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Best Winter Tires for Tesla Model 3 (With Snow & Ice Performance Metrics)

After going through 7 videos & more than 36 pages of forum threads, the same winter tires for the Model 3 were mentioned over and over.

If you’re looking for wet, ice, and snow tires that last up to 8 seasons — while having decent dry traction and minimal road noise…

This article outlines the best winter tires for the Tesla Model 3 (as expressed by hundreds of owners like you).

As a YouTube comment declared:

“Ice and snow tires is the cheapest insurance one can buy…”

Let’s make sure your family stays safe — and dive into what to look for in a dedicated winter tire set.

What to Know About Tires Before Getting Yours

Ever seen a long series of letters and numbers in a tire?

That’s because tires have a naming convention or “code.”

Most tires adhere to an alphanumeric code that looks as follows:

Conventional tire code. Credit to TireRack.
Conventional tire code. Credit to TireRack.

Let’s describe each component and what you should look for — with the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range stock tires as reference:

  • Vehicle Type: Some tires in the U.S. come with no letters at the beginning. But P, standing for Passenger vehicles, and it’s what sedans and SUVs typically use.
  • Section Width: The following three number represents the tire’s width (when looking from its rolling direction) in milimeters. 235 is what most Model 3 trims use, though some have as high as 275.
  • Aspect Ratio: This is the relationship between the tire’s width and its sidewall’s height in pecentage. 45 is what the 18″ wheel Model 3 uses. Though 19″ and 20″ wheel models use shorter 40 and 35 respectively to maintain the same tire-wheel diameter.
  • Construction: Standing for radial, R is the standard construction type of modern wheels. Diagonal (D) and Bias-belt (B) construction also exist but are rarely used.
  • Wheel Diameter: Exactly what it sounds like — the wheel diameter in inches. Model 3 comes in 18″, 19″, or 20″ depending on the trim.
  • Load Index: Indicates the maximum weight the tires can handle. Model 3 stock wheels use 94. Given Model 3’s weight, you should avoid anything below 85. See load index & speed rating chart here.
  • Speed Rating: Represents the speed at which your tires will become unable to dissipate heat. The “higher” the letter, the higher the speed. V represents 240km/h (~150mph) and is what Model 3 stock tirese (very common on luxury and performance cars).

For the latest stock tire specification visit TireSize.com. They have the exact tire specs of all Model 3 years and trims laid out.

Though not yet adopted, the U.S.-based NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) proposed a tire rating that includes safety, fuel efficiency, and durability scores.

Government Tire Rating

Wet traction, levels of road noise (in dB), and snow/ice performance may also be displayed in some European standards.

ToyoTires
Credit to ToyoTires.

Armed with this knowledge, let’s get into the 5 most recommended winter tires within the Tesla community!

  • Nokian R3
  • Bridgestone Bizzak (LM on Europe, WS on America)
  • Michellin X-ICE Xi3
  • Pirelli Sottozero 3
  • Michellin Pilot Alpins (PA) 4

Best Winter Tires for Tesla Model 3 Overall: Nokian R3

Best Winter Tires for Tesla Model 3: Nokian R3 Tires

These tires have been a long-term favorite in the Tesla community since the early Model S days.

They appeal to Tesla owners due to their eco-friendly factories, something extremely rare within tiremakers.

Plus, they craft tires specifically targeted at electric vehicles.

Kyle from Out of Spec Motoring, a very respected YouTube personality and Model 3 owner, mentions these tires as part of his favorite winter setup.

Skip ahead to 3:33 for his thoughts on the Nokian R3 wheels + some winter tips.

According to Kyle, Nokian R3 is “the most aggressive snow tire you can go for while remaining everyday usability.”

That very well summarizes Tesla owners’ thoughts on this set.

If you’re reassured by numbers like I am, Autofil, a third-party magazine, tested this set against popular winter tires (some of which we’ll discuss).

2018 Autofil Test 1
2018 Autofil Test 2
2018 Autofil Test 3
2018 Autofil Test 4

Images inspired by AllTyreTests.

As you can see, the Nokian R3 isn’t the best in any category.

However, the fact that they rank competitively in most categories proves the all-around good value you get.

According to some Tesla owners, this set gives up some dry traction compared to summer tires — so you’re going to want to remove it as soon as winter ends.

