Winter Driving Tips
Your Tesla has several features designed specifically for cold temperatures. As winter approaches, learn which tips and features can enhance your cold weather driving experience.
Cold Weather Tips
It is normal to see increased energy consumption during colder months. To maximize range and efficiency in the cold, take extra steps to keep your battery warm and conserve energy.
Watch for the Snowflake Icon
When your battery is cold, a blue snowflake alert may appear next to your displayed range. This means some of the energy stored in your battery won’t be accessible until your battery heats up to a sufficient temperature. You may also notice that battery power and regenerative braking are limited. Once the battery is warmed, the snowflake will disappear. Charging, driving and preconditioning are all ways to warm your battery quicker.
Leave Your Tesla Plugged In
We always recommend leaving your Tesla plugged in when it’s not in use. This is especially helpful when it’s cold as staying connected helps your battery retain the heat it needs to operate efficiently and leverage regenerative braking.
Use Scheduled Departure or Precondition Before You Drive
If your Tesla is plugged in, you can conserve energy by warming it up before each trip. Use Scheduled Departure to add when to expect to leave so your car will be warmed and ready to go when you are. You can also preheat your car by activating preconditioning or defrost in the Tesla app.
- For scheduled departure, tap 'Charging' > 'Scheduled Departure' > 'Schedule' > 'Depart At.'
- To precondition, open the Tesla app and tap 'Climate' > 'Turn On.'
- In snowy conditions, use the defrost feature in your Tesla app.
Conserve Energy on the Road
In the winter time, reduce energy loss by driving conservatively and limiting energy use in the cabin. This helps with range and efficiency all year-round, but even more so during colder months.
- Activate range mode in Model S and Model X
- Drive at moderate speeds
- Limit frequent and rapid acceleration
- Once heated, lower the cabin temperature setting and use seat heaters for added warmth
Limit Checking the Tesla App
When you check your car via the Tesla app, your car uses energy to wake itself up from sleep mode. During the winter, it’s best to only check the app when necessary so that extra energy can be used on the road.
Snow and Ice Tips
When you're expecting icy conditions, these tips can help you store and drive your Tesla safely.
Reposition Wipers and Mirrors
If you’re expecting snow or ice buildup, prevent icing by placing your wipers in service position and deactivating mirror auto-fold.
- To put wipers in service position:
- 'Controls' > 'Service' > 'Wiper Service Mode' > 'On'
- To deactivate mirror auto fold:
- Model S and Model X: 'Controls' > 'Vehicle' > 'Mirror Auto-Fold'
- Model 3: 'Controls' > 'Quick Controls' > 'Mirrors' > 'Mirror Auto Fold'
Defrost Snow and Ice
In freezing conditions, use the defrost feature in your Tesla app to melt ice and snow away from important surfaces.
- To activate defrost, open the Tesla app and tap 'Climate' > icon.
Clear Important Surfaces
Before starting your drive, double-check that important surfaces aren't frozen or covered up.
- Frozen Door Handles, Mirrors and Windows
If your door handles are frozen, bump the handle with the end of your fist until the ice is broken. If your mirrors are frozen, manually open and close your mirrors to restore automatic mirror fold. If your windows are frozen, melt ice with the defrost feature in your Tesla app.
- Frozen Autopilot Sensors and Cameras
For optimal performance, clear autopilot sensors and cameras of snow, ice, mud and dirt. You can also prevent ice buildup by applying Rust-Oleum Never Wet Top Coat to the front fascia of your car. For more information, see ‘About Driver Assistance’ section of the owner’s manual.
- Frozen Charge Port
If your charge port is frozen, use the Tesla app to activate either preconditioning (on HI) or the defrost feature. A frozen charge port will allow AC charging at lower rates with a blinking amber indicator.
Winter Tires and Accessories
If you frequently drive on snowy roads, install winter tires for enhanced performance, safety and control. You can purchase winter tires in the Tesla online store or at a Tesla Service Center. Additional installation information is listed in the ‘Winter Tires’ section of your owner's manual.
Windshield Washer Fluid
Use washer fluid rated for cold temperatures. Topping up with fresh fluid will restore the ingredients that help keep your windshield clear and free of ice in cold temperatures.
Tire chains provide additional traction when driving in snowy or icy conditions. Check your local regulations to see if tire chains are recommended or required during winter months. You can purchase tire chains in the Tesla online store or at a Tesla Service Center. For more information, see the ‘Using Tire Chains’ section of your owner’s manual.
Anti-Ice Window Treatment
Tesla Service offers an anti-ice window coating to help break ice buildup on windows. This is a paid procedure that can be scheduled just like any other service appointment. If you’re interested, schedule a service appointment in the Tesla app.