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Freezing temps + snow packed wheel well = stopped Tesla

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by balefire, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. balefire

    balefire Member

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    #1 balefire, Feb 7, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2014
    Our snow tired Tesla has had some snow adversity this winter, but has for the most part done better than any snow tired RWD car I've driven.
    Ability to raise suspension height for snow drifts, heavy weight over the rear tires, and good traction control I think have helped.

    However, a few days ago my wife's Tesla got stuck in the middle of the road. Not a ditch. Not spinning in its wheels. The wheels and tires just did NOT move.
    After a small panic, she managed to get it going again by raising the suspension to high mode and limping to a parking lot.
    After pulling over, she took a look at the car's wheel wells. They were JAM PACKED with SNOW + ICE. She spent 20 min clearing it out and no problems since.
    Later that day, I spend another 20 min clearing the snow out of the wheel wells for her.

    My other cars which were also driven through this polar vortex did not have the same problem, with some snow build up in the lower edge wheel wells, but nothing like our Tesla.

    I recall someone else stating that this snow in the wheel well also affects the range.
    No surprise, as there is very little room / clearance in there.
    Once snow does buildup in the wheel wells, it creates friction and as we found out, can create enough friction to prevent the wheels from turning.
    Just a caution for others that brave the snow in the Tesla.

    ADDENDUM:
    I guess I'm not the only who has found problems with snow and our wheel wells.
    http://www.teslamotors.com/en_CA/forum/forums/snow
    Sounds like the plastic in the wheel well does not shed snow like normal cars. This is besides our low clearance.
    Won't stop us from driving in the snow, but I will be clearing the snow from the car wheel wells semi daily when its bad here.
     
  2. justaddsun

    justaddsun Member

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    I had the the same problem in my Toyota Sienna minivan. Every car has plastic in the wheel wells. I think it's more a function of the conditions: temperatures and type of snow/sand/salt mix that day. I did get in the habit of kicking out the snow build-up on all my cars though. It's quite fun :).
     
  3. Chipper

    Chipper Active Member

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    BE CAREFUL! A couple of weeks ago a friend was kicking at the snow build up on his pickup truck and broke a part off the inside of the wheel well. Angered by his own stupidity he compounded it by going inside and returning with an ice pick. He thought that would be less harmful. He hit the ice with a glancing blow and stuck the ice pick into the tire! :crying:
     
  4. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    If you hear snow/mud buildup on turns then a few lock to lock steering maneuvers will allow the snow tires to chew into it and clear it out while it is still soft. That should provide a couple inches clearance. If you drive endlessly without steering eventually you just might come to a frozen halt.
    --
     
  5. mhpr262

    mhpr262 Member

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    Some choice swear words must have been spoken that day ...
     
  6. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator

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    I like that idea of using the car's ability to lift itself through suspension in order to assist in clearing wheel wells. Even the massive chamber in my F-350s wheel wells can get immense agglomerations of snow - though never enough to lock it down - but the minuscule one in my Golf most definitely can and has dead-stopped the car. Raising and lowering the Model S can help a lot in the necessary clearing.

    Or you can spend winters in AZ. I am more and more really enjoying this entirely new phase of life.... :)
     
  7. santana338

    santana338 Member

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    I've experienced this. Not coming to a complete stop, but limping into my garage and hearing the tires grind at the packed snow in the wheel wells. Since I'm new to the snowy winter thing I wasn't sure if this was normal or not.

    You would thing the people who make the ice scrapers and snow brush tools would have something to help clear this out if this is a common issue. Anyone know of anything to help with this?
     
  8. AndreyATC

    AndreyATC Member

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    Good point here
    So what do you do with rears?
    :)
     
  9. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator

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    Umm...rotate'em?
     
  10. Chipper

    Chipper Active Member

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    (Chuckling!!!) Not only that day but every time anyone has asked him since! I tried to cheer him up by inviting him over for a beer. He was not cheered when I offered him a "flat tire" beer.
     
