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Do we need Snow tires for Model S with dual motors in Boston area?

Discussion in 'New England' started by David29, Dec 20, 2016.

  1. David29

    David29 Active Member

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    Last year I had my model S (70D) but we had little snow and I stuck with the Michelin tires that come on the car. No problems I recall.
    Assuming this winter is closer to normal, we may have more snow. I am retired so i do not commute, and thus have less need to be out and about right away after a snow fall, but it does happen now and then. So I have been wondering if it would be smart to get snow tires.
    I always had snow tires (4) on my RWD cars before the Tesla, but my last car was an MB with 4Matic AWD and I never bothered with snow tires for that, either. I was ok.
    I should hope that the S would be as good in modest snow as the Benz was. So my inclination is to say i do not need them.
    The other factor is that for 95+% of the winter, the pavements around here are dry, or maybe wet from rain but not snow. And heck, on Sunday it was 55F. So you don't want a snow tire that is not good on dry pavement, or in warmer temps. I have noticed in the reviews that the best snow tires are actually quite poor on dry pavement, especially for braking. Braking distances go up quite a lot for some tires.
    The Pirellis that Tesla sells get a lot of crap in the forum, and the consensus, at least among the people from really snowy areas (Canada, upper midwest, northern Europe) seems to be to use the Michelin X-Ice, the Nokians, or Blizzaks. But they all seem to have poorer performance on dry pavement than the Pirellis. So I suspect Tesla chose the Pirellis at least partly because they are a good compromise -- not the best in the worst snow, but better than many in dryer, warmer weather.
    Anyway, interested in what Boston area drivers have done and what their experience is. Don't want to get stuck but hate to spend money needlessly (and then have the problem of where to store the extra wheels/tires, as I live in a condo with no garage). Thanks in advance
     
  2. greginfinity

    greginfinity Member

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    No Tesla yet, but I used to drive an Audi A8L with 255 width tires and can say that the big heavy luxo barge was no good in the snow with "all season" tires. Once it lost traction, it really wanted to slip and slide all over, worse than other cars I have had.

    It is all about risk I guess. If you really don't need to travel in a storm ever, then by all means skip the snows and wait for the roads to improve. But if you ever have an emergency where you do, you will be far better off having the snows.
     
  3. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Active Member

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    I drove the last two years in the snow with just the all-season on our RWD and never had any issues. I did get snow tires this year, mostly because the Michelin all-seasons are getting pretty low on tread (5-6/32"). However as long as you keep your tires in good shape I think you'll be just fine, particularly since you can just stay home when the roads are at their worst.
     
  4. RedSoxFan18

    RedSoxFan18 Member

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    I've been fine without snows - it really comes down to just leaving plenty of space and keeping your speed down. I find winter tires are not necessary to get going but really necessary for stopping. I opt for just leaving extra space and if I really want to go out in the snow I take our Expedition EL.
     
  5. tliving

    tliving Member

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    I drive a lot for work and can't always control when i'm going to be on the road. I love the Primacys in normal weather but when it gets really cold or there's snow/ice they're not very good at all. I have a 2014 S85, RWD only and use the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2s on them in the winter and things are much better with those tires. With your situation you may be able to avoid the whole tire change business, but for me even if I had AWD i'd probably go with winter tires.
     
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  6. robby

    robby Member

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    @David29 Only you can judge how much control you have over your driving conditions, but I promise you: it's better to have winter tires and not need them than to need them and not have them.

    Most winter accidents happen like this: you realize you're losing control, and you brake hard. Now there is one thing that determines whether you will stop in time: how much friction can your tires create against what's underneath them? Your regen setting doesn't matter. Your traction control doesn't matter. Your AWD doesn't matter. All that matters is your tires.

    It's true that snow tires won't perform as well on dry pavement (or wet pavement) as all seasons, but their improvement on snow and ice is generally more important than their sacrifice in those situations. Snow and ice are the most difficult situations to predict how your car will handle or when you'll need to make sudden use of your brakes.