The company showcases its braking advantage in the snow against other brands in a Tesla:

Though I don’t buy these claims at face value, they make a point: these tires are designed for safety.

And from the consensus of the Tesla community, these are quite literally your safest bet.

You can find different sizes on Nokian’s website — along with the dealers that carry their wheels.

Discount Tire carries these wheels most of the time — and this is one of the most recommended tire shops among Tesla owners.

In fact, as of this writing, all 235/45R18 reviews on Discount Tire come from Tesla owners — so you can buy with confidence!

Pros:

Recommended sizes: 235/45 on 18″ wheels
235/40 on 19″ wheels
235/35 on 20″ wheels

✅ Eco-friendlier operations
✅ Better road noise than OEM tires
✅ Designed with safety as priority
✅ Long track record within the Tesla community
✅ Among the best when tested against other brands

Cons:

❌ May give up dry traction
❌ May not be easily accessible in North America

Best Tires for Extreme Climates: Bridgestone Bizzak (LM on Europe, WS on America)

Best Winter Tires for Tesla Model 3: Bridgestone Bizzak

The closest you live to Santa Claus the North Pole, the more suitable this set of tires becomes.

Built for harsh climates, these sets of tires score an A in ice & snow performance, surpassing many Nokian & Michellin models.

That’s why many Canadians and European customers love it.

With jack pad adapters to protect Model 3’s battery, Dan from the SDA Dan Cars YouTube channel walks us through his thoughts & impressions on the Bridgestone Blizzak LM005.

Blizzak’s rating walkthrough starts at 0:45. Skip ahead to 3:04 for the tire mounting process. Or jump to 14:08 for his driving impressions.

You can see his configuration: 235/45R18 98V (with an A in snow performance, C in fuel efficiency, and 72dB of road noise).

Compared to Model 3’s stock tires noise and winter performance, Dan claims these tires definitely deliver a smoother, quieter ride.

And although efficiency is rated at a C, he didn’t experience a noticeable difference in winter range.

With built-in rim protection to avoid curb damage and a solid reputation, this Bridgestone set won’t disappoint you even in the coldest climates on Earth.

While the LM005 set is widely available in Europe and Russia,

Canadian & U.S. Model 3 owners who drive in icy climates will more easily find Blizzak WS90 in tire shops across North America.

LM models are available in North America, but the LM-32 model is designed for performance and the LM001 has proven average at best for Model 3.

Until Bridgestone brings the LM005 to America, we’re left with the WS90 as the best choice.

Blizzak’s WS series is a classic with 400+ reviews on DiscountTire.

You may want to cross-shop on TireRack, which includes a 5-year warranty at a lower price.

Given Bridgestone’s Japanese manufacturing roots, it’s no surprise Tesla owners try many winter tires out — but just like Dan, end up coming back to this brand for their winter tire needs.

Pros:

Recommended size: 235/45 on 18″ wheels
235/40 on 19″ wheels
235/35 on 20″ wheels

✅ Can withstand the harshest of winters.
✅ Includes rim protection to prevent curb rash. (LM)
✅ Quieter than stock tires

Cons:

❌ LM005 isn’t currently sold in North America
❌ Not the most efficient tires

Longest-Lasting (& Most Popular) Model 3 Winter Tires: Michellin X-ICE Xi3

Best Winter Tires for Tesla Model 3: Michellin X-ICE Xi3

In a Tesla Owners Online forum poll, a curious member asked owners what winter tires offer the best value.

TOO Winter Tires Poll

This set of tires was overwhelmingly rated as the best — and by a long shot.

They’ve been among the best-selling winter tires year after year since the first release in 2012.

And with 5.6 million miles reported within TireRack alone (plus an “Excellent” score on everything but dry performance),

It’s hard to argue against their performance.

Sure, more popular doesn’t necessarily mean better.

However, something that genuinely surprised me about these tires is the frequent reviews praising their durability.

A particular user even said he’s used one of these for 8 years straight. Talk about a good investment!

With a 6-year / 40,000-mile warranty, the value these winter tires offer is irresistible.

There’s a reason the Canadian YouTube channel CarQuestion mentions these tires first when discussing the top winter tires choices for Teslas:

“Heavy snow, light snow, ice… this is a pretty versatile tire.”

