Holiday Hacks: Try these Tesla tips and tricks in your Model 3

It's Christmas Eve tonight! And while Santa's on his way soon, this week's joyous festivities also deserve another holiday shout-out. Some Tesla owners are also enjoying Hanukkah, eight days of celebration, in which a “menorah” of candles is lit and small gifts are exchanged every night. In tribute, we’d like to offer all Model 3 owners a cool collection of small holiday ‘gifts’ — eight Tesla tips that might make your Model 3 driving experience even better than it already is. 

Above: There are some helpful Tesla tips that might make Model 3 ownership a little bit easier (Flickr: Brian Doyle)

Let's face it, sometimes the "holidaze" can slow us down. Whether it's too much egg nog (or latkes), we fall into lazy patterns, especially when we use our high-tech devices. We learn an operation once and repeat it whenever we use the device, even if there are other, more efficient ways of doing the same thing.

The same holds true for another high-tech machine — the Model 3. Like users of other high-tech devices, Model 3 owners fall into patterns as they initiate vehicle functions and features through the interface, sometimes ignoring more efficient ways of getting the same thing done.

So check out these 8 Tesla tips and tricks for your Model 3. As the month of December winds down, be sure to enjoy a few of these handy holiday hacks as you drive towards an exciting 2020!

1. Turning on your windshield wipers

With the rain, sleet, and snow falling, one option for using the wipers is to set them to Auto-On. This works well, but on occasion the rain sensor doesn’t respond quickly enough. When that happens, it’s necessary to turn the wipers on manually. Most owners go through a process that requires: (1) a quick glance to find the small wiper button in the lower left-hand corner of the display, (2) a quick lean to press the smaller button that causes a larger wiper-on button to appear; (3) a press on a larger wiper button to initiate the wipers, and (3) finally select on the appropriate setting (i.e., intermittent, steady). All of that works, but the process is multistep and requires that you take your eyes off the road for a moment to find the virtual buttons. It can also become complicated if the left lower portion of the screen is displaying a warning or notification window (e.g., you haven’t put your seat belt on).
Most Model 3 owners are unaware of a little trick that is somewhat less distracting and allows you to turn on your wipers with fewer steps. Simply press the button at the end of the left steering column stalk. The wipers go on for one swipe and at the same time, the larger wiper button appears on the display. Now all you have to do is press on it and choose the setting you want.

2. Dealing with Autopilot touch verification

Autopilot is a signature feature of the Model 3, but for some Model 3 owners, the fact that Tesla Autopilot demands that you verify your presence and attention by regularly touching the steering wheel when autopilot is engaged can be mildly irritating.
One way to satisfy this requirement without jiggling the steering wheel is to roll or tap the right scroll wheel on the steering wheel to acknowledge your presence and attention.  Note that if you roll the wheel, you will increase/decrease the max Autopilot speed by 1 mph for each click, so be aware, scrolling up 1 mph and then on the next verification demand, down 1 mph.

3. Sharing a Destination that you’ve found on an iPhone with the Model 3 Nav system

If you’re not in your Model 3 and happen to use Google Maps to look up a destination on your iPhone, you can share the destination with your Model 3 Nav system. Look up the destination using Google Maps on your iPhone, press “Share” on the iPhone, select the Tesla App icon and you’ll send the destination to your Model 3 nav system.
4. Managing your turn signals

It’s a little thing, but some Model 3 owners struggle to turn off a turn signal once it’s been actuated on the steering wheel stalk. Model 3 has a somewhat unique approach for its turn signal. Pushing all the way down or up sets the signal and leaves it on. To cancel the turn signal, tap it once in the same direction as the turn.

5. Navigating to the intersection of two streets or some other ‘no-address’ location

If you want to navigate to an intersection of two roads, but don’t have an address to input into the nav system, you can find the intersection on your Model 3 map display and press down at that location. A small window will appear with a “navigate” button, indicating an “unknown address.” Press the navigation arrow in the small window and your Model 3 will set a route for you to get there.

6. Resetting adaptive cruise control

There are times when you want to speed up or slow down while in cruise control mode. You can, of course, do this with your accelerator or brake, but there is another more elegant way. When you’re in cruise control, you can speed up and reset the cruise control speed. Press the right scroll wheel, and it will reset the speed to the new speed. Rolling the right scroll wheel will increase/decrease your max speed incrementally.

7. Engaging the parking brake

Many Model 3 owners think that putting the vehicle into park (P) engages the parking brake. It doesn’t. If you’re on a steep hill and want to added assurance of the parking brake, press and hold the button on the end of the right steering wheel stalk for 2 seconds. A parking brake indicator will appear on your display and the brake is set.
8. Displaying the rear facing camera window when you’re not in reverse (R)

Tap the app icon in the lower menu panel (bottom of the screen, icon is third from the left). It will bring up a variety of apps including the rear camera function. If you want to switch away from the rear camera, close the camera window by swiping down. To get back to the camera view, simply swipe up on the app icon and the rear camera view will reappear.

These eight Tesla tips and tricks for Model 3 owners are just a small subset of over 60 tips and tricks that we've compiled to enhance your Model 3 driving experience. If you’d like to get all 60+ illustrated tips and tricks for Model 3, sign up here and we’ll provide you with a copy free of charge.