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Internal condensation during the winter. (my first winter)

Longymire

Member
May 11, 2019
32
10
98367
2019 model 3 SR+ and I have a lot of condensation through the days. I live in Washington state and it's been cold but at lowest 34 F. Now I have crazy condensation, no water in car that I can find, I'm not sweaty or anything. My car parked in the same location as other ICE cars always has condensation within 1 hour of parking. Even after using the AC sometimes. Is this normal. See pictures. Only some of what I have dealt with. I have reached out to Tesla. Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated and thank you all for being amazing people!!

Ps as I said. Some days are rainy, some sunny, but no moisture I can see in car (IE a puddle on mat or a water bottle that's sweating.
 

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swaltner

Active Member
Oct 13, 2012
1,643
1,696
Kansas, USA
Do you have the HVAC set to auto, or are you set to manual mode (auto turned off)? If you’re on manual mode, turn on the A/C, even if you’ve got the heat on. Running the A/C with reduce the humidity in the cabin.
 
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Longymire

Member
May 11, 2019
32
10
98367
Do you have the HVAC set to auto, or are you set to manual mode (auto turned off)? If you’re on manual mode, turn on the A/C, even if you’ve got the heat on. Running the A/C with reduce the humidity in the cabin.
I set it to manual but when I turn the AC on the button is on. I verify that because it gets bad!
 

R1Fast

P3D Blue/White
Sep 11, 2018
464
318
Seattle
I live in WA state as well and condensation only occurs when I first start driving if the car is cold.

I have never seen condensation form after driving/warming the car and then parking.

E.g. what you are experiencing does seem pretty strange. Take it to the SC and let them deal with it. It may be a known issue but if not they can observe as moisture starts to sublimate and determine how to address.
 
Apr 15, 2018
104
50
Arizona
I'm also in WA and a few things I've found with the car:

1) When you first get it, there's a bunch of offgassing or whatever left on the windows that leads to it fogging more quickly. After getting the car detailed, that started to get better, but it takes a while to not build up again.
2) As others have said, running A/C will help keep humidity down in the car. I used it pretty much the entire first winter.
3) When not using A/C, I've found that turning off the recirculating air also reduces humidity. This fall it fogged up quickly anytime I had it on while driving. As soon as I turned off the recirculation it went away.
 

Longymire

Member
May 11, 2019
32
10
98367
I live in WA state as well and condensation only occurs when I first start driving if the car is cold.

I have never seen condensation form after driving/warming the car and then parking.

E.g. what you are experiencing does seem pretty strange. Take it to the SC and let them deal with it. It may be a known issue but if not they can observe as moisture starts to sublimate and determine how to address.
The second I flip off the AC... It fogs within an hour. It's weird.
I'm also in WA and a few things I've found with the car:

1) When you first get it, there's a bunch of offgassing or whatever left on the windows that leads to it fogging more quickly. After getting the car detailed, that started to get better, but it takes a while to not build up again.
2) As others have said, running A/C will help keep humidity down in the car. I used it pretty much the entire first winter.
3) When not using A/C, I've found that turning off the recirculating air also reduces humidity. This fall it fogged up quickly anytime I had it on while driving. As soon as I turned off the recirculation it went away.
I don't run AC all rides because that kills battery
 

Eriamjh1138

Member
May 31, 2017
472
654
Michigan
I’ve seen this on cars that have gotten wet inside or have leaks. Have you ever had the windows open and it rained? Maybe you did and you missed a cloudburst while you were away.

Feel the carpet all over around ten doors and edges for wetness.
Otherwise, do everything to dry it out. Park it in the sun with the windows cracked open about half an inch, enough to warm the car up, but let the moisture out.
 
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Kilotango74

Active Member
Apr 2, 2019
1,350
1,278
Palmdale, CA
The second I flip off the AC... It fogs within an hour. It's weird.

I don't run AC all rides because that kills battery
Most cars with an “auto” setting will have the A/C on a lot of times when you might think it weird. This is because the car is using the a/c condenser to de-humidify the air it is pumping through your vehicle. I get what your saying about battery life, but being able to see through the windshield is important too. Frankly if my car has an auto setting, that’s where it stays and I just adjust the temp. That’s me though.
 
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mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,246
5,378
MA, NH
I had noticed a similar trend last Winter with the Model 3.

It is curious how much of this could be an "EV" thing that it doesn't have some constant heating going on in the HVAC to burn off any moisture like an ICE does.

Versus the known issue of how easy it is to have the Model 3 stink because of trapped moisture in the HVAC.
I know there was a software update for running AC for a while if in Auto after parking. Is that covering up a design flaw or required for any EV?

If you constantly need AC to keep things dry that can get expensive energy wise.

I think it is trapped moisture in the HVAC that OP is seeing. But how much of it is due to a poor design vs artifacts of running an EV.

I noticed our Volt has a tendency to "fog up" while driving like the Model 3 did. Luckily we park in a garage most of the time. So I think part of it is EV. But should it be this bad on the Model 3?

I agree with the point though that I've seen this before if there was a leak. Had an old Pontiac that had a leak at the base of the windshield and it took us years to figure it out. Water getting under carpets etc. It would be worth checking the car very thoroughly because it does look more than normal. Maybe run AC parked for 30 minutes then see if it still fogs up. Just as a test.
 