    I like the Pirelli Sottozeros. They get a bad rap because they're not as good as Blizzaks on snow or ice, but you are exactly right about their advantage: they handle much better than Blizzaks on wet roads, and in Boston we have a lot of days where temperatures are narrowly above freezing. In Tire Rack's test, the Blizzaks are 20%+ worse at stopping and 25%+ worse at cornering in wet conditions than the Sottozeros. I loved my Blizzaks as a subfreezing ski country tire, but as a commuter the Sottozeros are a more well-rounded winter tire. I don't have any experience with the Ice-X.

    Buying winter tires should be pretty cost-neutral long-term. I'm on pace for about 40k miles on my Pirellis. I bought my second wheels used, and I will sell them used when I sell the car. Any wear you put on your winters is wear you don't put on your all seasons, so assuming similar cost per mileage rating, it should be a wash, albeit with upfront cashflow. There are some places that offer tire storage, not sure who offhand, but I'm sure someone does it south of Boston.

    Good luck.
     
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  7. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Yes. You still need to be able to turn and stop.
     
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  8. Chopr147

    Chopr147 Active Member

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    Last week here on Long Island we had a bit of a surprise snow storm. Only about 6 inches but none of the roads were plowed at 5:30 A.M. on my way to work and very cold. So many cars were sliding off the road. I saw several that slid off the road onto the median. The S handled it all w/o any problems. I tried to get it to fishtail (don't try this at home) :) but it grabbed with all 4 tires. Some slippage of course but with the computerized AWD traction it handled very well.
     
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  9. David29

    David29 Active Member

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    robby, thanks.
    As for who stores tires south of Boston, I know that Direct Tire in Norwood (and other locations) does. They are a pretty good tire place, in my experience, although I have not used them for 5 years or so. Not as inexpensive as some places, though.
     
  10. Abecedarius

    Abecedarius New Member

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    My 3-year-old Model S 85 has rear-wheel drive and I've done well in Boston and ski country with Michelin X-Ice Green tires. The car's traction control technology is superior to that of any ICE vehicle, which does help on the go side, but when it comes to stopping, tire traction is the biggest factor. If you can afford snow tires, get them.
     
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  11. GSD Rides

    GSD Rides Member

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    From our experience thus far with the 2016 P90DL Ludicrous. The Model X came with 100% summer tires. They lost traction the minute temperatures dropped. I mean lost traction on dry surfaces. The rubber turn to hard to be safe so we got all seasons put on it. The Model X is now running Yokohama Parada Spec-X all seasons. The Model X handles incredible well. The control systems on the Model X is mind blowing.
    The Model S P90DL on the other hand is running Continental Pro-Contacts. Staggered 19's 9in wide in front 10in wide in rear. They have hard time handling power on dry surface with ludicrous on, but we rent our cars out and couldn't justify Michelin pilot sports at 450-500 each. Yet even with the mid-grade grade all season the car can be driven just fine in the snow. It isn't as well versed as the Model X or as well as when we ran snow tires on it.
    The 2013 Model S P85+ being RWD had to have snow tires. It was capable but not within the realm of having peace of mind. To much power to not have snow tires.
    The Tesla's with dual motors are in league all their own from the start when comes to traction. Tire really come into play with how much power you want to put down, how much you are willing to spend, & how often your pocket book will allow to buy a new set.
     
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  12. David29

    David29 Active Member

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    Fortunately, this winter has been mild so far, with only one day of plowable snow, and that was on a weekend.
    So the all-season radials on my Model S have been just fine so far.
     
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  13. Jurnimon

    Jurnimon Member

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    I have the same experience, David29. I drove through the clipper snowstorm Tuesday from Virginia to Boston in my 90D and its 19" stock wheels and tires. Traction was amazing. I was able to drive the speed limit safely. There was one situation when I got on the Merritt. I let off of the throttle too quickly and the back end shimmied ever so slightly, but applying the throttle corrected the situation. No further worries the rest of the way back home.
     
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  14. MarkDFW

    MarkDFW Member

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    @GSD Rides im in the market soon for some new all season tires for my C and don’t want to spend a fortune. How did you end up liking your Yokohama Parada Spex-X after all this time? How are they treating you and is the tread lasting well? Thanks for any advice!!
     

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