Installing snow tires decision

Installing snow tires decision

As I am still considering the MS, I was wondering about snow tires. Living in NH, I always put 4 snows on my vehicles. But in regards to the MS, just like many people are nervous about letting their cool cars be valet (I never valet park my Vette) parked by some kid, would you be nervous giving your MS to a tire store to install snows ?

Or would you rather the Tesla SC do it, assuming they sell snows.

Your thoughts?
What have people done with their MS and snow tire installs ?

J.T. | August 22, 2014

@TeslaNH25 I've read a lot of your posts and I think you need to relax just a bit. Reading this forum with all of our exuberant hyperbole could easily convince anyone that the MS is not of this world. Let me assure you, in it's most basic form it's an automobile. Different from your Vette, but not as different as we would lead you to believe.

With tire shops just see if they've handled an MS before, if they're aware of the jack points protecting the battery and if they know about the torque levels for the lugs. If you trusted your shop with your Vette, you can trust them with your Model S.

jordanrichard | August 22, 2014

I would see if the service center can get you some snow tires. Though they may cost a bit more, the service center will do other things for you while the car is there, like software updates, clean the car etc. Plus to them it's not a novelty car, but it would be for the guys at Town Fair tire.

TeslaNH25 | August 22, 2014

@jordanrichard, Funny you would mention Town Fair Tire because that's where I usually get my tires from for my other vehicles besides the Vette.

@J.T., Interesting that you notice my posts. I'm just trying to learn about and understand the car before buying. As for my Vette, I never drive it in the snow, nor rain for that matter, thus no need for snows. The MS would be an all year vehicle.


Bighorn | August 22, 2014

Which summer tires do you want to have? 19 or 21 or something else.

Eleonor2002 | August 22, 2014

@TeslaNH25 I also live in NH. Last winter I cannot get the winter tire from tesla( not in stock) so I bought, from tire rack, the wheels and tires and I go to Watertown SC to mount them for free. Last year, when the time came to change the tire, Watertown SC organized a weekend for all the owners who wants to switch the tires. They had barbeques, drinks...At 38k miles, I change the all weather tire with Michelan summer tires using COSTCO in Nashua...To my surprise, 2 teslas already had used there service! Let me know if you need more information..


jordanrichard | August 22, 2014

TeslaNH25, I am in CT and figured you would get the reference.

I have an '83 Porsche 911 that I had some Bridgestone tire put on at the local Firestone. I asked/told them that I want to assist their guy in placing the jack/lift pads. This was primarily due to the oil lines that run along the passenger side. They completely understood and let me into the bay.

Try that with Town Fair, but as JT said, first get the car. You are going to drive yourself crazy trying to sort all the details out. I didn't even think about tires when deciding on the car.

Is that what is holding you back from pulling the trigger? Do this, place your order in say October, request an April delivery and you won't need to worry about snow tires for over a year from now.

Whereabouts in NH are you?

sule | August 22, 2014

I got my snows from Tesla, with wheels, on delivery. That said, any reputable place will do it well. Details to take care of are lift points, pressure, TPMS and, of course, the kind of the tire (do pay good attention to load/weight, speed and allowed pressure)

I have learned the hard way on my previous vehicle that the absolutely best rated tire out there not be nearly as good as the manufacturer originally put, even though they were supposedly better - traction in slippery situations was to blow away the originals but it ended up being awful (that was for all seasons). I don't know what it is but it may also be that the traction control system may be tuned to specific tires better, for example.

J.T. | August 23, 2014

@TeslaNH25 @J.T., Interesting that you notice my posts. I'm just trying to learn about and understand the car before buying Yes, we've all been right where you are now. And 3 months after you get your car and you realize it isn't nearly as intimidating as you thought it would be you'll see yourself in some of the new posters' questions. You'll sense their trepidation and desire for clarity and you'll want to tell them, "Don't worry so much. It's going to be great." Not dismissively, but sympathetically.
So let me tell you this with as much certainty as I can muster, like jordanrichard said, get the car. Everything will make much more sense after that.

