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Getting your first EV can be challenging if you’re coming from an ICE vehicle. When I bought my first Tesla in 2018, I definitely didn’t know where to start. Since then, I’ve launched a Tesla accessories company (Tesbros) and YouTube channel dedicated to helping Tesla owners customize, protect, and maintain their vehicles easily and affordably. So, here are some things I wish I knew as a new Tesla owner. 

TAX CREDIT

According to the IRS, to see if you qualify for the $7,500 tax credit for purchasing a 2023+ New Qualified Clean Vehicle, you need to fall within these MSRP requirements:

If you fall into this list, great! BUT, that’s not all. You also have to have a car assembled in North America. To see if your vehicle meets the assembly requirements, this IRS website says to:

DELIVERY

When you go to your Tesla Service Center to pick up your new ride on Delivery Day, here’s what to expect: Someone will point you to your car, and your paperwork/keyfobs/keycards will be inside. Simple as that. Since COVID, the employees have typically been hands off, but if you ask them questions or point out defects, they will help. So, don’t be afraid to take your time to walk through the checklist below before signing off on your delivery.  

If you’re picking up a USED Tesla – whether it’s from Tesla, a dealership, or a private party – here’s a slightly different checklist for you. Even if very similar, there are some key things you want to double check. 

Tesla also has some great introductory videos to help you get started with things like your controls, touchscreen, and personalization. I highly recommend watching these before the big day. Tesletter has a good overview on the basics too in pdf form. Here’s a video we put together showing you the very basic things you need to know to drive off the lot. 

CHARGING & BATTERY RANGE 

There are several ways to charge your Tesla at home and on-the-go.

You can charge at home with a wall connector or UMC (Universal Mobile Connector). If you have a home where you can install a wall connector, I would suggest doing that, so you can charge faster and easier than using the UMC. I would also recommend buying a UMC for when you’re on the go (vacations, rentals, visiting family or friends) or in a pinch.

Watch the video below to install the wall connector, which does require a licensed electrician to do so.

For charging on-the-go, Superchargers are the most common stop. You can pull up your route on the touchscreen map, and it’ll show where you can charge on the way and how much range you’ll have left once you reach your destination. There are also plenty of third party chargers that’ll save you if you need to stop outside of a Supercharger. I like to use A Better Route Planner when planning a road trip. Check out this video below on all the ways you can charge, what adapters and apps you need, and tips for your road trips.

The next question after “How do I charge?” is always “What does range mean and how does it work?” We break it down for you here:

MAINTENANCE 

JACK PADS

When you do need to get under the car, make sure you and your mechanic are using jack pads. If you aren’t and a lift slips, you could damage the undercarriage battery pack, costing you thousands. I like to keep these handy in a trunk compartment just in case. 

WASHING YOUR TESLA

Washing your Tesla routinely by hand and not via automatic car wash is key to making your paint last a lot longer. Auto car washes use rough bristles that catch dirt and then scratch your car with it. Have you ever seen a car with a lot of swirl marks everywhere? That’s most likely due to repeated auto car washes. They ruin the clear coat, causing many micro scratches that take a good polishing to remove. If it’s a touchless car wash, it’s better, but they still tend to use harsh chemicals that can end up doing more harm than good. 

Tesla paint is very thin, unfortunately, so washing by hand using the two-bucket method is the best way in our opinion to get that perfect shine. We created our own line of eco-friendly cleaners that are nontoxic, ammonia and perfume free, as well as safe for tint, PPF, and vinyl wraps.

If you want to know more about Tesla maintenance, such as how to change your air filters or remove your Tesla logos, check out this playlist.

CUSTOMIZATION & PROTECTION

Teslas come with a handful of colors and configurations, making finding your car in a California parking lot a challenge. So, how do you stand out from the fleet? With aftermarket accessories and wraps that add a touch of your personality and style. With a full color wrap, you can change the color entirely, or you can opt for color accents like a pillar delete or interior wraps. We make lots of DIY options where you can customize your ride easily. Learn more about wraps here

Installing PPF (Paint Protection Film) on your Tesla is a way to protect your investment from rock chips, scratches, UV rays, and etchings. It’s about 3x the thickness of vinyl, yet it’s clear and undetectable unless you’re looking really closely. PPF doesn’t yellow or crack nowadays as technology has advanced over the years, and most films last up to 7 years. Learn more about PPF here.

Ceramic coating is a thin layer that hardens and bonds to the clear coat, making your car paint shine and giving it extreme hydrophobic properties. Check out this video for an in-depth look into these three common options:

Should you tint your Tesla? It protects against UV rays and gives you privacy. It also saves range in the summer as you’ll conserve energy by not blasting the AC as much. Check out this video to learn more: 

Teslas are very minimalistic and come with little to no accessories. That being said, you can buy affordable products that match your style, organizational preferences, and cleanliness from us at Tesbros. We also recommend buying from Abstract Ocean (based out of Texas), Green Drive (France), Tesland (Netherlands), BeGood (Norway), and Smog.nu (Sweden) depending on where you’re located. 

STAY IN-THE-KNOW

YouTubers to subscribe to:

Tesbros – We focus on helping you customize, protect, and maintain your Tesla to give you the best ownership experience.

TeslaRaj – He focuses on basic Tesla features and maintenance.

i1tesla – He documents how and what he does to customize his Tesla. 

Andy Slye – He usually explains Teslas newest features/tech and offers great reviews.

Tesla Joy – She talks about her ownership experiences and what she’s learned through that.

Wham Baam Teslacam – Wham Baam shares teslacam content mostly submitted by Tesla owners showing some crazy crashes and wild encounters on the road.

Frugal Tesla Guy – He mostly discusses Tesla accessory reviews.

Mother Frunker – Software & tech updates are his specialty.

TesLatino – He focuses on his experiences as a Tesla owner.

Kim Java – She not only focuses on her Tesla experiences and reviews, but also branches out to some other EVs and solar.

Ryan Shaw – Tesla tech, new features, & reviews.

Who to follow on Twitter: 

Elon Musk 

Tesla

Sawyer Merritt

Whole Mars Catalog

Join your local Tesla group on Facebook. Oftentimes there are Tesla groups for your state and your city. I suggest joining them both, because there will often be meetups or local tips/news surrounding Tesla on there. 

I also suggest signing up for Tesletter, a free newsletter that goes out every week, giving you all the latest news and software updates surrounding Tesla and Elon. 

Acronyms:

EV – a fully Electric Vehicle, not a hybrid

FSD – Full Self Driving. You’ll hear the term FSD beta a lot, since FSD is new to the game and is constantly being improved. 

AP – Autopilot. Double tap on the stalk to activate. Your car will stay in the lane, speed up and slow down as needed. 

EAP – Enhanced Autopilot. This bad boy will do all of what AP can do and also change lanes and take exits. 

ICE – This refers to gas or diesel cars that have an Internal Combustion Engine.  

ICEd– Being ICEd refers to an ICE vehicle taking up an EV charging spot. “I got ICEd at the mall today.”

Regen – You’ll see regenerative braking shortened a lot to “regen.” Tesla’s regen braking allows you to essentially drive with one pedal, since it slows as soon as you let off the accelerator. This feature saves energy and range too. Check out the range video above for more info.

OTA – Over-The-Air, referencing Tesla’s software updates that come over the air via wifi or cellular data

SA – Tesla’s Service Advisors

TSLA – the Tesla stock symbol

TSLAQ – Tesla Q refers to those who criticize Tesla and may be short selling Tesla stock.

Learn more Tesla abbreviations here.