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Snowtires

Snowtires

I live high in the Rockies. For safe handling, my AWD Model 3 will need superb snowtires, such as the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 set on my BMW i3 (leased until the Tesla arrives). I leave these extraordinarily effective unstudded tires on all year, because up here at ~8,000 ft elevation we have occasionally seen frost (hence black ice) any day of the year, including the Fourth of July, and we're not entirely joking when we say we have two seasons—winter and July/August.

My Model 3 AWD, due for delivery Nov 2017 - Jan 2019, reportedly comes with standard Michelin Primacy MXM4 235/45R18 98W allweather tires, which are good on dry roads but inadequate for our mountain conditions. I wish to take delivery instead with Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2s, which come in the matching size 235/45R18 98R XL. But as far as Tesla's inquiry line knows, there is no procedure for doing this: they think I must buy the car with Michelins, also buy the Nokians I want, go somewhere else to get the tires changed, and be left with a slightly used set of Michelins I'll never use, paying ~800 extra, plus installation, plus hundreds in instant depreciation on the Michelins if I try to resell them. This is dumb. Many other snowbelt and mountain customers must be in a similar situation.

Why can't Tesla accommodate this significant customer group by offering to ship the car to electing customers with the Nokians (the best available snowtires) already installed? (I know there's another choice too—studded or not—and that wouldn't be hard to accommodate too, but most users wouldn't want the studded tires kept on for most of the year, so those wanting studded tires might reasonably be expected to buy their own and do the annual changes.)

The Tesla person I talked to seemed to agree this would make sense, but didn't know who could make such a decision. He suggested I talk to my local dealer (in Aspen), and I will, but ideally this choice should be offered routinely to all customers, especially in mountain/snowbelt states. Now would be a great time to set it up, well before the late-2018 AWD deliveries begin.

Does any other owner have a similar issue or need, please, or suggestions about how to try to get it implemented?

MKM3 | 17 décembre 2017

I've just had a similar problem with a small car I've recently bought. Did you consider swapping the rims for specially coated winter versions? Here it's not nearly as bad as I guess conditions are in Aspen, but with 6 months of winter and heavily salted roads, I've seen rims rot away in no time.

Personally, I'd just sell the stock rims and tires right away and just buy aftermarket winter rims and winter tires.
Just for comparison, for my tiny econo box, a set of 15" winter rims (alloy, special coating), 175/65 R15 Nokian winter tires along with a set of TPMS (€180 for that alone) cost me around €750. Now scale that up to the dimensions for a Model 3. With 18" rims, I guess I'd easily be in the ballpark of around €1000-1500, around what you'd have to pay for the 19" sport wheels.

Definitely get the Nokians, they are the best winter tires I've ever had.

Nico3 | 18 décembre 2017

Somebody know if it's possible to down size at 17" wheel for cheaper Winter tires??

Nico3 | 18 décembre 2017

Enough space with galipers??

dyefrog | 18 décembre 2017

It does make sense but I think you overestimate that a significant number of Model 3 buyers plan on leaving their snow tires on all year. This car is more of a sports car that an SUV so handling is one of it's strong suits. Not something snow tires are known for. Based on your environment, I have to wonder why you would want a Model 3? Especially given the ground clearance. I think you're trying to force a round peg in a square hole. But as others have mentioned, Keep the original set (they are all seasons) up for summer and swap out your winter set. That's what I do but granted, I had a fairly popular car (E39 BMW) so finding a spare set of rims on Craigs List was $200.

AJPHL | 18 décembre 2017

Did BMW give you this same option?

Yodrak. | 18 décembre 2017

All cars come with tires selected by the manufacturer. If one wants different tires they buy and have them installed themselves after taking delivery of the car. Why should Tesla be any different?

I also doubt that the number of people who live at ~8,000 feet rise to the level of a "significant customer group" except to the specific dealers or Tesla stores that are located in the area.

dsvick | 18 décembre 2017

I don't know of any other car manufacturer that does something like that, so I'm not sure why you would expect Tesla to. With that being said, I'd talk to the store where you'll be picking it up and see if you can bring in the tires you want and have them swap them out for you. You get the tires you want, they keep the, pretty much, new stock tires to use as needed.

giskard | 18 décembre 2017

@amory I have Hakkas on my van and have been very happy with them. Nokkian makes great tires - I just wish they were sold by more stores (especially Tire Rack). Though I'll likely be putting Dunlop Wintersports on my Model 3 in the winter months. I've been using them for years for my sportier cars - not as good in the snow but handle better when the roads are dry.

