Leaving car at airport

Leaving car at airport

I've got a 75D and am planning on taking the car to the airport and leaving it in long-term parking for my Christmas holidays. What sort of drain can I expect per day? And what can I do to minimise it? I'm going to be away for about 3 weeks so don't want to turn up to a flat battery!

It takes about 15% charge to get home to the airport so I will be parking with about 85% charge. There are a couple of public fast chargers available about 1km away from the airport so I can top the car up on the way home if necessary. Unfortunately the airport doesn't have EV charging points (I have suggested that they put in a few plug sockets in the long-term building so that we can charge on standard 230V!).


lilbean | 02. Oktober 2017

How far is your house from the airport? Can you uber instead? Mine can drain up to 10 miles per day. You would need to turn off the automatic climate thingy that keeps the interior temp from exceeding 105 degrees.

TheJimBug | 02. Oktober 2017

Cost of parking at the airport for 3 weeks is $120 - cost of return taxis is about $350 (we would need two taxis coming back due to amount of baggage my wife is planning on bringing with us (mostly empty going, full coming back!).

We will be parked under cover and it only really starts warming up in January here so I can switch off overheat protection without much problem.

lilbean | 02. Oktober 2017

Cost of someone punching out the window to break in is more. Cost of worrying about the car is also more.

ernie | 02. Oktober 2017

Oh my goodness sake...Just Lyft or Uber...this makes no sense to leave at an airport parking garage either there or off site.

TheJimBug | 02. Oktober 2017

The last time I parked at the airport I forgot to lock the car so don't have to worry too much about crime! Nobody is going to break into a car at the airport as it is one place you can pretty much guarantee that there aren't any valuables (given that everyone has taken their bags with them!). Indeed the car would be safer at the airport than at home where the keys are as it takes me all of 30 seconds to break into the house when I lock myself out! Crime really isn't a concern though - New Zealand is a pretty safe country!

Main thing to worry about is battery drain - hence the questions!

TheJimBug | 02. Oktober 2017

Oh, and don't have Lyft or Uber where I am ... they only operate in the CBD and are rarely seen in the suburbs (you have to be lucky to get one that has dropped someone off nearby).

Not sure why it wouldn't make sense to leave a car at the airport ... long-term parking is a 2 minute walk from the terminal and that is what it is there for! If it isn't possible in a Tesla then fine; but it would be useful to understand whether or not it could be done somehow. Three weeks isn't too long a holiday afterall - indeed it is probably on the short side for that time of year.

Triggerplz | 02. Oktober 2017

Since you won't take Lilbean and Ernie advise Just leave it at the airport

chuckgrim | 02. Oktober 2017

A 115 volt outlet at the long term parking lot would be plenty to keep the X charged while parked.

tommyalexandersb | 02. Oktober 2017

Good question, and I don't know the answer either. Does anyone have a answer to the original question besides alternative questions? How long can model x sit unplugged (assuming no overheat protection and energy savings mode on) until it reaches less than 15% battery?

peter | 02. Oktober 2017

I lose about 10 miles a day when parked for fishing/rafting trips. The interior over temp has a 12 hour limit so that is not a problem.

After a certain point the drain lessons. I don't remember what that point is but it is in the owner's manual.

The next time I leave the MX for more than a day or two I am going to use the Power Off in the controls and see if that makes a difference.

Tâm | 03. Oktober 2017


To conserve energy while your car is waiting for you:

1) Turn off Smart Preconditioning so A/C and Heater won't automatically turn on.

2) Turn off cabin heat protection so it doesn't spend energy to cool the cabin down.

3) Controls -> Displays -> Energy Saving: ON. Your car may go into deep sleep and it may take more than a minute to wake up when you come back.

You might want to practice with those settings now to see whether that would help.


So as others reported that a daily vampire loss can be about 10 miles a day.

You are gone for 3 weeks or 21 days. 10 miles x 21 = 210 miles.

That sounds like you will need to charge before you will make it home.

Just in case, you might want to plan a contingency that your car might lose more miles than that and your 12V becomes exhausted.

In that case, you might want to learn how to manually open your frunk to access 12V terminals.


I don't know whether anybody try trickle charging 12V yet. So, this practice below is unproven:

One of the reason for the vampire loss is the main battery has to recharge the 12V battery (and thus, your 10 miles per day loss.)

If you could park in the sun and let the solar panel on your dashboard trickle charge your 12V battery via OBD II port (under the dashboard, left of USA driver), it may solve the vampire mile loss problem.

COLEMAN 3.5 Watt Solar Trickle Charger with OBDII Connector

UPC #688432581047

Good luck!

zanegler | 03. Oktober 2017

I think the solar charger is a great idea. Not sure it is viable, but certainly seems like it would be. Last time I left my car at the airport, a mouse either moved in or simply decided the foam in the wheel wells would make excellent bedding in their primary home.

Rocky_H | 03. Oktober 2017

I have a Model S, rather than a Model X, but I come in here some to see if there are some questions in common, and there frequently are. Here are previous discussions on this topic:

The thing that is bothering me is so many people quoting 10 miles per day loss for the Model X, when the Model S is about 1% per day, which would be a little over 2 miles. I can't possibly believe that the Model X has 5 times the idle drain as the Model S does. That would be outrageous! Some people make the mistake of looking at how much a car loses overnight in the first day, and then just multiplying that out by 20 or 30 days. That is not how that works. The car goes into lower and lower power sleep modes after the first 24 and 48 hours of being idle, so that first day's high loss is not going to continue indefinitely. Is that where people are getting that crazy 10 miles a day number?

