Winter Driving Adventures In My Tesla Mannequin 3


You could have in all probability been studying in regards to the atmospheric river that has introduced unimaginable rain, flooding and destruction to California this winter. That atmospheric river hasn’t stopped at California however has continued as much as Utah. At larger elevations the precipitation falls as snow as an alternative of rain. Our ski resorts have been inundated with probably the most huge snowfall we now have seen in years. At midseason, the resorts have already obtained nearly 500 inches of snow, which is the typical for the entire winter. Snow is piled as much as 20 ft excessive on the edges of the roads at Brighton. (See beneath.)

My Tesla Mannequin 3 and 12 ft snow piles on the edges of the street. Brighton Ski Resort, Utah. January 30, 2023. Picture by Fritz Hasler.

You’ll be able to see what occurred to me final winter within the image at prime once we obtained 8” of recent snow from the time I arrived on the ski resort the place I train at 7:00 a.m. till I used to be barely in a position to go away at 11:00 a.m. It occurred to me once more this 12 months. I took my 12-year-old grandson as much as see what night time snowboarding was like a couple of weeks in the past. The 4-wheel drive warning mild was flashing as we entered the canyon, however I had no hassle driving up the street with my dual-motor Mannequin 3. Nonetheless, after snowboarding for 4 hours, my automotive was snowed in once more. You’ll be able to see what my Tesla Mannequin 3 regarded like at night time a couple of weeks later after mild snowfall:

Evening at Brighton Ski Resort, Utah. January 25, 2023. Picture by Fritz Hasler

This time I grabbed a shovel from the ski faculty and quarter-hour later my grandson had cleared a path and I had dug out the wheels with my gloves, so we might make a run for it. On the second merchandise of the management menu on my Tesla display (the Pedals & Steering sub-menu), I activated the Slip-Begin management on the backside. A automotive loaded with 6 skiers pulled in simply as we have been able to go, they usually helped push us out of the parking spot. A man began pushing on my open driver’s facet window and directed me since I used to be driving backwards and couldn’t see the place I used to be going. Lastly, we began on the plowed street down the canyon.

I had nearly no clue the place the street ended and the large piles of snow on either side started. It then occurred to me that with all of the commotion of digging and pushing that we hadn’t cleaned the brand new fallen snow off the headlights for the second time. I finished, my grandson wiped the headlights clear, and I might lastly see the street. We began down the snow-covered canyon street at 25 mph with no automobiles in entrance of us. A half mile down the street, we stumbled on a automotive going ~5 mph. I tapped the brakes … nothing! … The street was so slippery that we had almost zero traction. I used to be simply barely in a position to get my automotive down to five mph with out hitting the automotive in entrance of me. Now it was 5 mph for the subsequent 5 miles. That was simply sluggish sufficient to maintain from shedding management. As we obtained to decrease elevations, the snow turned to rain and the street started to clear. The automobiles in entrance of us elevated their pace and we have been touring at 30 mph by the point we obtained to the underside of the canyon.

The subsequent 20 miles on I-15 went uneventfully. We exited the freeway and drove the subsequent 3 miles up the hill to our home. Nonetheless, on the final 200 yards to our home, we heard a scraping noise underneath the automotive. I pulled into the driveway and my son took a glance underneath the automotive. He grabbed some branch-clipping shears and clipped off an enormous piece of the fiber apron that protects the underside of the automotive.

The Tesla Mannequin 3 has 5.5″ clearance beneath. My 2019 Mannequin 3 has a flimsy multipart fiberboard skid plate/undercarriage underneath the entire automotive. I’ve now on two events ripped off a bit of one of many undercarriage elements. The primary time, I didn’t see 12″ of water in a flash flood and hit it at ~40 mph. It ripped off the rearmost a part of the undercarriage board. Simply now, I  was driving out of a ski resort parking zone in deep snow and ripped off a bit of the entrance a part of the undercarriage. The substitute half is made out of plastic as an alternative of fiberboard. Nonetheless, it nonetheless doesn’t look very sturdy. Warning!: Keep away from driving over water, snow, or rocks that may harm the undercarriage.

We had deliberate to make the 200-mile run to Southern Utah the subsequent day, so the subsequent morning I drove the 4 miles to our brand-new Nice Grove Tesla Service Middle for an analysis. They stated it was no downside for our street journey however to come back in once more in a few weeks to switch the under-apron.

I used to be stunned to study that Tesla had scheduled a cellular service technician to come back to my home to make the restore though the gap from my home to the Tesla Nice Grove Service Middle is simply 4 miles. The technician arrived proper on time in his Mannequin S with the rear seat eliminated to create space for all his tools (See beneath.)

Tesla cellular restore technician together with his Mannequin S. January 26, 2023. Picture by Fritz Hasler.

A short while later, he had my automotive jacked up, the remainder of the fiber under-apron had been eliminated, and he was about to put in a brand new plastic apron to switch it. (See beneath.) Sadly, there have been some stripped threads that made it not possible to securely fasten the brand new apron. A separate service heart appointment can be wanted to finish the restore.

Tesla cellular restore technician jacking up my automotive and holding the brand new under-apron. January 26, 2023. Picture by Fritz Hasler.

Two days in the past (final Saturday), I obtained up at 5:00 a.m. to get a leap on the site visitors going the 18 miles up the canyon to Brighton. Nonetheless, I made 4 errors. 1) I knew that I solely had 2/32” tread on my rear tires and had procrastinated getting new tires. 2) I did not examine the snow forecast. 3) I did not hold a snow shovel in my trunk. 4) With 50 years of winter driving expertise with two-wheel drive automobiles in Wisconsin, Colorado, Maryland, and Utah, I overestimated the traction of my dual-motor Mannequin 3 with little tread on the tires on steep sections of the canyon. I made it 14 miles up the canyon earlier than I slid off the facet of the street in 4” of recent snow that had not been plowed lately.

Brighton obtained 17 “of snow in a single day, however the snow report was not obtainable on the time I made the journey. I hitchhiked the final 4 miles to Brighton, borrowed a shovel, and hitched again to my automotive. Happily, a policeman in an enormous 4-wheel-drive police truck with big snow tires was ready to assist me. We dug out my automotive, he connected a strap to the receiver on the again of my automotive (for my bike rack, and many others.), and he pulled my automotive out of the snow to an enormous plowed driveway throughout the street, additionally altering the route of my automotive to downhill.

I used to be quickly on my means driving safely again down the canyon. I finished for a drink and made an appointment for brand new tire set up close to my house 20 miles south on I-15. I used to be 4 miles from my meant exit when, to my horror, my automotive reported low stress in my left rear tire. The stress rapidly dropped from 20 psi to 10 psi to five psi to 0 psi and I used to be nonetheless 1.5 miles from the subsequent exit. I dropped my pace and in some way managed to make it to the exit and to a tire retailer solely ¼ mile from the exit. I now have 4 new all-season tires with glorious snow tread. When there’s snow within the canyon, automobiles are required to have 4-wheel drive or chains. Conservative drivers will even have devoted snow tires. Some even have studded tires. I’ll make do as I’ve for the final 18 years with all-season tires, but when there’s a large snowfall forecast, I’ll keep away from the canyon in my Tesla. I will even keep away from driving in deep snow within the parking zone, as I don’t wish to strip the under-apron off my automotive but once more.

Be aware: Once I introduced my automotive to the Tesla service heart a couple of weeks in the past to have a squeaky suspension system bushing changed, I used to be allotted $100/day of Uber credit for the 2 days it took to make the repairs. This time I used to be advised that Tesla doesn’t give Uber credit when a automotive is out of guarantee. Go determine!


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