Roasting in the desert

Roasting in the desert

I see Teslas almost every day here in the Phoenix area. Hopefully, some of those drivers are on the Forum, and can offer me advice about how their cars perform in these summertime conditions.

First, do you see any range change based probably on temperatures? 115 is HOT no matter where you are, but the sun beating down adds to that heat.

Second, how about your paint? Any signs of deterioration that could be due to the higher UV indexes that last longer? Anyone apply a UV resistant coating to their paint?

Third, does the aircon REALLY work well? My ICE cars are 'iffy' after being parked in the sun.

Fourth, do windshield heat shields keep the interior cooler? And what do you do for the glass top?

Fifth, if anyone has had their car long enough, can you project the lifespan of the 12V battery?

Sixth, what do you do for car washing in this heat?

Seventh, has anyone experienced an unusual failure that they can contribute to the heat?

Thanks in advance!

vmulla | 16 juillet 2019

The cars are tested in Summer Death Valley conditions (and in Scandinavian winters)

I can't give you first-hand info, but I've been watching this forum since the first non-employee deliveries started. No heat climate-related failures that I can recollect.

I hope that helps with some of your concerns.

gmr6415 | 16 juillet 2019


1) LI batteries do better in hot temperatures, within reason, than cold temperatures. I'm in Central FL, not quite as hot as you describe, but I've seen no range reduction due to heat. Heating the car in the winter takes a much greater hit than the AC in the hotter months.

2) why would it be any different than any other car?

3) AC is probably the best I've had in any car.

4) Have no idea. I've never used one, but I did purchase the roof shade from Tesla, and it does seem to help.

5) 12V batteries do have shortened life expectancies here in FL as compared to when in lived in VA. 2 - 4 years is good here, but the one in my Honda Civic Hybrid lasted 8 years. I attribute that to being computer charged rather than alternator charged.

6) Wash it in the shade.

7) No

rxlawdude | 16 juillet 2019

We had our 3 LR RWD on two summer road trips, with temps well into the 100s. Zero problems. Can't comment on long term effects on paint, though.

model3AZ42 | 16 juillet 2019

Gilbert checking in.

I tinted the side/rear windows and front window with ceramic tint. The car is very cold when the ac is on auto. Before I tinted it the roof glass was always fine but the windows let in a ton of heat. Now that I have tint it works great. The other nice thing is you can turn the A/c on from your phone. My previous cars had this but you had to log in and use a code from your phone each time. Tesla’s app is easy.

When using manual a/c the first 5 settings for a/c barely blow, but I just keep it on auto until my wife complains about being cold and I turn it down.

I have a ceramic coating on my paint and have only had the car 4 months so it still looks brand new.

charles.a.braun | 16 juillet 2019

Having spent a good deal of hot days in Vegas, Death Valley and other high temp locations, I can tell you that the AC in the 3 (at least in ours) is quite sufficient. Our S? Well that is another story. But the 3 kciks butt when it comes to AC as far as I am concerned.

model3AZ42 | 16 juillet 2019

Sorry missed these two questions.

I’ve never found the windshield heat shields to keep the car cooler here after an hour. I’ve had inside cabin temps in my ICE cars as well as this one in the 160-170 degree range. I think that helps with fading and cracking in the dash. I don’t have anything on the glass roof. Factory tint is sufficient.

When you get in any car it’s hot as hell here unless you turn it in from the phone. The 3 cools off faster than my other cars which I think has to do with the ceramic tint. I have tint on other cars but the tint doesn’t function like ceramic does. It’s stupid expensive but worth every penny here. Just make sure you do the front window too. You can’t even tell it’s there.

Most of my ICE car batteries last 2-3 years here. I’m assuming this one will be the same.

If you have access to a garage, ONR and the two bucket method is the greatest thing ever. There are tons of video’s on YouTube. I wish I knew about it before I bought the Tesla. Now I do it on all of our cars.

