Online influencers have been vital to the success of many products on the market today, and none more so than Tesla. Online creators are fond of showing off the car and its features, which helped propel Elon Musk into the spotlight as our first influential CEO. But now that winter has come, some influencers are noticing that their Teslas cars don’t perform well in icy conditions.
One of the first things people notice about electric cars is how quiet they are due to the lack of a combustion engine. But in a TikTok trend titled “Things I Hate About My Tesla,” a Tesla Flex user shared how hard it is to clean ice from the front of a car because there’s no heat energy coming from under the hood.
Another Tesla influencer who goes to Jay Fay on TikTok expressed his frustration with cleaning the hood and headlights, as well as wheel wells, which accumulate ice from a lack of wasted thermal power.
Frameless windows on cars like some Subarus and BMW can stick easily in winter weather since many of them need to be retracted when open—and it’s no different in a Tesla.
Kristin Nitin, one of Tesla’s influential figures, Posted time lapse A Twitter video of how car preconditioning from the app can take some of the stress out of cleaning. Unfortunately, the feature itself doesn’t help with freezing flushing door handles for all Tesla models – as explained by Tesla Lord on TikTok.
Cars not properly geared for the winter can have trouble climbing snowy hills, and HolaSeattle shared on TikTok how the Model Y is unable to configure a very steep street. It is not clear whether the car is equipped with winter tires, but this will certainly be a prerequisite for creating such a road.
For the first two years of owning the Model 3, I had no problems in the cold – but that’s because my apartment has underground parking. Then, I learned a thing or two about how to handle a Tesla in the cold.
Here are some tips to reduce the pain of owning a Tesla in places not called California:
Set the mirrors not to fold automatically when locked. I like that the car folds by default the side view mirrors when parking. It keeps them safer from people knocking on them and also provides a good indication of which vehicle is being locked. The problem in winter is that it can freeze and this requires some risk of cracking the ice with a scraper. The mirrors themselves have heaters, but it would have been nice if the joints had as well. So disable the “Auto-fold when locked” setting.
Periodically remove snow from the headlights and hood for the duration of the snowfall. There is no thermal heat for the engine, but this means that the hood and headlights will just become a layer of ice, affecting visibility in the dark and preventing access to the trunk. Avoid this by cleaning the headlights and hood periodically. And please avoid using a metal shovel.
Get a set of winter tires. Having winter tires in a rear-wheel drive Tesla like mine gives you better snow control than a four-wheel drive Tesla without winter tires. It’s even easier to have two sets of tires with custom summer and winter tires (such as Michelin X-Ice or Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3) pre-installed and balanced so that you can swap out the wheels yourself when the season changes.
Depending on your needs, you can also choose the right tires for all seasons. Some can be good for summer temperatures like the Michelin Pilot Sport AS, and some can be good for mild winter conditions like the Continental ExtremeContact. Personally, I have a Michelin Cross Climate 2 installed on my original 18-inch aero rims right now. But be aware that many outlets like Costco no longer install them on Teslas due to a change in speed rating. (Please do your research before going this route; your tire warranty may be voided.)
By the way, if you have a Performance Model 3 or Model Y, you may have summer tires on them. Please change it if you’re in a cold climate (although it looks like Tesla now ships it with all-season tires).
Set the wipers to service position before it snows. It’s common to flip the wipers over before it snows, but it’s easy to forget the wipers in a Tesla because they’re hiding in the hood.
Keep the vehicle plugged in and pre-conditioning/charging schedule. When the Teslas is plugged in and charged, it uses AC power to pre-heat the car and battery — which can melt snow from the glass, pre-condition the engine, and give you better range with a warmer battery. If you schedule both the departure time and the charging time (via the Tesla app), you can automatically preheat the car before leaving and also time it to run at the tail end so that the plug is warmer and less likely to freeze in the port.
Be patient when opening and closing doors. After your car is preset (and the app tells you it’s at the desired temperature), the windows should no longer be stuck in the door’s rubber seals, making it safe to open because they need to be pulled back a bit. The handles are not heated, so carefully remove the ice and press the handle pivot with your thumb until it pops. Try to clean the crevices of the handle so that it does not immediately get stuck again.
Use a summons to get your Tesla out of an ice castle. I added this because I recently did this: After scraping my driveway, I knocked a lot of snow off a Tesla and wanted to clean it up. The handles and doors were still frozen, so I summoned the car to drive over the snow fort…and then swept it away without risking scratching the car. While moving, snow also fell.
last but not least: Set the right expectations around the range Because a cold battery is likely to lose part of its charge. Yes, doing the math is best (counting the number of watt-hours per mile the car averages and dividing by the size of your battery pack) but the car does it for you on the go. The problem is that the car won’t immediately know at the start of driving how many highway miles it will get in temperatures below freezing. Although you may see a range in your car near or above 300 miles, expect it to be more than 240 miles (in my experience) when driving at over 65 mph.
It gets worse as the weather gets colder: On a 700-mile trip from Baltimore to Chicago in December 2018, a typical 3,450 watts per mile was averaging in a chilly 15°F (-9.4°C) temperature stretching outside of Pittsburgh. , making an effective range of 167 miles (75 kWh battery on my 2018 Model 3 Long Range) and adding an extra charge stop for the trip.
Electric cars are finally coming out of the niche car market as more people realize the benefits and share their experiences online. Influencers love to promote their modern lifestyles and purchases to millions of people, so it was only a matter of time before they chose electric cars like Teslas. We hope these tips will save current and future owners – and influencers – from frostbite on new cars when transitioning to all-electric vehicles.
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