Keep Trying to love my M3

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Joined
Apr 4, 2016
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Salt Lake City
#1
I keep trying to love our Model 3 (dual motor, long range battery) but reality keeps intruding. The latest problem is the poor performance of the AWD in the snow. My wife parked last night in front of her friend's garage. She was on a very slight downgrade and there was about 3" of snow. When she tried to leave all 4 tires just spun uselessly and she couldn't move at all. When I arrived to help I put it in non-slip mode and tried again but it would do nothing. Rear tires are brand new (after only 13K miles, another problem) and the front have uneven wear but still significant tread depth over most of the tire. It was getting late so we left the car and planned to call roadside assistance in the morning. When we called roadside assistance they informed us that they don't provide roadside assistance. Happiness just keeps increasing. So we went to the car and found that overnight the snow under the tires had melted and we were able to drive it away.

Two lessons:

1. In the future, if I am in a situation that looks like it will require AWD I will put the car in non-slip mode before attempting to move it. I believe that the initial slipping and spinning of the tires compacted the snow and turned it to ice so a slow, steady start is probably the way to get out of a potentially slippery location. I am puzzled, frustrated, and appalled that a car with so much weight positioned low and in the center of the car, and computer controlled traction using electric motors isn't much better at getting traction. I would have thought that even the rear wheel drive models would be great in the snow but now I'm hesitant to drive even our AWD unless the roads are dry.
2. Don't rely on Tesla roadside assistance. Probably best to sign up for AAA or some other 3rd party service. I get the impression that there is a significant weasel factor in the roadside assistance package.
 

garsh

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#2
The latest problem is the poor performance of the AWD in the snow.
It's the tires, not the car. If you want good performance in snow, then get a set of snow tires. Don't expect all-season tires to handle snow well.

I will put the car in non-slip mode
Slip-start mode should always be off. Slip-start is only useful in a few specific conditions.

The best thing you can do is to put the car in "chill" mode and set regen to low. EVs create a lot of torque, and you generally don't want a lot of torque in slippery conditions.
 

Ct200h

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#4
Winter tires would likely have eliminated the traction issues . I’m guessing in your area it’s pretty common to fit winter tires. I’ve fitted them on FWD , RWD and AWD vehicles and they do th trick every time .
 
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Salt Lake City
#5
I hear you, but living in Salt Lake City I have a lot of experience with all-season tires and they have always performed better than this. The Lexus we had before the M3 never gave us a problem like this. My Ford Expedition does just fine going to and from the area ski resorts with all season tires. And neither of these cars have the advantage of a lot of weight down low and near instantaneous traction control.

Also, I wasn't advocating driving around in Slip-start mode, just suggesting that it be set if you are in a situation where you are concerned that the tires will break loose from a dead start. You are right that the torque from an electric vehicle is substantial and could be counter productive from a dead start.
 

Jay79

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#6
M3 is the best Winter car I've ever had, I also live in Michigan. Michelin X-Ice mounted on Tsportline 18's got me through an entire winter with excellent stability and stop performance. Give them a try, you'll be surprised
 

tencate

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#7
M3 is the best Winter car I've ever had, I also live in Michigan. Michelin X-Ice mounted on Tsportline 18's got me through an entire winter with excellent stability and stop performance. Give them a try, you'll be surprised
I'll second that. Living in the mountains of NM we get our share of snow here too. First winter I tried getting around with the factory All Season tires and decided to go with snow tires for the next season, they were pretty crappy in snow. Just as an FYI, there are times here that a Subaru Forester (we have 2 different Generations of that car in the family) gets stuck trying to get uphill at a friends house with All Season. It just spins, both the auto and manual transmission cars do that. The Tesla climbed up it with ease eariier with Michelin X-ice. Go figure. And I've just got RWD too.
 

garsh

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I hear you, but living in Salt Lake City I have a lot of experience with all-season tires and they have always performed better than this.
Also keep in mind that not all all-season tires are created equal. The ones that they put on EVs are usually geared towards low rolling resistance.

Again, don't blame the car. Blame the tires. *Any* car can be good in snow if fitted with decent snow tires.
 

JasonF

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#9
The tires that come with the Model 3 are very loosely "all season". Even the wet road traction on them isn't particularly great, so I wouldn't expect them to do well in snow at all. I would probably classify them as slightly better than summer tires. That's not Tesla's fault though, they just took bids from tire manufacturers in a hurry to meet a certain spec, and they probably knew as little about them as we did.

