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Snow tires in DC: Yay or nay?

Discussion in 'Mid-Atlantic' started by JST, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. JST

    JST Active Member

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    What's the groupthink on snow tires for the DC region?

    I've got the 19" Michelin all-seasons, which were fine last year, but we got essentially zero snow. I'd rather not drop $2500 on a set of wheels/tires if I don't have to, obvs, especially since we often get little or no snow, but then again it seems dumb to nickle and dime over a set of snow tires in a car like this. I've run snows on a variety of RWD BMWs over the years, but those cars were running summer rubber that was useless in the cold.

    I've got an AWD second car which I can use during really bad snow dumps, but can't really get by with just one car if the snow lasts for very long.

    Anyway...opinions?
     
  2. andrewket

    andrewket 2014 S P85DL, 2016 X P90DL (soon 100)

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    My opinion.. if you have summer performance tires, then you definitely need winter tires. If you have all seasons, you're going to be fine in the DC area 95% of the time. For us cold temperature and wet performance is more important that pure-snow/ice performance. If there is really 5" of snow on the street, are you really going to take your model S? No, you said you have a second AWD car for that. The Model S just doesn't have the ground clearance.
     
  3. Eeyago

    Eeyago Member

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    I agree with Andrew. And with the amazing traction control the car has, all-seasons will do just fine. This last winter, I had the stock Continentals on and I was impressed by the performance in the snow. I've switched them out for the Michelin's all-weather and am anxious to see how they do as well (even though I hate snow!).
     
  4. jthompson

    jthompson JThompson

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    I run the Summer 21s all year long. Yes, they have reduced traction when it gets really cold (below 40 degrees), but for me that only means I can't plant my right foot all the way down on my P85 when it gets 40 degrees or below. For normal driving I think they are fine - I have no problems driving to/from work and around town on the 21s when it is below 40 degrees. And as Andrew mentioned, many of us (like me!) don't drive my Model S in the snow in the DC area...I'd rather the idiot who is going to hit me do it when I driving in my 4 wheel drive 1997 Dodge pickup!

    But clearly, if you have the means to buy winter tires (and perhaps wheels to match), that is the way to go...all the tire performance data clearly shows the superiority of winter tires over summer on cold roads (dry, wet, icy, or snowy). And you don't have to buy a new set of wheels - you can go old school and have your winters put on your current wheels.
     
  5. jerry33

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

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    While you can do that, it's non-optimal because every time you mount and demount a set of tires you risk damage to the tire.

    Something that hasn't been mentioned is that if you have a second set of wheels, you won't mess up your good summer wheels with salt and curb rash (more likely in the winter when it's a bit slippery. Generally, having a second set of wheels and tires pays in the long run.
     
  6. Xenoilphobe

    Xenoilphobe Active Member

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    #6 Xenoilphobe, Nov 20, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2014
    I had no issues driving in this last year with the 245/45R19 Michelin Primacy MXM4 on my P85 on the 6th of March 2013 Snowpocalypse (7 inches of heavy wet stuff).
    Heavy snow falls in Va.'s western suburbs | WJLA.com

    Snow tires in DC is just a sales opportunity for the tires guys to sell FUD. Fear Uncertainty and Doubt. The government shuts down if they see a snowflake and even if they don't no one drives into work due to liberal leave/work from home policies.

    I drove from Chincoteague to NOVA during the worst part of the storm and the worst thing that happened was the snow was building up in the wheel wells and I had to stop at the Bethesda Super Charger - while there I cleaned them out and all was well.

    A 4700 pound car with a lower center of gravity does 500 times better than an ICE Car (saw several GM products in the ditch that night - Camaros, old TransAm etc... ) they have no weight in the rear and they were spinning out of control on 495 near Rockville.

    Car was only 4 months old at that point and rubber was new. Plan to replace rubber annually to insure same performance this year at the annual checkup @ ~26,000 Miles on it's birthday 16 December.

    If you live west of the Winchester or up in Frederick MD, might be a different story - but within a 20 Mile radius of DC you are GTG usually. If it gets crazy deep I pull out the SuperCharged lifted FJ Cruiser and plow through anything.

    Results based on 316 submissions of our online tire survey.
    [​IMG]
    Surveyed Averages887%7.38.68.78.69.08.67.05.95.58.88.38.33,839,182
    Color Key


    Superior (8.6-10)


    Fair (2.6-4.5)


    Excellent (6.6-8.5)


    Unacceptable (0-2.5)