Tracy_Moody | August 23, 2014

I've consistently put winter wheels and tires on our vehicles and we live in the south. Winter tires are just as important, even in 'dry' conditions as the temp drops to retain ideal traction with pliable rubber compounds. My question to the SC will be whether or not Pirelli is the only option. Never been a fan of Pirelli's tires, across the board, and hope there may be some other options to apply.

paul | August 23, 2014

As has often been noted elsewhere, Tesla in North America sells and installs only a Pirelli winter tire that's good on dry roads in cold weather "performance" (sudden acceleration, hard cornering, high speed) but poor in snow and on ice. Because I drive the car calmly 99.9% of the time, I'm not interested in them.

I'll be trying an experiment this winter with Nokian WRG3 tires. They're all-weather, not all-season (a misleading designation unless you live where the seasons are largely interchangeable). I won't need to buy a second set of rims and tires to switch twice a year; the WRG3s will stay on the car in all weather and seasons, which where I am are like NH's.

The WRG3s are scarce. If anyone's interested, they should be ordered now in most places.

cchouston | August 23, 2014

For what it is worth, if you check out Sweden's Tesla site, they offer the following snows, which gives you an idea of what Tesla considers in a snowy climate:

Nokian Hakkapeliitta dubbed
Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2
Pirelli Sottozero Series II

I have previously used the Pirellis on an Audi and found them to be very good.

kenj | August 23, 2014

I live in NY, have the Pirelli winter tires, no wheel from the service center. I felt they worked well during our last winter.

ROCDOC | August 23, 2014

@kenj - I live in snowy and cold Rochester, New York and need a reliable set of winter tires to get me to the hospital daily. I would love to go with Tesla option of the Pirelli Winters because of convenience but have heard that Nokian R2's and and Michellin Ice xi3s are better options. Looks like $4000 for a set of tires and 19" wheels from Tesla; definitely can do it a lot cheaper with aftermarket wheels, perhaps better tires, and have to get the TPMS's too. But, then have to arrange mounting, balancing, and getting the sensors installed, etc. I'm leaning towards the Michellin ice x3is and the TST - sportline 19" turbines, and will arrange for the rotations locally since I live far from SC.

Ø | August 23, 2014

NH25, Ask the Norwegians they know all aspects of ice snd snow :)

kenj | August 23, 2014


Those are excellent choices according to the postings. I spoke to the folks in garage who said, I really didn't need to go with wheels and tires, so I just got tires. I was also told by the SC they would not install tires that did not come from them.

TeslaNH25 | August 23, 2014

My question wasn't about whether or not to get snow tires nor the type.

It's about whether local tire stores can properly handle a Tesla and not damage the lower portion of the car; I.e.: the battery.

Did someone say the the SC will mount them for free if I buy tires from anywhere or only if I buy tires from Tesla?

I would not spend $4000 on snow tires anywhere.

paul | August 24, 2014

There's a standing joke in Norway amongst some owners about that southern notion of a winter tire that isn't adequate for much snow. It's clear from conversations I've had that the Pirellis were chosen by Tesla for fancy handling on dry roads. If you don't get much snow, or your winter roads are dry 90% of the time and you don't have to drive uphill much in snow, the Pirellis may be a decent choice. They're not a good idea for where I live.

paul | August 24, 2014

(The $4000 price is for tires and rims.)

ROCDOC | August 24, 2014

@TeslaNH25 - several have mentioned that their local tire shops are capable of lifting the car without undercarriage damage. Some have entrusted their local shops to do alignments and have taken advantage of lifetime alignment deals so they don't have to send their cars to the SC. Also to your point, others have mentioned that SC's WILL rotate non-stock wheel/tire combinations. My understanding is that the SC'c will not MOUNT non-Tesla tires on Tesla wheels. I may have it wrong, but that's my understanding from reading this and other forums. If I'm wrong, others please chime in.

@rapoport3a - never having had the need to use winter tires before (decades of AWD with good all seasons) it's confusing what to get for this RWD car in my climate. We get well over 100" of snow each year, but roads are well cleared fairly quickly. I would guess that the roads here are dry 90% of the time, if not more. Maybe the Pirellis would work and it would be nice to use all Tesla items. But $4000 for the set of tires, rims, and TMPS? Ouch.

Bighorn | August 24, 2014

Tesla started out selling the winter wheel package for $2400 before a price increase. That's about what a set will cost at Tire Rack on 19s.