  11. Zextraterrestrial

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    hahah, Awesome

    I'm leaving from Coastal CA to go to Salem,OR tonight and hope I don't have any 'serious' issues that a beer can't fix!
    looks like some heavy snow. I-5 was closed some yesterday
     
  12. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    Yep. This was murdering my range on my trip to Michigan. I still haven't had the heart to write a full trip report. The whole thing was rather dispiriting and upsetting. (The trip also cost me a tire due to pothole damage)

    I cannot in good conscience recommend a Tesla to anyone who takes winter trips on unplowed roads. (It's OK here in NY because they plow *everything*, but in Michigan, they just don't.)


    - - - Updated - - -

    Doesn't really work. It'll keep you moving but your range will still be ruined. You have to stop and clean the wells out, as I figured out on my Michigan road trip. I use a windshield scraper.

    - - - Updated - - -

    By the end of my Michigan trip, my procedure was to pull over at the first parking lot which had been plowed (surprisingly rare in Michigan), set the suspension to "Very High", and then start running the windshield scraper around the tires to get the snow out. Last step: scrape away the piles of gunk that fell off, so that I didn't pick the gunk up again when I backed out of the parking space.

    I use the sort of scraper which is basically a long pole with a little scraper on the end. Seems to work pretty well.
     
  13. JonathanL

    JonathanL New Member

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    Welcome to the stuck tire club. It happened to me a few weeks ago - see thread:Sign into My Tesla | Tesla Motors.

    I was told someone in upstate NY had the same thing happen about a week after me.
     
  14. martinwinlow

    martinwinlow Member

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    I have no personal experience of this idea but perhaps the use of a wax-based anti-rusting product applied to (clean, though not necessarily dry) wheel well plastic might help stop snow from sticking in the first place. Waxoyl - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    This has been available in the UK for more than 40 years - I expect there are US versions of the same sort of thing.

    It does work extremely well as a rust preventative for all the difficult to get at places that tend to go rusty first, like pressed/welded metal seams and cavities - and I do have extremely good experience of its effectiveness here. Unlike the tar-based under body treatments, if the Waxoyl coating is removed by flying road debris, the Waxoyl stays permanently very slightly viscous and so creeps back over time to re-seal the damage.

    I don't know why all motor manufacturers don't use it as standard in the factory. Oh, yes. It's not in their interests for us to all be driving around in 30 year old rust-free cars, is it!
     
  15. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    I had this problem. It threw off the balance of my wheels and the car vibrated pretty badly. Cleaning it all out and power washing the insides of the wheels helped a lot but It was too late I guess as I drove too far and too hard on it and it still vibrated > 40mph. I took it to the SC who rotated and "rebalanced" the tires. So the actual tire mount on the wheel itself got thrown off from driving like that.

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    eseruny4.jpg
     
  16. jerry33

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

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    The snow and ice probably knocked some of the weight off. Not an uncommon experience. The tire's position on the wheel wouldn't have changed unless the tires were recently mounted (when the tire lubricant could have allowed them to slip).
     
  17. youlikeadajuice

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    This might be a crazy idea, but along these same lines...what about spraying something like Pam cooking spray or some sort of a teflon spray inside the wheel well before you head into the snow?
     
  18. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Or you might have dislodged the weight while cleaning the ice off the rim.

    Best to get that stuff off as early as possible, before it freezes hard.
     
  19. highfalutintodd

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    This thread, combined with a trip to Chicago I took earlier this week, makes me so, so, so glad I don't live in an area that gets a lot of snow. I don't know how you guys deal with it.
     
  20. huntjo

    huntjo Member

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    This phenomenon does not seem appreciably worse to me with a Tesla than with other vehicles I have driven. Except maybe the truck, because the wells were just so much bigger it would usually break off periodically I suppose. It too bad this will apparently be a deal breaker for everyone that Neroden would otherwise recommend to get a Tesla.
     

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