Here’s the thing. Tesla and cold don’t go well together. So here’s some tips and tricks on how you can get the most out of your range during the winter.
1. Snowflake Icon
When your car battery is too cold, a snowflake icon will appear. Battery power and regen 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
Make sure your car is plugged in, then tap charging, and schedule the departure time. The car will then schedule charging to complete before you leave to reduce energy consumption and cost. It also automatically starts climate control so the cabin is nice and cozy. These features can be enabled for certain days of the week as well.
3. Plug it in, plug it in
Leave your Tesla plugged in when it’s not in use. 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 often. So get off your phone and sip a little hot cocoa.
5. Stop Driving So Fast
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. Oh S(no)w!
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.
8. Washer Fluid
Use windshield washer fluid rated for cold temperatures. This will keep your windshield clear and free of ice.
9. Wipers Up
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.
10. Frozen Windows
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 lots more money.
11. Frozen Door Handles
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, but if they are frozen, make sure you don’t have anything on your sleeves that can scratch the surface, then bump the handle with the end of your fist in a circular motion until the ice is broken and the door handle moves.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. Sensor Alert
Make sure you clear autopilot sensors and cameras of snow, ice, mud and dirt before driving. You may lose cruise control if they are covered or iced over.
15. Tire Pressure
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.