Model 3

Poor heating, any tips?

I'm starting to suffer in my model 3 as the temperatures get lower. Now it's +6 degrees Celsius and if I start with a preheated cabin the car is comfy for some 10 minutes or so, but after that it gets too cold and on the motorway I can feel the cold air coming in. Seat heating is great but it doesn't really help my hands or feet.

I've tried auto setting, which seems to work poorly, on manual I have to set it to HI and set the fan speed really high to get any amount of warm air.

Never had this problem with an ICE, so I'm wondering is there a tip how to make the cabin comfortable? Should I use a different driving mode? Should I use air recirculation? Is auto or manual better?

At this point I don't really care about range reduction, I just want to be comfortable in the car.


  • If setting the desired temp in auto doesn’t work properly, schedule for service via the app.
  • Sounds like you may have a problem. 6C isn’t close to being cold, so I’d get it checked out. Are other passengers cold as well?
  • One thought is to check the app for the car’s interior temperature. If preheating the car has gotten the temperature quite hot, the thermostat might be keeping the heat from cycling on. Regardless, you can see how hot or cold the cabin is or at least what the thermometer thinks it is.
  • It sounds like you might have an air leak near your feet.
    Another possibility would be if you place something like a knit hat or scarf on the front of the center console, it could block the cabin temperature sensor which is located on the bottom of the screen mount.
    Just spitballing here.
  • CRAIGJFIFTY, very good point about the air temp sensor.
  • I did a quick test today, preheated the cabin to 24C, it took about 10 minutes to reach that temperature (started from 18C). Then I turned off the climate in the app, and it dropped to 21C in 10 minutes. So it seems to lose heat quite quickly.

    Second test was to put a thermometer in the car and drive around. The car was precondition to 24C, thermometer measured 23C and it was comfortable.

    The temperature never reached 24C, however the car maintained 23C during the drive which is fine for me.

    At least now I know that the themostat of the car is showing 1 degree more than the actual value and I can adjust accordingly.

    I'll need to see how it behaves when it gets really cold, but preconditioning the car and leaving the climate on during short breaks in driving seems to work well.
  • My 0.02 in Alaska is the Tesla just feels cold when compared to an ICE. With an ICE you have a huge mass of heat under the hood, in an EV it’s essentially a small electric heater. Think of it as radiant heat off a boiler vs electric baseboard heat in a home. There is no comparison electric baseboard isn’t close to the nice cosy feel of radiant. I don’t see it as a problem I keep my jacket/hat on and wear gloves in the car. Also I find the “auto” setting to work best, I keep it to Auto 62F all winter.

    Also there is no insulation in the roof. Some have made insulation blankets that fit in the glass area above the front seats.
  • Are you using recirculate? I see you asked if you should, which you definitely should.
  • ^^^. No you should not use recirculate in the cold... anyone who lives in a cold climate knows that.
  • Why is that? Why would you prefer to bring sub zero air in from outside when the cabin air is much warmer?
  • > @lbowroom said:
    > Why is that? Why would you prefer to bring sub zero air in from outside when the cabin air is much warmer?

    In the Winter and Cold Weather: You don't want to use Recirculated Air in the winter because it traps humidity inside the car, resulting in super foggy windows – not good! So when it's cold outside, make sure that Recirculation is NOT selected.
  • The car knows when to toggle between recirculate and not. It’s automated.
  • ^^^. The car knows when to toggle between recirculate and outside when set to “auto” it doesn’t when set to manual.

    And as per why no recirculate in the winter, what 007 said, it traps humidity in the car and the windows freeze from the inside. Here in Alaska I never use recirculate any time of the year.
  • @coleAK, I understand your argument, but I think it's relevant to how cold it is and how long the trip is. I've used recirculate down into the 20s (F) with no problems even on long trips.

    You can select the AC defrost (blue icon) if needed and it'll pull out a lot of the humidity pretty quickly.
  • Might I suggest that if you are not worried about the battery, that you turn on the rear heater vents and fan:

    Tap the heater control with fan icon and in the bottom right you will find a faint greyed out back seat heater icon. Tap to manually turn on when there are no rear passengers. This is not to be confused with the rear heater passenger seats.
  • If I feel cold, I increase temperature by 1 or 2 degrees and it is usually enough.

    In my case, it heat more than my previous ICE.

    Only in extremely cold and windy nights or when there is freezing rain one would need more heat.

    This is assuming you somehow preheat the car and you were not outside too long.

    By the way, I usually set the temperature to 20.5C (69F).
  • Using seat heating while preheating or the forts few minutes of driving is also useful
  • *** first few minutes ***
  • Try any of a variety of verbal commands to warm or cool the car.
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