I’ve been looking for winter tires for about 6 weeks, checking the local inventory and the online places. It’s been hard to find tires, or at least any that are rated well. I found 3 of a few brands, but no sets of 4. My plan had been to get 4 tires and swap them on the same wheels for 4 winter tires. I’d do the same thing again in the spring and use these tires.
I haven’t been in too much of a hurry, mostly because it’s been 50s and 60s in Denver, and it doesn’t seem like snow is coming. However, we got a surprise sleet storm the other day as I was leaving for the gym. Not too bad, but definitely moisture coming down. I could see a white surface on the paved roads as I drove through the neighborhood.
Turning onto the main road was tricky. No cars coming, which was good, because I need to accelerate from a hill, and the car slipped. Not a lot, but enough that I know these tires aren’t going to be good.
I’d been looking for a few different brands. The Continental Extreme Contact DWS, the Pirelli WINTER SOTTOZERO 3, and the Michelin X-Ice 3 tires were on my list. A few local people recommended some others as well, but those were the main ones I was searching for from places.
The Tesla uses a strange size, 255-45-R19, which is not good for a time where supply chains are messed up. Even looking at Nokian and Bridgestone, I wasn’t finding much.
After my incident, I searched a bit more and saw that there might be some at Big O Tires, so after the gym I swung by the store.
Big O Tires
They didn’t have them, but the salesguy and I had a good talk. He told me the inventory system online doesn’t always track well with what is in the stores. He also had a Suburban he was restoring and needed tires that were hard to find, and I mentioned I owned one as well. He showed some pictures of his and became a bit more invested. He said they had swapped tires a few times for Tesla owners and always struggled to get tires in, but he’d look around more.
I got a call to come back later and we talked a bit more. He noted that he had found some 245-45-r19 tires, so slightly narrower, but they’d fit on the same wheels. These were the Michelin X-Ice 3 ones, so I just bought them.
I paid for the tires and made an appointment to drop the car off the next day. I got a ride with my son and we left the car there about 945. I went home and then headed back out to a doctor’s appointment. At 11:15, I got a call the car was ready.
They had bagged up the old tires and left them in the back of the Model Y. I’d lowered the seats and 4 tires fit in there fine. Without the wheels, they also weren’t too heavy, and I put them in the shed with the BMW summer tires when I got home.
Performance and Noise
I have no idea about snow performance as its still 50F and dry in Denver. Even the day we went out for a long drive (about 90m) in 10F weather, it was dry.
However, the car seems to drive the same, and my wife didn’t notice any noise difference. I hadn’t told her I had swapped tires, so I was curious if she’d see a difference. We got up to 90mph on the highway at one point and no real noise difference.
We’ll see how they perform in snow, hopefully, but I’m confident as quite a few people run these tires.
Total cost was about $1500 for the tires, mounting, and a warranty. After the issue with the nail, I think $150 for a tire shop warranty makes sense.