How to Maintain and Care for Your Tesla Model 3 – With Checklist!


How to Maintain and Care for Your Tesla Model 3 – With Checklist!

Being that this is the most affordable electric Tesla available and won’t require gas – it’s easy to say that the Tesla Model 3 a top contender on the global automobile market. Tesla is taking a unique approach to cars in creating safety-oriented vehicles that feature advanced autopilot that will partially drive the car for you. The future is here, and maintenance on this modern hybrid will be very different from the standard maintenance for a normal vehicle. 

How to maintain and care for your tesla model 3? There are many steps to maintaining the interior and exterior of your Tesla Model 3. We will cover the basics of servicing, daily maintenance, monthly maintenance, and a chart to simplify scheduling. There are also tips you need to be aware of for charging capacities, as well as warranty details. 

This guide will be your comprehensive guide to reference before investing in this prized car, or if you’ve already made the switch. Owner’s manuals can be hard to follow, but you’re here because you want a guide to break things down into bite-sized pieces. This guide will make the information less overwhelming so that you can understand your Model 3’s needs and lengthen the lifespan of your Tesla Model 3 to last you for years, if not decades, to come! 

Servicing Your Tesla Model 3

Caring for your Tesla will be very straightforward and easier than owning a standard car in many ways. 

The services will depend on the piece of equipment that you are referring to. A standard rulebook to follow when understanding the needs of your Tesla is:

Equipment or Required MaintenanceMaintenance Frequency
Brake FluidEvery 2 years
Air Conditioning BagEvery 5 to 7 years
Air Conditioning Coolant Fluid/Anti-FreezeAt the first 50,000 mark and every 30,000 afterward
If you have a HEPA FilterEvery 3 years 
Brake CalipersLubricate every year or every 12,000 miles
Rotate Tires Every 10,000-12,000 miles or if your tread is wearing thin (1.5mm or greater) 
RegistrationAnnually 
InspectionAnnually
BatteryEven Tesla admits the battery life is unknown but CEO, Elon Musk, claims the battery life should be between, “300k to 500k miles (1500 cycles)” with a replacement only costing $6,000 on average
WarrantyStandard: 4 year/50,000 mile
Battery/Drive Unit: 8 year/100,000 mile (standard range) 120,000 mile (long range/performance)
Winter CareAnnually or every 12,000 miles, especially for those in colder climates

Daily Maintenance and Checklist

The daily checks you will be responsible for will add up to much more time-committed than things like the brake fluid or tires being rotated. The real meat of the maintenance will come from how you care for your vehicle on a daily basis. 

Daily checks for your Tesla Model 3 will include the following recommended steps for upkeep:

  • Check how charged your battery is and always know how much power your vehicle has before departing for a long trip. We will cover battery life in the upcoming sections. 
  • Check your tires for proper air-pressure and to be certain they are full enough with air
  • Keep an eye for any indicator lights or maintenance signals 
  • Look for any abnormalities like leaks, which will often be sourced from the air conditioner since your vehicle doesn’t run on gas or fuel. 
  • Keep the exterior of your car clean to avoid staining from things like weather, tree resin, bugs that stick to the dash, and bird droppings. 

Monthly Maintenance and Checklist

On a monthly basis, you will still have a bit to keep an eye on, including:

  • Confirming your windshield wiper fluid is full enough
  • Checking that the air conditioner is functioning as the A/C has a propensity to go out relatively quickly in most cars or require refilling of liquid.
  • Battery coolant 
  • Any upcoming registration or inspections that are due 

Next, we will spend a few sections understanding the battery of the Tesla Model 3, which is truly the heart and soul of a hybrid. The method in which you charge your Model 3 will greatly affect the battery’s software, its ability to know its own battery capacity, as well as the overall longevity of your vehicle.

Steps to Charge Your Battery 

You will do as follows to charge your Tesla Model 3 battery:

  1. Open the car port, which is located on the left side of the vehicle, over the rear tire and near the brake light. You can open this by doing it manually or through the app.
  2. You can set a charging limit of 80-90% as recommended by the CEO, Elon Musk. It will usually take around 6-8 hours and can be done overnight. 
  3. You can set a charging schedule as well, which will initialize itself as soon as you plug it in. You can leave it plugged in and it won’t charge itself except for during the allotted charging time which you have scheduled. This way you can set it to stop charging at 6 a.m. every morning when you’re heading to work or to start charging later in the evening when you’ve already gone to bed. 