    Good (4.6-6.5)
    Would You Buy This Tire Again?
    Most said: "Probably" (Average of 7.3 out of 10)
    How Did This Tire Rank In Its Category?
    8 out of 35 tires (Score of 7.9 vs best tire in category score of 9)
    See a Full List of Survey Results for Grand Touring All-Season Tires
    The Primacy MXM4 is Michelin's Grand Touring All-Season tire developed for luxury sedan and coupe drivers looking to combine all-weather handling and traction with good noise and ride comfort. Most Primacy MXM4 tires meet Michelin's Green X standard* for low rolling resistance that confirms the tire's contribution to reducing vehicle fuel consumption and emissions of CO2 gases. The Primacy MXM4 is designed to blend a quiet, comfortable ride, responsive handling and enhanced fuel efficiency with year-round all-season traction, even in light snow.
    The Primacy MXM4 features Michelin’s first use of their patented sunflower oil-enriched Helio Compound technology in an all-season tire to increase traction at low temperatures for improved braking and handling in the wet, as well as better overall performance in the snow. The Helio Compound is molded into an asymmetric tread design featuring a European handling profile with rounder shoulders that are designed to provide progressive, predictable cornering. Circumferential grooves evacuate water out from under the tire's footprint to reduce hydroplaning while Michelin's 3-D Variable Thickness Sipe Technology provides additional biting edges to enhance wet and wintertime traction.
    The Primacy MXM4 was developed with Michelin Comfort Control Technology using computer-optimized design and precision manufacturing methods to reduce vibration and road noise. The tire's internal structure includes twin steel belts reinforced by Michelin's BAZ (Banded At Zero) spiral-wrapped polyamide cord that stabilizes the tread area to enhance treadwear, handling and high-speed capability. The Primacy MXM4 features a polyester cord body to provide a smooth ride.
    *Specific sizes featuring Green X technology are identified as such on the Sizes tab, as well as on the tire's SPEC tab.

     
  7. chickensevil

    chickensevil Active Member

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    Thanks this makes me feel a little better. I have the 19" Michelines that came with the car and was planning to continue to stick with this brand when they get changed out but was a little worried about the winter conditions here. I don't have the luxury of driving a second car as this is my only car. However going in to work I make one of my coworkers who has an AWD car take us in usually if I can't telework and didnt want to risk it. But that was with my old Civic. I would think this would do much better than a Civic.
     
  8. andrewket

    andrewket 2014 S P85DL, 2016 X P90DL (soon 100)

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    The Michelin primacy tires are all season. Nobody ever said don't drive in the cold or snow with them. What has been said is don't drive on the Michelin ps2 summer performance tires in the winter. That is dangerous. If you're going to buy a second tire set, you might as well make it a performance winter tire.
     
  9. jerry33

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

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    When new last winter, the Michelin Primacy tires were just barely adequate on an ice day in DFW (had to shovel my driveway to make it up). Now that they've worn a bit, I wouldn't trust them. They are a good tire, but they are not severe service all-seasons.
     
  10. chickensevil

    chickensevil Active Member

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    Yeah, but I think that issue is more that TX isn't acquainted with handling those conditions. Your "ice day" is like a blizzard for us up here. Most people aren't going to be driving anywhere on those days anyway. Outside of that, they generally keep the roads salted decently and the only think I would be really concerned with would be ice. Snow on the road (in light amounts) isn't too bad generally if you take it slow. There is certainly a way you have to drive in these conditions that people in the south might not be acquainted with. Go look up the videos of the guy helping poor stuck people during the ice and stuff that hit Atlanta last year (I think it was last year). Those roads weren't really all that bad, but people in Atlanta had no clue how to drive in the light dusting they got. So they were crashing all over the place. Anyway... I wouldn't be looking to go crazy in my regular tires around here, just happy to know that if I take it slow I am not going to get myself killed. At least no worse for wear than my old civic... talk about dangerous!
     
  11. jerry33

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

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    That's true, but an ice day in Texas means 3 to 5 mm of ice covering everything. Far slipperier than anything I ever encountered in Canada (and I lived in Canada for a long time and traveled to just about every place west of Thunder Bay that was possible to drive to--often in a rental car of questionable maintenance).
     
  12. chickensevil

    chickensevil Active Member

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    I am not saying it isn't dangerous to drive in. I think the system is just not prepared for that freak ice storm. Up hear the roads are rarely truly icy for any major length of time because we salt our roads so much. Our issue is dealing with the dumps of snow from the sky that takes far longer to melt than ice does (science there for you to appreciate, Jerry :D snow is harder to melt than ice)

    But anyway, I wouldn't expect anyone living in Texas to ever invest in snow tires either... cause that would just be a silly waste of money.
     
  13. jerry33

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

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    You're correct in that it only lasts a couple of days before melting (and certainly snow takes much longer to melt because it's self-insulated and more reflective). However, it happens every time there is precipitation and it's cold enough. And because many employers have a "be there or don't bother coming back" policy (Texas is a business friendly state), people are out on those roads--usually in SUVs or pick-ups that aren't very good in icy conditions.
     
