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Tesla owners living on Dirt Roads, Your Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Tribaltech, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. Tribaltech

    Tribaltech Member

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    Hey Tesla owners

    I live on a dirt road. Yeah yeah I know in reading through some older forums how some people almost compare driving a Tesla on an unpaved road to committing some sort of suicide or like living in a haunted house or something.

    Anyway, so yeah I live on a dirt road, I own a Model S with Smart Air Suspension and I wash my car meticulously every other week if not every week and love how it handles in the dirt and especially in the snow. That said, I find that 99% of the luxury car owners are so sensitive about how and where they drive their cars that its almost ridiculous. Hey its a car that needs to be driven and pushed to its limits sensibly. Now, I'm not saying that I take my car off roading. No not at all! But I feel that living on a 2-mile of dirt road should hardly be anything to be concerned about. And it gives "character" to my car haha.

    Sorry, I digress. The reason i posted this thread is to reach out to other dirt road living Model S/3/X owners and connect with you all. I want to understand from you what you do to keep your car in tip top shape in spite of our unconventional living situation. What are the big hits and misses in a Tesla in how it survives and "lives" on a dirt road. What are the areas of concern that keep you up at night in terms of your Tesla's relationship with the dirt road, what precautions would you suggest to someone who is considering purchasing a Tesla but lives on a dirt road stretch. What makes you feel good about living on a dirt road yet owning a Tesla? Any and every thought from dirt road dwelling Tesla owners are most welcome. And hey even if you don't live on a dirt road but are intrigued by some of us who live in that situation feel free to chime in, question or comment.

    Obviously its not "ideal" living on a dirt road. I get it. I'm not trying to glorify it. But for some of us living out in the country in the peace and quiet takes priority over other living situations. But we also want to own a zero emissions vehicle. So long story short I know that a conventional mindset would urge you to never purchase/drive a luxury vehicle like a Tesla while driving it regularly on a dirt road. But now that I am here I want to invite other folks with a similar situation to express their thoughts, ideas, words of caution and anything they want to talk about as a dirt road dweller who owns a Tesla.

    I welcome your thoughts and thank you for your time.
     
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  2. Tam

    Tam Active Member

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    This reminds me of Tesla Blog about an owner who went hunting for mushroom and his car was "caked in dirt."
     
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  3. BerTX

    BerTX Active Member

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    We live on a 1/2 mile long dirt road. And I mean a dirt road -- not just "unpaved". It was even longer counting our driveway, but we finally broke down and had gravel put on that.

    We also own a 4X4 Jeep that we use after it rains. The road gets washed out easily and is very slick after a light rain.

    We drive slowly enough to keep the rocks and gravel from chipping the paint behind the wheels (in the areas where there is rock and gravel). That, and wash frequently.
     
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  4. Tribaltech

    Tribaltech Member

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    Yeah Thankfully my wife and I work from home so especially on days when it rains if we don't really need to get out of the house, we avoid it. Just because on a rainy day that car looks like crap. But yeah its nothing a nice car wash can't fix and I find washing my car therapeutic so there's that.

    And like you I too drive slowly on the dirt road stretch to ensure gravel or stones don't bounce off on the underside. Once I hit the paved road, then I let her roar.....ummm sorry i meant let her whisper from 0-60 in a matter of seconds.
     
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  5. Tribaltech

    Tribaltech Member

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    THanks for sharing this blog post. Really wonder why it was caked in dirt. I mean like after a rainy day if I drive my Tesla on our dirt road getting to the paved road it does get very dirty. But its lose dirt that comes off very easily with one good thorough wash. But on a regular day driving at reasonable speeds on the dirt stretch barely makes any difference. I wonder if the owner never bothered to wash the car frequently? Would be interesting to find out.
     
  6. TaoJones

    TaoJones Beyond Driven

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    Drive slowly and wrap the rocker panels, and without question the front end.

    The first time I had to endure a 2-mile stretch of dirt road (Oregon), I traversed that puppy at exactly 6mph. And yes, it took 20 minutes each way.

    In the years since, the car has endured stretches of 20 miles of state route chipseal (Wyoming) and 25 miles of mountain 2-lane (Vermont) that they saw fit to tear up in advance of actually doing the reconstructive work thereto.

    It doesn't get any less painful, really.
     
  7. charliepmayer

    charliepmayer Member

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    Yes to all the above.
    I have found that our Model S rides very smoothly at 30 mph or so on our 1/2-mile washboard dirt road.
    Slower is rougher. If you stop, wait long enough for the dust cloud to pass before you open a door.
    Front end is wrapped, but we never closely follow anyone up or down the hill.
    MS has terrific traction up our steep 1/2 mile rock and gravel driveway. Much smoother ride than our Jeeps.
    I recommend an immediate wash-off when you get to your destination.
    Not sure a Model X would be much better in these conditions - any thoughts?
    Thank you,
    Charlie
     
  8. appleguru

    appleguru Member

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    *shrug*

    It’s a car, and a very capable one at that. No need to treat it like a special snowflake... drive dirt roads like you would with anything else. Jack the suspension up if you have the option.
     
