Tesla Model 3 Owners & Service Manuals

Tesla Model 3: About Dashcam

Note: Dashcam is a BETA feature.

In addition to supporting Autopilot features, the cameras can record and store video footage on a USB flash drive. This can be convenient in situations where you want a video recording of a particular incident, such as a collision. You can pause, resume, or save video recordings directly from your vehicle's touchscreen.

Note: Dashcam only works when Model 3 is powered on. Dashcam does not record video when your vehicle is powered off.

Using Dashcam

Dashcam requires the use of a properly formatted USB flash drive to store and retrieve footage. Once a properly formatted USB flash drive has been inserted into one of your vehicle's front USB ports, a dashcam icon appears at the top of the touchscreen. Touch the dashcam icon to control dashcam:

RECORDING. Tap the dashcam
icon, when dashcam is paused, to start recording video on the flash drive.

PAUSED. Press and hold the
dashcam icon, when recording, to pause recording. Ensure that dashcam is paused before removing the flash drive to avoid losing camera footage.

SAVED. Tap the dashcam icon,
when recording, to archive the most recent ten minutes of video.

These saved video recordings are not overwritten by new recordings.

Note: Dashcam automatically begins recording when you insert a properly configured USB flash drive into one of the front USB ports.

USB Flash Drive Requirements for Videos and Recording

Flash drives used to store video from your vehicle's cameras must meet these requirements:

  • Use a flash drive with as much available storage as possible, since video footage takes up a large amount of space (Tesla recommends using a flash drive with at least 32 GB of storage). Some personal computer operating systems may not be able to format flash drives larger than 32 GB as FAT 32. Consider using a third party application to format flash drives larger than 32 GB.
  • The flash drive must have a sustained write speed of at least 4 MB/s. A sustained write speed is different from the peak write speed. Check the product details of your flash drive for more information.
  • The flash drive must be USB 2.0 compatible. If using a USB 3.0 flash drive, it must be able to support USB 2.0.
  • Use a dedicated flash drive exclusively for saving footage for your vehicle.
  • The flash drive must be properly formatted

Although not a comprehensive list, Tesla has confirmed through testing that the following flash drives meet the requirements for Dashcam and Sentry Mode use:

  • SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.1 Flash Drive
  • Samsung MUF-64AB/AM FIT Plus - 200MB/s USB 3.1 Flash Drive

Formatting the USB Flash Drive

To correctly save and retrieve video footage, your vehicle requires a properly formatted USB flash drive containing a base-level folder called "TeslaCam" (without quotation marks).

In addition, the flash drive must be formatted as FAT 32 (for Windows), MS-DOS FAT (for Mac), ext3, or ext4 in order to save videos.

NTFS and exFAT are not currently supported.

For MacOS:

  1. Insert the USB flash drive into your personal computer.
  2. Navigate to Utilities > Disk Utility (or you can conduct a Spotlight Search for this).
  3. Select your flash drive in the left menu.
  4. Navigate to Erase in the top menu ribbon.
  5. In the pop-up menu, select the correct format (MS-DOS FAT) and click Erase.

Note: Selecting Erase completely erases all content on your flash drive. If you have other content stored on the flash drive, migrate it to a different device before erasing it.

  1. Once the flash drive is successfully erased, navigate to Finder and select your USB flash drive from the left menu. The flash drive should not contain any files.
  2. Right-click in the empty space of the flash drive and select New Folder. A folder appears in your flash drive space.
  3. Right-click on the folder, select Rename, and name the folder to "TeslaCam" (without quotation marks). Click "Save".

    This folder will contain all recent and saved clips from Sentry Mode and dashcam.

  4. Properly eject the USB flash drive from your personal computer.

For Windows:

  1. Insert the USB flash drive into your personal computer.
  2.  Navigate to File Explorer.
  3. Right-click on your USB flash drive and select "Format...".
  4. In the pop-up menu, under the File System section, select "FAT 32".

    Note: You can also name your USB (under Volume Label) for easier recognition.

  5.  Check the "Quick format box" and click Start.
  6. Go back to File Explorer, click on your flash drive, and right-click to create a folder, or select "New Folder" in the top menu.
  7. Name the folder "TeslaCam" (without quotation marks) and click "Save". This folder will contain all recent and saved clips from Sentry Mode and dashcam.
  8. Properly eject the USB flash drive from your personal computer.

Once you have created the "TeslaCam" folder in your USB flash drive and ejected it from your personal computer, insert the flash drive into one of the front USB ports in Model 3. Do not use the rear USB ports, as they are solely meant for charging devices. It may take your vehicle up to 15 seconds to recognize the flash drive. When recognized, icons for dashcam and Sentry Mode appear at the top of your touchscreen (note that you may need to enable to Sentry Mode by going to Controls > Safety & Security > Sentry Mode). Your vehicle is ready to record video.

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