Colors to be aware of with the charge port light:

  • If it lights up white, it is ready to charge
  • Blue means it’s preparing to charge
  • Green means charging is in process
  • Blinking green means it’s fully charged
  • Red means something is wrong, and you should reference your touchscreen, app, or contact Tesla. 

How Completely You Should Charge Your Battery 

Firstly, you need to download the Tesla App to monitor your car’s status and battery-power from your fingertips. You can receive notifications that your car is fully charged while you’re at work, eating dinner, or anywhere you can charge with a wall connection. 

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, was asked by a Tesla fan what the proper charging degree should be. Elon has stated that you shouldn’t charge the car over 70% because not charging it fully makes the car have to work a bit harder.

Like working out your muscles, you’re not allowing the car to get stuck in the high maximum of charging, which can make the battery give out prematurely. Much like if you don’t take care of your physical body, your body will wear and tear faster. By making the car work harder and not giving it a full charge, it will last significantly longer and that.

Elon responded to this question, stating through his Twitter account in November of 2018, “Not worth going below 80% in my opinion. Even 90% is still fine. Also, no issue going to 5% or lower SoC.”

From the designer himself, charging to 90% is recommended and will keep your car running longer than if you charge to 100% every night or allow the car to continue to keep charging once that 100% mark has been met. 

The CEO of SpaceX and Tesla also followed up this claim to clarify even further by stating, “at 100% state of charge, regen braking doesn’t work, because the battery is full, so the car is less energy efficient.”

The takeaway – don’t charge to 100% if you want your battery to last. Funny enough, this was proven by the Twitter user that posed the initial battery-capacity question, @LikeTeslaKim, who discovered that if she “kept the charge at 70% or lower, some portion of the car’s software became convinced the car had less range than it really had.”

Caring for Your Battery

Your Tesla Model 3’s battery can never reach 0% or completely uncharge, or you will damage the battery long-term. The battery should minimize by around 1% each day that you drive it. Meaning that if you drive it for three weeks, you may lose 21% leaving you at 79% battery.

Read this article to learn How to Make Your Tesla Battery Last Longer: 9 Expert Tips

Always keep an eye on this as you drive and remain responsible about charging your battery and refraining from zeroing out. It could require further replacements or damage other equipment which Tesla will not cover for you under the one-year warranty.

In the case that your battery does reach that 0% power, you will absolutely need to take your Tesla into a professional auto-mechanic to service to the nearest Tesla location. Your car may require a jump-start at this time and further inspection of nearby equipment to the battery which may have been impacted. 

You should not personally attempt to check the battery or remove the cover. Tesla prides itself on a ‘no-owner-maintenance,’ rule so they are always happy to look at your vehicle for you. Take it to a Tesla dealership for any battery-related questions you may have to avoid having an unresponsive vehicle that has locked you out.

Yes, your Tesla can lock you out or avoid accepting a charge – but only in very rare cases where a malfunction occurs, and you may need to reach out to Tesla’s Customer Service. Avoid the 0% and all should be good! 

Maintaining Your Tires Properly

Preserving the quality of your tires is difficult with any vehicle, but everything is made easier with the Tesla App. You can easily monitor your vehicle’s tire pressure and receive notifications if something is wrong. 

Your car will literally tell you when it needs a check-up and is honestly the best kind of patient. The Tesla Model 3 is intuitive about its own needs and will keep you ahead of any hurdles or mechanic mishaps. 

After you’ve adjusted your tire pressure in any way, the light may not turn off immediately. Give your tires a bit of time to adjust to the fresh air you’ve input as it may take a few miles to register. 

Driving at 15 MPH or over will activate the TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System), and you will notice the light turn off afterward.

Be careful not to underinflate or overinflate your tires. This can lead to:

  • Your tires overheating and burning rubber
  • Tire cracking
  • Your tread separating prematurely
  • A blowout
  • Spinning out or losing control of the entire vehicle 

Based on the table above, you should have your tires rotated every 10,000-12,000 miles or if your tread is wearing thin (1.5mm or greater). Your tires may need replacing every five to six years. This is less often than standard cars that require a tire rotation every six months or every 6,000 to 8,000 miles. You can read more about standard tire tread here. 