Peter | August 27, 2014

I stopped at my local high end auto service place and asked if they'd worked on a Tesla before. No. Asked if they could change a tire for me. Yes. But they insisted you didn't need to adjust anything on the air susp system to put the car on a lift. You have to put it in jack mode. I'm going to Tesla SC for this. AND for the snows I will get. I looked at Tire Rack. Quality set was $3,500. For $500 I'll let Tesla do it. Wheels are not wheels. I bought a good set from Tire Rack for my 911 a couple of years ago. They could never perfectly balance the wheels. Just weren't mfgd to the highest standards.

plusplusjames | August 27, 2014

I find it ridiculous that anyone would buy winter tires for driving on ideal dry conditions for the sake of performance. Huh? Winter tires are made for when the yetis are dragging peeps out of their cars and burying them in the drifts on the service lanes.

That being said, what is the consensus on the best winter tires for running OVER yetis? I would love to save the money and just buy the tires directly. So some SCs will mount them and others won't, right? YMMV. YYMV (Your Yeti May Vary).

Tracy_Moody | August 27, 2014

++J, driving with summer rated tires, in even moderately cooler winter temps, is anything but considered "ideal". warm weather (summer) tires rubber, being of much softer rubber compound, will be much harder and less pliable in these types of conditions. the rubber compound in winter tires allows the tire to stay much more pliable in colder temps, say at consistent temps below 45-50 degrees or so.
tire "performance" relates to overall driving patterns as much as anything, not the ability to tear through back road twisties or track conditions. the ability of the tire to "perform" properly, with grip for maneuvering, stopping, etc. is the overriding factor. there have been numerous tests performed measuring stopping distances, maneuverability, etc. at cooler temps between summer rated and winter rated tires. i think you'd find the results rather surprising in basic testing given both dry and wet conditions.
While living in Dallas, and now here in Nashville, we see decent periods of ice, sleet, and snow in addition to the more predominant normal dry winter days. Through the years of ownership of several various rear wheel drive/performance vehicles, the use of winter tires (i choose wheels and tires for a simple bolt/unbolt) have proven to be invaluable to general safety regardless of conditions.

Brian H | August 27, 2014

Yeah, in Dallas they'd be handy for dodging drivers who didn't get them.

plusplusjames | August 28, 2014

@Tracy: Agreed. So which winter tires to get? rapoport3a talks about an "all-weather" that I am definitely NOT interested in. I want a real winter tire that performs well in ice and snow. Any suggestions if the Pirelli Sottozero Series II are not grippy enough?

Darth Fedor | August 28, 2014

For people living in REAL winter conditions (Montreal Canada for me), there are only two tires to consider:

Michelin X-Ice
Nokian Hakkappellita R2's

I use Nokian

plusplusjames | August 28, 2014

@Darth: Where can you find those Nokian Hakkappellita R2's? I looked on Tire Rack and could not find...

Bighorn | August 28, 2014

TireRack's best two are the Ice-x and Blizzaks. Nokians usually are not available there so require a different vendor.

paul | August 28, 2014

@++J, you might still do some research on the Nokian all-weathers before ruling them out. Or wait five months for my report from the bottom of a snow drift . . .

You may not want them, but the expense of having two sets of rims and tires for this car is something I don't want if it's not necessary.

@Tracy_Moody, yes, "performance" should mean all that you say. Sometimes it does. More often I hear "That's a performance tire," meaning the sort of driving I don't do.

I doubt Tesla will recommend anything but Pirelli, unless you live in Norway or similar.

Peter | August 31, 2014

The other thing is I have 21" wheels now. My understanding is winter tires on 21" wheels is a waste of time, the traction would only be marginally better. So really I'm essentially forced to buy a new set of 19" wheels with approp tires for winter. SC also pointed out that tire press monitors are $125 each, so that's a big added cost to any aftermarket package.

Bighorn | August 31, 2014

Dedicated snow tires are a 2400 dollar expense, including $97 TPMS sensors. Pretty reasonable insurance given the cost of the car and especially repairs, both in terms of time and money. 19" winter tires will last much longer than typical 21" summer tires, so there is a modest savings there. 21" performance snow tires would make a big difference as well if you were against purchasing a second set of rims.

f-tal | August 31, 2014

Also realize that when you are running on winter tires, you aren't getting wear on your summer tires for those miles. You really just have 2 sets of tires that you are spreading your miles over. Since you aren't going to be getting 60,000 miles out of any set of tires for a Tesla S, you are just owning your next set of tires early. If you don't put many miles on your car, and you aren't in a particularly challenging environment, or aren't concerned about tire performance (different than car performance), use all seasons and call it done. For me, the extra rims and TPMS sensors for my winter tires is for my own convenience. Swapping tires takes time and more money than just unbolting a set of wheels and bolting on a different set. Seasonal wheel changes only takes 15 minutes, swapping out the tires, on the other hand, takes more time. I run 19s in the late fall/winter/early spring (potholes everywhere), and 21s the rest of the time.

