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Snow chains for Model S with 21" turbine wheels?

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by badlydrawnboy, Feb 4, 2017.

  1. badlydrawnboy

    badlydrawnboy Member

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    I'm planning a trip to Tahoe from the Bay Area in a couple of weeks. Have a Model S 90D with 21" turbine wheels and all-seasons tires. My understanding is that the 90D performs very well in the snow without chains, but that in California there is a legal requirement to carry chains in the car. I've heard that a couple of Model S drivers have been forced to put their chains on at "chain control" checkpoints.

    This seems like a potential problem because as far as I can tell the Tesla recommended chains only fit on 19" wheels? And from what I've read they're already pretty hard to install on those wheels.

    What are my options here?
     
  2. badlydrawnboy

    badlydrawnboy Member

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    I did a little more research about the three different requirements.

    R1: Chains are required on all vehicles except passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks under 6,000 pounds gross weight and equipped with snow tires on at least two drive wheels. Chains must be carried by vehicles using snow tires.

    R2: Chains are required on all vehicles except four-wheel-drive vehicles under 6,500 pounds gross weight and equipped with snow tires on all four wheels. Chains for one set of drive wheels must be carried by four wheel-drive vehicles using snow tires.

    R3: Chains are required on all vehicles without exception.

    Apparently R3 is rare and roads are often closed before it is imposed.

    According to my reading of this, a car with AWD and snow tires on all 4 wheels would rarely be required to put chains on.

    So here's the key question: would the "all-seasons" tires I have on my MS considered "snow tires" by chain control checkpoints?
     
  3. abasile

    abasile Conscientious investor

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    #3 abasile, Feb 4, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017
    I would agree with this. AWD is generally your "ticket" to get past those chain control checkpoints without hassling with chains. However, all vehicles are legally required to carry chains when driving in the California mountains during winter. Even if you have AWD, be prepared to be asked at the checkpoints if you are carrying chains. Legally, you need to have a set of chains that fit your tires. The authorities may turn you around and/or issue a ticket if you don't have chains.

    Your tires need to have the M+S rating to be considered snow tires. The Goodyear Eagle "all season" tires that came with my Model S have this rating.

    My experience, from living in the SoCal mountains, is that chains may be required (R2) at the slightest bit of white on our mountain highways. The authorities assume that a great many drivers have no clue about driving on snow and ice, and considering that we are in California, that's a fair assumption. Currently, requiring vehicles to have AWD or install chains seems to be enough of a filter to minimize crazy behavior on snowy roads. If all vehicles were to come with AWD, then the authorities would probably have to come up with a different filter. In any case, carrying around a set of chains is necessary to play their game, regardless of whether you'll truly ever need them.

    Personally, I wish California could do away with this AWD vs. 2WD nonsense and allow drivers to get tested for snow driving aptitude. Then, having a "snow driving" endorsement on one's license should be enough to get past the checkpoints most of the time, provided one's car at least has M+S tires in good condition. The thing about AWD is that, while it helps you get moving, it doesn't help you to come to a stop.
     
  4. badlydrawnboy

    badlydrawnboy Member

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    Thanks. So I guess the question is what chains should I buy, given that there aren't any that fit the MS 21" wheels (as far as I know)?
     
  5. rdr1rx

    rdr1rx Member

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    The 21" tires available for Model S are either winter compound (245/35R21 only) or max performance summer compound (245/35R21 & 265/35R21). Can you post a pic of your tire sidewall & tread? I'm curious to see what manufacturer makes said 21" all-season tire.
     
  6. badlydrawnboy

    badlydrawnboy Member

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    You are correct and I was mistaken; I have the summer performance tires. It seems the best option for me is to get the 20" TST wheels and then the Continental DSW 06 all-seasons tires. This will preserve (as closely as possible) the look of my 21" grey turbine wheels while allowing me to get all-season tires.

    It will cost me a little over $3k with installation, but I'm hoping I can sell my 21" wheels/tires on the used market to offset the cost at least a bit.
     
  7. AMPd

    AMPd Active Member

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    Or you can get winter tires for your 21s for the winter season.
     
  8. badlydrawnboy

    badlydrawnboy Member

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    I live in the SF Bay Area, where winter tires are completely unnecessary. I only need them for the 2-3 trips we take to Tahoe during the ski season. It would be time-consuming and expensive to change back and forth between summer/winter tires for these trips, so I'd prefer to just spend the money up front and have all seasons tires.
     
  9. tmarcc

    tmarcc "Everyone has a right to a wrong opinion."

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    So there's no option at all for chains on the 21" wheels? Afaik Tesla clearly instructs "no chains for 21" wheels" in their manual, but I'm curious as to whether anyone here on the forum has tried it.
     
  10. Araman0

    Araman0 Member

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    Hate to bump a 2-year old thread, but was curious if any new developments have happened for tire chains on a 21" Model S wheel.

    I have a Standard 85 (so rear wheel drive only) that performed absolutely horridly in the recent Seattle snow storms. I don't have the ability to store separate tires for Summer and Winter, so would greatly prefer just having a good set of snow chains for my car to put on as needed once or twice a year when it snows here. Tesla only sells chains for 19" tires, but I've seen 21" options available form third party manufacturers. Seems like the self-tensioning variety that does not wrap around the inside of the wheel is the safest best to reduce chain components hitting the inside of the wheel well or other parts inside the wheel cavity itself like brakes, etc.

    Does anyone have any experience with tire chains for their 21" Tesla wheels?
     
  11. dweeks

    dweeks Member

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    All I can say is that I can barely fit my hand far enough into the top part of the wheel well to get chains on my 19" tires. Given that 21s leave less free space, I can't imagine how one would get the chains over the top of the wheel and attached.
     
  12. Araman0

    Araman0 Member

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    ^^ Would raising the variable suspension help with that if the car comes with that feature?
     
  13. IslandHydro

    IslandHydro Member

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    I thought the difference between a 21 inch wheel and a 19 inch wheel was just the wheel diameter, which is inversely related to the tire sidewall height. 21 inch wheels have thinner sidewalls than 19 inch wheels, but the outside diameter of both tires is the same. If they weren't, then your speedometer would be out of calibration if you switched from 19's to 21's, and I'm pretty sure it doesn't. So the wheel gap (give or take air suspension) would be the same with both configurations. My guess is the lack of sidewall height is the impediment for putting chains on the 21's, its the risk of the chains scratching up the wheels, since there's not enough side wall to keep them away from the wheel.
     
    • Informative x 1
  14. The Duke

    The Duke Member

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    They are wider as well making for very little clearance when the wheel is turned. I have about 3/8" on my P100D with a hard turn on the front wheels at low ride height.
     
  15. sorka

    sorka Well-Known Member

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    LT47 - Quick Trak Light Truck | Quality Chain Corp

    This is the same chain that Tesla sells rebranded for the S. Click on "All associated tire sizes" and the LT47 Quick Trak lists 245/35/21 as the correct fitment.

    I have this set for my P85D. They literally take about 30 seconds each side to put on.

    That said, you MUST specify 22mm lugs if that's what your Tesla has (earlier cars had 21mm) otherwise the lug attachment won't fit.
     
  16. sorka

    sorka Well-Known Member

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    This is correct. Both 19" and 21" wheels have the same outer diameter. I should know. I have both and have measured them. There's less than 1mm of actual difference.
     
  17. sorka

    sorka Well-Known Member

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    ..which makes no difference if you use S rated chains that don't extend to the backside of the wheel since the offset and diameter are the same.
     

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