As Tesla themselves describe it, “Tesla tires are built to optimize performance, safety, reliability, and durability. Since tires degrade over time from the effects of ultraviolet light, extreme temperatures, high loads and environmental conditions, it is recommended that tires are replaced every six years, or sooner if required.”

You also are covered under warranty with the amenity of Tesla Roadside Assistance to be utilized if you get a flat or experience car trouble. 

How to Check Your Tires Regularly 

You should check your tires daily and monitor their appearance closely. You will notice your tire pressure is off if your steering wheel is vibrating, you don’t have as much control, or they generally just appear lower.

If your tires look low to the ground or as if they’re flattening out along the bottom and you would like to adjust the tire pressure, the steps to refill your tires at proper tire pressure are as follows:

  1. Remove the cap on each tire, focusing on one tire at a time. 
  2. Press the tire pressure gauge and firmly attach an air nozzle by screwing it over the air valve on the tire.
  3. Use an Air Compressing Tire Inflator to fill your tire. 
  4. Fill it with air until the desired pressure is measured, and the tire appears full. Do not overfill it as that can result in further issues, just a nice roundness that seems complete. You can always add more or remove some of the air-fullness later.
  5. Check the pressure using a tire pressure gaugeTesla’s recommended tire pressure is between 39 and 45 psi for a comfortable and safe range. 
  6. Repeat the steps 2-4 until the pressure is to the desired amount.
  7. Reseal the tire valves tightly until the screw top is firmly secured, and you can’t twist it any further. 

If you can’t access roadside assistance and are in an emergency situation, do your best to reach the nearest Tesla location.

What You Will Need Upon Delivery – A Checklist!

If you are one of the lucky new owners of a Tesla Model 3, here is a checklist to keep in your back pocket to be properly prepared for your dream car’s arrival:

  • Already have the Tesla app downloaded to your smartphone
  • Have your driver’s license
  • If you are financing the car, have proof of that loan before you are accepting delivery
  • Have your insurance card handy
  • Examine the car yourself by checking:
    • That the screen works on the display
    • That there are no damages, scratches, or marks on your car
    • That the car comes equipped with a cover for the battery charging port 
    • The underside of the vehicle or for any signs of damage
    • Improper alignment on the wheels or body
    • Rim damage
    • Glass clarity and quality, check for cracks in the windshield
    • That each door functions properly 
    • Test all 4 windows
    • Test the speakers
    • Test the windshield wipers
    • The upholstery and internal fabrics, dash, trunk, etc. 

You can use a complete delivery checklist that is about 4 pages breaking down the car piece by piece, but above are the highlights. The delivery checklist is how you are confirming that the car they are delivering to you has all the bells and whistles that were promised. 

Confirm there is no malfunction or error on the vehicle before the Tesla delivery person departs. 

You want to let the representative know immediately if something is wrong with your vehicle, or you may get blamed for it later and risk losing warranty coverage. 

Cleaning the Exterior of Your Tesla Model 3 

When cleaning the exterior of your Tesla, you will have to keep in mind different things than you may with a standard fuel-powered vehicle. 

Some tips for cleaning your Tesla are as follows:

  • Do not use harsh chemicals or detergents on the paint.
  • Use a high-quality quick cleaner spray so you don’t harm the paint.
  • Use a clean microfiber cloth to avoid scratching the paint or leaving any marks.
  • Do not aim your water source directly into the electric parts, such as the charging port or any exposed cables. 
  • Do not use a high water-pressure on the rear-view camera or sensitive areas that may be vulnerable or easily-damaged. 
  • Flush away dirt and grime by aiming the hose or water stream off of the car and not upwards or underneath it.
  • If you live in a colder climate where salt is placed on the road to prevent ice-slides, be sure to get your wheels cleaned from all traces of salt.
  • Dry the brakes after cleaning to avoid water drying inside of the breaks and resulting in long-term damage. 

Cleaning the Interior of Your Tesla Model 3 

Polishing the inside of your Tesla is an important part of caring for your transportation. Although it reflects less on you than the exterior of your vehicle may, the inside is important as well.

