Congratulations on your first Tesla ownership! We know it is a life-altering experience as cutting-edge technology meets safety at every turn. But it’s also true that first-time Tesla owners might find it daunting to figure out all the settings and controls the vehicle offers.
Therefore, in this guide, we'll explore 10 essential safety tips for new Tesla owners, covering everything from mastering Autopilot features to optimizing regenerative braking.
You will also get an idea of how to ensure your Tesla's battery health, navigate the touchscreen interface efficiently, and leverage advanced safety features like Sentry Mode. So let’s begin your Tesla journey!
Tesla New Owner Safety Tips:
1. Understand Autopilot Features
As a new Tesla owner, It’s crucial that you understand Tesla's Autopilot features. It offers safety features such as Traffic-Aware Cruise Control and Autosteer, but for features like Auto Lane Change or Smart Summon, you must go for Enhanced Autopilot.
While the Autopilot system can handle various driving tasks, it's essential to stay actively engaged and ready to take control at any moment. Tesla recommends keeping your hands on the wheel and being attentive. In a nutshell, you need to treat Autopilot as a driving aid rather than a fully autonomous system.
Having realistic expectations with the Autopilot feature, and knowing its capabilities and limitations, ensures a safer driving experience.
Also, you need to stay informed about software updates and advancements, and always prioritize your active involvement for a secure and enjoyable Tesla driving experience. Apart from Autopilot and Enhanced Autopilot, you can also check out the FSD offerings and see if it’s something you need.
2. Optimizing Regenerative Braking
Popularly known as ‘Regen’ in the Tesla community, this innovative feature harnesses kinetic energy during deceleration, converting it into usable energy for the battery. This ensures you get a better range for your vehicle and an extended life for brakes.
To maximize its benefits, practice smooth and gradual braking, allowing the system to recuperate energy effectively. Embracing Regen not only enhances your vehicle's range but also contributes to a more sustainable driving experience.
Image Credits: EVF
However, it’s also important to know when Regen is reduced or limited. You see a dotted line in the power meter. Regenerative braking can be limited or unavailable for a few factors:
1. If the battery is fully charged, no more kinetic energy can be transferred to it
2.During cold weather, due to a cold battery, Regen can be limited. To avoid getting affected, you can activate the 'Apply Brakes When Regenerative Braking Is Limited' settings from Controls > Pedals & Steering.
Also, being aware of Stopping Modes is a must. Regen decelerates your Tesla every time you release the accelerator. You can choose what you want the car to do once the driving speed is very low (almost at a stop) from Controls > Pedals & Steering > Stopping Mode. You get three Stopping Modes to choose from Creep, Hold, and Roll.
3. Regular Software Updates
Regular software updates keep your Tesla equipped with the latest safety features. These software improvements enhance not only performance but also critical safety functionalities. Tesla's over-the-air updates make this process seamless, requiring minimal effort on your part.
The 2023 Holiday Update rolls out next week— Tesla (@Tesla) December 8, 2023
Here’s what’s coming...
Custom Lock Sounds
Replace the horn lock sound of your vehicle with another sound—like a screaming goat 🐐
LAN Party on Wheels
Play your favorite games on the rear touchscreen 🎮
Rear Screen Bluetooth… pic.twitter.com/Xl2Q6YgS2b
By staying current with updates, you ensure that your vehicle benefits from the latest advancements in autonomous driving, collision avoidance, and overall safety protocols.
As a new Tesla owner, you need to get in the habit of checking and installing updates regularly, guaranteeing that your Tesla remains at the forefront of safety innovations.
You can access the update settings from Controls > Software.
Advanced: If you choose Advanced frequency, you get to be an early adopter and experience additional releases.
Standard: If you choose Standard frequency, you get to wait until others have installed it, but you also get fewer releases.
According to the Tesla Owner’s Manual, “Any harm resulting from failure to install a software update is not covered by the vehicle’s warranty. Failure or refusal to install updates can cause some vehicle features to become inaccessible, and digital media devices to become incompatible.”
