Welcome to a journey that’s charged with electricity, innovation, and a whole lot of fun. If you’re a proud Tesla owner or considering joining the Tesla fleet, you’re in the right place. In this ultimate guide, we’re diving deep into everything you need to know about owning and enjoying your Tesla.
As the automotive world shifts towards sustainability, Tesla has emerged as a pioneer in electric mobility, delivering vehicles that combine cutting-edge technology, impressive performance, and a commitment to a greener future. Owning a Tesla isn’t just about having a cool car; it’s about embracing a lifestyle that’s eco-conscious.
Whether you’re a new Tesla owner looking to maximize your driving range, a meticulous caretaker of your Tesla’s pristine appearance, or someone eager to discover the hidden gems of fun that come with driving a Tesla, we’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’ll take you on a journey that covers every aspect of Tesla ownership. From understanding the intricacies of Tesla’s advanced battery technology to protecting your investment with the best maintenance practices, this guide has it all.
So, where should we start? Comparing ownership of a Tesla to a conventional gas-powered car reveals numerous similarities, but it’s the differences that truly stand out. The most common inquiries we receive from new Tesla owners revolve around range and battery life, which is quite understandable given that gas stations are readily available on nearly every street corner. Range anxiety is a genuine concern, and believe me, every one of us at TESBROS who owns a Tesla has encountered this feeling more than once.
To minimize battery degradation, it’s best to avoid frequent Supercharging. Supercharging involves delivering a high level of amperage rapidly to the car, and using this method daily can gradually harm the battery over time.
Additionally, it’s advisable to adhere to Tesla’s charging recommendations. If you have a Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) battery, it’s safe to charge it up to 100%. For non-LFP batteries, it’s best to maintain a charge level between 20% and 80%.
Range is a figure that’s approximated and is influenced by various factors. Range is a somewhat unpredictable aspect due to the numerous variables that can affect it, including the size of your wheels and tires, weather conditions, and your driving style.
To maximize your range, maintain an efficient driving pace. When driving on the highway, you’ll notice your range decrease a bit when going over 75 mph. It’s important to note that stop-and-go traffic tends to consume more battery power compared to highway driving. Additionally, rapidly accelerating and consuming bursts of energy will lead to a quicker decrease in your range. Opting for smaller wheels can make a significant difference, especially if you drive a lot and prioritize maximizing your range.
It’s also important to note that routinely changing your air filters will not only keep your cabin air clean, it also keeps it from getting clogged which adds more strain on the system and uses more energy to get the job done.
‘Phantom drain’ may also be impacting your range. This means software features like Sentry Mode can drain the battery when it’s just sitting there. Constantly checking the app will use battery to ‘wake it up’ each time too.
Weather affects range too. Cold tends to drain the battery more than heat. Driving in rain or wind causes more drag, which in turn uses more energy.
Tesla provides an energy consumption chart on the touchscreen, allowing you to monitor what factors are affecting your range. It’ll even show you a forecast of your expected range based on your driving habits. Once again, it’s crucial to remember that range is an estimated value due to its susceptibility to external influences. Consequently, I recommend maintaining a buffer of 50 to 75 miles when planning your journeys.
This uses a 120-volt power source and is quite slow at 2-4 miles per hour. It’s suitable for overnight trickle charging or in emergencies.
Operating at 240 volts, it’s used for everyday home charging, often with a Tesla Wall Connector. Charging speeds range from 15-65 miles per hour.
Also known as DC Fast Charging or Supercharging, it runs on 480 volts and cannot be installed at home due to its high energy demand. It offers rapid charging at 600-1,000 miles per hour and typically takes around 15 minutes for a full charge.
Autopilot & Driving
All Tesla vehicles have some sort of Autopilot variation. It’s always being updated, but currently in 2023, we have Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot (EAP), and Full Self Driving (FSD) options. Autopilot comes with the car purchase, and it’s features include keeping the car in the lane and slowing down and speeding up with traffic in front of them. It’s very similar to other newer cars’ traffic aware cruise control.
