Tesla Model 3 AWD Versus Deep Snow: Video

JAN 22 2019 BY MARK KANE 18

The solution is proper winter tires

As we saw earlier, the dual motor all-wheel drive Tesla Model 3 with MXM4 all-season tires copes pretty well in light snow, even on a slight incline, but how about deeper snow and fresh tracks?

Well, in the following video, Joshua Schultz VR180 found out that the Model 3 AWD can get stuck and even Slip Start mode will not necessarily help out.

Having all-wheel drive definitely improves the car capabilities. However, when the conditions are difficult, only winter tires bring a significant change that enables one to continue to drive safely, at reasonable speeds and not worry much about getting stuck.

The next tests are to be conducted with winter tires. We’re excited to see those results too.

From the video description:

“Verdict: You’re going to need snow tires if you’re driving a Tesla Model 3 in winter conditions.

In this video we get the Tesla Model 3 stuck in the snow. We turn off traction control to find out how much “Slip Start” helps in the situations where you may be in deep snow. The Model 3 gets stuck and can’t get out with “Slip Start”

A special “Thanks” to https://insideevs.com/ who featured our video last week.”

“The Model 3 handles exceptionally well considering I have MXM4 All-Season tires mounted which came with the car. I was hoping that the wheels would all spin much faster than they did. It CAN all be updated with a future software update.”

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18 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 AWD Versus Deep Snow: Video"

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I’d take a good set of winter tires with RWD, over all-season tires with AWD, any day of the week. Not only do winter tires help you move forward, they also help you maintain traction to stop.

My P85+ with snow tires is about as good as winter driving gets.

Winter tires are all about cold traction and should be used if your weather gets below 7°C or 45°F.

To drive on unplowed lanes or parking lots, a lovely low Tesla Model 3 even with winter tires would not be my choice. The snow will jam into crevices and abrade the underside. The low body plowing can get you stuck easier than a car with more ground clearance.

8” plus ground clearance for winter driving makes a big difference.

Generally if the snow is deep enough for the underside of the body to be in contact with the snow you are screwed. This is one of those situations where air suspension with high off-road setting would be truly useful. I vaguely remember that option being suggested on Model 3 before production began, does anyone know if it still might happen?

Based on this video it’s apparent that Mr. Schultz clearly doesn’t know how to drive in the snow. There’s not even that much snow. Standard procedure for getting a car unstuck is to keep the wheels straight at all times and rock it back and forth (either through successive cycling the transmission though forward and reverse (or just in one direction) and accelerating slowly until the wheels just begin to slip. Repeating this cycle rhythmically gets the car rocking back and forth in the ruts and frees it in a short period of time.

Unfortunate that this video places the blame on the car when it’s actually the driver.

For the Tesla, shifting forward and reverse in time with the rocking should be ok. On a conventional ICE automatic transmission, it can be very hard on the transmission. What I do is drive forward as much as possible, step hard on the brake, shift to reverse, Drive back quickly as possible without much spinning of wheels, and again apply brake to hold car as far up as possible and repeat. This slower version of controlled rocking is much easier on the transmission.

It looks like he’s doing it on purpose. That car is not stuck and it’s not “deep snow”

After 4″ of buildup, your ground clearance becomes a big issue. And the ability of the tires to climb out of the rut that creates in front. That’s why mud tires rule.

ETA: moisture content in snow is huge too. A good powder is much easier than a heavy spring snow.


Tires are what makes contacts on the ground. It is the first thing. AWD is the 2nd thing. winter tires allows the drive force to be applied. AWD adds 2 additional tires that can generate traction. Without winter tires, all 4 tires may not have any tractions.

4 very little tractions are less than 2 much larger traction.

4X vs. 2Y. If Y is much greater than X, then 2Y > 4X. But 4Y is always better than 2Y when Y >0. =)

Combine both, it will be the best.

All of this is relevant. AWD better that RWD. Snow tires better than AWD. True 4wheel drive better than just snow tires. True 4wheel drive with snow tires better than… An M1 Abrams Tank is better than… Where does it end?

“Where does it end?”

With spending winters in Florida when you retire? *grin*

Two things: (1) The tread pattern on the tires looks like they’re not up to the job. (2) To get a FWD stuck in that little snow is a rather suspicious. You’d have to come to a full stop then boot it to dig the holes that the wheels seem to be sitting in. In deep snow you have to keep moving. You stop. You sink. Then you get out the little shovel you carry around and clear a little snow away from the wheels in the direction you wish to go to get moving again. Hey I’m Canuck. We do snow.

1) Driver skill
2) Winter tires.

Two things that allow most cars to operate on snow.

Not sure why those things were missing.

I laughed when he said “we’re gonna have to get a 4 wheel drive to pull it out.” The Model 3 is a 4-wheel drive. You meant to say “a larger vehicle with bigger wheels and a lot more clearance.”

Man doesnt know how to drive!
Why did he turn off traction control?

I have only Rear wheel drive Chevy truck with all season Michelins and get thru any deep snow w ease,,
of course it has Positraction rear end diff. .aka locker so when one wheel start spinning it locks both together and goes.
Plus I put heavy load in the back every winter to get traction..
Situation like that just have to rock it back and forward,,at worst carry chains and put those on it

I had to stop watching when I saw the chain hooked over the tow ball. *face palm*

I have passed 4x’s with ast’s on a steep hill in my Prius with winter tires on many occasions.

“I was hoping that the wheels would all spin much faster than they did.” This guy knows nothing about driving in snow. Spinning the tires makes ice under them. You have to gently rock the vehicle back and forth…..and use winter tires, the treads of which will not pack with snow.