Model 3 and Parallel Parking (Is It Good at It?)

Model 3 and Parallel Parking

Tesla Model 3’s can now be upgraded with new technology allowing for automated parking. Part of the new automated parking software is a feature for parallel parking. Parallel parking is a challenge that many drivers have a hard time mastering. With new improvements, is the Model 3 good at parallel parking?

The Model 3 is neither good nor bad at parallel parking. Whether the Model 3 is “good” at parallel parking or not depends on both the driver and the software. For some, Model 3’s have proven competent at parallel parking while for others it has not.

Automated parking software is a new feature for Model 3’s. Some of the glitches are still being worked out, which can make parallel parking a challenge for certain vehicles. Pay attention to the various factors listed here, as these factors will explain the parallel parking capabilities of a Model 3. Read on to learn more about the Model 3 and whether it is good at parallel parking.

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Model 3 and Parallel Parking: Autopark Feature

Tesla has new software that (theoretically) is available for most existing Tesla models; Autopark. Autopark’s name is pretty self-explanatory. The software comes pre-installed in all new Tesla models and is offered as additional software that can be installed on older model Teslas.

  • Autopark helps Tesla vehicles park autonomously (with input from the driver)
  • Autopark includes a feature for parallel parking that is available for Model 3’s as extra software
  • There are certain issues that arise when parallel parking a Model 3 using Autopark

As mentioned, Autopark is software that must be installed separately in a Model 3. This is due to the fact that Model 3’s are older Tesla vehicles. Autopark can be successfully installed in Model 3’s, yet there can still be additional challenges. This is especially true when it comes to parallel parking.

Parallel parking has always been fairly tricky. Tesla’s Autopark is designed to make issues like parallel parking easier on the driver. Reality is often more complicated than expectation, however. Pay close attention to your Autopark software in a Model 3, as sometimes it may not parallel park as smoothly as you want it to.

How Does a Model 3 Parallel Park?

Any driver can manually parallel park a vehicle such as a Model 3. So in the case of the Model 3, it is necessary to focus on the one thing that sets the Model 3 apart from other vehicles when it comes to parallel parking: Autopark. To engage parallel parking (automated) on a Model 3, there are certain steps that the vehicle must go through:

  • Drive your vehicle up to the spot where you wish to park
  • Once your parking spot is chosen, you should stop the vehicle and put it in reverse
  • When the vehicle has been placed in reverse an icon with a “P” will appear which will start the Autopark sequence
  • Once the above steps have been completed, the vehicle will slowly maneuver its way into the parking spot

This is, in theory, the way a Model 3 will parallel park using the Autopark feature. The issue here is more in the specs of the individual vehicle and its software. Remember, Autopark is a feature that must be installed after-the-fact on a Model 3. Model 3’s were not initially designed to hold the Autopark feature.

The primary issues with parallel parking using Autopark on a Model 3 are glitches in the technology. Since the Model 3 was not initially designed to use Autopark features, some report issues in its application. It is good to know what these issues may be going forward.

The debate is still ongoing in terms of the effectiveness of Tesla Model 3s ability to parallel park. It is often separated into a binary on whether the Autopark software is “good” or “bad” at parallel parking. As you will see, it often is not a clear-cut situation that can be defined in such ways.

Is the Model 3 Good at Parallel Parking?

There is a debate surrounding the effectiveness of parallel parking a Model 3 using Autopark technology. The primary issue for Model 3’s seems to be the compatibility of new software on an older model vehicle. For some, the following issues seem to arise when parallel parking a Model 3 using Autopark:

  • Autopark features will sometimes selectively engage even in situations it can be used properly
  • Parallel parking options will occasionally not activate or will engage in improper ways
  • There have been reports of accidents and vehicle damage when parallel parking using the Autopark feature

These are just a shortlist of issues that have been experienced. For some, parallel parking on Autopark is more of a thing to show off rather than practically use every day. The negative experiences with parallel parking in a Model 3 are not universal, however. There have been successful attempts at parallel parking in a Model 3 using Autopark.

The issue here is whether a Model 3 is “good” at parallel parking depends upon the perception of the driver and the vehicle itself. Some drivers have found little issue most of the time when parallel parking in a Model 3. Other drivers find themselves encountering more issues than not.