@dsvick I know BMW, at least, will allow you to spec winter tires from the factory for at least some of their line up, though they don't let you choose a specific tire brand or model. As others have said, I would definitely talk to your local Tesla delivery center. I had a brief conversation with the MN location and they said they *may* be able to accommodate a winter tire request. Like BMW, it didn't sound like I would be able to pick the specific brand/model of tire, but if they could procure the "accepted" Tesla set in time they would make the swap.

It's looking more like my car won't be coming till spring (or close enough, anyway) so I plan on keeping the stock all performance tires on the aero wheels to begin with. Like others have mentioned I will be getting a second set of wheels so I can swap them myself in the spring and fall (I already do this for my current cars). I want to get an idea of the range difference between the aeros and sport wheels before making a decision as to what kind of wheels I'll want for each season (leaning toward aeros in the winter and aftermarket for the summer).

dyefrog | 18 décembre 2017

I'm in the northeast where the highway crews spread salt like it was... well, salt so in light of the partial steel components and cost of the car, I'm reluctant to even consider driving it in the winter. At least for a few years. I may just keep my Leaf as my winter beater. For what you get them for now, it's not much more than new rims/tires anyway.

nwadave | 18 décembre 2017

I would say that living at 8000 ft. this car should be your second or third vehicle. I live in North Dakota. and the 20-25 winter days a year that conditions are really bad, I will leave my M3 in the garage and drive my 4WD Explorer. If it's too bad for that, I'll stay home and listen to music as any fun loving retiree would. If you need a mountain goat 5 days a week no matter what, buy one of those. But this car is not it.

arve.fredriksen | 19 décembre 2017

I live in the north of Norway, and we have winter conditions November to April. Everyone in Norway will use a set of winter tires during winter, and it is also obliged by law. However, I also run a Dodge 4WD in the winter time, and far better than winter tires is the 4WD option. So users in winter climate should buy TM3 with 4WD and use winter tires, Then the TM3 will be a OK choice during the winter. However, I will also keep my Dodge Durango for the days with heavy snow fall.

jefjes | 20 décembre 2017

SUV AWD in winter with deeper snow and Model 3 RWD with all season the rest of the year is my plan. When an affordable Tesla SUV (maybe Model Y) becomes available, I'll consider replacing my ICE SUV with it at that time. Of course I only live at 5k feet and not 8k feet.

mleonard1 | 20 décembre 2017

Auto companies have contracts with tire companies to deliver cars with specific tires as standard equipment. They can't just install any tires the customer chooses. If a customer wants different tires, they must purchase and install them after delivery.

giskard | 20 décembre 2017

@arve.fredriksen I live in northwestern Minnesota (as far north and in the center of the contiguous 48 US states as you can get). We also see winter conditions November through April (sometimes more - I believe July is the only month without recorded snow fall at some point here). Regardless, I would much rather have a two wheel drive car with snow tires than a 4WD car without. Though it is pretty flat here. In the OP's situation being in the mountains I would go with AWD with snow tires, I think. Given my terrain I'll be fine with a RWD Model 3 (hopefully it'll let me put the tail out occasionally in the snow, too, which can be great fun).

mntlvr23 | 20 décembre 2017

let me correct a little exaggeration in the OP: "paying ~800 extra, plus installation, plus hundreds in instant depreciation on the Michelins if I try to resell them"

You will not be out all of that (these are not additive costs, but the resale proceeds should be deducted from the $800 cost). For the purpose of this, let's say that the snow tires are $800, the original tires are $600, and that you can resell the original tires for $300 (admittedly all made up numbers).

If you want the store to swap out the less expensive tires for a more expensive pair - you are already be on the hook for extra $200 price and the installation (since you are asking them to swap out the stock tires) just like you are buying an extra option. So the cash that you would really be out would be only $300 - the difference between the original tire cost and what you can sell them for.