The Tesla is just like every other car you’ve owned in the sense that I’m sure if you don’t maintain the exterior, after 5 years your paint will start to fade, just like every other car here.

I had the smell issue some have referenced (vinegar or smelly feet) which I directly attribute to overheat protection and not running the fan without recirculation. Tesla replaced both filters and cleaned the unit.

M3phan | 16 juillet 2019

We have triple digit summers. To your questions:
1. No. Old hits range hard though.
2. Not that I’ve noticed over a year of ownership. I always apply polymer protectant after my washes.
3. AC works great, I think it has a one up on ice vehicles in that the air conditioning is not having to deal with a hot engine.
4. Yes, a sunshield for the front will help keep the temperatures slightly lower in the cabin, and if you want something for the glass roof, Tesla sells shade inserts for those as well, but I haven't used the one that I bought after a month of trying last summer as the tint is excellent on top at reducing heat inside. Interior of my three is no hotter than the interior of previous ice cars I’ve owned, but with my three I get to pre-cool the interior for 20 minutes before I get in.
5. No idea on 12 V lifespan.
6. When it gets real hot here, I wash my car at 6 AM in the shade.
7. No heat related AC failures. Solid.

BobDobbs | 16 juillet 2019

I get right around the expected efficiency number with the AC on in Texas. I also got my car in white figuring that the less the car is heated by the sun the less the cooling system will have to run to keep the battery from getting too hot.

M3phan | 16 juillet 2019

Typo in answer one… Should’ve been “cold hits range hard though“

sheldon.mike1010 | 16 juillet 2019

Make sure cabin overheat protection is "On" in settings.
You can turn the AC on with your phone and adjust temp.
When it's bakin hot, 10-15 minutes before I leave, I use the phone to turn on the AC.
Car is comfortable right at start and electricity use to do that seems negligible.

dallinjhales | 16 juillet 2019

We got our SR+ last month, and I've noticed I use more range than I thought

Start out with 215 (90%ish)
Drive 30 miles to work: 185
Begin to drive home: 160 miles
Drive 30 miles home: 120 (slightly uphill)

I use roughly about 25 miles during my shift at work for having the cabin heat protection on. It's more than I thought, but getting in my car after a hot day is priceless :D

sixstring09 | 16 juillet 2019

I live in south FL and while the heat is not 115 with 10% humidity, it is 92 with 70% humidity and I'll gladly trade you weather.

The one thing that I really like about the tesla is the app and being able to pre-cool the vehicle a few minutes before getting into the car. The tesla starts blowing cold air as soon as the AC is turned on even with us not in the vehicle. We turn it on 2 minutes (120 seconds) before getting in and it is getting comfortable as we enter.

The heat/sun and glass top are not a problem for us.

M3phan | 16 juillet 2019

@dallinjhales, 25 Miles lost during your shift? That seems high

dallinjhales | 16 juillet 2019

@M3phan right? It's more than I would have thought. Sentry mode is on as well. Granted it was 114 today so the AC probably kicked in quite a few times haha.

Maybe I'll test it one day without cabin protection on, and one without sentry mode on.

GrumpyinAZ | 16 juillet 2019

Gee, that's a TON of useful information! Thanks to all that have responded so far - and also to those who will chime in shortly.

Didn't know about 'cabin protection'. Like any computer system, there's always something hidden in the fine print. I've read the Owner's Manual three times and missed that.

Order was 7/12 (old price). Delivery quoted in two weeks or less, so this week I should have a SERIAL NUMBER! I've been retired now for ten years, and this is the first car I've ordered off a spec sheet.

Awesome, fellas and gals. Keep it up!

