Tesla Model 3 Owners & Service Manuals

Tesla Model 3: Before Driving

The following best practices can help ensure that you have the best ownership experience possible in harsh cold weather conditions.

Before Driving

Warm the cabin and Battery ahead of departure for maximum range and performance. There are several ways to precondition your vehicle:

  • Mobile app preconditioning: On the mobile app, navigate to Climate > Turn On and customize the temperature at which you want to heat the cabin, which also warms the Battery as nee
  • Mobile app defrost: On the mobile app, navigate to Climate > Defrost to melt snow, ice, and frost on the windshields, driver and passenger windows, mirrors, and charge port. The Battery will also warm as needed.

Note: Tesla recommends activating the climate settings at least 30-45 minutes before departu. Preconditioning times depend on outside temperature and other factors.

  • Scheduled Departure: Use to preset a time at which you want your vehicle to be ready to drive

When snow and ice accumulate on your vehicle, moving parts, such as the door handles, windows, mirrors, and wipers can freeze in place.

Door Handles

  • If the door handles are frozen in place, you can usually remove the ice with a few forceful bumps to the door handle using the bottom of your fist.
  • To proactively prevent ice buildup, apply WD-40 to the door handle pivot pins if you are expecting freezing rain, heavy snow, or icy conditions. Reapply as needed


  • On the mobile app, navigate to Climate > Defrost as mentioned previously. Your vehicle heats the driver and passenger windows to help melt any ice that would prevent the windows from moving.
  • Model 3 automatically adjusts the window positioning slightly to make it easier to open the doors when ambient temperatures are cold.
  • Use the mobile app to schedule a service appointment where Tesla can provide hydrophobic coating to your windows for a nominal fee.


If ice buildup is expected when parking, turn off Auto-Fold Mirrors by navigating to Controls > Mirrors > Auto-Fold > ON. Ice can prevent exterior side mirrors from folding or unfolding.

Note: If equipped with heated side mirrors, they automatically heat as needed during preconditioning or if the rear defroster is activated.


If snow or ice buildup is expected when parking, navigate to Controls > Service > Wiper Service Mode > ON. This raises your wipers so they are against the windshield and they can defrost while the windshield defrosts

Winter Tires and Tire Chains

  • Use winter tires to increase traction in snowy or icy conditions.
  • 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.


     While Driving

    Cold weather can increase energy consumption because more power is required for driving, cabin and Battery heating. Follow these suggestions to reduce energy consumption: Using the seat heater

     Removing Ice From Door Handle

    In severe winter conditions, ice buildup within the door handle can prevent the door handle from opening. The process for freeing a Model 3 door handle is slightly different than other door handle




    Shifting Gears When Model 3 is in Park, you must press the brake to shift to another gear. Move the lever up or down to change gears. If you try to shift into a gear that the current driving speed prohibits, a chime sounds and the gear does not change. Reverse Push the lever all the wa

     Summary of Controls

    Control tabs and open glovebox. When you select an item from the list of tabs, its associated controls and options display in the main viewing area. Main viewing area. The options available for your chosen controls category display here. Note: Depending on vehicle configuration an

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