10 Things Every Tesla Model 3 Owner Should Know

Owning a Tesla Model 3 comes with numerous benefits, from its cutting-edge technology to its efficient electric performance.

Whether you’re a new owner or have been driving your Model 3 for a while, there’s always something new to learn. This guide provides ten essential tips and insights to help you get the most out of your Model 3.

A 2019 red Tesla Model 3 plug-in electric car parked on a city street in downtown Halifax

1. Autopilot and Full Self-Driving

Your Tesla Model 3's Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) capabilities offer a cutting-edge driving experience that continually evolves through over-the-air updates.

At its core, Autopilot assists with fundamental tasks like steering, accelerating, and braking. At the same time, FSD expands these capabilities with features such as Navigate on Autopilot for highway driving and Autopark for hassle-free parking in both parallel and perpendicular spaces.

The system's intelligence shines through in features like Traffic-Aware Cruise Control, which dynamically adjusts your speed based on surrounding traffic, and Autosteer, which keeps your Model 3 centered within clearly marked lanes.

These work in tandem to create a safer, more relaxed driving experience, especially on long journeys.

Tesla's shift to a camera-based Tesla Vision system for Autopilot underscores the importance of keeping your vehicle's cameras clean. Environmental factors like dirt or adverse weather can impact the system's performance, so regular maintenance of these sensors is crucial.

Person driving a new Tesla Model 3 on autopilot

While Tesla continually refines these features through software updates, enhancing performance, and occasionally introducing new capabilities, it's vital to remember that even the most advanced current features require active driver supervision.

Learn how to use the Tesla Model 3's 360-degree camera for safer driving.

2. Maximizing Regenerative Braking

Regenerative braking is a key feature of your Tesla Model 3. It converts the car's motion into stored battery energy when you slow down. To get the most from this system, adjust your driving style.

Lift off the accelerator pedal gradually to let the car slow naturally. This extends your driving range and reduces brake wear.

Try one-pedal driving, using only the accelerator for both speeding up and slowing down. It can improve efficiency and make your brakes last longer. Gentle braking captures more energy than sudden stops.

All Model 3s now use the 'Hold' stopping mode by default. This maximizes range by using regenerative braking even at low speeds. You can monitor energy recapture on the car's Energy app power meter.

In cold weather, warm up your Tesla before driving. This helps regenerative braking work well from the start.

Tesla Model 3 Driving on Slippery Rural Western New York State Road, Car Starts Slow When Cold - What's Wrong?

Experiment with different settings to find what suits your driving style best. With practice, you'll get a good feel for the system and enjoy more efficient, engaging drives.

3. Home Charging, Supercharging, & Third-Party Options

Charging your Tesla Model 3 efficiently is key to a great ownership experience. At home, you have several charging options. A standard 120-volt outlet provides about 5 miles of range per hour.

Faster home charging is possible with higher-voltage setups. Your best home charging solution depends on your daily driving needs and your home's electrical capacity.

White tesla model 3 charging at home

When charging at home, your car's onboard charger converts AC power from the wall to DC power for the battery.

It's worth noting that there's a hidden manual release for the charge port door in case of power loss. You can find this useful feature in the trunk near the charge port area.

Superchargers are perfect for long trips. They can get you back on the road quickly. V3 Superchargers are the fastest, charging at up to 250kW per car.

When you navigate to a Supercharger, your vehicle will pre-heat the battery. This can cut charging time by 25%.

Don't forget about third-party charging networks. They offer more charging options. Tesla adds qualified third-party fast chargers to its navigation system automatically. The Juicebox is a popular third-party option with WiFi connectivity and a user-friendly app.

Find out how long it takes to charge your Tesla at a public charging station.

4. Tesla's Over-the-Air Software Updates

Tesla's over-the-air software updates are a game-changer for your Model 3. They continuously improve your car, adding new features and enhancing performance.

To get updates as soon as they're available, set your preference to 'ADVANCED' in the Software Update settings. These updates can boost your car's power and speed, improve Autopilot, and add new entertainment options.

For instance, Sentry Mode turns your car's cameras into a security system when parked. Enhanced Summon allows for easier parking in tight spaces.

New updates also bring convenience features. If you have a Powerwall, you can now choose how much solar energy to use for charging.

The navigation system can warn you about destination closing times. Valet Mode protects your data and limits the car's speed when others are driving.

5. Tesla's Mobile App

The Tesla mobile app is a powerful tool that extends the capabilities of your Model 3 beyond the driver's seat. With the app, you can remotely start your car, pre-condition the cabin, and check your charging status.

It also allows you to locate your vehicle, lock or unlock doors, and even summon your car in certain situations. Please spend some time exploring the app's features to fully leverage its benefits and make your driving experience more convenient.

One lesser-known feature is the ability to add a fifth icon to the quick control strip by tapping and holding any existing icon, then dragging an available icon over the fourth one without releasing it.

You can quickly turn off the climate control by holding the fan icon on the touchscreen. The app also supports remote control of your Tesla's climate settings, allowing you to cool down or heat the cabin before you get in.

Additionally, the app lets you send an address from your phone to your car, automatically setting up navigation. For those who use the dashcam feature, most Tesla owners prefer the Samsung T5 for its reliable recording and playback.

6. Hidden Features and Easter Eggs

Tesla is known for embedding fun and quirky Easter eggs in their vehicles. Access the "Toybox" from the main menu to explore these features. 

One fun feature is the Rainbow Chargeport Light. To activate it, press the button on the charger handle ten times quickly while the vehicle is plugged in.

For fans of "Back to the Future," if your vehicle's range is exactly 121 miles (or 121 km), touching the battery icon will change the display to a "Back to the Future" theme.

