TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

Driving in the cold on 21" summer tires?

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by jhs_7645, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. jhs_7645

    jhs_7645 VIN: #3305

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2012
    Messages:
    451
    Location:
    Camas, WA
    Hey tire experts out there, as many of you know, some of us *later* reservation holders are due for an early delivery. It now looks like I'll be getting my car (with the 21" summer tires) in December. Where I live, it doesn't snow very often (we have SUV's for that) but temps do regularly drop to around the freezing level. I am planning on getting an extra set of 19" w/Pirelli winter tires, but they're sold out right now.

    My question is this: Just what are the characteristics of the summer tires in these conditions. I've heard that at 40 degrees they basically turn to wood, but is this a hard line? what about 42 degrees? what about 37 degrees, but after I've driven on them for a few minutes (how long should they take to 'warm' up) How dangerous is it to drive in 'iffy' temps like this?

    Thanks for any info (or anecdotal information) folks might have.
     
  2. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,592
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    It's pretty simple, the colder it gets, the more solid and more slippery the rubber in the tires. If the temp is below 50, be careful. If the temp is below 40, be VERY careful!
     
  3. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Messages:
    12,536
    Location:
    Texas
    How long they take to warm up depends on the driving speed and the temperature they started out at. Best case is they warm up after a mile of driving, worst case is much longer. At 37 F bridges and overpasses can have ice on them, so like Mycroft says: Under 40 F be VERY careful.
     
  4. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2010
    Messages:
    15,705
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    It depends on the tires. My Roadster's Yokohama AD07/8 handle freezing temperatures fairly well. The Michelin Pilot Super Sports I had on my Infiniti were, well, terrifying! They're fantastic tires in summer weather, dry or wet, but they are like ice skates in the cold.
     
  5. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Messages:
    12,536
    Location:
    Texas
    That is certainly true. My scary experience was on Yokohama (but not AD07/8).
     
  6. pilotSteve

    pilotSteve Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    Messages:
    545
    Location:
    Vancouver WA
    I was initially convinced the 21" wheel used Continental ExtremeContact DW (dry/wet) tires, but looking at the Owner Safety Information card (in the 'user manual' section once your car is delivered) it says "Continental Extreme Contact DWS P245/R21 96Y" tires with 8.5Jx21 wheel, front and back.

    So does DWS (dry/wet/snow) still have the 40° "beware" limit?

    Also, of interest this same document shows that on 19" wheels tires are Goodyear Eagle RS-A2 P245/45R19 98V however the front wheels are 8.0Jx19 and rear wheels 9.0Jx19. Since the same doc DOES recommend rotating left front -> left rear this does not add up for me.... error in the manual? Or error in my understanding?
     
  7. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2011
    Messages:
    15,235
    #7 brianman, Dec 9, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
    I wrote down a bunch of stuff from my right front tire in case it's useful. Enjoy.

    The specs page says:
    This mismatch, as pilotSteve notes, of this portion is definitely curious:
     
  8. EarlyAdopter

    EarlyAdopter Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2,415
    Location:
    Redmond, WA
    Word from everyone taking delivery of the 21"s who've commented on tires has consistently been the Extreme Contact DW, not DWS. The Model S specs website also lists the DW.

    I don't think Continental even makes the DWS in 21". It's gotta be a typo in the manual.

    Like others have said, it depends on the tread compound used, which differs quite a bit for each brand and tire line. The Pirelli P7 tires (the UHPS version, not the A/S version) that came on my Audi S4 do fine in cold temps and reportedly can even cope with light snow, though I've never tried since I bought a set of winter wheels. Other summer tires I've had turned into hard plastic below 50 degrees and were very dangerous in any snow.
     
  9. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2011
    Messages:
    15,235
    Tirerack.com seems to agree.
    ContinentalExtremeContact DWS
    (click the Sizes tab)
     
  10. EarlyAdopter

    EarlyAdopter Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2,415
    Location:
    Redmond, WA
    There's some anecdotal evidence the Continental ExtremeContact DW do OK in cold temperatures in this Porsche forum thread:

    Continental Extreme Contact DW - Page 2 -

    But you've really got to take this with a grain of salt and an ounce of caution.
     
  11. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Messages:
    7,842
    Location:
    Portland, Maine, USA
    Given that the "S" that is missing from the "DW" stands for "Snow", I think I'd want not merely a grain of salt, but a whole lotta salt liberally covering the roadway!
     
  12. jhs_7645

    jhs_7645 VIN: #3305

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2012
    Messages:
    451
    Location:
    Camas, WA
    Thanks everybody for all the info. My plan at this point is to contact a tesla service center (I don't think the one in Portland is open yet) and see if I can acquire a set of 19" from Tesla, but in the mean time, monitor the weather here and drive cautiously. I'll hold off selling my 4Runner until I can get the 19" wheels.
     
  13. Lyon

    Lyon 2012 S P85, 2016 X P90D

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2011
    Messages:
    1,929
    Location:
    Eugene, Oregon
    There is a service center in Portland... it's not technically open yet, but my did install my dad's 19" wheels about two weeks ago. Basically, if you order the wheel/tire combo from Tesla, they'll make putting them on work.
     
