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Tire dilemma for winter: Long and warm drive to the snow.

noshadow

Member
Mar 18, 2020
462
313
Berkeley, CA
I'm considering getting a new set of winter wheels (tires+rims). The problem is, I have some updated plans and will be driving pretty far in warm conditions only to end up in high elevation for a month.

9 hour drive in about 50-70 degree weather. Then I'll be in an area that's 5,000-8,000 feet in elevation, with temps anywhere from 0 - 20 degrees, with potentially heavy snow/ice.

I'm doing that drive 2-3 times (9 hours one way).

Should I just go with A/S tires and be extra careful driving around town?
 

Ab4000

Member
Feb 15, 2020
15
3
Reno
My take is that a dedicated snow tire (Vredestein Wintrac Pro seem promising) will enable you to actually drive uphill or not slide on ice and is only a marginal hit to energy economy on the long trips there. Around Tahoe I've seen plenty of folks with non-snow tires unable to move (or literally slide off the road while they were stopped) if the roads ice up. Just my two cents!
 

noshadow

Member
Mar 18, 2020
462
313
Berkeley, CA
Yeah, I actually frequent Tahoe quite a bit, and in the past I've always used dedicated snow tires on my AWD cars. But Tahoe is only an easy 3 hour drive for me, but in this case I will be going to Bend, OR from the SF Bay Area, so that's 6+ extra hours or so on the road.

Think the winter tires would be OK on that long of a drive, maybe 3 times?
 

Ab4000

Member
Feb 15, 2020
15
3
Reno
I usually put a set of dedicated snow tires on my SUV every winter that are left on for about 5 months and they seem to wear a little faster than regular tires and will become squirmy in temps above 80 degrees if you are cornering hard but other than that they work well. I guess with the MY the range hit could be the concern. The weird thing is that you could be fine with all seasons, and/or chains as well and might not need the full traction that snow tires give for that time you are in Bend. However, I tend to err on the side of caution myself since the ice traction seems to be significantly better with dedicated winter tires and you can't predict easily when you need that traction in winter.
 

Jacko

Member
Sep 17, 2020
74
36
portland, or
Yeah, I actually frequent Tahoe quite a bit, and in the past I've always used dedicated snow tires on my AWD cars. But Tahoe is only an easy 3 hour drive for me, but in this case I will be going to Bend, OR from the SF Bay Area, so that's 6+ extra hours or so on the road.

Think the winter tires would be OK on that long of a drive, maybe 3 times?
I live in Portland and spend alot of time in Bend in the winter. Always happy with Blizzaks on my X5 for year round driving. I've been up and down Mt Bachelor in all conditions and never had issues with those tires. They are also fine on warm asphalt but obviously will wear a bit faster. (Sold the X5 and now have the same model Y as you and haven't decided what I'm going to run this winter)
 

fighter007

Member
Jul 3, 2017
38
15
United States
In my experience, all season wheels are just 'meh' in both winter and spring/summer/fall driving. They don't go far enough for performance wheels and can't really hold their own in winter conditions. Yes, an extra pair of wheels (and tires) is an additional expense but ensuring the safety of friends and loved ones in winter weather conditionals is critical.
 

noshadow

Member
Mar 18, 2020
462
313
Berkeley, CA
I think we're all in agreement that winter tires are great. I'm just wondering if I should be going 2,880 miles this winter using winter tires on mostly warm roads just to drive a few miles locally in the cold.
 

Tyler34

Member
Dec 11, 2019
442
3,259
Oregon
I think we're all in agreement that winter tires are great. I'm just wondering if I should be going 2,880 miles this winter using winter tires on mostly warm roads just to drive a few miles locally in the cold.
Ive driven to bachelor in February in a 2WD chevy cruze with all seasons. I imagine you'll be fine in a few months with a model y
 

AdamC

Member
Aug 5, 2020
7
4
Lake Oswego
I live in Portland OR and have swapped out to studless winter tires for Dec thru April. They are squirmy and louder and according to reviews are actually worse in rain than a summer tire. In snow, all season tires always did well enough for us in Tahoe. Ice is the major differentiator. All season tires don’t have a lot of sipes and are super sketchy in freezing rain and ice. Blizzaks have some grip in all but the worst ice and definitely bite into the snow more, corner and brake better than all season tires. In true winter conditions they are safer. Above 40 deg winter conditions, they are probably more dangerous, because it is like having a car that handles and brakes MUCH worse, but has the crazy acceleration of a Tesla. If you run winter tires just for the trips and not for the season, that is probably a different story. Bend and Bachelor are not very steep. All seasons probably acceptable above Bend.
 

