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Easiest way to tell a Y from a 3 if they are not next to each other?

Alexgd

Member
Dec 10, 2018
12
2
Alexandria, VA
If a Y and a 3 are next to each other it is easy to spot the differences. But how do I easily distinguish a Y from a 3 when the car is not next to another Tesla? We have a 3.
 

greenrider

New Member
Aug 6, 2020
3
6
San Francisco
For whatever reason, I find it easiest to look at the rear.

* In a Model 3, the license plate is right up against the trunk opening. The rear glass also "stops" well above the trunk
* In a Model Y, the license plate has a bunch of room underneath it. The rear glass stretches much further back, since it's a hatch not a trunk
 

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Darmie

Supporting Member
Jan 13, 2016
1,515
1,042
Clear Lake TX.
I have a problem at a glance confusing the Y to a model X. Especially a black or red color. To me, the best giveaway to any tesla is the rims. Once I spot the rims, I can tell what model it is.
 
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Alexgd

Member
Dec 10, 2018
12
2
Alexandria, VA
For whatever reason, I find it easiest to look at the rear.

* In a Model 3, the license plate is right up against the trunk opening. The rear glass also "stops" well above the trunk
* In a Model Y, the license plate has a bunch of room underneath it. The rear glass stretches much further back, since it's a hatch not a trunk
Thanks for attaching the annotated pix!
 

jcanoe

Active Member
Oct 2, 2020
1,553
1,580
Maryland
Most Model 3 vehicles have chrome door handles. If the vehicle is parked I check the wheels. Model 3 wheels and aero covers don't look like either the Model Y 20" Induction wheels or the 19" wheels with the Gemini covers.

I've only seen one or two Performance Model Y (PMY) vehicles. The easiest way to spot a PMY is the spoiler. If you can get close enough to see there is a red stripe beneath the Dual Motor badge. At a distance the PMY 21" Uberturbine wheels don't look all that different from the 20" Induction wheels offered as an option on the Long Range Dual Motor Model Y (Standard Range Model Y too.)
 
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cYnbios

Member
Jan 20, 2021
29
34
Orange County, CA
For whatever reason, I find it easiest to look at the rear.

* In a Model 3, the license plate is right up against the trunk opening. The rear glass also "stops" well above the trunk
* In a Model Y, the license plate has a bunch of room underneath it. The rear glass stretches much further back, since it's a hatch not a trunk
This is a wonderful annotation but you're missing the most prominent differences; and that is the black hitch trim at the bottom. That's the easiest way to tell both from the rear.

To tell the apart from the sides, Model Y has black trim around the fenders and black trim side skirt.

The front is a bit trickier but the Model Y doesn't have a lower lip that looks like a "front lip spoiler".

Pic below for both of those mentioned above:
1617403034713.png
 

Exelion

Member
Feb 21, 2021
64
50
Los Angeles, CA
From easiest to more difficult:

If it has silver trim, its a 3.

If it has black wheel arches (rocker panels) its a Y

if it has long side mirrors, its a 3,
short, tall side mirrors, its a Y

if it has aero, or sport wheels its a 3.
Gemini (Tesla calls them Apollo) or Induction wheels, its a Y. Hard to tell when in motion though.

If the trunk opening line is low, its a 3
Y has a higher sitting trunk opening line.
 
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ArtK

Member
Jun 1, 2020
178
149
NYS
When I a driving behind or beside another Tesla, the rear hitch hatch and trim color help me instantly figure out what I'm looking at.
 

X-Chris

Member
Nov 21, 2020
44
23
VA
From behind, the Y has space between the license plate and the bottom of the trunk, the 3 does not:

Model 3.png

Model y.png

The S and X can be distinguished from each other the same way.

The S and X can be distinguished from the 3/Y in many ways, but the most obvious to me is the recessed part of the rear trunk/hatch (where the license plate is installed):

Model S.png

Model X.png
 
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