  14. dailydriver

    dailydriver Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    Messages:
    209
    Location:
    Naperville IL, USA
    I have the Michelin Pilot Super Sports on my Audi and would totally agree. My previous summer tires were Pirelli P Zeros and they felt like rocks when the temperature dropped. The performance tires on the Model S don't seem too stiff in the colder temperatures so far (although I am replacing them with the winter wheel/tire package shortly).
     
  15. pete8314

    pete8314 Vendor

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Messages:
    1,899
    Location:
    DFW
    So with all this in mind....I'm in north Texas, and have, maybe, 5-10 days per year where it's below zero. In an ideal world where stuff is free, the answer to the question 'Should I have a separate set of winter tires?" would be yes I assume, but in reality, would they be needed? For example, on really cold days, I just take the other car, or WFH, since almost nobody in Tx can drive straight when there's ice on the road. So the reality of me venturing out is slim, to the point where the only time I'd be on the roads with the temp below freezing would be when I drove to the office and it was 'warm', and things froze up during the day.
     
  16. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Messages:
    12,536
    Location:
    Texas
    If you have another car, then drive that on any day where it might get cold. Wunderground has email notification. If you take trips up north during the winter, then that's your justification for a second set of wheels and tires.
     
  17. mlascano

    mlascano S Sig #722

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2011
    Messages:
    241
    Location:
    Abu Dhabi, UAE
    I have had my Model S with 21" summer tires for a week now. We haven't had any snow in Cleveland during this time but the temp has been in the 35-45 degree range, rainy weather, dipping down to 30 a couple of days.
    Even though this is my first time driving a car with summer perf tires (all previous ones have had all-seasons), I must say the car feels fine in these conditions.
    I am waiting to have the winter package sent to me from Tesla Chicago Service (back order as many have already noted) and I am told they are taking into consideration the fact that heavy snow is upon us and give priority for delivery to those in heavy winter weather areas. Crossing my fingers, hoping we don't get snow before then. If so, time to park the Model S and back to calling Tesla for delivery updates (déjà vu all over again!)

    - - - Updated - - -

    I have had my Model S with 21" summer tires for a week now. We haven't had any snow in Cleveland during this time but the temp has been in the 35-45 degree range, rainy weather, dipping down to 30 a couple of days.
    Even though this is my first time driving a car with summer perf tires (all previous ones have had all-seasons), I must say the car feels fine in these conditions.
    I am waiting to have the winter package sent to me from Tesla Chicago Service (back order as many have already noted) and I am told they are taking into consideration the fact that heavy snow is upon us and give priority for delivery to those in heavy winter weather areas. Crossing my fingers, hoping we don't get snow before then. If so, time to park the Model S and back to calling Tesla for delivery updates (déjà vu all over again!)
     
  18. dave

    dave Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2012
    Messages:
    451
    Location:
    Greater Cincinnati
    My current Infiniti has summer tires, and I don't swap into my winter tires unless there is snow and ice or if it drops below freezing. Last winter was very mild, and I drove all winter on them with temps between 32 and 40. Should I expect the Tesla tires to be worse than my Infiniti's? Will I need to swap them out even with temps above freezing? I van't tell if y'all are just being super cautious or if the tires really are that bad in the cold.
     
  19. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Messages:
    12,536
    Location:
    Texas
    With no actual experience on that particular tire, I'm erring on the side of caution. Having tires that turn to wood when it's cold is no fun (been there, done that). In general that's what high performance tires do but there are exceptions. The problem is that even if they are okay on dry pavement when it's cold, hit a patch of ice and you'll have more excitement that most folks want.
     
  20. kinddog

    kinddog Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    564
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    I think things have been blown a wee bit out of proportion here.

    i have experience with both Michelin Pilot Sports and Bridgestone Potenzas. they do not "turn to wood" in the cold. even in the teen temperatures, they will work just fine. will they grip if you rip the car around a curve like they would in the summer? no. but they are not in any sense dangerous or un-usable. for normal driving the ride is virtually the same as in warm weather.

    now, when it comes to any kind of frozen precipitation, i can not over-state/exaggerate this enough: SUMMER TIRES ARE ABSOLUTELY USELESS AND VERY DANGEROUS TO DRIVE ON.

    quick story: picked up my brand new BMW 328 with Sport package (Bridgestone Potenza summer performance tires) in January of 2008. second day i had it, i go to the grocery store on a Sunday. mid-day. cloudy with chance of flurries. was dry when i pulled into the store, but when i came out, it has just started a light flurry. no big deal, i thought, home is less than 10 min away. got to my development and the road was juuuust beginning to get a covering, but it was so light you could still see the black road underneath. well i get to a moderately steep hill going 30mph. in the middle of the hill, my car stops going forward, comes to a stop, then starts drifting backwards (all with my foot evenly and lightly on the gas). i ended up on the grass on the side of the road, in someone's yard. could have been a lot worse, but WOW. lesson learned. had to wait 3 days for the snow to melt before i could drive it the half-mile home. so embarrassing.

    long story short: the tires are okay in the cold, NOT okay with any kind of ice/snow whatsoever.
     

Share This Page