Enhanced Autopilot is a $6,000 upgrade, and it features ‘auto lane change’, which along with doing the AP basic features, it’ll change lanes for you, positioning your car “in the optimal lane to prepare for merges and exits while overtaking slow cars,” Tesla says. It features auto park as well, which allows you to park in parallel and perpendicular parking spaces with a button tap on the touchscreen. Lastly, smart summon is a pretty neat feature. You can use the app to ‘summon’ your parked car to you, as it abides by regular traffic rules to keep your vehicle safe.
Full Self Driving is a $12,000 upgrade, and it features everything mentioned before and more. This feature has ‘traffic light and stop sign control’ that slows down and stops for traffic lights/stop signs that are detected when FSD is engaged. It does have a specific “FSD computer” which means the UI is incredible. “Tesla-designed silicon optimized for computer vision enables detailed, onscreen environment visualization and eventual Full Self-Driving Capability through over-the-air software updates,” is how Tesla describes it. FSD will basically take you from point A to point B with only you having to pay attention to it. It is in beta mode, so don’t be discouraged if there are a few hiccups. For the most part, it does a great job, and Tesla is constantly working to add new updates and fix bugs.
Tesla provides several warranty options for their vehicles:
- Basic Vehicle Limited Warranty: Covers manufacturing defects for 4 years or 50,000 miles, excluding normal wear and tear items like tires, air filters, and brake pads.
- Supplemental Restraint System Limited Warranty: Lasts 5 years or 60,000 miles, covering seat belts and airbags.
- Battery and Drive Unit Limited Warranty: Protects against defects for 8 years or 100,000-150,000 miles, depending on the model. The battery capacity must be lower than 70% for a replacement, except for some older Model S and X vehicles.
Tesla offers an Extended Service Agreement (ESA) to extend certain warranty coverage for up to 2 years or 25,000 miles, but it doesn’t include the battery and drive unit warranty. Eligibility expires once the Basic Vehicle Limited Warranty ends.
Used Tesla vehicles receive coverage under the remaining Basic Vehicle Limited Warranty, with additional protection of 1 year or 10,000 miles through the Used Vehicle Limited Warranty.
Routine maintenance, such as service every 2 years or 25,000 miles, is recommended. Wheel alignment, rotation, and tire maintenance are vital due to the weight of Tesla vehicles, which can cause inner tire wear. Regular air filter replacement ensures good cabin air quality.
To avoid scratches and swirl marks, it’s essential to clean your Tesla carefully using the appropriate products and techniques. As Tesla owners, keeping our cars clean is a priority, but it can be confusing with various washing methods available. To minimize the risk of scratching your Tesla, follow these essential tips:
- Use the two-bucket method, one for washing and one for rinsing, to prevent cross-contamination of the wash mitt. Consider using a grit guard to trap dirt in the wash bucket.
- Wash your car in straight lines instead of circular motions when using your wash mitt to avoid swirls and scratches.
- Be gentle and avoid using excessive force when washing. Simply gliding the wash mitt across the paint is sufficient.
- After washing, make sure to dry your car thoroughly to prevent water spots.
- Start washing from the top of the car and work your way down, saving dirtier areas like rockers and bumpers for last to avoid contamination.
Protecting Your Tesla
Applying protective measures early on will not only safeguard your Tesla for the long term, but also help maintain its resale value if you choose to sell it in the future.
Paint Protection Film
Paint Protection Film (PPF) is a sacrificial polyurethane film installed over a Tesla’s body to shield it from on-road impacts and environmental damage. This includes protection against bird droppings, bugs, UV rays, and other potential blemishes. The aim is to keep the car’s paint in a pristine condition, preventing rock chips, scratches, and other imperfections. PPF features self-healing properties and hydrophobic characteristics as well. PPF can be matte, clear, or more recently, color.
It’s recommended to cover critical areas like the front bumper, fenders, hood, headlights, and mirrors, known as a ‘front package.’ PPF can also be used on other vehicle parts, including interior areas.
