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Driving in the snow - 85D vs 85 with snow tires

Discussion in 'Model S' started by ByranS, Mar 11, 2017.

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  1. ByranS

    ByranS Member

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    Any experienced S owners have an opinion?

    I have an Accord currently. I also work in a hospital, leave at 5:30am, and can't afford to be late. Putting snow tires on during the winter has been a godsend. It handles amazingly well.

    As I look to a future S purchase, I'm trying to decide which would handle better. An 85D or an 85 with snow tires.

    The dual sounds great since I would be able to avoid switching tires twice a year. On the other hand, a rear wheel drive is more available and much cheaper on the CPO market.

    Any guidance?
     
  2. JRMW

    JRMW Member

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    I live in MN.
    My work partner has a Model S with RWD.
    He had All Seasons. It was worse than useless. Got stuck in a flat parking lot with just a few inches of snow.
    He switched to Winter tires. it is very capable. Not amazing, capable.
    It's probably similar to a FWD Honda Accord with winter tires. Better than a Honda Accord with All Seasons.

    The #1 problem my partner has with his Model S is when it snows and the snow plows cause snow banks between the parking lot and the street. His car can sometimes not get through that. But otherwise he's had no problems.

    I have a Model S with AWD and Winter tires.
    it's extremely good in the snow, and blows the RWD version away in winter.

    It's not to the level of a Subaru or an AWD SUV on Winter Tires, but it's close enough.
    (the major problem is the low clearance, not the tires or the AWD or the traction control).

    I also work in a clinic and hospital, and cannot be late. I would not consider a Model S with RWD, unless I have a backup car.

    That said, I don't know how much snow you guys get in Ohio.

    For What it's Worth: contrary to popular belief, in general Minneapolis does NOT get a ton of snow (we get 45 inches per year. compare this to Upstate NY that gets 120 inches). We get brutally cold. But we CAN get a big snowstorm here and there.
     
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  3. Gwgan

    Gwgan Almost a wagon

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    What JRMW said, but why is this an either or question? Any car on the road in winter should have winter tires. I work at hospital and the patients I see coming in from car accidents always seem surprised that their "no-season" tires failed them.
     
  4. ByranS

    ByranS Member

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    Awesome reply. Thanks. Sounds like I should hold out for a dual.

    We actually don't get much snow in my area of Ohio (compared to many other places in the country). The problem is, since we don't get a ton, the city's infrastructure is poor. Minimal plows. One mild storm can shut the roads down for a morning. Putting those snow tires on my Accord is one of the best decision I've ever made. I just don't want my S purchase to set me back. Thanks again.
     
  5. JRMW

    JRMW Member

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    Yes, hold out for Dual. It will reduce your stress if/when there is a snow storm, especially if you don't have good plowing ability in your metro.

    it's fine to spend so much on a car even if it doesn't meet all of your wants, but I just don't see the point in spending so much money on a car that might not meet your needs.
    (Unless you have bucketfulls of cash and can get another car!)

    Good luck finding an AWD Tesla!
     
  6. Sir Guacamolaf

    Sir Guacamolaf The good kind of fat

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    D for snow (driving experience on D and S in loads of snow)
    But why not D with winter tires?
     
  7. Pollux

    Pollux Active Member

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    Here are my experiences.

    Drove front-wheel drive cars equipped with all-seasons from roughly 1985-2000.

    Audi Quattro (i.e., four-wheel drive) A4, OEM and ordinary replacement all-seasons, 2000-2010.

    Various other cars, all front-wheel drive, 2010-2013.

    My experience was that the Quattro was excellent in the snow -- again, with only regular all-seasons.

    2013 Tesla Model S P85+, 2013-2016. I ran with:
    + summer - OEM Michelin Pilot Sport 2s, staggered 21" performance tires, OEM Tesla 21" wheels
    + And replacement PS2s when I wore out the originals
    + winter - 19" Nokiian Hakkapollitta R2s + 19" Rial wheels

    I experienced great handling summer and winter. Note that the '13 P85+ is rear-wheel drive only. I also enjoy winter driving on snow and ice, unlike many other people. I had to turn off traction control to get the car to slide around easily. Otherwise, with traction control on and careful driving, the car remained planted on the road. I frequently passed other vehicles that had slid off the road or otherwise failed to meet winter conditions. I'd say the car handled as well as my previous Audi Quattro A4 EXCEPT (1) the Tesla is much heavier, so the laws of physics dictate that a responsible driver will take that weight into account and (2) the Tesla is also significantly larger, same comment applies.

    I also had an opportunity to drive the P85+ one December for about a week on summer tires; another P85 around the same time for a week using all-seasons and my own P85+ again with my winter tires. I was blown away by the poor -- I would argue dangerous -- handling of the summer tires in the cold of a Massachusetts December. (Wasn't even snowy or icy.) The all-seasons did better, but the winter tires were by far the best.

