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Do I need snow chains for a 90D in Tahoe, CA?

AzHP

New Member
Dec 7, 2015
3
0
United States
I'm going up to Tahoe from San Francisco during Christmas and the Tesla recommended chains cost 400 dollars, I know all wheel drive cars need to carry chains in R2 conditions but with how good the traction control is are they even necessary to carry? Does anyone who goes to the snow regularly have experience with the snow checkpoints? Should I just get a cheap set of chains off amazon to comply with regulations but not actually need to use them? Thanks in advance!
 

cwave1

Member
Oct 26, 2013
317
130
Mississauga, ON, CANADA
I'm going up to Tahoe from San Francisco during Christmas and the Tesla recommended chains cost 400 dollars, I know all wheel drive cars need to carry chains in R2 conditions but with how good the traction control is are they even necessary to carry? Does anyone who goes to the snow regularly have experience with the snow checkpoints? Should I just get a cheap set of chains off amazon to comply with regulations but not actually need to use them? Thanks in advance!

I've had my car through 2 Toronto winters with lots of snow and the car is great with just good snow tires.
 

liuping

Active Member
Jul 23, 2013
2,242
896
San Diego
I'm going up to Tahoe from San Francisco during Christmas and the Tesla recommended chains cost 400 dollars, I know all wheel drive cars need to carry chains in R2 conditions but with how good the traction control is are they even necessary to carry? Does anyone who goes to the snow regularly have experience with the snow checkpoints? Should I just get a cheap set of chains off amazon to comply with regulations but not actually need to use them? Thanks in advance!
Going up to Big Bear, they turn away AWD cars and trucks that don't have winter tires (not all season) or chains. Many people are forced to turn around and go back down, since they though AWD was good enough. (Arguing with the highway patrol, does nothing but cause traffic to back up for miles, they will not let you through)

It's too bad Tesla's online store only carries $400 chains now. They used to have a reasonably priced set, that was not too hard to put on while stopped by the side of the road in the freezing cold.
 

jeffro01

Active Member
Jan 30, 2013
2,676
1,926
Teller County CO
Going up to Big Bear, they turn away AWD cars and trucks that don't have winter tires (not all season) or chains. Many people are forced to turn around and go back down, since they though AWD was good enough. (Arguing with the highway patrol, does nothing but cause traffic to back up for miles, they will not let you through)

It's too bad Tesla's online store only carries $400 chains now. They used to have a reasonably priced set, that was not too hard to put on while stopped by the side of the road in the freezing cold.

Yeah what happened to the reasonably priced set of chains? I was going to order a set to keep just to be sure but when I went to buy them... They were gone... Without devolving into a full rant, Tesla needs to fire whomever is in charge of their e-commerce presence and hire someone who actually knows what they are doing and can properly manage supply chain issues...

Jeff
 
Mar 11, 2010
4,514
1,357
Humboldt/Los Altos
I bought a set of chains at NAPA for $35 or so and they worked great. Not sure if I needed them, I was driving fine in pretty deep snow at ~45mph until I came to a part of I-5 that was shut down just south of Salem - at midnight. Standing on the slippery roadway was very hard to do without falling so I figured I should maybe put on the chains, we weren't going anywhere and were parked for ~2 hours
I bought a set of 19" all seasons specifically for the chains and skiing...3 years with the S and hardly any snow :crying:
 

jeffro01

Active Member
Jan 30, 2013
2,676
1,926
Teller County CO

mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
9,121
10,608
California
I'm going up to Tahoe from San Francisco during Christmas and the Tesla recommended chains cost 400 dollars, I know all wheel drive cars need to carry chains in R2 conditions but with how good the traction control is are they even necessary to carry? Does anyone who goes to the snow regularly have experience with the snow checkpoints? Should I just get a cheap set of chains off amazon to comply with regulations but not actually need to use them? Thanks in advance!
I live in Tahoe (with an 85D). First, the car is absolutely solid driving on ice and snow. I have never felt it slip. It feels like it's driving on dry pavement! The combination of low center of gravity and central mass with traction/stability control makes the car perfect for snow. I have air suspension and it's helpful to raise it in deep, rutted snow.
Second, chain control. Most of the time it's R1 (sometimes R2) which is 4WD with snow tires (or chains on 2WD). You need to have good tread on your tires. They don't read the sidewall but just look at the tread. They probably won't recognize your Tesla as 4WD so just roll down the window and tell the inspector that it's 4WD... that works for me. You're supposed to carry chains but they never check... I used to carry an old set of chains (that didn't fit the car) in my other 4WD cars just in case they checked but they never did.
If it's R3, you'll need chains but that is rare (and only for a short time) and you really don't want to be on the road in any vehicle with R3.

TYPES OF CHAIN CONTROLS:

During the winter months, motorists may encounter traction chain controls in the mountain areas within California. When chain controls are established, signs will be posted along the road indicating the type of requirement. There are three requirements in California.
Requirement One (R1): Chains, traction devices or snow tires are required on the drive axle of all vehicles except four wheel/ all wheel drive vehicles.
Requirement Two (R2): Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles except four wheel/ all wheel drive vehicles with snow-tread tires on all four wheels.
(NOTE: Four wheel/all wheel drive vehicles must carry traction devices in chain control areas.)

Requirement Three (R3): Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles, no exceptions.
 

