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AWD Jerking in Snow at Slow Speeds

AWD Jerking in Snow at Slow Speeds

Last week I noticed for the first time that my AWD M3 jerked quite a lot on start up in slick snow conditions. It appeared that the brakes were being applied quite heavily to some of the wheels. It made for quite a jerky (stop-start) start-up, unlike any other AWD vehicle I have owned. Once underway at > 10 mph all was fine. Tesla service says this is normal. Is it?

coleAK | 25 febbraio 2020

I’m in Alaska and got our LR AWD Sept 2018. Running Hakka 9’s in the winter. Yes it’s normal. The traction control is not seamless and there is a lag for the front motor to kick in. Also tends of sort of wobble along up hill on solid ice. This has been heavily discussed on here over the last 2 winters. The 3 does just fine in the winter and I’ve gotten used to it.

GHammer | 25 febbraio 2020

Have you tried engaging slip start? Controls>Driving>traction control

howard | 25 febbraio 2020

Very rear biased. Quattro it is not. It has been suggested to set chill mode, regen low and slip start. All to compensate for what could be the best AWD system out there. Makes no sense to not have a selectable winter/snow mode.

bp | 25 febbraio 2020

Chill/slip/low is bad advice, IMO. I suppose for RWD and/or crap tires, Chill might make sense. Slip is for if you get stuck (hasn’t happened to me), or - more likely - drifty donuts. Low regen is for inexperienced drivers.

With great snow tires, I haven’t found the AWD in this car to be too bad. It falls short of my Torsen Quattro, but still above average. I know it could be awesome, with software tuning. I’m hopeful that will happen eventually.

AWDTesla | 26 febbraio 2020

Yeah me too. Subaru is better at the deep snow stuff than the DM. You would figure this would be easy for them to fix with software.

Maybe they need to send a couple engineers with me for a week. Haha

calvin940 | 26 febbraio 2020

In East coast Canada have not experienced any issues at all with my AWD. Having said that, the winters here over the last 2 winters of my Tesla ownership have not been particularly bad ones. The few storms with ice and snow we have had the M3 handled easily. My previous winter experiences were with my A6 quattro and I see no downgrade in winter handling with M3.

AWDTesla | 26 febbraio 2020

oh yeah, a little snow on the ground or ice, there's no issues. I'm talking about 30 cm dumps.

coleAK | 26 febbraio 2020

And per the car settings. I’ve had it on chill and regen low since October when the roads froze. And like others have said slip start is only for if you get stuck. And like I said before it isn’t a bad winter car on Great winter tires, and I’ve gotten ok with the wobble, it just isn’t as confident inspiring and sure footed as our other current cars (MB e-4 matic, subaru, LX570). Even my >50% (>2k lbs) heavier pig of a LX 570 feels more stable when accelerating (but not braking) on slick roads.

jfaubl | 26 febbraio 2020

This car with winter tires is amazing. I never have felt any jerking when starting. I can't put it non chill. It make me feel like the car is slipping when starting,

gparrot | 26 febbraio 2020

I’ll add my voice to those who think this car could certainly be improved for its all wheel design. As ColeAK mentioned, it’s jerky and that hesitation to switch to four wheel drive surprises at first, but you get the hang of it eventually. A Subaru it ain’t, but perhaps one day a Subaru it will overshadow.

GD in CO | 26 febbraio 2020

To be fair I just got the car and have not had a chance to put snows on it. I do use snows every winter on my vehicles, so expect to install these shortly.

wayne | 26 febbraio 2020

I live in Colorado too and have had no issues with myP3D with good snow tires. I have 20” Michelin Alpines. The car manages ice with deep ruts very well in the alley behind my garage. Will it ever melt?

howard | 26 febbraio 2020

My office is in Golden and I live in Broomfield. I run dedicated 18" Michelin X-Ice on mine. I have gotten used to the rear end breaking loose but it is irritating. There is no reason it is not as good as any other AWD out there and it is not. Tesla biases the drive to the rear wheels. The fronts instead of equally pulling only come in when the rears have broken traction. A shame for this level of car. Winter/Snow mode would not be much of a task.

calvin940 | 26 febbraio 2020

AWDTesla | February 26, 2020
oh yeah, a little snow on the ground or ice, there's no issues. I'm talking about 30 cm dumps.
-------------------------
We have only had 2 of those this year and maybe a couple more than that last year. M3 has not had any issues with those either, and while that's a pretty small sample size, the car would have outright done screwed the pooch if it was bad at handling even those. It didn't and fared well.

