Towing and Accessories
Carrying Capacity- Accessories
The towing package allows you to tow a trailer or carry an accessory (bicycles, skis, snowboards, etc.) with your Model 3.
The tow package includes a weight-carrying hitch with a 50 mm ball coupling that can support an accessory carrier. When carrying accessories, the ball coupling is designed to support vertical loads of up to 55 kg. When carrying bicycles or other items on the Model 3 hitch, always check to ensure that the maximum weight is not exceeded. Maximum weight capacity for the tow hitch depends on the number of occupants in the vehicle:
|18 or 19" Tires
Five occupants in the vehicle.
Two or fewer rear occupants in the vehicle.
When calculating weight, remember to include the weight of the accessory carrier.
Non-Tesla Approved Accessory Carriers
In addition to calculating the weight, it is important to ensure your accessory's overall load does not exceed the specified weight and distance from the ball on the hitch. This distance is calculated based on the center of gravity of the accessory carrier and the items mounted to it. For non-Tesla approved carriers, measure the vertical and horizontal distances from the ball on the tow hitch to the accessory's center of gravity.
Installing and Using a Carrier
To install and use an accessory carrier, the tow hitch must be connected (see Connecting the Tow Hitch). Then, follow the instructions provided by your accessory carrier. Observe all regulations and legal requirements in your state or region that apply to carrying accessories.
The Model 3 towing package includes the wiring necessary for using an accessory carrier equipped with lights (see Electrical Connections). The package also includes Trailer Mode software compatibility (see Trailer Mode).
Carrying Capacity- Trailer Towing
|Maximum Tongue Weight
Refer to the Certificate of Conformity (provided at the time of your vehicle's purchase), statutory plate (see Vehicle Loading) or tow hitch label for the total trailer weight—including all cargo and additional equipment—and the trailer tongue weight Model 3 can safely carry. The tongue weight is the downward force that the weight of the trailer exerts on the hitch. It must be at least 4% of the total trailer load. The maximum tongue weight (or technically permissible mass at the coupling point) is 100 kg. Carrying a significant amount of equipment, passengers, or cargo in the tow vehicle can reduce the tongue weight it can handle, which also reduces the maximum towing capacity. Maximum towing capacity is calculated assuming the TPMLM (Technically Permissible Maximum Laden Mass) is not exceeded (See Vehicle Loading).
Tire Pressures when Towing
When towing a trailer, tire pressures must be adjusted to accommodate the additional load. 18" or 19" tires are acceptable to use for towing. Keep tires inflated to the pressures shown below (if different, these pressures override the pressures that are provided on the Tire and Loading information label):
|Cold Tire Inflation Pressure
|42 psi (290 kPa)
|42 psi (290 kPa)
Before Towing a Trailer
Before towing a trailer, you must do the following:
- Inflate tires to the cold tire inflation pressure specified in Tire Care and Maintenance.
- Observe all regulations and legal requirements that apply to trailer towing. Failure to comply with regulations can compromise your safety.
- Adjust side mirrors to provide a clear rear view without a significant blind spot.
- Engage Trailer Mode (see Trailer Mode ).
Confirm the following:
- Model 3 rests horizontally with the trailer attached. If the vehicle is tipped up at the front, and down at the rear, check that you are not exceeding the maximum towing capacity and tongue loads provided in Carrying Capacity- Trailer Towing.
- All trailer hitch parts and attachments, safety chains, and electrical connectors (including reverse and fog lights, if equipped) are in good condition and are properly connected. If any problems are apparent, do not tow the trailer.
- Trailer lights (brake lights, turn signal lights, and marker lights) are working properly.NoteIf Model 3 is in Trailer Mode or has detected a connection for trailer lights, and Model 3 detects an electrical fault in the trailer turn signals, the turn signals for the affected side(s) will flash faster than normal.(see Trailer Mode).
- The trailer tongue is securely connected to the hitch ball.
- Safety chains are properly connected between the trailer and the tow vehicle. Cross the safety chains under the tongue of the trailer to help prevent the tongue from contacting the road if it separates from the hitch. Leave enough slack in the safety chains to allow for turns and ensure that the chains do not drag on the ground.
- All cargo is secured.
- Wheel chocks are available.
- The trailer load is evenly distributed such that the trailer tongue weight is approximately 4-10% of the total trailer weight, without exceeding the maximum tongue weights provided in Carrying Capacity- Trailer Towing.CAUTIONLoads that are balanced over the wheels or heavier in the rear can cause trailer sway, resulting in loss of vehicle control.
Model 3 is designed primarily as a passenger-carrying vehicle. Towing a trailer puts additional load on the motor(s), drive train, brakes, tires, and suspension and significantly decreases range. If you decide to tow a trailer, proceed with caution and follow these general guidelines:
- Reduce your driving speed and avoid sudden maneuvers. Keep in mind that when towing a trailer, steering, stability, turning radius, stopping distance and braking performance are different when compared to driving without a trailer.
- Increase your following distance by maintaining at least twice the distance from the vehicle ahead. This helps to avoid situations that require heavy braking. Sudden braking may result in skidding or jack-knifing, and loss of control.
- Avoid sharp turns. Sharp turns can cause the trailer to contact the vehicle and cause damage. Keep in mind that the trailer wheels are closer to the inside of the turn than the vehicle’s wheels. Therefore, make wider turns to prevent the trailer from hitting curbs, road signs, trees or other objects.
- Periodically check the trailer lights and turn signals to confirm that the bulbs are still working.
- Periodically confirm the cargo is secure.
