Model 3

Millennial loses car-ownership virginity to ingenious South African immigrant

I just ordered a Midnight Silver Long Range Model 3 w/ Autopilot! This is my first ever car purchase. I don't really want to mention it to my friends or family for reasons... I just needed somewhere to express my excitement! Also... sorry for the title.

That being said, does anyone have any advice or tips for a first time Tesla owner? I've seen concerns about the quality of the paint Tesla uses and have heard some people on the internet recommend after-market products such as ceramic coatings or PPFs. Any information or advice surrounding any aspect of the Model 3 or Tesla ownership is welcomed and appreciated!


  • Congratulations! I’m an ex-New Yorker who hasn’t owned a car in twenty years, never spent more than $5k for a used car, and just got my red LR AWD Model 3 a few weeks ago.

    The car is a blast to drive! Be careful with the GO pedal! The acceleration is amazing. It’s the fastest car I have ever driven.

    I’m still getting used to the car and getting used to the FSD mode features. Take it slow and always pay attention!
  • Congrats! Best advice for a new owner is to read the manual. You will learn a lot.
  • @Japes: First and formost, grab the PDF of the manual; you can get it from your account at Tesla. Second, or maybe while you're reading the manual, play the tutorial videos.
    So, let me let you in on something about these Tesla forums: We get a _lot_ of trolls around here. They truly have nothing good to say about Tesla. So, if some owner, somewhere, has some problem with paint, panels, or whatever, the innocuous question from the new user gets their complaint (answer to the complaint: Take it to Tesla and they'll fix it) and rebroadcasts the complaint endlessly. This kind of action by the trolls is helped by Tesla's habit of practically never booting anybody.
    So, be very careful about Google/Bing/whatever searching about problems with new M3's: A lot of the time, it's short sellers on the rampage.
    Not that the occasional M3 doesn't have an issue from time to time: Find a car from _any_ manufacturer that never has issues, I dare you :).
    So, having said that: One thing that Tesla has recently put out is that the 7-day-free-refund business is gone. Which is pretty much how every other car manufacturer has done it. Given that that's the case, it is definitely on you to inspect the car _before_ you sign for it.
    So, bring a friend, preferably one who's owned a car for a time, bring clipboards, cameras, and go over the car. Look for scratches, misaligned panels, funky looking paint, cracks in the windshield, missing accessories (if any), and whatever else you can think of. Chances are, you're not going to find a thing.
    When you get in the car, make sure that everything operates: Headlights, turn signals, brights, brakes, power steering, power chairs, heating, a/c, and make the radio play some tunes. Again, you're unlikely to find anything. But it's what I would do when getting _any_ new car.
    The good news: All reports are that if you do find something, in or out of the delivery center, Tesla really, truly, does a good job fixing it. Really. They have an excellent warranty and honor it.
    As far as paint and all that goes: The SO and I run around in our 9/2018 M3, blue, and the paint looks fine after two winters. We managed to pick up cases of rim rash on all four wheels, a natural consequence of not knowing where the four corners of the car are. Because of the way Tesla wheels are built, touching a curb with a wheel means the rim picks up a rash _very_ easily. You might want to practice sidling up to a 15' 2x4 on edge in a parking lot to get a feel where the wheels are.
    But, going back to the paint.. OK, I'm something of a minimalist. The Other Car is a Prius. And, I swear to you, over at the Prius forums, there's a huge gang of people who like wraps, ceramic coatings, and using clay (!) to get brake particles out of the paint. Um. Cool. Whatever floats your boat. General rule: Don't use wax or polish in the first few months of getting this car.. or any new car. Typically, it takes a couple-three months for the paint to fully harden. After that period, putting something like RainX on the paint to vaguely protect it isn't a bad idea. I'm sure the ceramic coaters and wrap types will be in in short order, and I'm not saying that what they say is wrong: It's just that I don't go there.
    Good luck with the car! How are you planning to charge it?
  • Congratulations on your car!! I recommend watching the (short) support videos before you get the car. There is even a 'delivery day walkthrough' series

    Read the manual later for more specific questions ... also search these forums and TMC (Tesla Motors Club) where a lot of common owner questions are answered.

    @Tronguy 's detailed post above is very useful.

    I'm just not a 'read the manual before you drive the car' type of person and found the videos very helpful for learning the basics.
  • I got PPF for the nose of the car to protect against insect and possibly stone chips. So far (a year) it has worked well.
  • I see tronguy's very helpful post got two flags...undoubtedly from the twin trolls we have lurking around here...I guess they didn't like being mentioned by him!

    Just so you know Japes, the trolls are rampant here and losing their shit recently as Tesla FSD just gets better and better. Enjoy your Tesla, you are buying a fantastic vehicle!
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