Also, 13,000 miles is typical for any manufacturer supplied tires. They usually buy softer than normal tires so they sound better with the new car, and because they resist flat spots when unsold cars don't move for long periods of time.
 

Frully

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#10
Adding a data point - in chilly canuckistan, it was -20c today, with 1-6" of fluffy and/or compacted snow everywhere. Everywhere else is black ice.
This car, with winter tires, is a mountain goat. Nimble, powerful, quick to start, and quick to stop.

I don't want to speak out of turn...but I think your tires are the issue.
 

Zak

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#11
I like to run my tires at a lower PSI in snowy conditions it helps ever so slightly. And before garsh moves my comment to off topic, no I don't have a desertion to prove that lower PSI helps just years of driving stick with rwd. AWD is a must if you want more traction from the start, wont help you stop. Winter tires is the best way togo but you can get away with good set of DWS all season if you're very careful.
 

bwilson4web

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#12
Living in Dixie, we seldom have snow. Just curious if a bag of mixed sand and ammonium nitrate could be used to get initial traction?

Bob Wilson
 

Zak

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#13
Living in Dixie, we seldom have snow. Just curious if a bag of mixed sand and ammonium nitrate could be used to get initial traction?

Bob Wilson
If you have very little snow, you should be ok with a good set of all season tires. I used to run DWS at lower psi on my rwd stick. Did ok in the light to medium snow.
https://m.tirerack.com/tires/tires....odel 3&autoModClar=Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive
The key is “good tires” DWS has possibly the best snow traction out of all season tires.
 

Ed Woodrick

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#14
If ALL 4 tires are spinning, then the car has slid up onto a snow bank. It's been lifted off the ground.
Put any vehicle with any tires up on a lift and it won't move
 

Zak

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#15
Last edited:

Thor

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#16
I think that after all the replies, I am convinced that the issue is the tires. I am currently trading off a Hancook (sp?) vs the Michelin Ice-X. The Michelins cost about $300 more but have a 40K tread wear guarantee. Since the M3 (and I am told all Teslas) eats tires, I am guessing that I will be lucky to get much more than 20K miles from a set of tires. If that is the case the Michelins would be more cost-effective. Anyone have experience with either regarding both traction and tread wear?
 

Thor

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#17
If ALL 4 tires are spinning, then the car has slid up onto a snow bank. It's been lifted off the ground.
Put any vehicle with any tires up on a lift and it won't move
Also, the car had not slid up on a snowbank. I know the concept of high centering a car and that wasn't the problem. It was most likely the combination of the poor performance of the Michelin Primacy tires in the snow and the fact that the quick and massive torque of the electric motors caused the snow under the tires to melt and ice up. There was only 2-3 inches of snow on an almost flat asphalt surface. As I said above, at least with these tires, the key is to use the slip-track mode to get the car rolling when in these conditions. Hopefully with some good snow tires it won't be an issue again.
 

garsh

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#18
Since the M3 (and I am told all Teslas) eats tires, I am guessing that I will be lucky to get much more than 20K miles from a set of tires.
It really depends on driving style. If you like to take advantage of the exceptional acceleration, then the tires won't last long. If you're somehow able to restrain yourself, you'll do better.
 

garsh

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#20
@Thor, do you have the 18" or 19" wheels?

The 19" wheels come with Continental ProContact RX tires.
Tire Rack link.
They don't yet have enough consumer feedback on these to display ratings.
There is a single individual reviews that complains about these tires in snow:
  • For all season tires they cant handle any snow what so ever (Note: these tires came with the car). Already got into an accident once because they couldn't stop in time when there was barely any snow on the road

The 18" wheels come with Michelin Primacy MXM4 tires.
The individual reviews are mixed on performance in the snow.
  • They actually do a little better in snow than rain, in my limited experience with them in snow.
  • To be sure - these were quiet, smooth, and offered great wet / dry / snow /ice handling.
  • Tires are poor in rain or snow.
  • When winter hit, my tires were already at least half worn, so snow traction wasn't the best.
  • In the snow, even deep stuff, I have all the confidence in the world to get where I'm going.
  • Extremely poor ice and very poor snow traction.
The results of consumer surveys performed by Tire Rack:

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