Now I would love to see it during one of the previous years where we had a Nor'Easter every single wednesday for like 4 or 5 weeks and then rain and freezing in between. It was brutal.

coleAK | 26 febbraio 2020

@calvin... fresh snow has fairly high traction, our 3 on Hakka 9’s is on rails on fresh packed snow. The problems are on old, cold (-20C and below) compressed snow and ice. Or loose driven on and unplowed snow. We had a 1-2’ (40-60 cm) storm last week that most roads didn’t get plowed for 3 days, Roads ended up with 3-4” of loose some what packed snow on top of the 4-6” of snow/ice we drive on all winter. The 3 either wobbled with the rear slightly kicking out the front engaging or in the really loose stuff just cutting power entirely.

The more I think about it I wonder if part of Tesla holding off on some type of 50/50 mode would be increased energy usage during already high consumption conditions. January was brutal cold here only had one day above 0F and had a few nights of below -40F, I had 6 weeks where average was 550 Wh/mi, the increased consumption dosn’t bother me as I understand that charging almost daily is just part of winter but just look at the number of threads complaining about cold Weather range

calvin940 | 26 febbraio 2020

@coleAK

yup, I can honestly say we haven't had those kinds of days/seasons since getting my M3. I am sure they will be back here though.

You hit upon the part of this ownership that I really enjoy: the ability for Tesla to change the car's driving profile on so many levels to improve our overall experience with the car.

howard | 26 febbraio 2020

coleAK, I have had the same thoughts but would that much additional energy be used for the brief few seconds you are accelerating from a stop? Other systems just seem to react quicker than my Tesla. With the incredible technology available in the Tesla it seems it would be pretty easy to offer a selectable snow mode. Maybe not. At least then you could choose if you were that concerned about range in the winter.

Syed.Hosain | 26 febbraio 2020

@GD in CO "To be fair I just got the car and have not had a chance to put snows on it. I do use snows every winter on my vehicles, so expect to install these shortly."

Great! That would be my explanation. I was about to ask whether you had snow tires on yet, but saw this post.

Even if you have All-Seasons, I *strongly* recommend snow tires if you are in conditions where snow sticks around after some point in the season, or the highways do not get plowed quickly enough, etc.

Almost *any* brand of snow tire will be better than all-seasons (even the best) in snow. And, of course (I am sure you know this living in Colorado), never use summer tires when the temperature drops to near freezing, let alone below it!

coleAK | 26 febbraio 2020

@howard. I agree, the energy use theory is just me trying to figure out why Tesla hasn’t pushed a software fix yet.

bp | 26 febbraio 2020

I also agree that the increased energy usage would be marginal, given it would only be from start and low speeds, and could be user selectable.

This is why I’ve found that a slightly more aggressive start on ice gets all four engaged sooner.

The AWD snow handling in general, for mild maritime conditions (like this sample I captured: https://youtu.be/qgcJamiqefo), is really good with snow tires.

I do expect some kind of snow driving improvement to eventually make its way into a software update. Let’s hope for next winter.

wayne | 26 febbraio 2020

I’ll add my vote for a snow/ice mode. Is there any reason not to apply torque to the front wheels at all times?

bp | 26 febbraio 2020

“Is there any reason not to apply torque to the front wheels at all times?”

Energy efficiency. Audi made the same move for the same reason a few years back for all their vehicles, when they ditched Torsen in favor of a part-time electronic system.

wayne | 26 febbraio 2020

So snow mode would be less efficient. It would still be useful to have as an option.

bp | 26 febbraio 2020

Exactly - it would be selectable for when needed. Many traction control systems offer that type of user selectable mode.

FactDoc | 26 febbraio 2020

Snow mode needs to be created
Software implemented

Kirbster | 29 febbraio 2020

I would gladly accept the range penalty for a snow mode where it is using both motors all the time. Having to charge more often is better than not getting there at all.
It seems like such a simple software fix that just needs to be prioritized in the backlog.

Lonestar10_1999 | 29 febbraio 2020

It’s completely believable that FishEV is jerking in the snow but an AWD Tesla shouldn’t do that.

coleAK | 6 marzo 2020

Ok so our 3 is a great car but Seriously this is the stupid crap Tesla does. Spends time and resources to Software update “drift mode” for tracks (that voids warranty and effects such a few people) but can’t software fix traction in the snow...

lbowroom | 6 marzo 2020

I'm trying to find the marketing material that bills Teslas as off road snow mobiles....

I'm not saying they can't or won't be, but where does the expectation that they should be come from?