There is no definite way to pinpoint which perception is right or wrong here. It really depends on the vehicles and the Autopark software installed in them. For some, parallel parking in a Model 3 (using Autopark) is not much of a hassle. For others, it seems to be more of a hassle than anything else.

Model 3 and Autopark Glitches

As mentioned, autopark software was created after the Model 3 hit the market. Autopark software must be installed on Model 3 vehicles separately. This, of course, raises issues when it comes to use. In the initial rollout, Tesla’s Autopark encountered various issues when installed on a Model 3:

  • Autopark software glitched often when first introduced to Model 3s
  • Parallel parking features still encounter issues when engaged, which vary in severity depending on other factors
  • A common glitch would occur in which parallel parking features would not engage or would engage improperly

Technology can seem like both a blessing and a curse at once. On the one hand, parallel parking using Autopark does tend to make the process easier for the driver. This is only if the software works properly, however. Software glitches do seem to be improving.

Autopark software does not seem to have the same level of glitches in Model 3s then when it was first introduced. Slowly, yet surely, Autopark software is improving on the Model 3. In fact, even in a Model 3, parallel parking abilities exceed the capabilities of Tesla’s competition.

Model 3 vs. BMW 330i (Parallel Parking)

In 2019, a test was conducted between the automated parking capabilities of a Tesla Model 3 and a Volkswagen BMW 330i. This was an extensive test, which pitted each aspect of their automated parking softwares against each other. In terms of parallel parking, the Model 3 edged out the BMW 330i in the following ways:

  • The Model 3 has a smoother engagement protocol when parallel parking than the BMW 300i
  • The Model 3 has better spatial recognition technology compared to the BMW 330i
  • The Model 3 has a better reaction time while engaged in parallel parking, capable of reacting to sudden changes quicker
  • The only advantage the BMW had was that its software was more refined to recognize urban areas

In the case of parallel parking, the Model 3 proved more effective at achieving the desired outcome. The Model 3 still experienced some issues when parallel parking while using Autopark, yet not nearly as much as the BMW 330i. Aside from Tesla, Volkswagen is considered the next best producer of cars with automated parking features.

Even the next best competitor to Tesla still cannot match the abilities of Autopark. This shows promise in the viability of Tesla’s Autopark software in relation to its competitors. Despite having issues, Autopark still outperforms other automated parking software. Keep in mind, the Model 3 is an older model of Tesla vehicle that was not originally designed for Autopark.

There are still general concerns and precautions that should be kept in mind in terms of Model 3s and parallel parking. While Autopark’s technology edges out its competitors, it is not flawless and poses risks when used in public spaces.

Caution and Risk of Model 3 Parallel Parking

As mentioned, Model 3s have had issues with Autopark software. While the severe glitches of the initial rollout of Autopark have largely been cleared up, there are still small issues to be overcome. Keep the following in mind when it comes to safely parallel parking a Model 3 while using Autopark:

  • There have been reports of Model 3s (and other Tesla models) engaging too quickly when parallel parking
  • Engaging too quickly will cause the vehicle to speed up, which can cause potential crashes and injuries to yourself or those around you
  • There have been issues regarding Autopark’s spatial recognition technology, seeming to activate selectively even under improper conditions
  • Many urban areas (especially in the United States) do not permit use of Autopark and therefore the navigation/recognition software may not work properly there

The primary issue is that Model 3s have to download Autopark software separately. Newer Tesla models with Autopark pre-installed do not encounter as many issues with the software. This is largely due to the fact that newer vehicles are built with the software in mind, while older models were not.

This brings risks when parallel parking in a Model 3. The technology has not yet been perfected in older Tesla models yet. Be aware of the risks and take caution when parallel parking using Autopark in a Model 3. The technology is improving with time and effort, however.

Tesla actively seeks to correct many of the ongoing issues with Autopark in Model 3s. Tesla is designing entire new model lines around its automated driving/parking technologies. This indicates that the company is heavily invested in this technology for the future, therefore it is proactive in correcting as many glitches in the software it can.