This set of tires is often compared to others on the list because it can withstand the harshest climates.

If you compare the Autofil results, in fact, these performed better than the Nokian R3 in snow and ice braking — and better than the Bridgestone WS in wet and ice.

Road noise does seem to be greater when compared to the OEM tires according to many Model 3 owners, though.

Pros:

Recommended sizes: 235/45 on 18″ wheels
235/40 on 19″ wheels
235/35 on 20″ wheels

✅ Best-selling tire model for years
✅ Tested by thousands of car owners (including Teslas)
✅ 6-year, 40,000-mile warranty (see details)

Cons:

❌ May not be available in Model 3’s recommended sizes
❌ May produce more road noise than OEM tires

Most Efficient Tires / OEM Winter Tires: Pirelli Sottozero 3

Best Winter Tires for Tesla Model 3: Pirelli Sottozero 3

Tesla sells the Pirelli Sottozero 3 in their winter tire/wheel package for a reason.

It’s said to be one of the most efficient set of tires.

If you want to lose as little range as possible during winter, this is the set of tires you’ll want to explore first.

To be clear, though: you’ll inevitably lose range in winter…

Here’s an owner with these tires reporting he loses about 30% in his Model 3 Performance @ 28°F (-2°C).

For reference, Matt from Tech Forum loses more than 40% (from 260 to 150 miles of range), though at much colder temperatures:

Not an apples-to-apples comparison by any means.. but some food for thought.

It’s unfortunate that these tires aren’t sold separately in Tesla’s shop.

If you’re fine with Tesla’s wheels and don’t want to think about fitment, the Tesla package will do the trick.

As a plus, Tesla’s package comes with the appropiate TPMS sensors by default.

But if you want a different set of wheels or want to save money, buying from Tesla won’t be your best option.

Some owners find $2,000 worth the “Tesla premium,” knowing the same set of tires — and the wheels of your preference — can be bought for much less.

Most owners, however, prefer to get these tires separately for about $800 USD — and either stick to their wheels or shop around for better-looking custom wheels.

Best Winter Tires for Tesla Model 3 Performance (20″): Michellin Pilot Alpins (PA) 4

Best Winter Tires for Tesla Model 3: Michellin Pilot Alpins (PA) 4

Looking for performance-oriented winter tires for your M3 Performance?

Many of the tires discussed up to this point aren’t unavailable for 20″ wheels.

Your options are limited to start.

Originally found in a Porsche Cayman trim for the Canadian market,

The Michellin Pilot Alpins 4 are the most praised among M3 Performance owners.

The tire discussion starts at 1:55.

Jason argues against buying from Tesla due to their higher price tag.

Reassured by TireRack’s data, which suggested Michellin’s PA4 performed better in snow & ice acceleration, braking, and lateral grip than the Pirelli Sottozero 3,

He ended up calling TireRack to purchase Michellin’s PA4 at $300 a piece.

You can find many M3 Peformance owners chiming in with their positive experiences on this thread.

According to some owners, “the Alpins drive about as well as the summer tires on cold, dry and wet roads.” So you’ll have no problem driving aggressively if desired.

Don’t expect to outperform the X-Ice or Blizzak in snow, though. Something has to give.

There’s also an argument against using 20″ wheels — and rather switch to 18″ during winter.

Though some arguments were convincing (efficiency, curb rash, etc.),

I’d say stick to the wheels you prefer.

Best Tesla Model 3 Winter Tires After All?

Regardless of your region’s winter climate, the Nokian R3 will withstand several years — and still be usable for your everyday needs.

Taking all considerations into account, these tires offer the best bang for your buck.

I was personally compelled by the Pirelli Sottozero 3 because is what Tesla sells — and its engineers must have had a good reason for that decision.

In any case, you’ll enjoy slippery-free driving and good snow performance with any of the tires on this list.

By Zac Ludicrous

Mechanical engineer by profession. TSLA shareholder before the hype. EV enthusiast all day long. Zac enjoys learning about the future of battery technology, autonomy, and EVs. He considers Tesla Model 3 the most important vehicle of the 21st century -- and is in a quest to improve the ownership experience of every Model 3 owner he possibly can.

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