MY2Ski

Member
Jun 2, 2020
81
90
Portland, OR
Another answer from the Portland area (Tigard - Ski Instructor at Mt Hood Meadows).
Technically M&S with AWD, and a few other requirements (like carrying chains) qualifies you as having traction tires as far as ODOT is concerned. Oregon Chain Law | TripCheck - Oregon Traveler Information
" A four-wheel or all-wheel drive passenger vehicle if all of the following statements are true:
  1. It has an unloaded weight of 6,500 pounds or less;
  2. It is operated to provide power to both the front and rear wheels;
  3. It is carrying chains;
  4. It has mud and snow, all-weather radial, or traction tires on all of its wheels;
  5. It is not towing another vehicle or a trailer;
  6. It is not being operated in a manner or under conditions that cause the vehicle to lose traction." - might be a challenge with a Tesla
That said I have found studless snow (all weather) tires much better and have been running the Nokian WRG4 tire on my Acura RDX for several years. They have a tread a life warranty and work well on dry, wet, and snow, but are not as good as a pure studless snow tire when the snow gets glazed or on ice, still much better than M&S.
 

noshadow

Member
Mar 18, 2020
462
313
Berkeley, CA
wow thank you guys, that is such good info!

It sounds like it makes a lot of sense to just go for All Season, but the problem is going to be finding some for the 21" ubers.

I will probably pickup a set of winter wheels as well (tsportline + Michelin xice snow) for my trips to Lake Tahoe (which I'm only 2 - 3 hours away from).

I'm also thinking maybe I'll just ship those wheels to Bend, and when the season is over I'll just carry them back home.
 
Sep 18, 2020
12
3
Indiana
You may still want to consider snow traction devices. (Not traditional tire chains.). They are light weight and easy to install. Check Amazon. They have a good selection.
 

noshadow

Member
Mar 18, 2020
462
313
Berkeley, CA
You may not have to pay sales tax if you "buy" them and have them shipped to Bend.

OMG so true, I'll probably do that and just deal with the extra weight coming home. I should be able to stick all 4 wheels in the backseat right? Maybe use the front seat too. Unfortunately my dog takes up the entire hatch area haha.
 

noshadow

Member
Mar 18, 2020
462
313
Berkeley, CA
Let's say I have all seasons for this trip, I guess it's a good idea to carry chains. What is a good recommended one for the 21" ubers? I guess it might not matter what the rim size is.
 

fparent

Member
Sep 4, 2018
41
20
Cleveland
What are you doing for tpms sensors on winter tires and rims packages? Tire Rack says they don't sell them.


[Update:] after additional research I found that the tpms sensors must be purchased from Tesla directly at $75 each. Model 3 sensors are not compatible. Model Y sensors use bluetooth technology.
 
Last edited:

noshadow

Member
Mar 18, 2020
462
313
Berkeley, CA
I just ordered from TSportline and it looks like they have everything setup with the right TPMS sensors. Along with the quality of their products, and the easy plug and play option, it's totally worth the price.
 

noshadow

Member
Mar 18, 2020
462
313
Berkeley, CA

Yup! It seemed like the easiest, no headache setup. TSportline knows our cars well, makes rims specific to them, comes with TPMS, and has the tires already mounted and balanced. They also look really nice.

I'm just going to drive with the winter tires on the long trip, and hope for the best. It may wear a little, but I think that's a good trade-off for safety once I'm up in the mountains. Hopefully on my drive it will be cold!
 
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