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Thread: snow chains

  1. #11
    Member Ceilidh's Avatar
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    Out of curiosity, does this space widen at all with changes in suspension height? Just wondering if that is the issue. Seems strange that Tesla would sell a chain that doesn't fit.

    Thank you for all this effort with the photos.

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  2. #12
    Petroleum is for sissies ChadS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ceilidh View Post
    Out of curiosity, does this space widen at all with changes in suspension height?
    I tried it with the suspension at VERY HIGH and STANDARD, and the free space feels the same to me either way.

    I sent pics and explanation in to Tesla. The owner's rep speculated testing might have been done on different tires (I have the Pirelli snow tires), and forwarded it to engineering for comment. I will report back if I hear anything else.
    Last edited by ChadS; 2012-11-29 at 05:06 PM. Reason: include owner rep's response
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  3. #13
    S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13 jerry33's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChadS View Post
    The owner's rep speculated testing might have been done on different tires (I have the Pirelli snow tires)
    I think you've just found the problem. Chains are meant to be used with summer tires, not snow tires. If you use them with snow tires, besides clearance problems, the chains tend to get stuck in the lugs and damage the tire's sidewall. (Chains are meant to creep around the tires when in use.)
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  4. #14
    Petroleum is for sissies ChadS's Avatar
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    Thanks Jerry, perhaps I am using the wrong terminology. Maybe they are "winter" tires instead of "snow" tires (if there is a difference). HERE are the tires I have on Tesla's site, and HERE on Pirelli's. They both call them "winter" tires. I don't think I'd describe them as having lugs; but you've been in the biz so I trust your terminology more than mine. Are these tires not supposed to have chains on them?

    I've seen you write that before and not completely understood it. I understand the part about chains getting caught in lugs. But what I don't understand is what people in snowy areas are supposed to do. If you drive in snow a lot, it seems logical that you'd be a prime candidate to have snow tires. It also seems that you'd be a prime candidate to carry chains just in case you get stuck - prime candidate again. Do people in snowy areas really have to choose between snow tires and chains, or is there a way to make them work together? Maybe not and that is why studs exist? Living in Seattle I've never really had to worry about this; but I do plan on taking the Model S over mountain passes in the winter so I should learn.
    Last edited by ChadS; 2012-11-29 at 11:55 PM.
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  5. #15
    S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13 jerry33's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=ChadS;221667]Thanks Jerry, perhaps I am using the wrong terminology. Maybe they are "winter" tires instead of "snow" tires (if there is a difference). HERE are the tires I have on Tesla's site, and HERE on Pirelli's. They both call them "winter" tires. I don't think I'd describe them as having lugs; but you've been in the biz so I trust your terminology more than mine. Are these tires not supposed to have chains on them?

    The chains that Tesla sells appear to have rings that should keep them out of the large tread grooves in those tires, so there will likely be no problem with them (other than clearance).

    Quote Originally Posted by ChadS View Post
    I've seen you write that before and not completely understood it.
    LOL 日本語で書いた場合は、それを理解するために容易になるだろうか

    Quote Originally Posted by ChadS View Post
    I understand the part about chains getting caught in lugs. But what I don't understand is what people in snowy areas are supposed to do. If you drive in snow a lot, it seems logical that you'd be a prime candidate to have snow tires. It also seems that you'd be a prime candidate to carry chains just in case you get stuck - prime candidate again. Do people in snowy areas really have to choose between snow tires and chains, or is there a way to make them work together?
    Well, mostly you never use the chains. I drove all over the mountains of BC and Alberta for over 25 years and only once did I actually put the chains on because there was a check point where they made you. Drove with them for less than a mile and took them off again. Most of the signs say "Use good winter tires or carry chains." A few signs replace the "or" with "and". Chains exist to give traction to tires that have no winter traction. Note that speeds with chains are very limited and it's all too easy for one of the cross chains to break and do a number on your fender (The ones Tesla sells seem less likely to do damage than some). Also winter conditions change very frequently--especially in the mountains, so even if you encounter a situation where chains would be required to negotiate it, it's not likely to last for any length of time.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChadS View Post
    Maybe not and that is why studs exist?
    Studs were created before studless tires were developed as a way to improve traction on ice with snow tires. Ice is slipperiest when it's close to freezing because there is a film of water lubricating the ice. Studs scratch through the water to give some traction on ice (Studless tires do this by having many sipes that wipe away the water, and even the Hakkapeliitta 7s appear to rely more on their sipes than they do on their studs.) The poor driver who spins his wheels creates the ideal condition for studs (though had the wheels not been spun, there would would have been no chance for the studs to shine). In any other conditions, studs either make no difference (soft to medium snow) or are worse because they hold the tread rubber off the road (packed snow and bare pavement). In addition, studs chip off microscopic pieces of pavement and breathing them is similar to breathing asbestos (obviously, this is not a problem in areas where there is never any bare pavement during the winter).

    Quote Originally Posted by ChadS View Post
    Living in Seattle I've never really had to worry about this; but I do plan on taking the Model S over mountain passes in the winter so I should learn.
    The best thing to do is to ask your local SCCA about a winter driving course. Second best is to find a big empty ice and snow covered area and do solo practice.
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  6. #16
    Member Ceilidh's Avatar
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    The last few posts on this thread involve logic that escapes me. As far as I understand it, all tires of the same size to fit the same wheel have exceedingly similar dimensions. With that being the case, a summer tire vs a snow tire vs a mud and snow all weather tire vs etc if the same size should fit the same chain.

