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Summer tires year-round in San Francisco

BillO

Member
Oct 14, 2015
146
80
San Francisco, CA
I’m new to the idea of summer tires, I didn’t know there was such a huge difference in braking performance. It would seem to be a good idea to capture that performance, but I don’t want the hassle of swapping tires/wheels. Winter lows seldom get into the 30s, but it does happen. Do any of you use summer tires year-round in SF?
 

JG T3SLA

Member
Aug 5, 2018
166
212
San Francisco
I’m in SF. If my M3P was my only car I would probably look into all season tires for part of the year if you travel out of the Bay Area towards any snow prone destinations. Or just run performance tires and rent a model X on Getaround when you want to go to Tahoe, etc.
 

BillO

Member
Oct 14, 2015
146
80
San Francisco, CA
Right, I should have added that I don’t ski anymore so I would never go to Tahoe in winter. Might drive to LA and the Grapevine can get cold, but I could always go 101. Taking my wife’s car is an option too.

I am hoping to hear from someone who is doing this and get some tips. Biggest question is how to handle any temps below 40 in SF itself. I live in a condo with underground parking and I figure the temp never goes below 50 in there. Thought the car could hide out if needed for a couple days while I find alternate transportation.
 

ewoodrick

Well-Known Member
Apr 13, 2018
5,285
3,724
Buford, GA
The only reason to put on winter tires is to better handle the snow. You ain't got none, so do like most of the country does and just have one set of tires.
 

animorph

Active Member
Apr 1, 2016
2,133
1,528
Scottsdale, AZ
I've always driven summer tires in AZ, which certainly gets as cold as SF. I'm pretty sure my dad ran summers all year in Palo Alto. I've read they're not very good below 40 degrees or so, but I've never had a problem with them. It's not like I'm suddenly sliding around or shredding the tread mid-winter. I pushed them in any weather. I'd definitely think twice before heading up into the snow, but for simple cold weather I'll stick with the summer performance tires.
 

BillO

Member
Oct 14, 2015
146
80
San Francisco, CA
I've always driven summer tires in AZ, which certainly gets as cold as SF. I'm pretty sure my dad ran summers all year in Palo Alto. I've read they're not very good below 40 degrees or so, but I've never had a problem with them. It's not like I'm suddenly sliding around or shredding the tread mid-winter. I pushed them in any weather. I'd definitely think twice before heading up into the snow, but for simple cold weather I'll stick with the summer performance tires.

Ah, thanks for that, if I hear a few more examples like yours I think it will be worth a try!
 

TT97

Active Member
Aug 6, 2017
2,171
2,898
Los Angeles
In general, summer tires have better wet performance than all season tires (assuming it's not freezing rain).

The temperature really needs to be below freezing for summer tires to suffer. The key is the temperature of the tire more than the current outside temperature. If the temperature in the tires get cold, the summer rubber compound hardens which will seriously affect handling and can also cause the compound to crack (which is permanent).

If the car is parked in a garage, then it is not really an issue as the tires will not freeze (and once you start driving, the temperature in the tires will increase). The same applies for driving over the Grapevine (assuming no snow or ice), by the time you get there, your tires will be plenty warm from driving hours beforehand.
 
Last edited:

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,198
13,850
West Vancouver, British Columbia
I’m new to the idea of summer tires, I didn’t know there was such a huge difference in braking performance. It would seem to be a good idea to capture that performance, but I don’t want the hassle of swapping tires/wheels. Winter lows seldom get into the 30s, but it does happen. Do any of you use summer tires year-round in SF?
Please post exactly what tire you have on your 3. Apparently you do not have the original factory tires?
 

coleAK

Member
Oct 23, 2018
874
580
Alaska
when you mentioned summer tires I always think (my fault) the street leagal race tires. I’ve had 3 car with Michelin pilots, and 2 different potenzas and BFG force . All were ok on damp but hydroplaned terribly. Another thing to consider with that class of tire is tread wear, some only last 5-10k miles so as I mentioned with rain performance so you research for tredwear as well.
 

