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6 tips to prepare your Tesla for winter and cold conditions

Your Tesla doesn’t have to be stuck in the garage all winter.

tesla badge on rear of model 3
Image: Kevin Raposo / KnowTechie

As long as the world keeps spinning, winter will always come. If you purchased your Tesla during one of the sunnier seasons and haven’t yet experienced any icy conditions, you may want to prepare yourself—and your vehicle.

Winter itself shouldn’t come as a surprise but when the frost strikes, your Tesla may not behave completely as expected.

Are you and your vehicle ready to face extreme Arctic conditions? Let’s discuss how you can prepare your Tesla for winter and avoid moments of frosty frustration.

1. Equip your Tesla with winter tires

tesla winter tire package
Image: KnowTechie

If your town turns into a frozen tundra during winter, you’d be wise to dress your Tesla in the appropriate tire wear. Winter tires use specialized rubber designed to stay soft and grippy in cold weather.

Whereas regular tires can become hardened in extreme cold and leave your Tesla sliding across the ice like an uncontrolled hockey puck.

During winter, you should also ensure that your tires maintain the correct pressure. In cold conditions, tire pressure will drop, and you’ll need to add a little more air. Your Tesla, however, should warn you whenever an issue arises.

2. Keep your Tesla plugged in when possible

tesla charging at house
Image: Unsplash

When not in use, you should leave your Tesla plugged in and charging whenever possible. Doing so allows your vehicle to retain heat via the charging system rather than draining the battery.

Also, you’ll get more range during the colder months if you precondition your Tesla while it’s connected to power.

3. Preheat your Tesla

tesla app for defrosting car
Image: KnowTechie

On particularly frigid days, you can use the Tesla mobile app to initiate your vehicle’s precondition and defrost modes. Once preheating completes, most snow and ice from the windows and windshield should’ve melted away.

Here’s how to warm and defrost your Tesla using the mobile app:

  1. Launch the Tesla app

  2. Tap Climate

  3. Tap Turn On

  4. Tap Defrost Car

If you know the exact moment you’ll need to use your Tesla, you can utilize the scheduled departure tool to precondition your vehicle and have it ready to drive at a specified time.

You can configure the feature under the climate control settings on your touchscreen.

4. Set wipers to service mode

tesla wiper service mode
Image: Tesla Model 3 Fan / Twitter

To avoid having your wipers freeze in place, you should set them to service mode when you’re done driving.

You can activate this feature by going to Controls > Service > Wiper Service Mode on your touchscreen and switching the setting on.

5. Disable auto-fold for mirrors

tesla side mirrors
Image: Unsplash

Your Tesla’s side mirrors are another moveable component that could get frozen in place on an icy day. Therefore, when you’re expecting a freeze, you should disable the mirror auto-fold feature.

If you have a model S or X, you’ll find the setting in Controls > Vehicle > Mirror Auto-Fold. For a Model 3 or Y, you’ll need to navigate to Controls > Quick Controls > Mirrors > Mirror Auto-Fold.

6. Unfreeze stuck door handles

tesla frozen door handle
Image: CarsGuide

Frozen door handles can be a major issue when a big freeze hits. While using the defrost feature will remove some ice, your doors may remain stuck on super-frosty days.

Fortunately, Tesla has an official solution to the problem. If winter freezes your door shut, you should “bump the handle with the end of your fist until the ice is broken”. In short, you should punch your door until it stops being frozen. Sometimes violence is the answer.

Are you and your Tesla ready for winter?

In most situations, a preconditioned Tesla with a good set of winter tires should be able to handle chilly temperatures and icy terrain.

Ideally, you should park your vehicle under cover whenever possible to avoid most of the pitfalls that can accompany a cold day.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Matt is an Australian writer with a degree in creative and critical writing. Prior to commencing his studies, he worked in tech support and gained valuable insights into technology and its users. He is also an editor and author coach at Dean Publishing.

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