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Winter Road Trip on Summer Tires

Discussion in 'Model S' started by dave, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. dave

    dave Member

    Sep 21, 2012
    Greater Cincinnati
    My Model S comes tomorrow!! I'm so excited! I'm staying home from work to take delivery of the car. Unfortunately it's back to work in Indianapolis on Thursday (about 150 miles from where I live), and I will not have my winter tires yet. What are your thoughts on making the trip with the 21" summer tires?

    It would be unbearable to get the car and then have to leave it in the garage for a week. I was leaning towards doing just that, but my DS just called me to confirm details and he was very positive about the summer tire performance in the cold, reciting several experiences about successful deliveries in Colorado with the 21" wheels. Of course his opinion is not official, but he said I could "most assuredly" see good performance in "average winter weather". So now I'm getting excited thinking maybe I should take my new baby after all!

    So what do I do? Take her and drive carefully, or keep her in the garage? Does anyone have any real world experience driving on the summer tires in the cold?

    Indy forecast

  2. jerry33

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

    Mar 8, 2012
    There are already a couple of threads on this. Short answer is:

    1. Performance tires become hard when they get cold. If it's cold and dry, they will gain traction as they warm up. (Assuming that cold doesn't mean so cold that they never warm up.)

    2. If there is any precipitation and the temperature is around freezing, don't count on any traction.

    3. If you should have an accident, not having tires with even a nominal winter rating might cause the accident to be considered your fault or partially your fault, even if it would normally be the other driver's fault.

    To me, the risk is too great.
  3. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

    May 10, 2012
    Timonium, Maryland
    You have to drive very carefully, but it is a risk. I drove from Baltimore to Cleveland in my S2000 with Michelin Pilot Sports in the dead of winter. It was snowing most of the way. Like the Model S, the S2000 is rear-wheel drive car. It was a bit nerve racking, but it would have been with any tires. I kept my speed between 40 and 50 approached turns very carefully, and generally drove with great care.
  4. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

    Aug 7, 2012
    Toronto, ON
    I've heard of that happening and agree it is too big a risk. From hard learned experience I know that summer (and/or performance) tires are useless in the winter.
  5. Beavis

    Beavis Model S Signature 991

    Dec 24, 2011
    Colorful Colorado
    I have my 21s on right now and they're fine as long as there is no snow. I've driven in temps as low as 2F. Just watch the speed in the corners and the weather.
  6. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

    Apr 2, 2010
    Ottawa, Canada
    I wouldn't want to recommend this, although I will say that a lot depends on the particular tires in question. Some summer tires are usable with care; others are utterly dangerous. I'd be extremely careful regardless.

    If you do decide to go ahead, make sure the weather forecast is for "severe clear" so there's no risk of getting caught out.
  7. digitaltim

    digitaltim Sig737 VIN628

    May 2, 2012
    MD, USA
    I have been running on the performance tires since I received my car in November - my winter wheels/tires have supposedly been backordered from the beginning of time (assumingly going to those that ordered them with their car). My experience has been good if you avoid snow and freezing rain. Like @artsci, I have been down this path before in my BMW when scheduling issues prevented the semi-annual swap. Patience is key.
  8. raptorweb

    raptorweb Member

    Apr 6, 2012
    San Mateo, CA
    I have been driving around with my 21" summer tires for almost a month now while I wait for the winter set. Like others have said if you take it easy and there isn't much snow they work decent. The only times I have had any issue is when taking off from a stop when there was about 1/2" - 1" of snow on the ground but I haven't had any sliding issues. Lucky for me Minnesota has had a pretty dry winter so I haven't had to resort to using the ICE car.

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