The steps to maintain the interior of your Tesla Model 3 are as follows:

  • Do not use harsh cleaning products such as bleach or all-purpose cleaner, which may be too acidic. Use a high-quality, mild detergent, spray cleaner for the seats.
  • Use soft rags on all windows with Windex or a foam glass cleaner
  • Use a clean microfiber cloth to avoid scratching any surfaces.
  • Always wipe up spills as soon as they happen. Be sure to rinse with warm water (never hot) and dry completely to avoid upholstery-staining.
  • Don’t allow the carpets to become wet, which will lead to mold and mildew.
  • Clean the touchscreen periodically with a lint-free cloth and something like screen cleaner, a bit of alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect (you can select under display settings on your screen, “Screen Clean Mode,” which will make the screen darker so you can see smudges more easily).

Understanding Your Warranty

As far as your 120,000 warranty goes, it will only work if you are taking your Tesla directly to a Tesla location for maintenance. 

You may be able to receive the New Vehicle Warranty without servicing with Tesla directly, but you may experience trouble receiving all of the benefits of the Extended Service Agreement.

Your main options for warranty under tesla will be:

  • The Standard New Vehicle Warranty – covers you for 120,000 miles
  • The Extended Service Agreement – which you can read more in-depth about here
  • The Parts, Body, and Paint Repair limited Warranty – covers you for 4 years or up to 50,000 miles
  • The Used or Extended Used Vehicle Limited Warranty – covers you for 1 year or up to 10,000 miles

You can purchase or update your warranty at any nearby Tesla location.

Why a Tesla Model 3? 

Since its emergence in the Summer of 2017, the Tesla Model 3 was released on the basis of limited-production. 

Your Tesla Model 3 is a beacon of genius, all wrapped up into an environmentally-friendly and sleek-looking package. Not only will it drive you around and save you gas money, but the major win for the Tesla brand is its association with safety.

Just some of the reasons that the Tesla Model 3 is an absolute winner includes:

These are amazing figures and absolutely worth noting about this unique vehicle. The Model 3 offers a great abundance of value. Essentially, you cannot get a safer and higher-quality car for the price while simultaneously helping the environment. 

Caring for your Tesla will be very straightforward and easier than owning a standard car in many ways. Think of how much time you will save, not pumping gas! This guide will cover it all so sit back, get cozy, and prepare to learn about this radical evolution of the vehicle industry!

Availability of the Tesla Model 3 

You can easily purchase your Tesla Model 3 online and customize the vehicle to your tastes and preferences.

Pro Tip: You can get 1000 free supercharger miles with your new Tesla by using our Tesla referral link.

As of now, most people are receiving their Tesla Model 3 within one month of their ordering date. 

Tesla is selling these long-awaited gems at a retail price starting at roughly $35,000.

With Elon Musk, creator and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, stating that, “a Model 3’s body and drive unit can last up to 1 million miles while the battery can last up to 500,000 miles and he says that battery module replacements will be made available,” the Model 3 certainly has a lot to live up to.

Only time will tell if Musk’s incredible claims are accurate, but Tesla has proven itself as a frontrunner in automobile innovation and creativity since its emergence as a company. 

Final Thoughts on Maintaining Your Tesla Model 3 

Tesla is undeniably doing what other dealers are not, and we have to applaud them for their innovation if nothing else. Musk has lofty goals, and only time will tell if all the hype about the Model 3 is worthy of it.

Nonetheless, the Tesla engineers are working their hardest to offer you a vehicle that is affordable, better for the environment, quieter, and saving you thousands in gas over time. A Tesla will save you time by not requiring oil changes, spark plug replacements, emission checks, or any of the fusses that have to be made when fuel is involved.

You are sparing yourself a lot of maintenance and upkeep by avoiding a gas-powered vehicle, so the maintenance is ultimately less in some ways than a traditional car. 

You can use guides like Daily Life with Tesla Model 3 Charging to understand the right wattage, power level, and charging schedule for your lifestyle, and there are tons of brilliant forum discussions that you can check out as well. 

Read up on buyers’ experiences and learn the process behind purchasing one of these beauties. Some people need to wait a while for delivery, which has been up for controversy, but nothing good in life comes easy right? What do you think is the Tesla Model 3 worth all the hype and worth the wait?

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Greg

Hi, I'm Greg. My daily driver is a Tesla Model 3 Performance. I've learned a ton about Teslas from hands-on experience and this is the site where I share everything I've learned.

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