Poll: Manual vs Auto A/C

Poll: Manual vs Auto A/C

Ever since I bought my European Tesla Model 3 in July 2019, I've been using A/C set to Manual mode with Recirculation Off, Fan Speed set to 1 and A/C compressor set to disabled because I don't like the dry air when compressor is on Also fan speed set to Auto is too high for my taste. My old 2012 BMW 3-series had a dedicated button for the compressor (snowflake or AC label on the button decoupled from the Auto setting) and it also had the possibility to set the agressivness of the fan as well as the option for an Automatic Recirculation. I miss my BMW A/C massively.

Am I the only one? Are you using Manual or Auto settings? I'm trying to figure out if I'm weird of if this is something to ask Tesla to change.

vmulla | 7 janvier 2020

It's all there in the 3. Take a look

derotam | 7 janvier 2020

@marian: Well here's the thing. Manual is fine if you are in a warmer and dryer climate in the first place. Manual is not good generally, in a cooler/colder climate and or where interior fogging is an issue.

If there is interior fogging issues, you either have to blast the heat and/or turn on the A/C.

Fan speed setting of 1 on manual will not work and or will cause a wast of energy in a cooler/colder climate because the cabin heater will maintain a higher power draw because it won't be able to heat the cabin up as fast or at all with too low of a fan setting.

I used to use manual a lot for various reasons but it was just too cumbersome mainly due to having to change the fan speed up and down. Personally I wish you could leave the fan to auto but still be able to toggle the A/C on/off. Also a dedicated Heater button would be helpful.

derotam | 7 janvier 2020

Another thing you could consider is leave it on auto and change the air flow direction to where it won't bother you. I tend to have mine pointed up and to the sides.

gmr6415 | 7 janvier 2020

@derotam, For controlling interior fogging on the windshield there is an option to direct the airflow to the windshield.

In fact it's now a voice command. Direct fan to windshield.

zerogravitydrgn | 7 janvier 2020

Auto, always. Sometimes I adjust the temp a couple of degrees either way. Otherwise I never touch it and live in bliss.

derotam | 7 janvier 2020

@gmr6415: yes, but A/C off and fan speed set to 1 I don't think will cut it in a lot of scenarios.

thedrisin | 7 janvier 2020


SalisburySam | 7 janvier 2020

@zerogravitydrgn, +2. I think I’ve used Auto for HVAC in every vehicle I’ve owned that had it. I also don’t turn it off before shutdown as some do to avoid smells. In my Model 3 delivered July, 2018 I set Auto when I took delivery, and haven’t changed it since. I do play with the temp now and then.

calvin940 | 7 janvier 2020

Auto for me too.

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi | 7 janvier 2020

Auto in any car

EVRider | 7 janvier 2020

Auto for me, in south FL.

FISHEV | 7 janvier 2020

"Am I the only one? Are you using Manual or Auto settings? I'm trying to figure out if I'm weird of if this is something to ask Tesla to change."

It's an oddball system, Tesla trying something new which doesn't work that well in practice. Most come from cars with more Auto options on the HVAC. I like to have air at feet and windshield but that setting shuts down Auto and it becomes completely manual, the temp setting means nothing so driver has to constantly adjust fan speed and temp to maintain temp.

Auto is single setting on the Model 3. Either live with how Tesla likes it or work the clumsy controls manually during the ride.

Definitively something Tesla could easily fix. Use Auto to control temp and fan speed and owner can select how he wants air to come out.

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi | 7 janvier 2020

Fish is always wrong

Kathy Applebaum | 7 janvier 2020

Auto always. Central Valley of Northern California.

vmulla | 7 janvier 2020

If it's auto then it's auto - if you want to customize something to your taste then it is not auto. As simple as that.

apodbdrs | 7 janvier 2020

Most of the time manual mode. Tesla's Model 3 HVAC is the BEST! Can control speed, temp, direction, etc. what more can you ask for. Read an article somewhere, that other car manufacturers will soon be copying Tesla Model 3.

FISHEV | 7 janvier 2020

"Can control speed, temp, direction, etc. what more can you ask for. "

You can't control temp in Manual is the problem. You can set the temp but because the fan is manual it requires constant adjustment to maintain the temp. As the author noted, most Auto temp controls allow more choices. Tesla has one setting for Auto. It is something Tesla could fix for owners.

NorthValley | 7 janvier 2020


gparrot | 7 janvier 2020

Manual, always. Like Fish, I prefer the airflow around my feet and occasionally at the windshield. Since controlling the temp is a pain in the butt with the current system, every now and then I’ll select Auto to warm the cabin, then revert to Manual.

gballant4570 | 7 janvier 2020

I always use manual, with temp set @68F, recirculating inside air. Mostly leave air flow onto the windshield, but change that in warm weather when using AC. Prior to getting in the car in cold weather I warm the interior, and the settings change (except temp) during that warming.

Mike UpNorth_ | 7 janvier 2020


kevin_rf | 7 janvier 2020

It depends...

Sarah R | 7 janvier 2020

Auto. Set it and forget it.

Magic 8 Ball | 7 janvier 2020


Misses her old BMW. I am sad for her, wiping tears from my eyes.

CharleyBC | 7 janvier 2020

This is the first car I've owned (and I'm nearing retirement, so that's a few) where I use Auto nearly always. (Heck, the older ones didn't even have such a choice.) We set a temp (usually 68F) and just ignore it, and we stay comfy. The car figures out whether to heat or cool to keep it nice. Sure, we override once in a while for some special reason, but it's very much the exception.

