The holidays are a beautiful time for getting together with family and traveling, and the cold weather can be challenging. In this article, I’ll share suggestions that will help make traveling a pleasure and safer. Should you encounter a winter storm, these tips will be helpful.
- Preparing for cold weather driving
- Day of trip
- On the road (one added suggestion for Tesla)
- Upon arrival to your destination
- Romance Mode
Romance Mode responsibly.
PREPARING FOR COLD WEATHER DRIVING
Install winter tires and keep them inflated to specifications and consider Tesla aero wheel covers for your vehicle, they help maximize range. You can change the wheel configuration in the service section of the Tesla touchscreen.
Top off windshield washer fluid using fluid rated for cold weather. Tesla says, “In temperatures below 4° C (39.2 °F), use a washer fluid with antifreeze. In cold weather, using a washer fluid without antifreeze can impair visibility through the windshield.” Tesla reminds us to be cautious, “Windshield washer fluid can irritate eyes and skin.” Model Y Owner’s Manual Courtesy Tesla
Your phone is the key to your car so make sure your phone is well-charged. always carry your Tesla key card with you.
Tesla message “Tap key card and press brake to drive” credit the author
I’m sharing this small list of items to store in your frunk for snow and emergencies: Flashlight, water, blankets, extra jackets, snacks, portable shovel, snow, brush for cleaning snow off the car, and gloves. I also recommend a tire air pump, roadside hazard kit, your 110-car charger, and adapters in the front trunk.
The Nurse in me suggests creating a first aid kit for your glove box which should be a small ziplock bag with a few Tylenol capsules, gauze pads, medical tape, and medium and large band-aids. If you are traveling through unpopulated areas, consider learning basic lifesaving CPR and the Heimlich maneuver. Watching this 2-minute CPR youtube video could save your loved one's life.
DAY OF TRIP
Tesla recommends you pre-condition your Tesla and schedule your departure in the Tesla App. Tesla created a pleasant experience so that if you know what time you plan to depart, your vehicle will be warm and ready to go. If your vehicle is outside in the cold or ice, the good thing about this is that preconditioning will melt the ice off the car, and then you can brush the ice off by hand.
Below are Tesla’s best practices for what to do before your cold-weather trip. In the rare event, your door handle is frozen, I recommend bumping it with your fist a few times to remove the ice.
An easier way to open the door to your Tesla (if it is frozen) is the open it using the Tesla App. Tesla created this feature in November 2022 just in time for the cold weather.
Recent Tesla App Update, credit the author
I recommend customizing the controls on your app for your trip’s needs. Here I’ve customized Model Y controls on the App to show Defrost Car, Trunk, Unlatch Door, and Front in preparation for a trip.
ON THE ROAD
Tesla recommends driving in “Chill Mode” to conserve energy on the road. Using seat heaters can also save energy, “Heating the cabin takes a significant amount of energy that can then no longer be used for driving range. If possible, lower the cabin temperature setting and use seat heaters for added warmth.” Winter Driving Tips Courtesy Tesla
A small blue snowflake icon will appear on your car‘s touchscreen if the battery is too cold to access all of its stored energy. This is just a reminder that you temporarily have limited regenerative braking and limited battery power. The snowflake will melt when your battery warms.
Cold weather best practices. Model 3 Owners’ Guide Courtesy Tesla.
On the freeway, you may use Autopilot, and be prepared to take over if there is reduced visibility. I always recommend that people get familiar with Autopilot and its features. When your car has a software update, it often means an improvement in Autopilot is on the way. The image below from Model Y explains the importance of always being 100% alert when you use Autosteer (Beta).
Tesla Autosteer (Beta) Mode, credit the author
Park in reverse so that it will be much easier for you to drive onto a snow-covered road. If you’re expecting snow or ice buildup, set your wipers in Service position. One Tesla owner from Michigan who drives in severe cold, explains that Tesla’s wipers do not fold up, “Tesla's (wipers) don't flip up, but I have put them in "wiper service mode" which brings them above the baseline and puts them where the defroster can heat them. There are wiper heating elements down below on cold weather package Teslas, but it's not that effect I find in severe cold, especially once you're moving and the wind chill keeps them frozen.” Teslavangelist
Tesla Wiper Service Mode credit the author
Keep your Tesla plugged in as often as possible. Tesla says that this will help your battery stay warm by drawing a very small amount of power from the wall. Winter Driving Tips Courtesy Tesla
Charge your Tesla overnight up to 100% instead of the usual 80-90%. More range will be available to you because the vehicle will use more battery to combat the cold weather.
I hope you have a wonderful holiday trip! Here’s a brief overview of my recommendations, many based on what Tesla also recommends.
- Preparing for a cold weather trip is done some days prior to traveling and I recommend winter tires, antifreeze washer fluid, packing emergency supplies, and being familiar with lifesaving CPR.
- Day of the trip: Pre-condition and schedule your departure in the Tesla App. Also, customize the App to make use of its many features.
- On the road: Try Autopilot with Chill mode! Increase range by lowering cabin temp, using snuggly blankets and seat heaters. (I love the heated steering wheel too!)
- Upon arrival at destination: Ideally, you’ll back into your designated spot, plug in your Tesla, and set your wipers in service position.
Article by Gail Alfar for “What’s Up Tesla” and modified for Scentwedge blog with permission. Special thanks to special thanks to Gary Mark and Dan Burkland for their consultation. Read the full article “Tesla Cold Weather Travel: Travel Better with Safety Tips from Tesla and an RN” here.