AzHP

New Member
Dec 7, 2015
3
0
United States
THANK YOU!!!! :) Now I just need to figure out where the sizing guide is to correspond with the model numbers so I can look at getting a set for my 19" wheels... LOL

Jeff
Looks like the one linked, Z-563 is the correct one for stock 19 inch wheels (245/45-19)

Thanks, I'll pick one up since my girlfriend's dad is coming with us and he's worried about it. I will buy a set and keep them in the trunk, return it after Christmas if it's not needed.
 
Oct 25, 2015
242
143
Chicago, IL
You won't need to use the chains, assuming you have all season (M+S) or winter tires. If you have summer tires, you will need (and want) to use chains even though you have 4wd.

I've driven to Tahoe many times from the Bay Area with 4wd and chain control has never checked that I'm carrying chains. In my experience, they are always quite busy trying to keep traffic moving along. But I would (and do) carry a cheap set just in case they check.

One more thing - make sure you have plenty of range if snow is in the forecast. I've gotten stuck for hours on US-50, waiting for them to reopen the highway after blasting (avalanche control).
 

palmer_md

Member
Sep 26, 2012
800
247
Hermosa Beach, CA
Anyone have experience with AutoSock - The Original Norwegian Snow Socks For Vehicles for CA roads which require chains? These look relatively benign with respect to damage in wheel wells and for low profile tires. Also cheaper than the high performance chains...

We have a set of these that we carry in our 4-Matic wagon, and they seem great. They have only been out of the bag once to do a test fit here in my driveway, and since then they are packed in the car and trips to Tahoe don't require them as long as you have all wheel drive and good tires. You just have to show that you have them, but so far they don't even ask to see them if you say you have them in the car. In worse conditions they might press to see them, but I don't drive up to Tahoe in really bad conditions anyway. I also had a set of the Zchains for a 2 wheel drive Toyota we had, and again they were only used in testing on the driveway and never needed to put in use, but I can say they are easy to install and don't have the harsh ride like "old chains". As long as you are like me and don't plan to actually need to use them, I'd say either one would be a good choice. If you think you might drive in conditions you might need chains, I think the Zchains would be better, because the socks will probably be a one use item if you actually needed to put them on at some point.
 

Strib

Member
Jan 3, 2015
90
1
Alamo, CA
I take delivery of my P90D this Friday! And I plan on taking it to Tahoe (often, I hope). So I have the same question about chains, cables.

But I have no idea what tires will be on my 19" wheels. For my old Lexus SUV (360K miles!) the stock default tires are S&M. What about my AWD MS? If I need cable chains, where do I put them?
 

FlatSix911

Porsche 918 Hybrid
Jun 15, 2015
6,504
5,914
Silicon Valley
I live in Tahoe (with an 85D). First, the car is absolutely solid driving on ice and snow. I have never felt it slip. It feels like it's driving on dry pavement! The combination of low center of gravity and central mass with traction/stability control makes the car perfect for snow. I have air suspension and it's helpful to raise it in deep, rutted snow.

Second, chain control. Most of the time it's R1 (sometimes R2) which is 4WD with snow tires (or chains on 2WD). You need to have good tread on your tires. They don't read the sidewall but just look at the tread. They probably won't recognize your Tesla as 4WD so just roll down the window and tell the inspector that it's 4WD... that works for me. You're supposed to carry chains but they never check... I used to carry an old set of chains (that didn't fit the car) in my other 4WD cars just in case they checked but they never did. If it's R3, you'll need chains but that is rare (and only for a short time) and you really don't want to be on the road in any vehicle with R3.

TYPES OF CHAIN CONTROLS:

During the winter months, motorists may encounter traction chain controls in the mountain areas within California.
When chain controls are established, signs will be posted along the road indicating the type of requirement. There are three requirements in California.

Requirement One (R1): Chains, traction devices or snow tires are required on the drive axle of all vehicles except four wheel/ all wheel drive vehicles.
Requirement Two (R2): Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles except four wheel/ all wheel drive vehicles with snow-tread tires on all four wheels.
(NOTE: Four wheel/all wheel drive vehicles must carry traction devices in chain control areas.)

Requirement Three (R3): Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles, no exceptions.

Good information - thanks.

I take delivery of my P90D this Friday! And I plan on taking it to Tahoe (often, I hope). So I have the same question about chains, cables.
But I have no idea what tires will be on my 19" wheels. For my old Lexus SUV (360K miles!) the stock default tires are S&M. What about my AWD MS? If I need cable chains, where do I put them?

You really don't need to purchase chains for your P90D. The OEM 19 wheels come with Michelin M+S tires.
 

Shawn Snider

Member
Jul 30, 2014
242
63
BC, Canada
Going up to Big Bear, they turn away AWD cars and trucks that don't have winter tires (not all season) or chains. Many people are forced to turn around and go back down, since they though AWD was good enough. (Arguing with the highway patrol, does nothing but cause traffic to back up for miles, they will not let you through)

It's too bad Tesla's online store only carries $400 chains now. They used to have a reasonably priced set, that was not too hard to put on while stopped by the side of the road in the freezing cold.

I lost faith in All-Season tires years ago, even my first GF's mom told me to NEVER use them (Highways PlowTruck, every single vehicle in the ditch had All-Seasons). I've used all the different kinds of tires, studded included (loud), I live waaaaaay up in Canada and we get the whole gauntlet of driving conditions. Spending some money on good WINTER Tires is some of the best money you can possibly spend on your vehicle. To those who cheap out and buy the cheapest possible tires, crash and then wonder "why me?" I just laugh. Go buy another StarBucks.
 

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