Winter Driving
In snow.JPG

Cold Weather Tips for your Tesla Model 3


Winter Driving

As you prepare to drive your Tesla during winter, read these tips on range, storage and winter tires, to ensure the best possible ownership experience during the colder months.

Driving and Range
It is normal to see increased range consumption during colder months. Tesla cars are most efficient when their systems are operating at an optimal warm temperature. In colder months, when ambient temperatures are lower, more energy is required to maintain an optimal temperature, but Tesla cars offer many useful features to help mitigate decreased range.

Ready to Go

  • Tap ‘Climate’ in the Tesla app to precondition your car and improve performance. Your cabin will maintain a set temperature if your battery is above 20 percent. You can also turn on, off, or adjust any of your seat heaters and, if available in your car, your steering wheel heater.


On the Road

  • After preconditioning your car, turn on Range Mode in Model S or Model X to limit power used by your climate control. This will decrease energy used per mile and maintain range.

  • Distribute heat more efficiently by using heated seats instead of the cabin heater.


When You Park

  • Charge your car when not in use at the end of the day. This will warm its systems from charging, rather than from your battery.


Your car uses energy to maintain an optimal battery temperature. If you leave your car for an extended period of time, plug it in to prevent normal range loss. This will also ensure that you return to a fully charged car. Your car is safe to leave plugged in for any length of time. Due to advanced diagnostics, the car is smart enough to protect itself from overcharging when left plugged in.

If you are unable to leave your car plugged in, increase your charge limit to 100 percent and fully charge your car. Keep in mind an unplugged Tesla loses approximately one percent of its range per day. Please refer to the ‘Battery Information’ section in your Owner’s Manual for additional details or review our Roadside Assistance policy for more information.

When not in use, Tesla cars automatically enter sleep mode to conserve range and energy. If you check your car via the Tesla app it will wake up and start normal energy consumption until it returns to sleep mode. You can avoid unintentional energy consumption by minimizing the amount of times you check your car via the app.

Additional Information


Winter Tires

  • You can purchase winter tires from Tesla Service or online from the Tesla Shop.


Wipers and Mirrors

  • To prevent icing, add appropriate screen wash to washer fluid. To make wiper blades easy to access so you can remove any ice and snow, touch Controls > Service > Wiper Service Mode on your car’s touchscreen to move the wipers to the service position.

  • If your car has heated mirrors, turn on the rear glass defroster to defrost them.


Windows and Doors

  • At very low temperatures, ice build-up can make it more difficult to open a door.

  • Pull the door handle slightly to let the door unlatch and drop the window glass, then pull the door open.

  • Precondition your car using the Tesla app to help melt ice around doors and windows.


Regenerative Braking

  • Regenerative braking may be limited if the battery temperature is too cold.

  • In extremely cold temperatures, “Regenerative Braking Disabled” may appear until the battery is warm enough.



  • In cold weather, charging rates may be reduced until the battery has warmed to the optimal temperature.

  • Model 3 – When you set mobile preconditioning to HI, the climate system will help thaw your charge port in freezing conditions.

    • To ensure optimal Autopilot performance, keep the sensors and radar on your car clear of snow, ice, mud and dirt.

    • You can use Rust-Oleum NeverWet Top Coat on the front fascia of your car to help prevent ice buildup on the radar sensors used by Autopilot.

      • Use Step 2 Top Coat only.

      • A hazy finish may be present after the coating is applied, but after ice resistance is no longer needed it can be easily wiped off.



Preconditioning in Cold Weather

Improve efficiency and performance in cold weather by preconditioning your car before you drive.

Mobile APP Preconditioning

Just tap “Climate” in the Tesla app and set your desired interior temperature. Your cabin will maintain that temperature as long as your battery is above 20%. The following features will automatically turn on for your convenience:

In cool temperatures -
Front seat heaters and any equipped cold weather features
Front and rear defrosters

In near-freezing temperatures -
Battery heating, which improves the following functions:

  • Stronger regenerative braking

  • Faster charge times

  • More powerful acceleration

When you return to the car, your climate settings will revert to your last driving preferences and your battery will continue to warm up as you drive.

Best Practices

You can precondition your Tesla anytime, anywhere—even in garages and other closed spaces. Here are a few best practices for improving your car’s performance in cold weather:

  • Precondition your car for approximately one hour to heat your battery before you plan to drive, especially in near freezing temperatures

  • Charge your car while preconditioning to reduce the amount of energy loss from your battery pack

  • Turn off Range Mode to avoid limiting the power available to precondition your car—even when charging

Setting a higher cabin temperature on the mobile app will not precondition your battery faster. Also, enabling “Max Battery Power” in performance cars will not precondition the car any faster, but will increase the maximum temperature your battery will operate at.