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1st Snow day for my Model 3 SR+ and for the season - lost control and bumped into divider

Kali

Member
Jun 25, 2019
12
2
Boulder, CO
Hello Tesla owners and Fans,

Few months back I got my new Tesla Model 3 SR+, like many enjoyed everyday and every minute driving it until today.
Today we got our 1st snow of the season here in Denver and today is my 1st snow day for my car.

Morning commute to work was really bad with icy conditions. I live in Boulder and work in Denver (about 20 mile on highway), initially for few miles in neighborhood it was really bad to drive as car was not getting enough traction but later once i got on to highway it was better.

At 80% of my commute I was driving around 40 mph (speed limit was 55 mph) suddenly my car lost traction & controlled dragged towards one side of highway and got to hit the divider . it got banged both front side and rear side (driver side), completely damaged below head light in front and rear wheel rim is broken with bend, seems like suspension is damaged.

Now i after this incident i am really worried and lost the confident about this car managing in snow and icy conditions, how to drive this car in Snowing city, I agree i wont go up into mountains much but still in foothills we get lot of snow. Need you guys suggestion with next options, do i need to trade this car to AWD or checking with Tesla to see if something wrong with traction system, Definitely will go with winter tires.

Thought to share my story here and looking forwarded to hear suggestion on how to manage in snow city with SR+
 

KenC

Active Member
Sep 4, 2018
3,629
3,292
Maine
Snow tires are far more important than having AWD. But, my sister in Denver tells me that the snow doesn't usually stay for more than a day, so maybe Michelin ClimateControl+ or similar tires would be preferable. The most important thing to do when it snows or the roads are icy is to go slow and use a very light foot on the throttle and/or brake pedal.

What is your experience driving on snow and ice, because I'm getting the sense that maybe your experience isn't extensive. If that is the case, then maybe signing up for a winter driving school class would be a good idea as well.

And, always take a new car with new tires, to an empty parking lot on the first snow day of the season, and practice! Even if you're experienced, you need to refresh your skills on snow and ice.
 

SomeJoe7777

Marginally-Known Member
Mar 28, 2015
2,180
5,657
Houston, TX
Sorry to hear about the accident.

Tires are the largest issue. What tires do you currently have on the car? I'm assuming you may have the OEM tires, which I believe on the SR+ are the Michelin Primacy MXM4s. These tires are terrible in icy or snow conditions.

If you're in an area that routinely sees snow and ice, then at minimum use one of the newer all-weather tires (Nokian WR G4, Vredestein Quatrac 5, Michelin CrossClimate+), or use dedicated winter tires (Michelin X-Ice, Pirelli SottoZero 3).

With a RWD vehicle, this becomes even more important.
 
Last edited:

mreynolds767

Member
Jul 11, 2019
728
392
Boston
Sounds terrible. Hard to visualize exactly what happened the way you wrote it.
Hope the car damage is not too severe. I personally worry a small accident like this with Tesla's crazy labor rates, wait for parts that insurance companies will be quick to declare total loss on what is minor for other cars.

In Denver area I would think if you go RWD you should also go Snow Tires for the season. I understand this particular storm was just after a blast of hot weather though, so how many people would actually already have those snow tires installed in October?
I am not sure owning Snow Tires would have done you much good in this case.

Is concerning the much hyped traction control did not do much for you.

I will be sticking with the stock MXM4's for a New England Winter with the AWD model and do have concerns about that but consider myself experienced driving in bad winter conditions.
 
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SomeJoe7777

Marginally-Known Member
Mar 28, 2015
2,180
5,657
Houston, TX
Is concerning the much hyped traction control did not do much for you.

Traction control only helps during acceleration, not during braking.

Same with AWD -- it will help you get going in the snow better then RWD, but does nothing for you when it comes to stopping.

To stop the car on snow/ice, you need tread grip, no other alternative.
 

Probllama

Member
Jan 29, 2019
183
123
Colorado
Sounds terrible. Hard to visualize exactly what happened the way you wrote it.
Hope the car damage is not too severe. I personally worry a small accident like this with Tesla's crazy labor rates, wait for parts that insurance companies will be quick to declare total loss on what is minor for other cars.

In Denver area I would think if you go RWD you should also go Snow Tires for the season. I understand this particular storm was just after a blast of hot weather though, so how many people would actually already have those snow tires installed in October?
I am not sure owning Snow Tires would have done you much good in this case.

Is concerning the much hyped traction control did not do much for you.

I will be sticking with the stock MXM4's for a New England Winter with the AWD model and do have concerns about that but consider myself experienced driving in bad winter conditions.

