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When to put on winter wheel/tires in DC area?

AMPUP

Member
Mar 27, 2014
638
227
Dunn Loring, VA
So I have w classic P85+ and last year I ran the factory staggered pilots during the winter and it was somewhat interesting to say the least. I now run Hankook's with an even wider rear.

This year I purchased the 19" tire rack grey turbines and Michelin XiCE package and am now determining when to mount.

Weather was 75 here today and is expected to stay around 60 for the next week or so but I don't want to get caught with a cold snap and having to change wheels in the cold. I read that the XiCE's are pretty good in warm weather too so was thinking of changing them this weekend, thoughts anyone?
 

travwill

Active Member
May 1, 2015
1,560
860
Marble Falls, TX
What I've always heard is that you should mount/start using Winter tires safely when it will be 45 degrees max out as a high temp. Anything over 45 is considered likely to do more damage to tires as it won't be cold enough for them yet (e.g. squishy soft more). I'm thinking most of the North/East USA has about 2-3 more weeks to wait at least to be sure.
 

DFibRL8R

Active Member
Jan 17, 2013
1,302
1,913
A mountain, Virginia
Funny, my new X ices are sitting in my garage right now waiting for the weather to be more November-like. I'm just watching the forecast and will install when I see colder temps in the 10 day forecast
 

AMPUP

Member
Mar 27, 2014
638
227
Dunn Loring, VA
Thanks guys, makes sense to wait a little longer for the temperature to drop. Hopefully it will stay warm another week or two for other reasons.
 

blanche

Member
Jun 30, 2015
100
8
Leesburg, Virginia
The safe rule of thumb for here in DC/NoVA is put them at Thanksgiving and take them off at Easter. Given our flaky weather patterns, I recommend waiting until the temperate is consistently around 45 degrees before putting them on. Below 45, summer tires become brittle (and frozen) and you lose traction.

I've got a set of X-ices mounted on a set of Rials from Tire Rack. Sadly, Blizzaks don't work on Tesla's as their max pressure rating is below the minimum air pressure rating of the car. So, in my house the blizzaks go on the BMW -- which sadly, no one drives anymore.
 

AndreyATC

Member
Dec 19, 2013
541
152
Cape Coral FL, USA
I'm in NY
Normally i swap my wheels (X-ice as well) around December or when i see temperatures constantly hitting below 45F
Summer tire thread compound is getting pretty hard below these temps which affects your driving range and safety significantly
 

ThosEM

Space Weatherman
Dec 13, 2013
870
310
Annapolis, MD
I have never used winter tires in the DC area in the past 16 years, and I think they give a false sense of security. Weight distribution is more important than tire tread design so avoiding front heavy RWD cars and pickup trucks will largely eliminate the need for snow tires, especially if you also avoid driving on unplowed and untreated roads. "Snowmageddon" trapped us for a week, but winter tires would not have gotten us out. I drove from NJ to DC in a blizzard last Jan. with some white knuckles but no issues that would have been addressed by winter tires.

Let the objections commence...
 

digitaltim

Sig737 VIN628
May 2, 2012
556
32
MD, USA
The safe rule of thumb for here in DC/NoVA is put them at Thanksgiving and take them off at Easter. Given our flaky weather patterns, I recommend waiting until the temperate is consistently around 45 degrees before putting them on. Below 45, summer tires become brittle (and frozen) and you lose traction.

This...generally...

I pull my staggered 21s off Thanksgiving weekend (probably 1st weekend in December this year) and put on the 19s w/ Nokian Hakka R2s - the reverse happens the 1st weekend in April.
 
Last edited:

Max*

Charging
Apr 8, 2015
6,670
3,719
NoVa
I have never used winter tires in the DC area in the past 16 years, and I think they give a false sense of security. Weight distribution is more important than tire tread design so avoiding front heavy RWD cars and pickup trucks will largely eliminate the need for snow tires, especially if you also avoid driving on unplowed and untreated roads. "Snowmageddon" trapped us for a week, but winter tires would not have gotten us out. I drove from NJ to DC in a blizzard last Jan. with some white knuckles but no issues that would have been addressed by winter tires.

Let the objections commence...

You're not alone, I've been in the DC area for about 9 years now, and I've never needed/wanted snow tires. AWD on my previous ICE gave me enough go power, and all seasons gave me enough control and stopping power.

If I had snow tires, could I stop sooner or have better control? Sure, but that doesn't mean the person in the next lane wouldn't be more likely to crash into me.
 

AMPUP

Member
Mar 27, 2014
638
227
Dunn Loring, VA
You're not alone, I've been in the DC area for about 9 years now, and I've never needed/wanted snow tires. AWD on my previous ICE gave me enough go power, and all seasons gave me enough control and stopping power.

If I had snow tires, could I stop sooner or have better control? Sure, but that doesn't mean the person in the next lane wouldn't be more likely to crash into me.

Last year when I had my Pilots on with the staggered setup they were just horrible, I mean awful, sliding around going up some very gradual hills. I use my car all year round, so this year wanted to get the 19's with snow tires so that I could at least get around when needed and feel safer with it. I also figured id get better efficiency in the winter with a 19 setup offsetting the heat usage.
 

