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Everything you learn as a new Tesla owner in winter

Last modified: 2023-01-19

9 min(s) read

Regen is often restricted when starting the car from cold (you will see dashed lines like below)

Solution: The car will give you more regen the warmer it is, after 10-15 minutes of driving it will be back to normal. How to avoid: If it’s important, plan your charge to end near the time you need to use the car.

Max power is often restricted when starting the car from cold

Solution: The car performance will increase once the vehicle has warmed up How to avoid: If it’s important, plan your charge to end near the time you need to use the car.

Your max range is reduced & even though the car warns you that it’s critically low…

How to avoid: Always have 2 backup locations for charging if your journey is important / start with a full and warm battery (see above) / turn on range mode / if in doubt slow down!

…You still get people that ignore the advice, come back to a dead battery hours/days later and blame Tesla for it… ????

And even though Tesla will tow you to a charger, they won’t do it for free if you’ve ignored the advice on the screen.

More info

You start to see others swapping to winter tyres and start to consider your options

  • £35 for 2 tyre totes
  • Tyres vary but many keep a spare set of wheels with winter tyres on
  • Read more about tyres

Tyre pressures start to drop and people question what they should do… Ummm have you tried pumping them up!?

You should be checking your tyre pressures every few weeks anyway but when the temperature drops your tyre pressures will as well!

You start racing your neighbour’s ICE to defrost

…& you enjoy watching the snow melt from the rear screen as you’ve pressed the ‘Defrost’ button

Solution: Click ‘Defrost Car’ button on the app, double press the heat windowscreen button for max demisting! / Preheat for longer / park in the sun

Those with the winter pack start to show off and talk about how lovely the heated steering wheel actually is

You start to get garage envy…

You realise you need to start cleaning all your cameras and sensors…

Solution: Before starting a trip give the camera lens a quick wipe with a cloth or more likely your finger and a bit of saliva / the same is true for snow around AP cameras and sensors How to avoid: Use a special glass cleaner on the glass (this will reduce the dirt sticking to the lens) – Learn how to clean your Tesla

You realise some people really love winter tyres and really love banging on about them…

Why? Better handling, steering control and braking in Wet OR/AND Cold (sub 7°C) conditions. Still fine to use to around 15-18°C without massive issues. Often swapped to in the UK by owners between the months of Nov – Mar.

…Yet some people say they’re a waste of time and money…

… others will remind you it doesn’t really matter as some idiot may still ram you off the road OR your inability to drive in the conditions will whether you’ve got winter tyres or not!

You notice these new icons you’ve never seen before in the app

Windscreen heating (left), heated seats (centre) and preheating the battery (right). You don’t have to leave them on to make them come on with the app, the car just decides to do it as it pleases. I’ve tested, my seat has definitely been warm when I haven’t left it on.

You start to despise your kids and dogs for being so dirty ????

Solution: Get your seats covered, get the backs of your seats wrapped in clear vinyl and/or sell your children and dogs How to avoid: Buy the all-weather winter mats

The blue snowflake icon, green regen icon or yellow tortoise appears for the first time 

Solution: Pre-heat the car before long trips with the car plugged in. Be careful when the green regen icon appears as it can catch you out when you have limited/no regen braking! 

Your car becomes ridiculously filthy outside as well

Solution: Ceramic coating time / How to properly clean your Tesla

And although cleaning it is satisfying…

Learn how to properly clean your Tesla

If you’re not careful, the snowfoam can freeze…

Solution: Outdoor hot water tap to mix warm water

…but you quickly realise there are definitely two types of Tesla owners, those that clean their car weekly and those that do it twice a year ? so it’s OK either way

You notice supercharging can take longer as you’ve got a cold battery…

But once the battery warms up the charging rate will increase

Solution: Arrive at a supercharger with a warm battery | Get a home charger so you don’t need to rely on superchargers

Your windscreen can quickly mist up if you press the wrong button or have your car set to Auto / AC on and/or recirculate air

Solution: Double press the heat windscreen button for max demisting! Use the A/C to dry the Air, with full heat & fast blower! Also do this BEFORE you get in the car on cold/wet days.

You notice the glass sometimes shows a pretty colour and the AP camera enclosures/dash cameras keep the glass warm overnight

You get a little frustrated by small issues like frozen door handles…

Solution: The Model S door handle motors are actually quite strong [video] or you can bang them but if they do get stuck have some room temperature water to hand to pour over the handles. On Model Y/3 there is a button you can add to the quick shortcuts on the app to force the front door open.
How to avoid: Park where the sun shines in the morning, preheat the car for longer (best bet is 20-30mins) and/or buy a bigger house with a fancy garage

…but realise punching the door handle (at least for Y/3) is actually a legit way of opening as per the manual (although preheating the car for 20+ mins is far easier and makes you look less insane to your neighbours)…

Failing that on Model Y/3 there is a button you can add to the quick shortcuts on the app to force the front door open, but preheating the car for longer is likely easiest method

…, frozen windows and door mirrors can be fun…

Solution: Turn on the rear window defroster (it also does the mirrors) but most likely they will open unless they’re completely covered in ice, but if they do get stuck have some room temperature water to hand to pour over the windows/mirrors etc.
How to avoid: Preheat the car for longer (20-30 mins), turn off auto folding mirrors the night before and/or park in the sun. Make a new Drivers Profile for Winter and one of the things is to stop the Mirrors Autofolding so you do not get them frozen in the wrong position.

… snow-covered autopilot sensors

Solution: Wipe the space to the right of the number plate (facelift as you’re looking at the car from the outside/front) or the AP sensor (Pre-Facelift). Also, remove dirt and snow from the parking sensors at the same time. Be careful not to scratch the paint! How to avoid: Ceramic coatings will help with this (snow less likely to stick to car) OR a fresh application of wax will also help (this is also good for bug markings in summer).

…. frozen windscreen fluid can happen even after driving for a few hours because there is no hot engine warming things up 

Solution: Buy this and barely mix it in winter

You start to get bored of posting this GIF when someone complains about range or anything from above…

Yet once Winter is over you realise it was all pretty easy and it’s time to plan a trip to somewhere really cold like Norway!

Learn more about Tesla driving in Norway

Do you have the expertise? Share your knowledge!

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Therefore, be careful and check with Tesla if unsure. Also any modifications will most likely need to be OK’d with your car insurance company.

To the best of our knowledge, these guides are correct and factual. However we take no responsibility if something does go wrong.

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