Traction control can only intervene in on-throttle situations. If the OP wasn't continuously applying throttle before and during the slide, there isn't anything for traction control to do. I also live in Denver/Boulder area and yesterday we had first icy rain and then snow with a very sudden temperature drop. So it was a sheet of ice with snow on top making things super slippery in the morning. The only thing that makes driving safe in those conditions is a set of tires with the mountain/snow flake symbol on the sidewall (so either winter or at least all-weather tires as @SomeJoe7777 mentioned earlier).
 

holmgang

Active Member
Sep 9, 2019
1,300
1,315
eu
Sorry about that. It's all tires.

BTW, public pet peeve, please do not refer to 'winter' tires as 'snow' tires. The differences is in implying that these tires are only needed for snowy condition, which is not true as they are first and foremost temperature-specific.

When I first moved to Denver, having lived in sunny climates my whole life, I was completely ignorant of all of this, having thought that I grizzly-sounding tires like "Blizzaks" are only needed for snowpacked mountain conditions. Ended up getting "caught out" a few instances with my UHP tires on RWD car.

It's true the climate there is highly variable, and snow doesnt stick thickly or often. But the rapid temperature swing does necessitate appropriately rated tires. Something like the Mich CrossClimate are very good if you just drive mostly in the Front Range and want a performance focus
 

MorrisonHiker

S 100D 2021.12.25.7
Mar 8, 2015
9,843
9,211
Colorado
They do. Set regen to low and acceleration to chill then leave it that way until spring melt off.
In Colorado, it's winter one day and spring or even summer the next. It was 80F on Wednesday, 10F last night and will be back in the 70s tomorrow. We got about 5 inches of snow yesterday and it will be gone by the time I get home today. There's no need for us to leave it on all winter so that's why we use the driver profile to quickly toggle back and forth.
 

MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
15,858
35,494
Oregon
They do. Set regen to low and acceleration to chill then leave it that way until spring melt off.

And they still doesn't split the torque between the two drive units. (It favors the rear until it starts slipping, snow/winter mode would split it all the time so that you slipped less.)
 

Joe85sti

Member
Sep 4, 2019
75
91
Massachusetts
Sorry about that. It's all tires.

BTW, public pet peeve, please do not refer to 'winter' tires as 'snow' tires. The differences is in implying that these tires are only needed for snowy condition, which is not true as they are first and foremost temperature-specific.

When I first moved to Denver, having lived in sunny climates my whole life, I was completely ignorant of all of this, having thought that I grizzly-sounding tires like "Blizzaks" are only needed for snowpacked mountain conditions. Ended up getting "caught out" a few instances with my UHP tires on RWD car.

It's true the climate there is highly variable, and snow doesnt stick thickly or often. But the rapid temperature swing does necessitate appropriately rated tires. Something like the Mich CrossClimate are very good if you just drive mostly in the Front Range and want a performance focus


The problem with referring to all winter tires as “winters”, is promoting further ignorance and misunderstanding. There are two categories of winter tires: Winter performance, and snow. Using Blizzak as an example, a WS-80 would be a snow tire, whereas a LM-32 would be a winter performance tire. Snow tires will typically give great snow and ice traction, whilst sacrificing dry and wet traction. Winter performance will be the opposite.
 
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Legen---dary

Member
Feb 17, 2013
149
171
Canaduh
I'm running snow tyres for the first time. I figured the pain of doing the change, having extra noise and less efficiency, was less than the pain of waiting for the car to be repaired if I pulled a what-you-did.

I know everyone has said it, but to reiterate: tyres. It doesn't matter how much computer control or other magic is going on in the car, as the simple physics of friction between the tyre and the surface it's on will have the final say.

I think it's worth the expense.
 

Kali

Member
Jun 25, 2019
12
2
Boulder, CO
Snow tires are far more important than having AWD. But, my sister in Denver tells me that the snow doesn't usually stay for more than a day, so maybe Michelin ClimateControl+ or similar tires would be preferable. The most important thing to do when it snows or the roads are icy is to go slow and use a very light foot on the throttle and/or brake pedal.

What is your experience driving on snow and ice, because I'm getting the sense that maybe your experience isn't extensive. If that is the case, then maybe signing up for a winter driving school class would be a good idea as well.

And, always take a new car with new tires, to an empty parking lot on the first snow day of the season, and practice! Even if you're experienced, you need to refresh your skills on snow and ice.

Kenc - I am not new to snow driving, living in this place from 10 years and before lived in chicago for a while where winter is very hard.

Yes i agree with snow tires makes huge difference. infact is I use two set of wheels/tires for my other car (Inifinti g37) pirelli sottozero 3 and it is excellent,

But yesterday was totally bad luck with this sudden snow.
 
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