PPF can be installed in bulk or using templates, depending on the area and requirements. PPF usually does not cover all edges, which is normal to prevent peeling. While professional installation requires skill and experience, DIY PPF kits are available with pre-cut pieces and instructions. These kits are suitable for new or minimally damaged cars. Our kits in particular include step by step video guides, all the items needed, and pre-cut pieces designed with beginners in mind, so everyone can protect their Tesla.
Ceramic coating is a versatile option, allowing you to protect not only your car’s exterior paint, but also your rims, seats, and the windshield. It adds a layer of UV protection, a glossy finish, and hydrophobic properties. While it doesn’t safeguard against scratches and rock chips, it does make it easier to clean and maintain your car’s shine. PPF is equipped for scratch and rock protection, and you can put ceramic coating on top of PPF for an ultra hydrophobic and protective layer. Combining both methods can provide comprehensive coverage for your vehicle’s various surfaces. Consider your needs and budget before making a choice.
Customizing Your Tesla
As Tesla sales are on the rise, there is a growing number of Teslas on the road. While this is fantastic, it’s also becoming challenging to distinguish your Tesla from the rest. Fortunately, there are ways to customize your Tesla, making it unique and turning heads.
Vinyl wrapping your Tesla offers a unique way to customize its appearance. The process typically takes 2-7 days, depending on complexity, and involves adhesive PVC vinyl. Options include satin, matte, glossy, textured, color flip, and patterns from brands like 3M, Avery Dennison, Inozetek, and more, offering a wide range of colors.
Vinyl wrapping is ideal for well-maintained OEM paint, as it provides a flexible way to change colors. The visible edges of the car are wrapped, and interior door sills will have additional costs. Wraps generally last 5-7 years with proper care and will not damage your OEM paint when removed. When removing the wrap, heat or steam helps reduce tension between the adhesive and the paint.
It’s lease-friendly, but check with your DMV for color change reporting requirements. Frequent washing is essential to prevent stains and damage. Costs vary from $3,000 to $12,000, depending on factors like vinyl type, labor, and shop location. DIY vinyl wrapping is an option too, and we offer plenty of DIY wrap kits at TESBROS, such as the popular Chrome Delete and Pillar Delete.
Car window tint comes in various types, such as dyed, metalized, hybrid, carbon, ceramic, and crystalline. They offer unique benefits like UV protection, glare reduction, and heat rejection. The percentage of visible light transmitted (VLT), total solar energy rejected (TSER), and protection against UV and IR rays are essential factors to consider.
It’s best to tint most side windows and the rear windshield for optimal protection, but state regulations on tint percentages may vary. High-quality tint can last a lifetime and often comes with a warranty against bubbling and purpling. Lower quality tint may bubble and turn purple over time due to heat exposure.
The cost of window tinting varies based on the tint type and location. Reputable shops charge between $400 to $1200 for high-quality options like ceramic, while premium choices like 3M Crystalline can cost over $1000. It’s vital to discuss installation practices with the tint installer.
Window tint installation includes cleaning, heat shrinking, and inside installation. DIY tinting is discouraged due to the learning curve and the complexity of working on Tesla vehicles with extensive electronics. Trusted tint brands include 3M, Llumar, Xpel, and SunTek.
Window tinting offers benefits like UV protection, glare reduction, heat blocking, interior preservation, enhanced vehicle appearance, and increased privacy.
So, What’s Next?
We hope you’ve gained valuable insights into making the most of your Tesla journey. It’s not just about owning a car; it’s a lifestyle, a commitment to sustainability, and a thrilling adventure into the future of transportation.
Remember, what truly sets Tesla ownership apart is the incredible community that accompanies it. Sharing stories, knowledge, and a passion for all things Tesla is what makes this journey even more remarkable. If you haven’t already joined our community, now is the perfect time.
Connect with like-minded Tesla enthusiasts, access expert advice, and embark on an electrifying journey together via Facebook Groups. There are almost always groups to join in your area that are meant to help each other out, show off mods, and plan meet ups.
Let’s charge forward together into a brighter, cleaner, and more exhilarating tomorrow. The road ahead is boundless, and your Tesla adventure has only just begun!