read the link to the project above, you’ll see all the steps that I followed, but basically it consisted of the following:

  • I 3D printed a bunch of grids where each cell was perfectly sized to the spacing of the specific LED strips that I bought. I had to adjust the provided STL files to fit into my smaller printer. I ended up making 4×4 grids because that fit easily on my printer and tiled nicely into my 36×16 panel size.
  • The four LED strips that I purchased got cut down into strips of 36 lights and laid across a piece of cardboard. In retrospect, I wish I would have glued down some aluminum foil and then put the lights on top. That would have increased reflectivity and provided a little fire protection.
  • Each strip has positive, negative, and data wires and I had to solder connections between each wire in a snake pattern across all 16 strips. That was almost 100 solder joints but thankfully they all worked.
  • I bought ESP8266 boards to be the drive the display. I had never worked with these before, but they were amazingly powerful for only a few bucks each. Their main feature is that they have a WiFi chip built in. One of those boards got hooked up to the start of the panel and I was able to make a light move through all the lights in the strip.
  • Those boards couldn’t provide enough power for the whole strip though, so I used a 5v power supply to inject power at three points along the panel. This resulted in even power distribution across the panel so the colors looked the same in each LED.
  • The grids got hot glued on top of the LED strips and then a layer of diffuser cloth was upholstered on as well.

The software for this was a challenge. The project page includes some programs for the ESP8266 boards as well as a custom version of LMCSHD. The original design is that LMCSHD does the calculations for displaying whatever you want onto a grid of any size. Then it sends individual pixel instructions over a COM port (USB) to an ESP8266 which sends it over WiFi to another ESP8266 which is connected to the panel. I got that to work ok, but as I was debugging some issues with frame rate, I realized that I could simplify things if I just made the LMCSHD program talk over WiFi directly to the ESP8266 on the panel. I forked my own copy and got it working.

So at this point, I have a panel sitting behind my desk that plugs in for power but communicates wirelessly with an app that I run on my desktop to feed data to it. The frame rate is good for my purpose, but it still feels a little clunky to get set up and occasionally, the panel stops updating. I think I’m going to work on a simplified console app that sends some pre-programmed patterns to the panel and that’s probably what I’ll use most often.

“Use most often.” What does that mean? I don’t know. I can see it being a fun gimmick on some video calls or maybe I’ll get around to making a second panel and putting both in my front window for Christmas decorations. But even if it doesn’t get used a ton, I’m glad I built it because it has been a fun learning experience and it’s one of those things that I can continue to tinker with.

Fitting a Model Y in a Garage

Welcome to another Tesla Tuesday!

Our garage has a separate garage door for each bay of the garage. It makes for a narrow entrance (95″) and our garage isn’t very deep either (233″). As we were thinking about ordering a Model Y, I wasn’t sure how well it would fit inside.

Our 2013 Ford Escape was 178″ long and 82″ wide with the mirrors extended. There were no automatic side mirrors on it so they were always extended. That car fit fine in the garage and with careful parking, we were able to walk in front of the car and still open the rear hatch even when the garage door was closed. It was tight but it wasn’t bad.

The 2022 Tesla Model Y is 187″ long and 84″ wide with the mirrors extended or 76″ wide with the mirrors folded. So it was 9″ longer and a couple inches wider in a space that was already tight with our Escape. I wasn’t quite sure how we’d be able to get the rear hatch open, but it all worked out for two reasons:

  1. The automatic mirror folding works really well. When we get close to home, the mirrors automatically fold in and stay folded in until we’re backed out of the garage.
  2. We park the car with about 22″ in front and 22″ behind. That leaves plenty of room to open the rear trunk because the pivot point is so much further forward than it was in the Escape. The Model Y rear hatch only needs about 10″ of extra space behind the car to open.

This is probably pretty boring if you’re not in the market for one of this specific car, but hopefully it will help someone else out there who was trying to make the same guesses that we were when we ordered.

PacNW Christian Men’s Retreat 2023

Every year, the area churches affiliated with the WELS and ELS combine to host a men’s retreat. I’ve known about this for years but have never attended myself. This year when I got the email, I thought, “Hmmm… I think I want to go to this one. I need to remember to bring it up with Tyla and see what she thinks.” A few minutes later, she came in reading the same email and said, “Ben! You have to go to this retreat! Professor Paustian is amazing!” Mark Paustian is a professor at Martin Luther College, and she had him for a couple classes. He was scheduled to be the guest speaker at the retreat. I took her advice and signed up immediately. Over the next week or two, three other MLC grads heard about the retreat and encouraged me to attend so I could hear Professor Paustian.

The event was held at Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend. It’s only about 35 miles away but it either requires a ferry ride or a drive around the south end of Puget Sound. The event starts Friday evening so I checked in, met up with a couple other people, and we got a quick dinner at a Mexican food truck called Burritos y Tacos on the northwest side of the golf course. Then we headed back for the opening session where Professor Paustian explained what he’d be sharing over the weekend and talked to us about being “transparently Christian.” He shared examples like purposely reading Christian books when he’s out in public or simply including church activities when people ask about your weekend.