  14. Xenoilphobe

    Xenoilphobe Active Member

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    #14 Xenoilphobe, Nov 26, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2014
    good point - i missed the comment about summer performance tires -- replace them with all seasons - I agree that they would work 95% of the time. Summer Performance on the other hand might create some challenges. In fact I don't think you can legally drive on them in VA in snow conditions without getting ticketed. Tickets only happen when the Trooper responds to an accident that you caused and realizes that you are "at fault" due to poor equipment. see below

    prev | next
    § 46.2-1001. Removal of unsafe vehicles; penalty.
    Any motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer examined by a law-enforcement officer certified to perform vehicle safety inspections and found to be operating with defective brakes, tires, wheels, steering mechanism, or any other condition which is likely to cause an accident or a breakdown of the motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer may be removed from the highway and not permitted to operate again on the highway until the defects have been corrected and the law-enforcement officer has found the corrections to be satisfactory. Such law-enforcement officer may allow any motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer discovered to be in such an unsafe condition while being operated on the highway to continue in operation only to the nearest place where repairs can be safely effected and only if such operation is less hazardous to the public than to permit the motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer to remain on the highway.

    10.15.050 Blocking or impeding traffic by lack of snow tires or tire chains.

    (1) It shall be unlawful for the operator of any motor vehicle to block or impede the orderly flow of traffic on any street within the city by reason of not having adequate snow tires or tire chains on his vehicle when snow and ice, either or both, are on the streets.
    (2) When any motor vehicle without snow tires or tire chains shall become stalled on the traveled portion of a street of the city, it shall be prima facie evidence that the operator of such vehicle was in violation of this section.
    (3) Any person violating this section shall, upon conviction, be fined not exceeding $25.00 for each such offense. (Code 1964, §§ 15-57.1; Code 1985, § 16-52).
    State law reference – Authority for above section, Code of Virginia, § 46.2-1302.
     
  15. JST

    JST Active Member

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    So, today was the acid test for all seasons on a RWD Tesla, and they failed. Miserably. Could not get any traction up the hills around our house, ended up (slowly) sliding down a hill and having the car park itself against a curb. Not the kind of self-driving I am looking for.

    Rial Luganos + Dunlop 3Ds ordered, which of course means we'll get no more snow for the rest of the time I own this car.
     
  16. chickensevil

    chickensevil Active Member

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    I actually have the opposite comments regarding snow tires. But in fairness I got out of my neighborhood before it got bad and should come home tonight to a cleared road. So my winter driving on 19" All-Seasons are mostly from what I experienced on the interstate and then the main roads of Alexandria and our rather steep downhill road into our parking garage.

    All in all I think the car performed quite admirably! I had some slips and certainly had the traction control going crazy at times, but it always seemed to keep the car under control or if there was a minor slip quickly put the car back in control. But I think icey type conditions are going to be perilous without snow tires rated highly for ice regardless. You were likely dealing with that on your end in your neighborhood. I will have the same issue if it gets bad enough... because I have a rather steep hill going into my neighborhood that I have to deal with, and then on top of that a rather steep driveway to boot! But I had the same issues there with my previous cars (no snow tires, not AWD, etc). At least this time I have some pretty advanced traction control and the heavy weight of the car in my favor!
     
  17. JST

    JST Active Member

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    Today was really terrible, despite the fairly small overall amount of snow that we got. I think it must be a combination of warm ground temps and quick moving cold and snow; there was a layer of wet/icy snow underneath the powder that was just really slick.

    The traction control on the Tesla is good, but this morning it was totally overwhelmed--I ended up basically immobile at the midpoint of the hill, because the car simply could not put any power down at all. Then gravity took over...

    I'd say everyone that commented above was right. This was one of the 5 percent of days when all seasons aren't good. There (hopefully) won't be many more. But today was enough to teach me that I want to have traction 100 percent of the time, not just 95 percent.
     
  18. jthompson

    jthompson JThompson

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    I drove in on my summer 21s...traction control was working hard on the hills in my subdivision, but it kept me moving. No problems stopping or going down the parkway or Rt 123. I definitely would have preferred sticky 19" winter tires, but I have to put that off for another year. That's my 2015 New years resolution! :)
     
  19. chickensevil

    chickensevil Active Member

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    Well if today is one of the worst days in a Tesla with All-Seasons then I just got an even higher opinion of my car :D

    I understand that it wasn't the best, and given certain situations would have been stuck, but overall the car did fantastic for what I have on it. I can't seem to justify the expense and I think had I had the option today to have someone else drive I would have taken it. But my buddy's EZpass is screwed up and our other carpooler was out today. So normally when weather is this bad I wouldn't be driving anyway. So I was happy to see the Tesla get me to work safely!
     
  20. mikeash

    mikeash Active Member

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    I don't think anyone was doing well today. I saw a hefty SUV going down my local street sideways. I was sliding around at 10MPH on level ground in my Prius. This wet slush is pretty much the worst case scenario for winter driving, and certainly far worse than getting a foot of snow with relatively cold temperatures. I wouldn't take today as an indication of anything other than that OPM and Fairfax County Schools dropped the ball. The only way you're going to be really comfortable driving on a day like this is to have a fairly monstrous vehicle with nasty snow tires, and make sure it's old and beat up enough that you won't mind other people sliding into you.
     

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