Apr 15, 2018
104
50
Arizona
The second I flip off the AC... It fogs within an hour. It's weird.

I don't run AC all rides because that kills battery

I prefer not to run AC constantly, but that first year it was the only way I could keep the windows from fogging up. I do think the offgassing needed to run it's course and once that stopped building up on the windows, the car has been less likely to fog up.

As I said, using the recirculating air also leads very quickly to fogging of the windows while driving. Don't use it in fall/winter.
 

SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,249
10,123
SF Bay Area
Do you have recirc air set to on? I keep mine off and do have AC set to on.

We’re pretty cool here now, in mid 40s most mornings, and apart from condensation on my outside windshield which I clear with wipers, side door windows which I clear by rolling them down and up. and the rear window defroster I’ll put on to clear it, don’t notice any problem especially not inside on the windows. I’m thinking it’s your settings. Tell us exactly what your climate settings are. That might help track down. Also you know the car does come on periodically and condensation on the inside would happen if the inside is warmer than the outside. What is your temp set to? I keep mine on the cool side even during winter, like 67-69F I believe. I’ll preheat then in morning to that setting and go warmer if I feel the need.

What is your fan speed set to normally? Try setting it to 5-6 if lower. Seems to me this is an air circulation issue, possibly no outside air if on recirc, too little air movement if fan setting too low, or interior heat setting too warm when sitting out in the cold and the periodically wakes up.
 
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SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,249
10,123
SF Bay Area
I have a 2014 Toyota camry parked in the same driveway outside. After 8 hours it has 0 condensation where my car is filled. All windows after just 1 hour. That's not normal.

When you turn off your Toyota I bet it stays off and doesn’t do any battery warming or other monitoring. That would explain what I think is the difference along with your settings.
 

SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,249
10,123
SF Bay Area
You should use Recirc when you are behind some obnoxious fumes spewing vehicle or driving thru dead skunk area, otherwise leave the fresh air in and let the car’s hepa filters do their job. Closing off the air from the outside will accumulate all your breath inside and any interior off gassing as well. Something a TMC thread during last years wild fires was detailing by a few people on here relative to the air quality inside the car when shut off from the outside air. It all builds up closed up like that.
 

Longymire

Member
May 11, 2019
32
10
98367
Do you have recirc air set to on? I keep mine off and do have AC set to on.

We’re pretty cool here now, in mid 40s most mornings, and apart from condensation on my outside windshield which I clear with wipers, side door windows which I clear by rolling them down and up. and the rear window defroster I’ll put on to clear it, don’t notice any problem especially not inside on the windows. I’m thinking it’s your settings. Tell us exactly what your climate settings are. That might help track down. Also you know the car does come on periodically and condensation on the inside would happen if the inside is warmer than the outside. What is your temp set to? I keep mine on the cool side even during winter, like 67-69F I believe. I’ll preheat then in morning to that setting and go warmer if I feel the need.

What is your fan speed set to normally? Try setting it to 5-6 if lower. Seems to me this is an air circulation issue, possibly no outside air if on recirc, too little air movement if fan setting too low, or interior heat setting too warm when sitting out in the cold and the periodically wakes up.
My climate settings are default... Minus overheat I turned off. No recirc. I leave that off. When AC is on. I use 2, window defrost and AC blue lit. Once I'm done with it I turn it off. Within 1 hour of exiting the car. Windows are fogged up inside. Look like pictures. I'm no longer in car to create condensation.
looks normal to me. Possibly exacerbated in modern cars as they are so airtight that they cannot vent outside.
This much condensation is far from alright on a brand new car. A car parked in the same location (ICE car) has 0 condensation inside. Mine has condensation on all windows. Even sales rep says it isn't normal as well as service reps. They just keep scheduling appointments. I found condensation inside the A and B pillar today which is a sign of a leak in the hermetic seal thus furthering the issues.
You should use Recirc when you are behind some obnoxious fumes spewing vehicle or driving thru dead skunk area, otherwise leave the fresh air in and let the car’s hepa filters do their job. Closing off the air from the outside will accumulate all your breath inside and any interior off gassing as well. Something a TMC thread during last years wild fires was detailing by a few people on here relative to the air quality inside the car when shut off from the outside air. It all builds up closed up like that.
I never use it and haven't ever. I was warned off before I got the car... Unless I want the purification of the air.
 

Candleflame

Active Member
Mar 9, 2015
3,464
1,878
QLD, Australia
You should use Recirc when you are behind some obnoxious fumes spewing vehicle or driving thru dead skunk area, otherwise leave the fresh air in and let the car’s hepa filters do their job. Closing off the air from the outside will accumulate all your breath inside and any interior off gassing as well. Something a TMC thread during last years wild fires was detailing by a few people on here relative to the air quality inside the car when shut off from the outside air. It all builds up closed up like that.

Try leaving recirc off when its 40 degrees and 80% humidity. ;)
 

SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,249
10,123
SF Bay Area
38F here this a.m. and only condensation on outside windows FWIW for comparison. Here’s my settings. Don’t always have feet warming on; actually don’t use Auto setting at all. Both dash vents split and part aimed towards windows. My preconditioning was set to 69F today and rear defrost on and I set my drivers seat to 3 until I get in.

image.jpg

Hope you don’t have a seal problem somewhere.
 
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