    As a result of that experience, I also purchased and ran winter tires for my Prius, which markedly improved its handling.

    All of the above was in Massachusetts, across some reasonably snowy winters. Also, I will note that I took repeated advantage of the Tesla air suspension to go over the top of many a patch of snow.

    My current Tesla is a December, 2016 P100DL... running on summer tires! There's no good excuse for my laziness on the tires. I can hear them squealing in the morning when they are at their coldest and I'm maneuvering out of the driveway. Cold rubber is NOT the best thing AT ALL for vehicle handling. I do NOT recommend doing as I have done. It's just that, having relatively recently moved here to Maryland (where I got the new car), I haven't yet found a specialty tire shop to work with that will store my off-season tires and wheels. So I have stacks of tires and wheels sitting in my garage, waiting for me to be more responsible.

    What I would ask you to think about is that the winter tires offer superior handling *in the cold* and not just in the snow and ice. The Hakka R2s are amazing, but expensive, and if you don't order them in advance, you might find the supply runs out around November. You can certainly purchase cheaper but good winter tires.

    If you were to stick with a common wheel size -- say, 19" -- for both summer and winter, then you can swap out the tires without swapping the wheels. But having two sets of wheels makes the swap even easier.

    The tires will also last longer because you're not putting as many miles on them per year.

    I never used to think much about cars, much less spend any brainpower whatsoever on tires. Who cared. Tesla has certainly changed my thinking about cars. And a closer look at the tires has taught me that this is the only place where the car connects with the road and so it matters a great deal whether the tire can handle the ambient road and weather conditions.

    In your situation, even with your current car, if your area of Ohio experiences as much snow and ice as I imagine it might, I'd encourage you to "invest" in a damned good set of winter tires. A second set of wheels is a nice plus but probably not an absolute requirement. I'd do this *even on a dual-motor configuration*. You could save $5K by going rear-wheel drive only. In fact, if it came down to a choice between AWD @ $5K and great tires @ $1300, I'd go for the tires. Tesla traction control and careful driving will tame the monstrous torque of the RWD car. That said, the second place I'd spend my dollars is on the dual-motor config. There's a helluva lot to be said for handling and performance when the computer in your car can adjust power to the wheels every few milliseconds. If you need to save money, don't buy the Full Self-Driving option -- let everyone else spend the next few years getting it to work. :) Skip the UHFS sound system -- I like it, but plenty of people say the base sound system is fine, or that you can get a better sound system as a third-party purchase. You can save some money on a cheaper paint job -- which will still look awesome! -- or on various interior options. A BIG way to save money is to buy a regular car instead of the Performance option. The regular car today offers the acceleration I had 3 years ago in a Performance car! Plus the regular car offers better mileage. Try to get at least a 90 kwh battery -- this is an area of disagreement, but I believe in having as much range as you can, which translates into more options when doing cross-country trips or longer periods of roaming around home before worrying about a charge.

    The Tesla Model S is a revolution compared to previous sedans, compacts and other vehicles I've driven. Every morning, I have a full battery. I have visited the gas station only a few times in three years, all to purchase sundries or make use of the facilities. The handling and performance are amazing. The safety - astounding. The people and cargo capacity - surprising. You will find stories in this forum of people who have had bad experiences and people who have had fantastic experiences. Everything you read here should be taken with a grain of salt. I think of it this way: when next you purchase a car, you can buy into the tail-end of the 100-year wave of internal combustion development. It's a fully mature technology with fully mature manufacturing. Innovation hasn't ended but the revolution is now about integrating non-ICE technologies such as batteries and electric charging. Or you can buy into the front-end of a wave of absolute upheaval in personal transportation -- full electrification, re-thinking of how a car is laid out, new opportunities for automation and driver support and attendant possibilities of pleasure and pain. I think you know which choice I made. :)

    Good luck.

    Alan
     
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  8. sorka

    sorka Active Member

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    I have a co-owned lodge at Dodge Ridge, CA. We have a very steep gravel driveway that was covered with ice. We went up in the Prius because my P85D had a broken window and couldn't be driven in those conditions. We put tire chains on the front wheels of the Prius. It refused go up the grade. The constant slipping of the front wheels even with the chains on the ice resulted in the traction control rebelling. Even if I could have disable it, it appears the chains were not enough traction on the ICE at that grade to get me up. We had 3 guys pushing from behind to finally make it up.

    The following week, with a replaced door window, we took the Tesla with 19" wheels and new Pilot Sport A/S 3+ tires. We brought chains just in case, but they were never needed. The AWD tesla drove up the ice driveway like it was on dry pavement. Whatever little slippage occurred was dispatched by individual corner braking of the traction control.
     