- Avoid parking on a grade (see Parking with a Trailer).
- Regularly confirm that all towing components are securely tightened.
Trailer Mode must always be active when towing a trailer. When you connect a trailer's electrical connection while the vehicle is in Park, Model 3 automatically engages Trailer Mode. When you disconnect the trailer's electrical connection, Trailer Mode does not disengage automatically. To manually engage or disengage Trailer Mode, touch on the touchscreen. One of the following indicators display on the touchscreen:
If Model 3 is in Trailer Mode or has detected a connection for trailer lights, and the vehicle detects an electrical fault in the trailer turn signals, the turn signals for the affected side(s) will flash faster than normal. If you are finished towing and have disconnected the trailer electrical connector, the turn signals will flash faster than normal and the red trailer indicator will display on the touchscreen until Trailer Mode has been manually disengaged.
Some Autopilot features, as well as rear parking sensor functionality, may not be available when Trailer Mode is enabled. In addition, these features operate differently:
- Traffic-Aware Cruise Control increases the following distance from the vehicle in front of you.
- Side collision warnings are active but automatic steering interventions are disabled.
- The braking force provided by Automatic Emergency Braking (see Collision Avoidance Assist) may be limited.
Parking with a Trailer
Whenever possible, avoid parking on a grade. However, if parking on a grade is absolutely necessary, place wheel chocks under the trailer wheels. Consider having someone help you with these steps:
- One person presses and holds the brake pedal.
- A second person places the wheel chocks under the wheels on the downgrade side of the vehicle's tires.
- When the chocks are in place, release the brake pedal and ensure the chocks hold the weight of the vehicle and trailer.NoteWhen testing chocks, ensure that Vehicle Hold (see Vehicle Hold) is not engaged. If Vehicle Hold is braking Model 3, the Vehicle Hold indicator light displays on the touchscreen. To disengage Vehicle Hold, press and release the brake pedal.
- Place the vehicle in Park.
Connecting the Tow Hitch
The Model 3 towing package includes a weight-carrying hitch with a 50 mm ball coupling. When not in use, the hitch should be removed and stored in a dry location to prevent rust and corrosion. Keep the dust cover over the hitch housing to prevent dirt and debris from entering.
To install the trailer hitch:
- Remove the dust cover from the hitch housing by inserting a small object, such as a flat screwdriver, into the push clips on each side of the dust cover. Turn the push clips until they are in an unclasped position, take them out, and remove the dust cover.
- Insert the key into the locking cylinder on the hitch, and turn the cylinder so the top of the key is aligned with the “Open” position.
- Pull the locking cylinder out of the adapter approximately 0.5 cm, and turn clockwise until the Unlock icon is fixated at the top of the locking cylinder.CAUTIONBe careful when turning the locking cylinder. If it does not lock into the "Open" position, it automatically retracts into its original "Closed" position and can pinch your fingers.
- Firmly grasp the hitch from the bottom and align with the corresponding cutouts in the hitch housing.NoteDo not grasp the locking cylinder because it needs to rotate freely.
- Push the hitch into the hitch housing until the locking cylinder quickly rotates counter-clockwise and automatically locks into the "Closed" position.
- Check to confirm that the hitch is fully inserted into the housing by pulling down on the hitch. The hitch should not drop when you pull down.NoteIf the hitch does not lock into the housing, it falls out when you pull down on the hitch.
- Turn the key so the arrows align with the Lock icon on the locking cylinder.
- Remove the key and store it in a safe place (preferably inside the vehicle).NoteThe key can be removed only if the hitch is locked. This indicates a proper connection. Do not use the hitch if the key is not removed.NoteTesla recommends making a note of the key code. You need this key code if you lose the keys and need to order a replacement.NoteThe trailer hitch is attached to the body of the vehicle with 6 bolts.
Disconnecting the Tow Hitch
After towing, remove the hitch:
- Insert the key and turn to align the top of the key with the Unlock icon.
- While firmly holding the bottom of the hitch (to prevent it from dropping to the ground), pull the locking cylinder out approximately 0.5 cm, and turn it clockwise until the Lock icon shifts to the top. At this point, the locking cylinder is unlocked in the "Open" position and the hitch drops out of the housing.WarningBe careful when turning the locking cylinder. If it does not lock into the "Open" position, it automatically retracts into its original "Closed" position and can pinch your fingers.
- Reinstall the dust cover on the hitch housing to prevent dirt from accumulating inside the housing by snapping in the push clips.
- Close the dust cover on the hitch's locking cylinder and store the hitch in a secure location.NoteTo maintain the hitch, regularly grease its surface with non-resinous grease.
Regulations require all trailers to be equipped with tail lights, brake lights, side marker lights, and turn signals. To provide power for trailer lighting, a built-in 13-pin wiring connector is provided near the hitch support's wiring plugs for most types of trailers. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that all electrical connections are working and all trailer lights are operating before and during towing. You must perform manual checks.
- Left Turn Signal
- Rear Fog
- Ground for pins 1-8
- Right Turn Signal
- Right Tail Signal
- Stop Lamps
- Left Tail Lamp
- Reverse Lamps
All pins have low voltage power. Loss of trailer lights when towing may be the result of a blown fuse. Model 3 does not provide a warning if the fuse is blown. Contact Tesla Service.
Impact on Range
Towing a trailer increases vehicle weight and drag. As a result, driving range can decrease significantly. Although Trip Planner attempts to adjust estimates based on Trailer Mode, actual energy consumption may vary. Plan trip length and charging destinations accordingly.