4. Battery Care and Maintenance
Tesla provides specific recommendations to optimize battery health, such as maintaining an appropriate charging routine and avoiding extreme temperature conditions whenever possible.
Tesla owners should regularly review the guidance provided by Tesla for their specific model to ensure their battery performs at its best.
Some of the most important tips for Tesla Battery Care and Maintenance include:
Never let the battery get fully discharged. Tesla does its part by activating the low-power consumption mode that cuts off onboard electronics and the auxiliary low-voltage battery, but you need to immediately plug in the vehicle once this mode is activated to avoid jumpstarting.
Generally the battery drains at approximately 1% per day, it can vary depending on your vehicle configuration and other environmental factors
Use Trip Planner while heading to a Supercharger with a cold battery.
Taking proactive steps in battery care not only extends its lifespan but also contributes to the overall safety and reliability of your car. For a complete understanding of Battery Care, don’t forget to check out the owner’s manual.
5. Use of Touchscreen Interface
Tesla's central touchscreen controls various vehicle functions, from climate settings to navigation. As a new Tesla owner, you should spend time exploring and customizing the interface before hitting the road, ensuring you can easily access essential features without diverting your attention.
Image Credits: Tesla
Some of the top Touchscreen settings include:
1. Navigation: You can change map orientation, find or navigate to a destination, and change navigation settings (see Maps and Navigation).
2. Status Bar Settings: Located at the top of the Touchscreen the Status Bar includes car controls and status such as door lock status, wi-fi and cellular connectivity, airbag status, GPS, and much more.
3. Climate controls (driver): You can decrease/increase cabin temperature using the left and right arrows, or use Split on for separate controls for the driver and passenger.
4. My Apps: You can customize this section to easily access your frequently used apps and controls.
You can also utilize voice commands and steering wheel controls to further streamline your interactions and minimize accessing the touch screen. To pick your voice command language access the settings from Controls > Display > Voice Recognition Language.
By becoming adept at the touchscreen interface, you contribute to a safer driving environment, allowing you to keep your attention on the road while still enjoying the full range of Tesla's innovative features.
6. Safe Charging Practices
Safe charging practices optimize your Tesla's performance, especially in diverse weather conditions. You need to follow Tesla's charging guidelines to ensure your vehicle's battery health and overall safety.
Image Credits: Tesla
In cold weather, consider pre-conditioning the battery before charging to enhance efficiency. In hot conditions, avoid exposing your Tesla to prolonged periods of direct sunlight during charging.
To access your charge settings, you have to first put the car in the Park mode and then you can access them from Controls > Charging.
Some important charge settings you can access from this menu are:
1. Set the charge limit: You can see the recommended charge limit on your Touchscreen depending on your vehicle’s battery chemistry. LFP batteries should be charged to 100% at least a week.
2. Check Charge Current at the charge location: You can enhance the charge speed by adjusting the maximum current available from the attached charge cable.
3. Schedule charging: One of the best charging practices includes never letting the charge percentage go below 20%. The battery icon turns yellow when the battery is too low. Additionally, using Tesla's scheduled charging feature helps you advantage of the off-peak electricity rates and minimize strain on the grid.
4. Open or lock the charge port
Also, be aware of the various Charge Port Light colors and what they indicate while charging.
By adhering to these charging protocols, you not only promote the longevity of your battery but also contribute to a safer and more reliable charging experience in various weather scenarios.
7. Emergency Exit Knowledge
While Tesla vehicles are designed with safety features, understanding the manual exit process adds an extra layer of preparedness.
As a new Tesla owner, make sure you locate the door release mechanisms and practice using them to ensure you can swiftly exit the vehicle if needed.
1. Exiting from front doors: You can open a front door when the car has no power by pulling up the manual door release located in front of the window switches.
Image Credits: Tesla
2. Exiting from the Falcon doors: In Model X, if you have power, you can press the button on the B Pillar to open them from the inside. But if you don’t have power, you need to remove the speaker grill and pull the mechanical release as instructed in Tesla’s safety manual.
