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Help Me Learn To Park My Model S Properly

Andyw2100

Well-Known Member
Oct 22, 2014
6,542
2,393
Ithaca, NY
This may sound like a joke, but it's not.

I have been driving most of my adult life, and have always taken pride in parking well. I've made fun of people who park badly. I've never before had trouble parking perfectly straight in spots, with the car pretty much perfectly spaced between the lines. I say never before, because since I've been driving the Model S I feel like I'm parking like a drunken monkey! (I usually adjust my botched first attempts, but adjusting looks and feels stupid, and the final result is still usually not as good as my effortless, no-adjustment-necessary parking used to be.)

I'm wondering if there is something about the car's hood that is causing some optical illusion that is just messing me up somehow, and if so, I'm wondering if any of you have figured out tricks to avoid this.

It's not my vision, age, coordination, or anything like that, as when I drive an ICE I can still park just fine. And it's not the length of the car, as I've driven large cars without issue before.

I'm sure part of the problem is that I am trying to be overly cautious in keeping the car free of door dings, which may cause me to err on the side of adding more distance on the passenger side, since I can see and judge the space on the driver's side more easily. But that doesn't explain why I can't get the car in straight! Another issue could be that I'm also constantly messing with the rear and front camera as I'm parking, wanting to be certain I've pulled in far enough, but not too far. (I have Rick's front camera switch installed.)

I had picked up a couple of great parking tricks from other TMC members, before having the front camera. Those tricks were to use the rear camera to see the back line when pulling through a double parking spot, to the front spot, and to use the side mirror as a gauge for how far to pull forward by pulling forward until the marker or block at the front of the adjacent spot was just visible under the mirror. Those are great tricks. So I am wondering if anyone has any tricks that may help me regain my ability to park the way I used to be able to.

I should probably go out some night, to some deserted parking lot, and just practice parking, like a kid learning to drive. I've been avoiding doing that, but I fear I may have to.

Other than deserted lot practice, anyone have any great ideas for me?
 

Cyclone

Cyclonic Member ((.oO))
Jan 12, 2015
5,057
1,141
Charlotte, NC
In all my vehicles I have always backed into spaces (and I've also always had RWD), so I have never had problem getting things lined up within the space. The only thing I would say for making sure you don't go over the line in the back or are too far from it is to use the rear camera until you just come up to the line between your space and the one "pulled through". Either that, or if a stopper exists before said line, I usually pull all the way onto the stopper.
 

webbbcam

not-so-junior member
Sep 9, 2014
110
132
Coeur d'Alene, ID
One trick I learned here on TMC is how to have the side mirrors tilt down so that I can see the stripes or curb while backing.

The trick is that you need to adjust the mirrors down while in reverse and then save your profile. Next time you back up the mirrors will automatically tilt down so you can see the stripes. After you put it back in drive the mirrors then go back to their old position.

Makes my parking a lot easier.

John
 

Cyclone

Cyclonic Member ((.oO))
Jan 12, 2015
5,057
1,141
Charlotte, NC
One trick I learned here on TMC is how to have the side mirrors tilt down so that I can see the stripes or curb while backing.

The trick is that you need to adjust the mirrors down while in reverse and then save your profile. Next time you back up the mirrors will automatically tilt down so you can see the stripes. After you put it back in drive the mirrors then go back to their old position.

Makes my parking a lot easier.

John

I totally forgot about that. Even backing in, I have my mirrors do the same.
 

Andyw2100

Well-Known Member
Oct 22, 2014
6,542
2,393
Ithaca, NY
The only thing I would say for making sure you don't go over the line in the back or are too far from it is to use the rear camera until you just come up to the line between your space and the one "pulled through"

Thanks. Using the rear camera was one of the tricks I had mentioned.


One trick I learned here on TMC is how to have the side mirrors tilt down so that I can see the stripes or curb while backing.

Thanks. Yes, I do use the side mirrors for parallel parking, to make sure I don't curb the wheels. I hadn't really considered using them for parking between lines, but that is an interesting idea. I'm really hoping, though, for a trick that allows me to pull in properly on the first try, like I used to be able to do with other cars, with no need for adjustment. If I do have to adjust, using the side mirrors definitely should help. Thanks!
 

Max*

Charging
Apr 8, 2015
6,670
3,719
NoVa
This car is a lot wider than my previous car. I used to park the passenger side very close to the line. With a little time, I mostly adjusted my parking habits.
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Mar 8, 2012
19,580
22,040
Texas
1. Make sure the mirrors tilt correctly (as others have said) and use them to centre the car.