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi | 7 janvier 2020

Wonder if he/she will return

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi | 7 janvier 2020

We do the same. 68F on auto

h2ev | 7 janvier 2020

You're not the only one, but around here we are the minority. I sent Tesla executive team a message regarding this within my first week of ownership a year ago. To my surprised I received a response saying they will take my suggestion into consideration, alas nothing has been changed and I've been using manual since day 1.

If you don't care that the car unnecessarily burns more power, then by all means leave it on auto. I care deeply how much power I use as I watch the Wh/mile figure more closely than the speedometer lol. As much as possible I don't use the AC or the heat, so if I want just fan on windshield to minimize fogging, I'd have to set temperature to LO.

In every car I've ever owned that has auto climate control (probably 30+), it will always run the AC compressor even when not needed if you let it control the AC. The difference is that in every car besides Tesla, you can toggle off the AC while the system will still automatically manage airflow, fan speed, and as much as possible regulate temperature without the AC compressor. Of course all those cars have the "luxury" of free heat from the ICE without much of an additional hit on fuel consumption. In the Model 3, as soon as you touch anything, it will be in complete manual control, so say if you press the AC button while in auto while the fan is on full blast, the fan will remain on full blast. Even in a Lexus, there's a setting in the menu that tells the car whether to engage the AC compressor when the auto button is pressed.

What I suggested to Tesla was to allow me to force the air intake to outside air to help reduce fogging, without even turning on the fan. After a year in the Model 3, when the climate control is off, I still can't tell when it's on recirculate or when it's letting fresh air in. Like when I drive through this tunnel, sometimes I smell the exhaust fumes from the ICE around and sometimes I don't. Other times it feels suffocating in there while it's off, which is what happens when it's on recirculate. My other request was to allow me to manually toggle the AC button while in auto mode.

Frank99 | 7 janvier 2020

Fishy see:
“ You can't control temp in Manual is the problem. You can set the temp but because the fan is manual it requires constant adjustment to maintain the temp. ”
Which, in my opinion, is wrong. The car controls the a/c compressor to adjust temperature in this situation, speeding up or slowing down as necessary to maintain. Not like dinomobiles where the a/c compressor soured is set by the engine rpms. Isn’t it marvelous when a company thinks outside the box and does it right?

In general, one should ignore FishEV. His contributions to this community are indistinguishable from those of a troll paid by anti-Tesla interests to sow FUD.

Randkthorn | 7 janvier 2020

My default is Auto climate, auto wipers, auto lock on walk away, auto driver profiles, auto lights and auto high beams. Makes my life better.

gballant4570 | 7 janvier 2020

Frank99, I cannot see Fish posts as I ignore him. But I did see yours.....and Fish is once again wrong. The fan runs on manual all the time at the chosen setting, but the air is not heated or cooled unless req'd.

eandmjep | 7 janvier 2020

N Utah. I leave it in manual. Never have issues. 70 to 72 in winter 68 deg in summer a.c. on. Fan based on what I want or need as well as went.

Big_Ed | 7 janvier 2020

When OAT is close to desired temp, I usually turn off AC and run fan on low. Compressors wear out, so no reason to put unnecessary cycles on it. When >5 degrees difference between OAT and desired temp, either warmer or colder, I use auto.

kaffine | 7 janvier 2020

I use manual and run the fan speed higher than auto. Normally fan is 7 or above in the summer. In the winter the fan speed is normally lower under 5 normally. Not sure how auto does in winter around here.

marian.zdarsky | 8 janvier 2020

Thank you everyone for your inputs. I'm glad I'm not the only one unsatisfied with the Tesla's Auto A/C implementation. I have been using the Auto setting yesterday and today and I'm going to return back to my manual setting as it increases my consumption as well as my comfort. I will try to influence Tesla to at least decouple compressor setting from the Auto setting.

Joe M | 8 janvier 2020

As in every car we have owned manual with fan speed 1-3. Yes I have to play with the fan speed but high volume air that auto in any car occasionally supplies is too drying for us. Used to have to put up with the blast during cool down or heat up but thanks to the phone app that all happens before we hop in:-). Really like that I can preheat the car in a closed garage.

KY | 8 janvier 2020

Hello, I'm Engineer.

1) Normally Auto A/C should be including fan speed and compressor on/off.
2) But I found that my auto cannot to control fan speed. It is always in low speed..... Current temperature 24C, setpoint 21C, still keep in low speed. Poor!

derotam | 8 janvier 2020

@KY, put it into Auto and set the temp to 16C and then tell me the fan doesn't spin up. If it still doesn't spin up then you need to take it to service.

If you are an Engineer then you should be able to do this basic troubleshooting.

zcd1 | 10 janvier 2020

Mine's set to 68 degrees F and fan speed 1 (manual) and I basically haven't touched it in weeks, despite outside temps ranging from 12 degrees F to about 60 degrees F.

I spend less time fiddling with the HVAC controls in this car than any other car I've ever driven or owned.

jpschulze | 10 janvier 2020

I always use manual controls. Fan speed to 3, AC off. I don't like that the AC makes the air dry, and I don't like leaving condensation puddles in my garage. Would be great if there was an auto fan mode. Or better yet, toggle switches for heater and AC, without affecting the Auto setting.