WW_spb | 6 marzo 2020

Probably Tesla sales in extreme North not that great... Who knows why they can't do snow mode.

lbowroom | 6 marzo 2020

or just haven't yet. From what I'm reading, this new track mode have variable front/rear bias. I agree that they can do something to accommodate our snowbound friends. My guess is they likely will but no one will thank them

howard | 6 marzo 2020

coleAK | March 6, 2020
Ok so our 3 is a great car but Seriously this is the stupid crap Tesla does. Spends time and resources to Software update “drift mode” for tracks (that voids warranty and effects such a few people) but can’t software fix traction in the snow...

+1 Wholeheartedly Agree.

When Track V2 update hits my car and the next nasty road conditions occur I am going to try to just put it in track mode and bias the front to 55/60 and see how it does. My office commute is about 12 miles on back roads so I don't see any issues with doing so. Other than the obvious, it should be a selectable feature.

coleAK | 6 marzo 2020

@lbow. Just an FYI, A rather large population of North America and Europe live in regions that get winter road conditions. I have never taken A tesla off road and don’t know anyone that has. What I find annoying is that Tesla made a drivetrain update that apply to race track (which is a type of off road) that very few owners will benefit from over safety on winter roads.

lbowroom | 6 marzo 2020

Yes, you communicated your opinion effectively. Is it the worst car in snow you've ever driven?

howard | 6 marzo 2020

No one has said that. It is not as good as others and could be better. Some of us wish Tesla would provide a selectable snow mode. Is that really such a bad thing to you. Oh in your mind that must mean there is a potential flaw in the perfect car.

lbowroom | 6 marzo 2020

I already said its a good idea. I also said it's probably in the works since V2 track mode is showing features in that direction. You yourself said you plan to try track mode v2 bias adjustment to see how it works. You continue to put a negative spin on everything. I disagree that its terrible that Tesla released V2 track mode ahead of providing special snow features that they never promised.

lbowroom | 6 marzo 2020

I don't think the car is perfect, I just think it's the best CAR I've ever owned or driven

ODWms | 7 marzo 2020

Here, here.

coleAK | 7 marzo 2020

@lbow... not the worst in the snow but not the best. In my opinion it has a design flaw in the software. Easily fixable, I’m only bring this up because now it is obvious they can make changes to the drivetrain balance and from a practically standpoint should have addressed winter driving before track use. Our old 2004 MB e320 4matic on 4 year old hakka 7 my son drives will run circles around it on winter roads and even my pig of a >6500 lb LX 570 is more sure footed.

coleAK | 7 marzo 2020

@lbow... not the worst in the snow but not the best. In my opinion it has a design flaw in the software. Easily fixable, I’m only bring this up because now it is obvious they can make changes to the drivetrain balance and from a practically standpoint should have addressed winter driving before track use. Our old 2004 MB e320 4matic on 4 year old hakka 7 my son drives will run circles around it on winter roads and even my pig of a >6500 lb LX 570 is more sure footed.

lbowroom | 7 marzo 2020

Isn’t an LX570 basically a land cruiser? No surprise that it’s sure footed. Coefficient of friction is increased with mass, so being heavy is not necessarily an impediment.

Hopefully your desire for more snow control comes soon

howard | 7 marzo 2020

coleAK, Got Track V2 last night. Now just to wait for the next snowstorm. Wondering how much extra energy it will draw when the battery is in super cool mode. Track V2 may or may not work in the cold, but I am hoping it will as I don't think a "winter mode" is coming any time soon. Its only a driving safety feature and as pointed out has not been promised nor does not provide any free buzz. So not a priority!

FISHEV | 7 marzo 2020

@howard...does Track Mode let you set the percentage of FWD to RWD on the AWD?

lbowroom | 7 marzo 2020

Track mode is only available on the performance

lbowroom | 7 marzo 2020

Howard has a knack for turning sunshine into sludge

howard | 7 marzo 2020

FISHEV | March 7, 2020
@howard...does Track Mode let you set the percentage of FWD to RWD on the AWD?

Yes, Track V2 does. It is now loaded on my P3D+ but I have not tried it.

howard | 7 marzo 2020

lbowroom | March 7, 2020
Track mode is only available on the performance

Correct

wayne | 7 marzo 2020

Someone needs to research whether there are track mode settings that work better in snow.

howard | 7 marzo 2020

wayne, Track V2 lets you adjust the bias front to rear with full control. 100% to rears or front. As soon as it snows I’ll be giving it the full test.

coleAK | 7 marzo 2020

Nice. Sounds like something that hopefully (but probably won’t) gets pushed to the LR AWD. 50/50 split would be awesome in the snow.

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