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  9. Tribaltech

    Tribaltech Member

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    THANK YOU!!!!!!! Exactly my sentiments. But reading some other posts which touch upon experiences with unpaved/dirt roads one almost starts to believe they are committing some kind of crime driving a Tesla on a dirt road.
     
  10. Tribaltech

    Tribaltech Member

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    Thanks for the response. Sorry I don't understand what do you mean by "Wrap the rocker panel and the front end"? Could you kindly provide some examples? Thank you!
     
  11. shokunin

    shokunin P85 & S40

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    Wrap meaning to use a Paint Protection Film like Xpel Ultimate, Avery Nano, to the front end (front bumper, fenders, and hood).

    Tesla's don't come with mud flaps, so it will throw back a bunch of mud, rocks, and dirt to lower part of the doors. The rocker panel could be considered the lower 1/4 of the door and bottom "running board" trim below the doors. The lower rocker panel used to be black plastic on the Model S, but now it's painted to match the car color.

    Ideally, I'd wrap the rear bumper too.
     
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  12. DMC-Orangeville

    DMC-Orangeville 85D and John Deere 5100E

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    ^^^ This helps a lot. Xpel on the front, hood, front fenders, and on side mirrors.
    It stops the *inevitable* stones that will come from a car in front of you on the "dirt" road. Saying that, I'm on my second windshield....

    I'm 2KM ( just over a mile ) along a gravel road. I wash the car weekly. In between, if it's rainy, it's a two-tone; red and mud. If sunny, just a little dusty. NO BIG DEAL.

    Also

    In winter (for those of us who have the luck of having snow and ice for a few months) a gravel road is FAR superior. Always gets some grip, even when icy.
    I wouldn't give up driving a great car because of a road surface
     
  13. tinm

    tinm 2013 S85 Owner

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    I don't live on a dirt road but drive on 'em multiple times per week here in New Mexico. My rule is, for smooth dirt, well-packed gravel roads, don't exceed 14mph; doing so just covers the back of the car with dirt and dust. In fact the fine powdery brown dirt manages to get in under the rear hatch---annoying. For rougher dirt roads, I try to flat-out avoid at all costs.
     
  14. ThisIsTrue

    ThisIsTrue Dismember

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    I'm with appleguru. I have to go several miles on a dirt/gravel road to get home. No way around it. And ...shrug. Will the paint get a little dinged up? Yep. Do I care? Well, yeah ...but I'm not going to baby it. It gets dirty and/or muddy, and even some magnesium chloride mud on it. When it gets caked, I run it through the touchless carwash and move on.

    The one thing I did get: full insurance coverage for glass. Costs extra, but Tesla glass is pricey. No damage yet, though, knock aluminum!

    And since buying the car in late December, we've put 22,000 miles on it. Part of the idea was to use the car for trips rather than take the beatings doled out by United (pretty much our only airline choice).
     
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  15. agtdDelirium

    agtdDelirium Member

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    Four miles of dirt driving, both ways, every time I want to go somewhere in the Model S. I knew where I lived before I bought the car. Did it make me cringe at the first drive bringing her home. Absolutely. I didn't exceed 20 mph on the dirt for the first month. But I have since realized that it is a car. A fantastic car. I've seen many SUV's that have never seen anything but pavement more beat up than my Model S will ever be. I protected the Model S with a full front wrap plus rear bumper. I wash her by hand every week. I have a few rock impact scars in the wrap already, but no paint damage. My prior Subaru WRX was chipped like crazy on the front hood within 6 months because of the poor manufacture's paint. I know the Model S will not look pristine in 10 years, but it will be loved every minute I drive it. I would buy again without hesitation.
     
  16. EVCarGUy

    EVCarGUy Member

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    I live about a mile and a half up a dirt road. I don't do anything with the exterior beyond a very occasional wash. In the dry summer (California), the very fine dust builds up in the door jams and around the seal for the hatchback. I use a vacuum cleaner to get the bulk of it then a wet rag for the rest. I have a microfiber 'duster' that I use every few weeks to get the layer of fine dirt off the dashboard and microfiber towels on the places the duster won't reach.
     
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  17. abasile

    abasile Working on EVBuySell

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    Other than the Model X having a bit more ground clearance, which may be very important on some roads, I doubt you'd notice a functional difference.

    We don't live on a dirt road but we drive on them from time to time in both our Model S and our Nissan LEAF. Electric drivetrains are great on dirt roads because they offer better control and efficiency, particularly at low speeds.
     
  18. Tiger

    Tiger Member

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  19. BeesKnees

    BeesKnees Member

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    8 mounths so far on my S living up 1 mi of gravel/dirt. We put CQuartz on. Like dipping it in glass! Never more than 20 mph. Out and back every day. Hand wash. Looks great. Can't find a ding.

    And, it's a car : ). Really enjoying it.

    Sometimes it allows AP on the dirt. Then it's Dukes if Hazard time. Way outside current intent.
     
  20. GaryW

    GaryW Member

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    I have one dirt road story. I found my self on a dirt road two weeks after I got my Tesla. There was a car in front of me, and another behind me. The road was dry. I noticed the cars in front and behind were raising a lot of dust off the road. I was going the same speed and raising almost no dust. I thought it was an illusion for a minute, but now I don’t think so. Has anyone had a similar experience?
     

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