M3phan | 16 juillet 2019

@dallinjhales, I have sentry mode and cabin overheat both on during my workday from 830 to 5, and over that eight hours I never lose more than about 10 or so miles

-TheJohn- | 16 juillet 2019

Tucson here and I've not done anything like tint or ceramic.
We keep her in a covered carport at home and there's never been a problem with omgdying heat getting in in the summer. We put up a front window sunshade when we're out and about and that seems to help but the black seats can be roasting so I recommend pre-cooling it down a minute or two if you can. The AC is amazing. Haven't noticed any sun related exterior or interior damage. I don't use cabin overheat protection as I dislike it's power use.
You'll definitely have problems achieving 241 Wh/Mi in Summer, expect higher due to the AC's initial cool down. We get to drive without heat in the Winter though so make it up then :P I'm at 248 Wh/Mi lifetime over 12.5k miles I believe.
I run the thing through the local Mr. Carwash and it's just fine. Yes I'm a Philistine.

teslu3 | 16 juillet 2019

I use cabin overheat set to fan only as it uses very little energy. Set to on is a big drain. Just turn on AC from the phone app a few minutes before entering the car.

gballant4570 | 16 juillet 2019

It doesn't get that hot here in MD, and I park my car in a barn with a second story, so the car doesn't get much over 80+ degrees inside while parked at home. While out & about driving around, I have moved into the "leave the AC on all day" mode. When I exit the car, I leave the AC turned on as if I were still in it. The AC can run at times for 1/2 hour or more while sitting empty, and there is nothing much better on a hot day than to get into a 68 degree car. Also keeps the interior surfaces and materials from heat soaking, and being that much more difficult to actually cool.
This practice does not seem to hit my efficiency much, my wh/m avg has been dropping from a winter high of 258 down to 240 today. I'm expecting it to get into the mid 230's by the the anniversary point.

r1200gs4ok | 16 juillet 2019

i have put 3M crystalline tint on my windshield (70%), drivers and passengers window, roof (50% and rear windows and trunk window (40%)......what a difference......I also use a Evannex windshield shade and a Tesla roof shade.....Keeps heat down about 15 degrees lower that without anything,,,,,the a/c is the best of any other car i have had over the last 20 yrs (Lexus only, which was the best then)

I also put X/PEL paint protection film on the entire front, hoot, bumper, lights, mirrors rear bumper deck top and door edges......then put CQuarts ceramic coating......beautiful blue wife likes blue....this was a major investment but we plan on keeping car for 8+ years as we are retired......

until we clean out our 3-car garage, it sits out in sun.....get hot, but i play on the app to control temp and keep it at 77 degrees......runs awhile then cuts i said before, A/C is great......

still learning more each day......

rehutton777 | 16 juillet 2019

I've had my Model 3 for almost 4 months, and didn't use Sentry Mode until about 2 weeks ago. Prior to that, the battery loss was very small - - maybe 1 mile per day. Once I started Sentry mode, I noticed a relatively rapid drop of about 10-20 miles per day. It seems Sentry Mode will definitely increase battery drain.

TickTock | 17 juillet 2019

Chandler here. I tinted all windows 3M CR70 and Spectra Photosync on the windshield for the IR blocking. Also installed the factory shades that snap into the roof and back window (will take back out once summer is over - kids say it makes their hair staticy). Finally, I use their car-cover. It is very well made, fits well with all the right openings for cooling and very reasonably priced (I've seen much lower quality covers for a lot more money). With all that, the car easily copes with the heat. I don't bother pre-cooling via the app - it's comfortable enough when I get in thanks to overheat protection.

Devilstower | 17 juillet 2019

We got a set of cheap mesh screens for the front and back sections of the roof glass. $79 and it makes a world off difference both in the heat I feel on my head and shoulders when driving, and in the amount of "phantom drain" that goes into keeping the car from being a zillion degrees when parked in my driveway.

Devilstower | 17 juillet 2019

We got a set of cheap mesh screens for the front and back sections of the roof glass. $79 and it makes a world off difference both in the heat I feel on my head and shoulders when driving, and in the amount of "phantom drain" that goes into keeping the car from being a zillion degrees when parked in my driveway.