TT97

Active Member
Aug 6, 2017
2,171
2,898
Los Angeles
when you mentioned summer tires I always think (my fault) the street leagal race tires. I’ve had 3 car with Michelin pilots, and 2 different potenzas and BFG force . All were ok on damp but hydroplaned terribly. Another thing to consider with that class of tire is tread wear, some only last 5-10k miles so as I mentioned with rain performance so you research for tredwear as well.

Street legal race tires are a completely different animal - and even though legal, no one would recommend them for everyday use (or even for street use). They are meant for racing series that require street legal tires and provide zero wet traction.

I do agree that summer/performance tires have significantly shorter wear life and that is where wet performance suffers. If you let the tires wear down, wet performance gets really bad as the tires don't have the same pliability as new. (Luckily, in LA we have a very short "rainy season" so I always made sure to replace the tires before then.)
 

BillO

Member
Oct 14, 2015
146
80
San Francisco, CA
Great discussion guys, thanks to all. I have the stock 18” tires, I’m just researching now what my options are in the future. I didn’t think about the fact that tires warm up when you drive, very true! The short tire life is a concern, especially as pointed out in the wet. Lots to think about...
 

BillO

Member
Oct 14, 2015
146
80
San Francisco, CA
Yes of course, all true. It is just that I have read here that summer tires can improve 60-0 stopping distance by 15 feet (105 ft vs 120 ft) over the stock all season. That is a huge difference!
 

coleAK

Member
Oct 23, 2018
874
580
Alaska
Which specific tire can improve that much improvement over the OEM Michelin’s? I’m betting a ultra high performance (approaching race tire) super soft like I mentioned above.
 

miimura

Well-Known Member
Aug 21, 2013
6,155
5,748
Los Altos, CA
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S is the one.
I came to say the same thing. It's available in all three Model 3 wheel diameters 18-19-20. If you really care about the performance, you should move up from the 18's to 19 or 20. I have different priorities, so I like the 18's.
 

TT97

Active Member
Aug 6, 2017
2,171
2,898
Los Angeles
I came to say the same thing. It's available in all three Model 3 wheel diameters 18-19-20. If you really care about the performance, you should move up from the 18's to 19 or 20. I have different priorities, so I like the 18's.

That is not 100% accurate. Different sizes have different benefits. The larger wheels will have better dry handling and slightly better braking. The smaller wheel will do better in efficiency and acceleration (due to being lighter) and will handle better in wet conditions (due to having more flex).

Also, the smaller wheel will ride more comfortably and you live in an area with lots of potholes, you will save thousands in tire and wheel repairs. My previous car had 19" wheels with similar profiles as the 3 - in three years I had to replace 2 tires and 3 wheels due to damage (luckily, despite my better judgement, the dealer convinced me to purchase wheel and tire insurance - paid for itself multiple times over).

Effects of Upsized Wheels and Tires Tested
 
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coleAK

Member
Oct 23, 2018
874
580
Alaska
The pilot 4s is supposed to me a really good ultra high performance tire.
My 0.02: grip will be much improved over the OEM tires on dry and wet but not standing water. All tires like this rely on sticky tread compounds with as much touching the pavement as possible, just look at “slicks”. Also when rateings are done ‘wet” usually means wet controlled environment without standing water. And I have driven on a “wet oval”. Now I am 14 years out from my sporting days but just looking at the tread pattern of the 4s, it’s ability to evacuate water has to be limited which increases its susceptibility to hydroplane. This effect is exacerbated the wider of a tire you go and the more the tread is worn. In an area like the Bay Area where rain is common I would change them at 30-40% tread. What that will equate to is (unless you drive very conservative) I’m guessing if your 3 is RWD tires every 15-20k miles and every 10-15k for AWD. Those estimates could be on the high side due to the high torque of the electric motors. And just a guess but I bet you will lose range as a trade off as well.

I had 8 years prior to the BK era (before kids) I raced (as an expensive hobby) SCCA, road rally, auto cross, track days. If I had another 911 GT3 or built another dedicated track car and lived in an area with accessibility to events (all of which are extremely unlikely to happen) I would highly consider the pilot 4s as a street tire on that vehicle.

Don’t believe me jump on a Porsche sporting club (not the DD crowd) or SCCA forum
 

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