    I get the idea of the chain falling into bigger grooves on a snow tire and causing issues, but that still shouldn't mean that the chain sticks out farther from the tire, except perhaps a tiny amount of extra side slack if they become slightly loose when falling back into a groove. The photos seem to indicated a problem bigger than that.

    When chains are purchased, they are purchased for a tire's size. They are supposed to fit all tires of that size. So If Tesla is correct about needing only S clearance, then the photos that spawned this thread are not compatible with that notion. Can somebody very specifically refute me if I am wrong on this, and point me to a source of info?

    I have never had chains not fit the tire size indicated with clearance as specified as long if the tire was oem size and met oem specs for chains. Something here is not adding up. And it is much safer to drive with chains on all 4 tires. You do need grip to steer. If you need chains to grip to drive the car forward, then you will need chains on the front for grip to steer to avoid spinning those rear drive wheels straight into a ditch or snow drift. Many get by without front chains on rear wheel drive cars, but it is not safe.

    So some official word from TMC on this would be really helpful, as I have already purchased a set of chains based on specific info from TMC but the photographic evidence here seems to indicate that those chains possibly won't fit.

    If anyone else has the chains and oem 19" all weather tires, it would be much appreciated if they could see if they will work on the front wheels and report back. If nobody else does this before I get my car, I will.

    Cheers.
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  7. #17
    S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13 jerry33's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ceilidh View Post
    The last few posts on this thread involve logic that escapes me. As far as I understand it, all tires of the same size to fit the same wheel have exceedingly similar dimensions. With that being the case, a summer tire vs a snow tire vs a mud and snow all weather tire vs etc if the same size should fit the same chain.
    Snow tires are nominally the same size, in practice they are larger. The reason is that the load is carried by the air inside the tire (ignoring casing factor). All tires of a certain size have a load/inflation table that they follow (higher load-rated tires of the same size--XL--just extend the table by using higher pressure to carry more load) so they have to have the same interior volume. Snow tires have deeper tread then all-seasons which have deeper tread than summers (different manufacturers may use different specs so you may find a summer tire from manufacturer A having deeper tread than an all-season from manufacturer B). In addition, the different tires may have different construction (thicker belts, undertread, etc.) because snow tires tend to be designed to be more resistant to bad road conditions than all-seasons, etc. The rule of thumb is that to use chains on snow tires you get one size larger chains. (But with good snow tires or severe service all-seasons your need for chains will be close to zero in most cases.) You need to check with the chain manufacturer to confirm chain sizing for any particular case of non-summer tire use. Of course, if the vehicle manufacturer supplies the chains and says they are suitable, then no further research need be done other than checking out which particular tire options go with which particular chains.

    The problem that I think we have here is that most folks think of tires as being round, black, and fungible but in reality they are highly complex, high-tech products that have a great deal of research and development time going into them. In addition, tire manufacturers play their cards close to the table so there is only limited information--like Telsa and battery construction--available to the consumer. Most information is "internal only" to a particular tire manufacturer.
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  8. #18
    Member Ceilidh's Avatar
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    Thanks for clarifying.

    Cheers.
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  9. #19
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    Not that I have a lot of experience with chains, but I have a lot of experience in snow.

    lived many years in the Maritime provinces in Canada. Drove a lot of the eastern sea board during the winter through the New England states. And now drive all over British Columbia and Alberta.

    From what I have personally seen. I've never needed or was required to use chains with proper winter tires. Only saw chains used by heavy equipment, plows, and cars with out winter tires.

    if you have a AWD/4X4 you run chains on all four wheels.

    If you have FWD You run chains on all for because you do not want the rear end to get loose when breaking and spin you around.

    For RWD you only run chains on the rear drive wheels, the chains cause steering issue on the front wheels when they aren't driven. And just like semi trucks steering is the most important control to maintain. They don't have chains on front or even breaks for that matter.

    Just buy a set of chains for the rear just incase, but a set of proper winter tires with studs will get you where you "need" to go.

    what ever you do NEVER run winter chains on the front wheels of a RWD car.

  10. #20
    Member Ceilidh's Avatar
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    Hmmm. Your comments as I understand them are not applicable to all situations. For instance, in the USA, in many areas studded tires are illegal so that option is off the table. Where I live, there is a drive I do where chain controls are used when the roads get bad in the mountains in the winter. Typically, when this occurs traffic is moving slowly, like 25 mph or less, give or take.

    At that speed, my understanding is that even with a RWD car then front axle chains are helpful and desirable. At faster speeds, then the issues you brought up with front axle chains are a big deal, but in the conditions where chains are required, then it doesn't matter because you won't be going fast enough for these issues to arise. And I never use chains in any other situation. So if you never drive fast, then all around chains on all 4 tires is better at slow speeds. Correct me if I am wrong on this, remembering that chains in this situation are required (unless you have snow tires on all 4 wheels in a 4WD/AWD car) as the Tesla Model S does not have AWD (yet).

    So the scenario is RWD, less than 25 mph, chains are required to travel the road. Minimum they must be on the rear axle. The debate is the front axle.

    Cheers.
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