Model 3 and Autopark Improvements

Tesla wants its customers to help them improve the glitches in Autopark software for older vehicles like the Model 3. There are ways for you to help the company keep tabs on the glitches, therefore helping to correct them.

  • When glitches occur in Autopark software, the onboard computer keeps tabs of this in “logs”
  • These logs can be sent to Tesla where they can parse out the issues and ultimately find ways to improve the software
  • It is recommended to send these logs to Tesla when experiencing software glitches with Autopark

The best way to improve the parallel parking abilities of a Model 3 is to send Tesla the logs of any glitches that have been experienced. The more the experts are aware of issue trends, the quicker they can work to correct them. This also helps to develop improved software for newer Tesla vehicles in the future.

The technology is complex and always improving. It is important to help Tesla pinpoint widespread issues so that they can be corrected going forward. The technology will also evolve along with local laws and ordinances, which limit Autopark’s use in many areas.

Parallel Parking (with Autopark) and Local Laws

One of the issues surrounding the ongoing development and use of Autopark software is local laws and ordinances. Unfortunately, many localities in the U.S. and around the world have not updated their laws to allow for things like automated parallel parking. This is especially true in large urban areas with heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

  • Many urban areas of the U.S. and around the world do not yet permit the use of automated driving/parking technology in vehicles
  • This limits the ability of Autopark software to recognize its surroundings, which ultimately hampers your ability to successfully parallel park
  • A Tesla vehicle such as a Model 3 needs to have a good visual layout of its surroundings, which it obtains through local GPS information
  • Autopark software may not be given access to this information, which prevents it from recognizing proper spaces to park

The primary reason many urban areas and other localities have not yet permitted the use of features like Autopark is due to the technologies not being refined. Of course, Tesla has a hard time refining the technology if they cannot be practically tested in urban spaces.

Slowly, however, the technology is being adapted for urban settings. This will, over time, allow your Model 3 to successfully parallel park autonomously in major cities. Before the technology is refined, just be aware of the local laws as it could hamper your ability to parallel park using Autopark.

Tips for Parallel Parking with a Model 3

As mentioned, there is no real straightforward answer to whether parallel parking is universally good or bad with a Model 3. It all really depends on the vehicle and software. Some Model 3s may parallel park just fine when using Autopark, while others may not. Keep the following in mind when considering parallel parking autonomously with a Model 3:

  • The technology has not yet been perfected, yet does show promise with further development
  • Do not depend on the technology alone to guide you safely to a proper parking space
  • Autopark only helps you park once you have found a proper space, you will still have to help guide the vehicle as the driver
  • Pay attention to your surroundings when parallel parking in tricky spaces, as a small glitch in the Autopark software can be the difference between safety and damage
  • If the Autopark software glitches, it can be deactivated and manual parking resumed in this case

You can properly parallel park using a Model 3 with Autopark software. There are precautions that should be taken and factors kept in mind, however. If the setting is not safe enough or the technology does not work properly, it is recommended to parallel park manually.

The Autopark sequence can be deactivated by the driver when necessary. As mentioned, do not fully depend on Autopark for every situation. Technology is nice yet imperfect and can stop working from time to time, even in the best conditions. It is always wise to keep your own human senses alert and ready in case of sudden incidents or changes.

Be prepared to parallel park manually in your Model 3 if the Autopark sequence does not engage properly. It may be aggravating to parallel park manually, yet it is better to do so then to risk or cause an accident. Always be prepared to take control of the vehicle while parallel parking in case glitches begin to arise.


Parallel parking with a Model 3 can be done properly, yet there are risks to doing so. Autopark is still a new technology with ongoing development which will cause issues as it is being developed. Model 3s are also older models of vehicles that were not originally designed to use automated driving/parking technology.

Tesla Model 3s are neither “good” nor “bad” at parallel parking while using Autopark. It depends on the specs of the vehicle and the software in question. Some Model 3s may parallel park just fine with new Autopark software while others may not work as well. Just keep this in mind when using Autopark to parallel park your Model 3 going forward.


The articles here on are created by Greg, a Tesla vehicle and Tesla solar expert with nearly half a decade of hands-on experience. The information on this site is fact-checked and tested in-person to ensure the best possible level of accuracy.

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