3. Exiting from the rear doors: In Models 3, Y, and S, the rear manual exits are located way inside the door pocket and are very difficult to access. It’s faster to move to the front and exit from there.
4. Trunk & Frunk Exits: If you get stuck in the trunk or the frunk, there is a glow-in-the-dark button that you can press to open it from the inside.
This knowledge is valuable in situations where the standard electronic controls may be compromised. By taking the time to acquaint yourself with the manual exit process, you enhance your overall safety awareness and preparedness, for a secure driving experience in unforeseen circumstances.
8. Tesla’s Sentry Mode
Make sure to activate Tesla's Sentry Mode for enhanced security when your car is parked. This feature utilizes the vehicle's cameras to monitor its surroundings, providing an extra layer of protection against potential threats or incidents.
When engaged, Sentry Mode records and stores footage in case of a security event, and the car's touchscreen displays a warning to deter potential wrongdoers.
If you go for the Premium Connectivity Package, you can also access Sentry Mode’s Live Camera. Through the Live Camera, you can:1. Honk your horn
2. Flash your lights
3. Talk through the vehicle’s speaker, (If equipped)
You will also need a properly formatted USB drive to store all the footage. However, the Sentry Mode deactivates when your car battery reaches the 20% mark. You also get a notification for the same in your Tesla App.
Familiarizing yourself with how to enable and customize Sentry Mode through your Tesla's settings should be one of the first things to explore for any new Tesla owner.
9. Tire Maintenance
As a new Tesla owner, you must prioritize tire maintenance by regularly inspecting both pressure and tread wear. Maintaining proper tire pressure ensures optimal vehicle performance, energy efficiency, and overall safety.
Depending upon the Tesla Model you own, you must maintain the Tesla's recommended tire pressure values. So, make sure to look for these in the owner's manual or on the inside of the driver's side door frame.
Additionally, routinely examine tire tread for signs of wear and tear, using a simple tread depth gauge if necessary.
By incorporating these quick and easy checks into your routine, you contribute to a safer driving experience, better traction, and prolonged tire lifespan, ensuring your Tesla performs at its best on the road.
You can also check out our dedicated blog on how to manage tire PSI on the road.
10. Collision Avoidance System Awareness
Tesla's collision avoidance system is an advanced feature that utilizes sensors and cameras to detect potential hazards and can autonomously apply emergency braking to prevent or mitigate collisions.
Image Credits: Tesla
Every Tesla owner should familiarize themselves with this system's capabilities and limitations, and stay informed about any software updates that enhance its performance.
The Collision Avoidance System is extremely useful and encompasses:
1. Forward Collision Warning: This includes visual, audio, and haptic warnings, but can be tweaked from the default Medium settings to Late or Early.
2. Automatic Emergency Braking: On detecting an object, the system activates to reduce the vehicle’s speed and, in turn, reduce collision impact. You get visual and audio notifications.
3. Obstacle-Aware Acceleration: In this case, the collision impact is reduced through reduced motor torque and applying brakes.
Each of these options can be accessed from Controls > Autopilot
However, this system has its limitations, and may not work to its optimum when:1. Sharp curves on the road
2. Poor visibility
3. Bright light
4. Obstructed, dirty, or damaged camera or sensors
5. Bad weather.
You can enable Sentry Mode from your touchscreen from Controls > Safety & Security > Sentry Mode, through the voice command and from your Tesla App.
Therefore, you need to regularly check the status of sensors and cameras to ensure optimal functionality. You must also be extra alert when you think the weather or visibility is not conducive.
As you embark on your journey as a Tesla owner, safety and efficiency go hand in hand with the innovative features at your fingertips. So stay informed, practice safe charging habits, and embrace Tesla's advanced technologies, a starting point could be finding out more about the Active Safety Features that come standard with all Tesla Vehicles produced after September 2014. Here's to many miles of sustainable, safe, and exhilarating journeys in your Tesla. Safe travels!