2. Use the camera to position the rear. When the curb or line is at the bottom of the camera, you're perfect.
 

Andyw2100

Well-Known Member
Oct 22, 2014
6,542
2,393
Ithaca, NY
I can park OK after adjusting.

Syracuse Supercharger Updates - Page 17

Supercharging Smaller.jpg



I just need to figure out how to pull in accurately on the first try. Perhaps there are no tricks, and I'll just have to practice.
 

Btrflyl8e

Supporting Member
Mar 24, 2013
2,583
1,265
Seminole, Florida, United States
Andy, I thought it was just me. I've decided it's the ridges on either side of the hood that throw me off. I've been trying to figure out a trick. So far, I park what seems a little crooked, and sometimes it's perfectly straight! Lol
 

Andyw2100

Well-Known Member
Oct 22, 2014
6,542
2,393
Ithaca, NY
Andy, I thought it was just me. I've decided it's the ridges on either side of the hood that throw me off. I've been trying to figure out a trick. So far, I park what seems a little crooked, and sometimes it's perfectly straight! Lol

I was hoping it wasn't just me! Maybe we can start a club!
 

Cyclone

Cyclonic Member ((.oO))
Jan 12, 2015
5,057
1,141
Charlotte, NC
I can park OK after adjusting.

Syracuse Supercharger Updates - Page 17

View attachment 89736


I just need to figure out how to pull in accurately on the first try. Perhaps there are no tricks, and I'll just have to practice.

Oh wait, you are backing in and it's still crooked sometimes? I misunderstood and thought you were pulling in nose forward. In that case, I would say to try and push further out so you are more than one car width away from the lane and make the turn into the space sharper. Hopefully that makes it easier to get the back-end aligned in right without adjustment, then hopefully you have enough room while backing up to get the front-end aligned.
 

Max*

Charging
Apr 8, 2015
6,670
3,719
NoVa
Backing in is different. I think the camera isn't perfectly centered, and if you just rely on that, you'll be off center... My wife had this issue a few times
 

Barry

Active Member
Aug 9, 2013
1,816
1,389
Colorado
I was hoping it wasn't just me! Maybe we can start a club!
I can be a member. 4 months and I still have trouble judging how far to pull in to a spot. My condo garage is easy becuase there's a wall in the front, so the car tells me how far I should pull in.
 

Andyw2100

Well-Known Member
Oct 22, 2014
6,542
2,393
Ithaca, NY
Oh wait, you are backing in and it's still crooked sometimes? I misunderstood and thought you were pulling in nose forward. In that case, I would say to try and push further out so you are more than one car width away from the lane and make the turn into the space sharper. Hopefully that makes it easier to get the back-end aligned in right without adjustment, then hopefully you have enough room while backing up to get the front-end aligned.

No, that was just the only picture I had previously posted of my car parked. I was using it to show that if I adjust back and forth, I am capable of getting the car parked properly.


Andy, I thought it was just me. I've decided it's the ridges on either side of the hood that throw me off.

I've been thinking about those ridges myself, but when you mentioned them, I had another thought. I sit pretty low in the Model S. Perhaps those ridges are preventing me from seeing as much of the ground, and hence as much of the the lines as I ordinarily would when parking another car. (Or to put it another way, I lose sight of the lines sooner in the parking process in the Model S.) I'm going to try adjusting my seat higher to see if that helps, assuming that I can get used to driving while sitting in a higher position.

- - - Updated - - -

I can be a member. 4 months and I still have trouble judging how far to pull in to a spot. My condo garage is easy becuase there's a wall in the front, so the car tells me how far I should pull in.

You might benefit from the mirror trick. You need to calibrate, which you do by going to a pretty empty parking lot some time with lines at the front of the spots, and nothing to hit beyond the lines. Open spots on the other side of the lines would work well. Park all the way forward, as you would, then check where the front line of the spot to your left falls under the side mirror frame. If you are average height, and have your seat set as an average person would, there's a good chance that line will just be visible under the driver's side mirror frame. You may have to adjust, but as long as you can keep your head in the same place whenever you park, you'll know where that line should be relative to your mirror, so you'll know when to stop.

When I raise my seat, I will have to recalibrate the position I use for this.
 

donv

Member
Jul 15, 2013
599
47
Lake Jeanclia, OR
I select "Park Mode" with the left scroll wheel, wait until it identifies a space, and then push the gear selector stalk down twice, and it parks itself. Doesn't everyone do that?
 

Max*

Charging
Apr 8, 2015
6,670
3,719
NoVa
My experience as well, how do we calibrate the rear camera?

It's physically not centered. And even though it's a fisheye (maybe ultra wide angle), there is still a slight offset. I don't think you can calibrate it
 

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