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Winter Weather [question about model 3 ownership in cold climates]


Mar 9, 2021
Shelburne Falls, MA
Not possible indeed, and not necessary either. The car is impossible to spin either way.
I'm sorry, I meant to say reduce regenerative braking, not turn it off. And yes, with regenerative braking on at full strength, the car can skid a bit. I know because it's happened to me. Reducing the strength of regenerative braking when the roads are snowy or icy definitely helps with traction.


Active Member
Nov 13, 2019
Quebec City, Canada
Let me correct that for you: *Everyone* should ease up the accelerator slowly when it's slippery. Letting go of the accelerator is equal to applying brakes on other cars. It's that simple. :)
I've been driving 2 winters with normal regen, even though technically I can reduce it on my 2020. I have had no problem at all, and we get many many feet of snow, ice etc in Quebec City. Yes, I can feel the backend slide a tiny bit sometimes but it is never dangerous. the traction control will reduce the regen as required, similar to how the ABS prevent the wheels from blocking when you brake. They just need a few hundredths of a second to do their job.
Other electric cars are not always that good, I've heard some that completely cut regen when wheels slip. That makes for a very bad driving experience. Not so with the Tesla.


Supporting Member
Dec 28, 2007
I am considering buying a Model 3 long range awd and am nervous about winter driving. I live in Michigan and December through February weather can be bad and really cold (sub-zero). I was hoping to get some input from folks who drive their tesla in similar weather. Is a tesla a bad choice for someone who lives in michigan?
My experience with Midwest winters is that 250+ mile EVs are significantly better than gas cars in cold weather, provided you have charging at home.

Older EVs with lower range, like the original 80-mile Leaf would likely be a challenge, but I think any EV with 200+ mile range and DC fast charging would be superior to an gas car in below freezing temperatures.

For local driving the car can be preheated, which makes windshield cleaning very easy or even unnecessary. It also makes the car comfortable the moment you get in. Even 1-2 minutes of preheat helps, but if you forget to pre-heat, the heater in my Teslas warms the car much quicker than an IC engine would. Even with reduced range due to cold temperatures, there is still more than what is needed for daily driving around the entire metro area. Preheating the car before leaving work for 20-30 minutes, unpluged, also is no issue, there is still plenty of range for the rest of the day. My RWD LR M3 is also very capable and fun to drive in snow and ice, but I would recommend AWD for steep driveways or other difficult terrain.

For road trips in the winter there is still plenty of range to drive between superchargers. After the first supercharger stop the battery is warm enough to minimize the range reduction, but there still is some reduction. Bottom line is that a little more time needs to be spent at supercharging stops in below freezing weather. Not a big deal in my opinion. I can always watch YouTube on the center screen or catch up on e-mail for the 5-10 extra minutes.



Aug 22, 2021
chicago, il
I also migrated from a lowered Audi Quattro (B7 Avant), so this might be relevant: I’m not sure what era Quattro you had, but mine was from the Torsen era, which is arguably the best system ever put in a passenger car. The AWD Tesla system is good, but not quite that good. It’s not full-time AWD, but rather reactive and dynamic based on detected traction needs. It’s also not 50/50. With snow tires and appropriate driving technique, it will perform better than most AWD systems, but it’s just a degree below Torsen Quattro. It’s a shame because Tesla could probably match it if they gave us a full-time 50/50 snow mode for the non-P models.

As for your other questions, snow driving/handling is a separate issue from how the car fares in “cold” weather (battery performance, heater impacts, frozen door handles, wipers can’t be raised off glass, etc). It’s never really very “cold” here in the PNW, but we do get a lot of snow.
yup! B6 A4 sedan with torsen fulltime awd, ran blizzak LM32s in the winter. was seriously a tank in the snow and slush here in chicago. i never really have to drive in deep stuff since the streets around me get plowed pretty promptly and frequently. my thinking is that i'll be good with RWD and dedicated winter tires for the few blizzards we have, but also know it will be an adjustment after driving the audi. my wife also has a Q5 so we still have an option to take that around if/when weather really calls for it.

appreciate the info and tips! cheers 🍻
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Aug 1, 2019
New Jersey
do you have a garage to keep the car in? I have mine outside and there are a few issues i have to deal with daily.

-if you are going to charge the car overnight when it's raining or snowing cover the plug. It will freeze together.

-if you are taking it out when its been pretty cold try to remember to warm up the car at least half hour so the door handles and widows don't freeze closed (that doesn't alway work if its really cold)

-few times my mirror froze and struggled to open as well as wipers

-like other mentioned battery performance and car performance will go down

-remember there is no engine so warming up the car does not melt the snow/ice off your hood

diving the car in the snow is fine. handles better than most specially if you do winter tires (i swap between summer and winter)


Aug 22, 2021
chicago, il
do you guys do alternate profiles for summer vs winter? with diff settings for standard/chill mode, regen, mirror fold, etc.?

i've seen some other owners suggest that as a shortcut vs. having to go into settings each time to change a bunch of things.


@bpr1de on Instagram
Mar 3, 2021
Pacific Northwest
do you guys do alternate profiles for summer vs winter? with diff settings for standard/chill mode, regen, mirror fold, etc.?

i've seen some other owners suggest that as a shortcut vs. having to go into settings each time to change a bunch of things.
Most people will tell you that you should. Personally, I do not. I've been through two winters in my AWD (remember I'm also coming from 13 years prior with Quattro) and drive routinely across snow covered mountain passes and on poor roads for winter recreation, thousands of such miles every winter (sample below). I leave mine in Sport (acceleration boost!) and maximum regeneration, and just operate the accelerator like a surgeon. I also use Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 snow tires, which is the primary factor in my driving experience (more than the car itself). I would guess that it's probably helpful to have a snow driving profile in many circumstances, but I will just manually choose one of those settings if and when I happen to need it, which is rare to never.



Apr 19, 2019
Westford MA
do you guys do alternate profiles for summer vs winter? with diff settings for standard/chill mode, regen, mirror fold, etc.?

i've seen some other owners suggest that as a shortcut vs. having to go into settings each time to change a bunch of things.
No, what would I change? I use a teflon-silicone spray on the window seals and around the charge port cover in the fall. I also preheat the car before getting into it which further helps with the windows.
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Jul 23, 2018
I'm in Michigan. car works great. Get winter tires for improved "greatness"

I don't change settings, lube anything, etc.. Just take it through a touchless carwash to clean off salt.
Nov 4, 2018
Don’t the newer cars have heaters for the charge port/charge door?

my early 2020 model is really quite superb. I swap over to my winter tires/wheels and I’m golden. Absolutely better than my ICE since I have it all heated up and no need to idle it. It’s ready for me to go in the morning.

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