Devilstower | 17 juillet 2019

We got a set of cheap mesh screens for the front and back sections of the roof glass. $79 and it makes a world off difference both in the heat I feel on my head and shoulders when driving, and in the amount of "phantom drain" that goes into keeping the car from being a zillion degrees when parked in my driveway.

TickTock | 17 juillet 2019

I forgot to mention that I lose between 6-10 miles in the parking lot at work maintaining cabin and battery temperature.

CharleyBC | 17 juillet 2019

Sacramento reporting in. Not quite so hot as Phoenix, but we enjoy our 108° days.

1) Sure. Operating the AC isn’t free. But it’s far less of a hit than heating in winter.

2) The paint still sparkles like new, not counting the rock chips.

3) This is the most effective AC in any car I’ve owned. Very comfy.

4) We haven’t tried a sun shade, but I’m sure it would help. The top glass is so tinted that it’s never been an issue, though Tesla sells a screen if you like. I was worried about heat here through the top, and it just hasn’t materialized.

5) Don’t know.

6) I wait till late afternoon when the garage casts its shadow on the driveway.

7) Zero failures related to heat or anything else in a year of ownership.

CharleyBC | 17 juillet 2019

6A) Or morning before it heats up.

coleAK | 17 juillet 2019

Not the heat you are talking about but from what I can timely the AC is about a 10-15% range hit. Compair that to 30-40% for the heat and it’s minimal loss with AC. 2 weeks ago we had a an all time record breaking heat wave up here in AK. Temps were above 80 for 16 days straight, many summers we never hit 80. Turned the AC on for the first time and went from ~230 Wh/mi to ~260 Wh/mi for those 2 weeks. Winter with the heat on I’m ~380-400 Wh/mi.

dallinjhales | 17 juillet 2019

I have a service appointment tomorrow morning for some rattling noise. I'll ask about the battery usage for cabin overheat protection, along with why all the speakers aren't working in the SR+ haha

nwfan | 18 juillet 2019

I'm in TX going through my 2nd summer with my Model 3.

Range drop in summer min. Winter with heat different story car will consume
more keeping you warm and for battery management.

My Pearl White M3. Clear bra on it with Opti coat pro plus. Good as the day
it was drove off the Fremont factory line.

My Model 3 A/C keeps me cool. Works great. My car is parked in garage at home and
work. When I park it outside I turn on the overheat protection. Also pre cool the car
when heading out. Makes a big difference seating in a 72 degree car instead of 120 degrees.

Yes heat shield helps. I also have the Tesla sunshade and 3M crystalline tinting on all glass.

18 months with 12v battery. Haven't had any issues.

Use 2 bucket method to wash my car. Hand wash in the garage. With a large shop fan running.
Works for me.

No failure that I can recall. My Model 3 is on it's 2nd TX summer and as others have mentioned cools
better than my other Tesla a Model S.

My lifetime average is 240 Wh/mi. In summer my Wh/mi efficiency is depended on my driving. If I do too many
launches (0 to 40 mph runs) efficiency shoots to above 280 Wh/mi. If I drive on the freeway at 75 mph it goes up. When I drive on local streets at posted speed limits and keep the launches to zero it's around 210 to 225 Wh/mi. Same drive with HVAC off 189 to 199 Wh/mi. My winter in TX didn't use heat. Turned on seat heaters. Had a mild winter and averaged 180 to 220 (launches). Can't help myself. If you have a Tesla why not launch?

dallinjhales | 18 juillet 2019

Currently at the service center. The service man who was very helpful here at North Scottsdale, Jimmy, told me that there ARE speakers underneath all of the grills but that they are not turned on. He laughed about it and said, "It is what it is!" He said it's true for the SR+. Maybe one day we can purchase something to enable of tbem!