JonathanL | August 31, 2014


I ran Pirelli Series III 21" "winter performance tires" all last season and they were outstanding. If you look at the tread pattern of the Series III vs II, you can see that the III has a much more aggressive tread pattern. So if you want to stay with the 21's for the the winter, I would recommend these tires.

Having said that, I do not recommend using your 21's in the winter simply because they will get bent. By the end of the winter, 3 of my rims were bent. Those rims are very expensive to replace. If I could do it over again, I would have gotten 19" rims (Rial's to keep the look) for the winter and kept the 21's for the summer. The Rials are only $243 so much easier on the wallet if they get bent and need to be replaced.

Darth Fedor | August 31, 2014

@plusplusjames: Sorry for the delay. I have two sets of tires with one set of rims. Eventually I might buy an extra set of rims when I see a set used for sale. Not now though.

For the Nokians google where to find em in stores near your house. My local shop had a really good special on em. Nokian puts out specials for their dealers by season. Call your preferred place and ask em when the special was the previous year.

To all: Montreal like winters CANNOT be driven with all season tires, no exception. That's including 4x4 cars or SUVs.

JstACarGuy | August 31, 2014

Here in NJ, i had the SC put on Blizzaks that I bought from Tire Rack. They charged 360 to dismount the old tires and put the new tires on my 19s.

QtweetEV | August 31, 2014

Put 20,000 kms (12,400 miles) on Blizzaks LM32's last winter and loved the traction and quietness. Should be able to do another 15000 kms before changing them for the same. Will be keeping the rest of the tread for summer as I never go to the wear marks on winter tires.

bish | August 31, 2014

I bought the Michelin xIcei3 with the Rial Lugano rims and TPMS from Tire Rack, and installed them myself in the driveway. Easy to do.
And even with all of the snow we had here in Northwest NJ last winter, I was very confident driving in the worst of weather. And my commute is 100 miles round trip.
In spring, I put the Goodyears back on. It's very convenient to have the extra set of rims and tires.

Tracy_Moody | August 31, 2014

++J, we've had great success and durability with running both Bridgestone Blizzaks and the Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D tires on 19" wheels on several BMW, Audi, and Porsche vehicles. The Pirelli Sotto may be a good tire, I just haven't been impressed with Pirelli over the years.
I have 21" wheels on the Tesla and will grab some 19" take offs to run with the winter tires.

ROCDOC | August 31, 2014

@bish - you change them yourself? How do you raise the car? Is a special jack required? What about the special torque needed for the lugs? Is that a non-issue? I'd love to do it myself if it wasn't a big deal.

Bighorn | August 31, 2014

No big deal changing your own wheels. I use a 2-ton floor jack and a torque wrench that is calibrated up to 150lb-ft. No biggie. Lesser jacks would do--like any car, mind the jack pads.

ROCDOC | August 31, 2014

Bighorn - thanks. I'm going to order the Michellin xice3s with rial luganos and do the change myself. I heard that the Farmer's almanac is calling for an even colder and snowier winter than last year-- some predict the polar vortex to arrive early!

bish | August 31, 2014

Exactly as ROCDOC says. Sears Craftman 2 ton floor jack for lifting and a breaker bar with a 21mm socket for the lugs nuts. The lug nuts are the same torque as any other car. I torque them by feel to what my high school auto shop teacher( who happened to be German) called "guten tight."

And I always put a scrap piece of wood between the contact point of the jack and the underside of the car. MAke sure you lift at the proper points on the car. It is clearly shown in the owners manual. And don't forget to use the touchscreen to put the car in jack mode.

bish | August 31, 2014

Oh yeah, and chock one of the wheels on the other side of the car.

Bighorn | August 31, 2014

Torque is 129 lb-ft. I've never needed more than 90 on any other car.