Max*

Charging
Apr 8, 2015
6,670
3,719
NoVa
Last year when I had my Pilots on with the staggered setup they were just horrible, I mean awful, sliding around going up some very gradual hills. I use my car all year round, so this year wanted to get the 19's with snow tires so that I could at least get around when needed and feel safer with it. I also figured id get better efficiency in the winter with a 19 setup offsetting the heat usage.

This will be my first winter with the S in DC. I have AWD though, so we'll see. If my car behaves worse than my AWD ICE did, then I'll gladly buy a set of winter tires.
 

artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,260
3,248
Timonium, Maryland
I install my 20" wheels with all season Pirellis around the beginning of November. For me this is more about safety than driving in the snow and other poor weather conditions. High performance summer tires like the 21" Michelins and Continentals loose grip as the road surface temperature falls. The colder it gets the worse they perform. I'm a pretty aggressive driver so I switch out the wheels and tires for an extra margin of safety.
 

kort677

Banned
Sep 17, 2015
4,801
2,242
florida.
I have never used winter tires in the DC area in the past 16 years, and I think they give a false sense of security.
Let the objections commence...
if you've never used snow tires you really aren't qualified to issue opinions like this, I put real snows (nokians) onto a RWD MB e350 and it made a car that was scary to drive in winter conditions into one of the best handing cars I've owned. YMMV

- - - Updated - - -

I install my 20" wheels with all season Pirellis around the beginning of November. For me this is more about safety than driving in the snow and other poor weather conditions. High performance summer tires like the 21" Michelins and Continentals loose grip as the road surface temperature falls. The colder it gets the worse they perform. I'm a pretty aggressive driver so I switch out the wheels and tires for an extra margin of safety.
you might be able to make do with all season tires in a temperate climate like MD but if you live 100-200 miles north good snows are well worth putting onto the car.
all season tires are really 3 seasons for those people who have real winters
 

DFibRL8R

Active Member
Jan 17, 2013
1,302
1,913
A mountain, Virginia
Last year when I had my Pilots on with the staggered setup they were just horrible, I mean awful, sliding around going up some very gradual hills. I use my car all year round, so this year wanted to get the 19's with snow tires so that I could at least get around when needed and feel safer with it. I also figured id get better efficiency in the winter with a 19 setup offsetting the heat usage.

Similar situation here. Last year was my second winter with the Model S. First winter with the OE Goodyears I had no real problems, last winter with Pilots on 19" wheels I had major issues with loss of traction at all speeds. Lots of slow/subtle slides while driving straight (yaw type rotation) and one instance of complete loss of traction on an icy interstate uphill at low speeds (very unsettling). This will be my first winter tire experience ever so we'll see.
 

map724

Member
Oct 26, 2015
42
9
Phoenix, AZ
I'll second this. Had a BMW RWD that was scary dangerous on the Beltway during winter rain, sleet, ice, and/or snow. Winter tires made all the difference in the world. YMMV.
 

Max*

Charging
Apr 8, 2015
6,670
3,719
NoVa
if you've never used snow tires you really aren't qualified to issue opinions like this, I put real snows (nokians) onto a RWD MB e350 and it made a car that was scary to drive in winter conditions into one of the best handing cars I've owned. YMMV

I'll second this. Had a BMW RWD that was scary dangerous on the Beltway during winter rain, sleet, ice, and/or snow. Winter tires made all the difference in the world. YMMV.

Putting winter tires on a RWD ICE should make a bigger difference than putting winter tires on a FWD/AWD ICE. The engine/weight is on the front tires in a FWD car, giving them better traction with the snow, whereas for a RWD ICE with the engine up front there isn't as much pushing down on the rear tires, giving it less traction.

Also comparing a RWD Model S to a RWD ICE isn't fair, the weight distribution is completely different.
 

whiskeyrunner

Member
Mar 2, 2015
26
1
NOVA
ktrivedi70- can I hijack your request and add to it? I'm looking for someone to recommend good 19" snow tires for my 85D, and where in NoVA to get them put on. I was going to get nice new rims and put my winter tires on the stock rims, so I need a shop that can do both tire swaps and installation. Any reco's from veterans out there? Plus any cost estimates would be greatly appreciated!
 

map724

Member
Oct 26, 2015
42
9
Phoenix, AZ
ktrivedi70- can I hijack your request and add to it? I'm looking for someone to recommend good 19" snow tires for my 85D, and where in NoVA to get them put on. I was going to get nice new rims and put my winter tires on the stock rims, so I need a shop that can do both tire swaps and installation. Any reco's from veterans out there? Plus any cost estimates would be greatly appreciated!

I used to use a little shop off of Pickett Road called WB Motors (ask to speak to Joe) to swap my summer/winter tires on a BMW. These guys were very good to me, careful and conscientious. The only drawback for me at the time was that they did not offer tire storage, meaning I had to drag the off-season tires home and store them in my shed. PITA, but a first-world problem so I won't complain.

I have no idea if they have worked on a Tesla, including mine, since I no longer live in the area.
 

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