As regards to the cabin overheat protection. I told him I was losing about 25 miles a day during work from having it on. He said it's completely normal and recommended turning the AC off, and having the fan on only. He mentioned that the compressor is on all day to keep the batteries at the right temperature and that using COP simply puts more strain for the compressor. He also mentioned that keeping the fan on instead of AC is not harmful for the interior (even when it's 110+ daily here in Phoenix).

Just my experience and food for thought!

cmh95628 | 18 juillet 2019

Another Sacramento, CA area resident here. As Charlie said, it gets hot here, but not AZ hot.

I was recommended by a user here (Thanks hokiegir1!) to use the TeslaFi website to program/control my car (via the API) to turn on my AC five minutes before I leave work each day. Best five bucks a month I ever spent...

Atoms | 18 juillet 2019

I have a pearl white 3. When I got the car it was 118F out and the AC was great and that is with no added tint. We added windo tiny but I did not notice any temperature change. I think tint is more aesthetics.
I have no concerns about the reliability of the car after 12 months in Phoenix. If anything it is better than our Hondas. I had an old Honda and it definitely could not cool the inside with the peak Phoenix heat.

At least the white is a perfect car for Phoenix. I also had it ceramic coated which I really appreciate making it super easy to stay clean and to wash. Definitely worth the money.

For the 12V battery, I can only hope they use high reliability batteries since all my other cars require a new battery every 2 years like clockwork. Hopefully Tesla found a magic battery. If not, mobile service will come out and replace it.

neilhamrin | 18 juillet 2019

My P3-, too new for paint longevity but my S85 after 4 years looked excellent. Red
Any no 12V battery trouble. At 72000 miles.

gballant4570 | 18 juillet 2019

neilhamrin, I like the sound of no 12V trouble in 4 years and 72k miles.....but 4 years might be closing in on the physical limits.....

Wattsworth | 18 juillet 2019

Phoenix, here.

1) My range increased when temps hit the 90s (311 miles on my AWD), and have reduces slightly with temperatures over 110. Right now, my estimated 100% range is 307.75 consistently. So, the heat has not been overly harsh.

The battery max temp is 113 degrees and the internal cooling keeps it well below that always. I've charge regularly in a 105 garage with no issues (and the battery cooling rarely going on).

2) I had ceramic applied on the entire vehicle. This isn't particularly a Tesla thing -- IMO a good idea for any car in this climate.

3) AC is exceptional, even on 115 degree days.

4) A form-fitted windshield shade does wonders. It takes only a couple minutes to cool the car down while walking out of the movies (or wherever). I have the top and back shades and leave the top shade in all summer. No noticeable heat even with the sun overhead.

5) Have not had the car long enough to test but the AGM battery should last several years. Without going into all the technical info, Tesla thought this through and made an optimal choice. BTW, I have heard that Tesla can monitor the battery remotely so you should get some advance warning if it is failing. (Note to self: ask about this at the next service.)

6) ONR wash in the garage, preferably when the temp is below 90 degrees.

7) None.

Daryl | 19 juillet 2019

Another Phoenix (Tempe) owner here, had my Model 3 for over a year.

I'm bald and found the sunroof radiating uncomfortable heat on the top of my head. I put in the OEM shade, and that makes it OK.

I also tinted my windshield with the lightest 3M Crystaline tint available, and find it helps a lot when driving into the sun. I also put up a windshield screen when I park in the sun, partly just to protect the dash, but I think it helps with car heating too.

Bottom line, it's the best car I've owned for making the heat tolerable. Being able to preheat even while parked in the garage is a great benefit over an ICE car.

Daryl | 19 juillet 2019

PS to above comment: I took the sunroof shade out during the winter and it was fine. I just need it during the summer.

eandmjep | 20 juillet 2019

I did have a heat related issue. When extreme temps while parked caused glitches or hesitations on the touch screen, power up etc. Called and Tesla sent/forced an update going out with the over heat protection and it was explained to me that the interior fans would kick on if interior was 140 wether I enabled COHP or not. Never had it glitch since.