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Teslas don’t like cold weather very much, but they still perform well and have been getting better with newer updates. Here are some tips and tricks on how you can get the most out of your range during the winter and have a toasty commute to work.

1. Snowflake Icon ❄️

When your car battery is too cold, a snowflake icon will appear. Battery power and regenerative braking will be limited while this icon is on. Once you drive for a few minutes, the icon will go away. It’s a good idea to precondition your car by using the Tesla app before you drive, so your battery power and regen braking are normal. 

2. Scheduled Departure & Defrost

In your Tesla app, tap “Schedule”, “Departure” and set your time you normally leave in the morning. Then set “Precondition” to on to make sure your car is preconditioned before you leave every morning. It also automatically starts climate control so the cabin is nice and cozy. You can also schedule charging to complete before you leave to reduce energy consumption and cost.  These features can be enabled for certain days of the week as well.

Even if you don’t schedule, you can always defrost your Tesla at any time (App>Climate>Defrost Car), which will blast the heat and defrosters around the car. You can even turn on your seat warmers from there. It may eat up some of your range by doing this, but your drive won’t be hindered by a cold battery, so it somewhat evens out.

3. Plug it in, plug it in

Leave your Tesla plugged in when it’s not in use if possible. This helps your battery retain the heat it needs to operate efficiently, conserve energy and support regen braking.

4. Get Off The App

When you check on your car with the Tesla app, your car uses energy to wake itself up from sleep mode. During the winter, try not to check the Tesla app too often to save that range.

5. Need for Speed?

In all Tesla models, enabling Chill Mode helps conserve energy by limiting the power of the acceleration (controls>driving>acceleration>chill). During the winter, drive at moderate speeds and limit frequent and rapid acceleration. So, avoid doing 0-60 if you can.

6. Heater Use 

Once your cabin is heated, lower the cabin temperature and use your seat heaters instead. This will conserve energy and improve range. 

7. Tires 

If you frequently drive in snow, install winter tires for better performance and control when driving. You can purchase them from Tesla, but for a cheaper deal, there are plenty of manufacturers that sell tires that are just as good such as the Michelin X-ice XI3.

As the temp drops, so does the air pressure in your tires. There is a sticker on the inside of the driver’s door with the recommended tire pressure in the winter. Tesla typically recommends between 42 and 45 psi. Keeping that at the correct psi will further your range. 

8. Washer Fluid & Wipers 

Use windshield washer fluid rated for cold temperatures. This will keep your windshield clear and free of ice. 

When you’re expecting snow or ice overnight or whenever you may leave your car in the elements for a while, put your wipers in service position (controls>service>wiper service mode). This will make it much easier to scrape your windshield in the morning. 

9. Frozen Windows & Door Handles 

The Model 3’s door windows are frameless, making it a little weaker and can be a problem in freezing weather. You can apply a rubber seal protectant such as the brand 303, WD40 or 3M to prevent it from getting stuck. You just need to clean the rubber first, and apply, focusing on the parts that touch the windows. If you’re not a DIY-er, Tesla also offers an anti-ice window coating treatment to help break ice buildup on windows. It just costs more money.

You can apply the same product you used for your windows to the crevices of your door handles to try to prevent as much ice buildup in them. If they are frozen shut, Tesla has a cool feature where you can open the driver door without using the handle. Go to your app, hold down one of the icons below the car and “customize controls” should pop up. Press “unlatch door” and the driver door should open. If the car is still too frozen to open, bump the handle with the end of your fist in a circular motion until the ice is broken and the door handle moves. And if that doesn’t work, I’ve found that pouring cold water over the handle helps loosen the ice. 

10. Turn Off Mirror Auto Fold

Deactivate the mirror auto fold in your controls settings (quick controls>under adjustments, touch mirrors>mirror auto fold).  If the ice and snow builds up around the mirror, the gears in the mirror may break as it’s trying to open and can’t. If your mirrors are already frozen, you should defrost them, then manually open and close your mirrors to restore mirror auto fold.

11. Frozen Port 

If you have an older Tesla, your charging port doesn’t have a defrosting capability. A quick fix is to put a hand warmer into the port for about 5-10 minutes.

12. Sensor Alert

Make sure you clear autopilot sensors and cameras of snow, ice, mud, and dirt before driving. You may lose AP, FSD, or parking sensors if they are covered or iced over.

Winter can be rough on your Tesla. Clean it up with some of our top cleaning products, and accessorize to protect from the winter weather.