There were 76 of us in attendance so that requires a lot of sleeping space. We stayed in building 225 which is a group housing dormitory. It’s a historical site so the accommodations are simple, but I had my own room and a shared bathroom. Our group brought a large selection of snacks, drinks, and games so there was optional fun happening there until late into the night.

After waking up early and walking around the park, Saturday morning started with breakfast in the group dining facility and then we headed over to the USO Hall for more classes. Our course was on apologetics which is an intellectual defense of the truth, rationality, and core beliefs of Christianity. We went through various aspects of it, but the repeated message was that you’re not there to argue specific facts with people, but the goal is always to point people to the message of the gospel. Our consciences tell us that things are wrong, but only the gospel reveals the saving message of Christ. Jesus died for our sins. There’s nothing we have to do or can do to earn heaven. He did it all for us! This is a simple message that is unfortunately unique to Christianity and even unique within many circles of Christianity. Human reason says that there must be something we have to do, but God’s mercy is an affront to human reason. He loves us more than we can ever imagine.

There were a few hours reserved on Saturday afternoon for people to do whatever they want. Some went back to the dorms to take a nap while other groups went hiking, golfing, and shooting. I went with a group of about a dozen people to play disc golf. It was fun playing on a new course and introducing people to the sport.

After dinner, we headed back for another session before going back to the dorm for more fellowship and sleep.

Sunday morning was the end of the event and we met one more time. Professor Paustian gave a devotion/sermon and as part of a short service. Hearing a big group of men singing some favorite hymns is a treat!

If you’re in the area and are at all intrigued by these, please consider attending! This event has been going on for over 20 years except for a short COVID pause and they’re planning to hold it again next year in mid to late April. It’s a wonderful opportunity to be encouraged by your fellow Christians and hear a great speaker. Professor Paustian lived up to the hype! Tyla and I are already going through his “Our Worth To Him” devotion book, but now I’m also looking forward to reading Prepared to Answer and the cleverly titled follow-up: More Prepared to Answer.

LeMay Car Museum Review

I’ve seen the car museum off to the north side of I-5 in Tacoma many times, but I’ve never been inside… until recently. When my parents came for a visit, we decided to check it out. A review on the internet said that a non-car geek could make it through in about two hours. I couldn’t understand how that would be possible. The place doesn’t look that big.

As we walked around, we saw signs that said Harold LeMay owned a refuse company in Tacoma and built up one of the largest private car collections in the world. And while there were a lot of cool cars in sight, it sure didn’t seem that large. But then we turned the corner, went down the ramp, and I caught sight of a building map. There are four floors and each one is packed full of cars! If you follow the arrows, you’ll wind your way all the way to the bottom and then work your way back up to the top.

We spent too much time on the way down and had to walk up a bit quicker than we would have liked since we were on a schedule, but wow, this place was huge! There were so many cars to look at. It kept our family easily entertained for a couple hours, and I think we could have spent a bit more time there.


Tesla Jack Stands

Welcome to another Tesla Tuesday!

There isn’t much maintenance on an electric vehicle. The manual basically says to put some windshield washer fluid in every once in a while and check the brakes, but even the brakes are hardly ever used since regen braking takes care of most of it. You do still need to rotate tires though, and while I could take it in to a shop or have Tesla come to my house (for $50) to do it, I don’t mind doing this at home.

Jacking up an EV isn’t always the same as a traditional car because things look a lot different under the car. If you look under a Tesla, you’ll see the giant flat area of the battery. There are four jack total points which is fine, but how do you put a jack stand under there? Enter the RennStand jack stands. These jack stands are an arch shape with removable legs. You jack up the car with the cross piece between the jack and the car. Once the car is lifted high enough, you insert the legs into the cross piece and remove the jack. Voila!

RennStand sells various adapters for all different cars so hopefully this is something that will be useful on a lot of my cars in the future… because they aren’t cheap. I bought mine from Teslarati. I bought two but for rotating the tires it turns out that I only need one. Both wheels on one side of our Model Y are lifted off the ground even when resting on a single jack stand.

The jack in the picture is the Arcan XL3000 Heavy Duty All Steel 3.0 Ton Jack. It works well but it took a very long time to get it to hold pressure when I initially unboxed it. There are steps in the manual that amount to raising and lowering it a bunch of times to work any air bubbles out of the system. I had to do it so many times that I almost gave up and returned it.

Is this overkill? Absolutely. I’m not crawling under the car so I could let it rest on the jack while I make the swap, or I could let a tire shop swap my tires. But I do like the convenience of doing it myself at home whenever it fits into my schedule. Plus, I’m also sticking with the recommended 6000-mile rotation schedule so that would be a lot of appointments to schedule. I’ve heard that EV tires don’t last as long, but I don’t know how much of that is due to additional car weight versus people driving them harder because they’re fast. I want to do it by the book for our first set and see if the tire life seems reasonable. If it goes fine, then I’ll be a little lazier on the tire rotations like I have been with our other vehicles.