  9. Pollux

    Pollux Active Member

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    P.S. If you choose to buy a used Tesla, and further if you choose to buy a 2012 or 2013, make sure you understand the remaining warranty coverage on that vehicle. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my '13 P85+... but if I had done a private re-sale of the vehicle, would have included with it the extended warranty that I pre-purchased. The '12s and '13s probably have more things to fix on them than the '14s and newer, so having that extra warranty coverage could be a big help to you.

    Alan
     
  10. Pollux

    Pollux Active Member

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    And as for @sorka's experience.... I had multiple, almost identical experiences with my '13 P85+ (RWD) + Hakka R2s versus our Prius... even when I put winter tires on the Prius...
     
  11. Pollux

    Pollux Active Member

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    I'll shut up now. At least on this thread. :)
     
  12. sorka

    sorka Active Member

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    I think the Prius must be the worst snow car on the planet o_O
     
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  13. thefortunes

    thefortunes Member

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    Posted previously in Dual motor vs. RWD in winter driving. (Search is your friend on this site)

    Best - AWD with winter tires
    Next - RWD with winter tires
    Next - AWD with all-season tires
    Next - RWD with all-season tires
    Next - AWD with summer tires (really shouldn't drive on summer tires below 40F or on ANY snow/ice)
    Worst - RWD with summer tires (really shouldn't drive on summer tires below 40F or on ANY snow/ice)

    Also interesting:
     
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  14. JPUConn

    JPUConn Member

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    I went from an accord on winter tires (Michelin X Ice) to my RWD S with winter tires (Sottozero) and air suspension.

    The accord got through everything and so far so has the tesla. The traction control and low center of gravity but super heavy car make it comfortable to drive in any weather.

    I prefer the Tesla RWD on winter tires vs my Subaru Legacy on all seasons or Jeep Grand Cherokee on all seasons.

    I understand the risk of getting stuck while initially starting, but the tires for me are most beneficial to turning and stopping more than starting.
     
  15. anonim1979

    anonim1979 Member

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    If you want to stop in time and not rear-end someone you need winter tires.
    It matters not if it is AWD or not when you are braking.

    "D" is mainly for accelerating.
     
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  16. Jashev

    Jashev Supporting Member

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    Actually, Consumer Reports says the '14's have the worst frequency of repair record. '13's and '15's and up are better.
     
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  17. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    RWD needs really good snow tires. Nokkians or XIce3.
    AWD needs snow tires, but they don't need to be Nokkians or anything.
    AWD with all season is not safe under some conditions. In my experience they were okay-ish in snow but really sucked on ice.

    Yes I really did drive all three back-to-back this winter. Mine is RWD and I had two different loaners, both AWD but one with snows and one with all seasons.
     
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  18. hpartsch

    hpartsch Member

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    I concur. The TC system on the 2nd generations is horrible.
     
  19. steveho

    steveho Member

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    Also what JRMW said. I'm also in Minneapolis, and he got his car a couple weeks after mine. If you need to get through, definately get D, it is better. I did drive a (non-D) 85 with snow tires on a fresh 6" snow fall, and it is perfectly capable. BUt as JRMW says, the snow-humps are difficult, if not impossible, in the non-D because it'll get hung up on one side or the other. That's where D helps. You may also consider the air-suspension to get extra height.
    Here's a thought. Get the 85 non-D and save a bunch. Then get a Subaru for those special snow days.

    By the way, @JRMW good to see you here again.
     
  20. No2DinosaurFuel

    No2DinosaurFuel Active Member

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    What they shouldve compare is awd with all season. It is like they are choosing the best rwd setup vs the worst awd setup. Not really much of a comparison and everyone already knows the outcome without saying. Most who are really after the one tire year round would most likely have a true all-season tires on their awd. The ones with summer performance tires are mostly racer who want the grip of summer tires combined with the gripping property of awd.

    Another caveat most don't pay attention to in the video is they said the car's front wheel starts spinning first then the rear kicks in but by that time the front lost traction and it is spinning so the awd in that car is pretty useless IMO. I dont know how tesla does it traction controls but I'm assuming it is much smarter than those ICE cars and probably spin them in synchrony giving better traction. Finally the model s is more balanced so all wheels have similar traction coefficient vs those ICE cars which probably have better traction in the front due to the engine weight. This is probably why they spin the front first then the rear. But this basically means their awd car IS a front wheel drive car when there is a serious lack of traction.

    So if you are looking at climbing traction uphill, I am not sure if the rwd model s with winter tires is actually any better than the awd model s with all season tires. You just have to make sure the tires are true all-season and not one of those performance all-season which favors warmer temperature.

    That being said the more important point is braking capacity and winter tires are always better for hard braking in snow. The awd model s probably has all wheel regen also so it might be better in light braking situations compare to the rwd with winter tires.
     

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