Anyway, like I said, I don't have Model X experience, so I don't know for sure, but the Model S would be about 1% per day, so long term for a few weeks or a month shouldn't be a problem.

campusden | 03. Oktober 2017

I have a different solution which I have done. Rent (2) one way car rentals. It will cost you 80-100 for 2 one way rentals plus fuel total this far in advance.

TheJimBug | 03. Oktober 2017

Re: Triggerplz - Lilbean and Ernie's advice seems to be coming from a very USA centric view where things appear to be dangerous and alternatives aplenty. Whereas, where I am, it is safer leaving my car at the airport than it is at home (not that it isn't safe at home), and the alternatives are fewer and substantially more expensive. The only times that I have previously splashed out on a cab to and from the airport are when work is paying! The question re drain is therefore more important to me than a straight - don't do it.

Re: chuckgrim - 230V here so even better than 115V ... unfortunately though the airport doesn't have any sockets to plug into (I have checked, and recommended that they install some!).

Re: Tam and Rocky - thanks very much for your advice. I may give it a try over a few days and see what happens; I was expecting about 1-2% a day if I put it into energy saving mode etc ... but hadn't thought about totally powering off.

lilbean | 03. Oktober 2017

TheJimBug, You are truly blessed.

Solarman004 | 03. Oktober 2017

@TheJimBug, I can give you one more data point: I have a 75D and will lose 1 to 2 miles range over 24 hours in moderate temperatures (it's higher on camping trips when outside temps drop below freezing).
My settings:
Always Connected - off
Energy Saving Mode- on
Smart Preconditioning- off
Overheat Protection- off
Plus, I don't use any 3rd party data loggers, and I turn off HVAC before parking for the night.
You should use the app once when you get in the terminal to confirm the car is locked, then avoid the temptation to wake the car for the rest of your trip.

TheJimBug | 03. Oktober 2017

Re: Lilbean - Not blessed, just different. I love coming to the US for the sheer variety that it offers and at exceptionally low prices. Last time I was there I bought 3 pairs of jeans for $25 (on sale); when each pair retails for $150 here - so I saved almost half the airfare just with that one purchase. The country itself is great and fun, people are friendly and I do like it. However I couldn't live there as guns scare me senseless; so much so that I panic whenever I see one of your policemen! I just can't figure out how you guys can live with armed police walking around, let alone populace, as I would feel so unsafe!

It is all about everywhere having its pluses and minuses - where I am currently it is exceptionally safe but quite boring as we are so far away from anyone else and the place is expensive so it means that it costs lots of money to do anything and takes along time saving up for it (I disagree with debt for anything other than appreciating assets such as a house or a business so watch the pennies whilst making sure I enjoy myself).

Re: Solarman004 - thanks ... temperatures should be moderate that time of year (evening 18 degrees C; daytime 25 ish) and the car will be in the shade so that is great. I was thinking of turning 3G off to stop me being tempted to check and therefore wake the car up!

lilbean | 03. Oktober 2017

JimBug, I do not feel safe here. I have dashcams and now I feel like I need to wear a bulletproof vest. I don't mind staying home all the time and it keeps my mileage down.

jcwlee1 | 03. Oktober 2017

I was parked for 7 days for a trip, and lost less than 10 miles total. I heard one of the keys is not connecting online and getting status on the car.

Ninefiveone | 03. Oktober 2017

TeslaBjorn on youtube has a good video on the topic.

Long story short, an X can lose 10 miles a day for a couple of days but after that it goes to sleep. Once in sleep mode it loses something like 1% a day. Connecting to it over the internet to check on it will take it out of sleep mode.

Rocky_H | 04. Oktober 2017

Yes, put the energy savings settings the right way, but the biggest thing is DON'T remote log in to check on it. That will wake it up out of sleep mode, and it starts that clock over again of high draw for 24-48 hours over again.

jaytabanh | 04. Oktober 2017

Have all the settings that Tam and Solarman004 listed. Car has been parked at my local service center for 23 days now (waiting on parts to start the repairs). Started with 260 miles - currently has 175 miles (verified through Tesla App) - so that is about 3.7 miles a day.
I have a 100D.

Perkins53 | 05. Oktober 2017

@thejimbug, I lose a mile every 5 hrs. In 2015 model S if not below freezing. Everyday settings and frequent WiFi check-ins.

Perkins53 | 05. Oktober 2017

Ooops that’s for an 85D if that matters to you. There may be a bit of __centric or group think now and then but all in all much valuable info and very kind and helpful people here. I pictured lilbean as small and green but come to find she is more of a robust French roast. And congrats on that remodel burrdog!
One wonders if there is a burnt orange stove and fridge around the corner!

stephenstrainer | 20. September 2019

I just left my model 3 at airport for 4 days and lost average of 30 miles a day... I turned off the air-conditioning. I wonder if it was the sentry mode? or something else.


Bighorn | 20. September 2019

Sentry mode is a big drain--about a mile per hour apparently.