Another entertaining Easter egg is Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road, which transforms the Autopilot display to look like the Rainbow Road track from Mario Kart.

There are also themed Easter eggs like the Rick and Morty Sentry Mode, which changes the activation voice to sound like characters from the show.

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In the "About Your Tesla" menu, you can find the Model 3 Team Photo and Silhouette, displaying a photo of the Model 3 development team and a silhouette of the car.

For a bit of sci-fi fun, the "Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy" Easter egg renames your car to “Life, the Universe, and Everything” in the same menu.

Tesla has also added a Performance Mode Easter egg, allowing you to select any version of the car ever produced.

If you’re a James Bond fan, you'll enjoy the Lotus Esprit submarine Easter egg, which changes the image of your vehicle in the suspension tab to the submarine from "The Spy Who Loved Me."

Additionally, Tesla includes classic Atari games like Super Breakout, Asteroids, and Centipede, which can be played on the touchscreen while your car is parked.

What is your favorite Tesla Easter Egg?  Please share it in the comments below this article!

7. Maintaining Your Model 3

Maintaining your Tesla Model 3 goes beyond the basics. To maximize your vehicle's performance and longevity, consider these less obvious tips. Drive in hold mode to maximize regenerative braking, which reduces brake wear.

When engaging cruise control below the speed limit, maintain accelerator pressure until you scroll to the desired speed to avoid sudden acceleration.

While Tesla recommends brake fluid checks every four years, frequent performance driving or hot, humid conditions may necessitate more frequent checks.

For optimal A/C efficiency, replace the desiccant bag every four years. Rotate your tires every 6,250 miles or when the tread depth difference exceeds 2/32 inches between tires, whichever comes first.

A white Tesla Model 3 photographed at a parking lot, Does Tesla Model 3 Need Winter Tires?

Aggressive driving can accelerate wear, potentially requiring more frequent servicing.

Take advantage of Tesla's guides for simple DIY tasks like replacing wiper blades and cabin filters. By staying on top of these lesser-known maintenance aspects, you'll keep your Model 3 in top condition for years to come.

8. Customizing for Comfort & Convenience

Your Tesla Model 3 offers a wealth of customization options beyond the basics. While most owners know about adjusting seats and climate control, there are several hidden features to enhance your driving experience.

For instance, you can quickly turn off the climate control by holding the fan icon on the touchscreen. When in park, pressing the park button again unlocks the doors.

Tesla Beeping While Driving - Why And What To Do?

To avoid rapid acceleration when adjusting cruise control speed, maintain foot pressure on the accelerator while scrolling to the desired speed.

Swipe left or right on the volume icon for quick adjustments, and swipe right on the navigate button for a fast route home.

When using Autopilot, tapping the Speed Limit sign icon adjusts to new speed limits, while a quick flick of the right steering wheel scroll button changes speed in 5-mile increments.

Voice commands add convenience for functions like opening the glove box. To view the full map, touch the music icon to hide the player. And for a subtle way to wake up your car, slightly press the rear door handle.

9. Tesla's Service and Warranty Options

Tesla offers comprehensive service and warranty options. You can service your Tesla Model 3 at any Tesla Service Center, and most mechanics are also equipped to handle basic servicing for the vehicle. Importantly, servicing at a non-Tesla provider will not void your warranty.

Your vehicle is protected by the New Vehicle Limited Warranty, which includes the Basic Vehicle Limited Warranty, the Supplemental Restraint System Limited Warranty, the Battery and Drive Unit Limited Warranty, and the Body and Rust Limited Warranty.

For used vehicles purchased directly from Tesla, the Used Vehicle Limited Warranty provides peace of mind. It covers the remainder of the 4 years, or 50,000 miles left on the Basic Vehicle Limited Warranty, plus an additional 1 year, or 10,000 miles after expiration.

The Battery and Drive Unit in your vehicle are covered for 8 years or 120,000 miles, whichever comes first, with a minimum of 70% retention of battery capacity over the warranty period.

The Body Rust Limited Warranty covers rust perforation resulting from a defect in material or workmanship for 12 years with unlimited miles.

This video goes into more detail on the extended warranty:

10. Tesla's Community & Support Resources

Tesla's community and support resources provide a wealth of information and assistance to help you get the most out of your Model 3.

Engaging with the Tesla community can enhance your ownership experience through shared knowledge, tips, and support from fellow Tesla enthusiasts.

Tesla’s official forums and online communities are great places to start. These platforms allow you to connect with other Tesla owners, share experiences, and find answers to common questions.

Many experienced owners are happy to offer advice on everything from maintenance tips to optimizing vehicle settings.

For official support, Tesla’s website offers comprehensive resources, including the Owner's Manual, troubleshooting guides, and instructional videos.

The Tesla app also provides access to customer support, allowing you to schedule service appointments, request roadside assistance, and stay updated on software releases.

Additionally, Tesla hosts regular events, both online and in-person, where you can learn about the latest developments, participate in discussions, and even meet the Tesla team.

These events are excellent opportunities to deepen your understanding of your vehicle and stay connected with the broader Tesla community.

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Maximizing Your Tesla Model 3 Experience

Understanding and utilizing the features and maintenance tips for your Tesla Model 3 can greatly enhance your driving experience.

From optimizing Autopilot and exploring fun Easter eggs to maintaining your vehicle and making the most of the Tesla app, these insights help you get the most out of your car.

Stay informed about updates and take advantage of Tesla's service and warranty options to keep your Model 3 running smoothly and efficiently.

Enjoy the journey with your Tesla Model 3, knowing you have the tools and knowledge to make every drive exceptional.

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