10 Essential Items for the New Tesla Model 3 Owner

The Tesla Model 3 is the number one selling electric car in Canada with over 34 percent market share in Q3. We’ve had ours since June 2018 and I often get asked by new buyers what accessories or extras to get.

Here’s my list of ten essential things to get for your new Model 3. These make great Christmas gifts as well!

1. Charging adapters

This is the most essential thing on the list. If you are charging at home there are many options available to you, and it’s an entire article unto itself. In Canada, the car comes with an L2 charger plus an adapter for the J1772 standard – the most popular plug out there right now for non-Tesla chargers. You won’t need an adapter to charge using Tesla’s Supercharger network.

However, you may want to get some inexpensive adapters for when you are on the road. For example, when visiting the cottage or your in-laws, you could plug into an old dryer outlet or similar. These are pretty inexpensive and can be purchased on Tesla’s site.

Price: Starts at $44 from Tesla

2. Winter tires

The standard Model 3 comes with all-season tires. For Canadian winters this doesn’t really cut it. Yes, your Tesla may have all-wheel drive, but only good tires will help you stop in icy conditions. After all, they’re the only part of your car actually in contact with the road. Don’t let your sophisticated AWD system lull you into a false sense of confidence: you might find yourself as “that guy” blocking traffic for everyone when you wreck your beautiful new car.

You can get winter tires direct from Tesla or your local tire store. I went with 18-inch winter tires and simply had them installed on my factory wheels. Maybe Santa will bring me some nice wheels for my summer tires?

Price: $2,700 from Tesla for tire and wheel package; $1,000 and up for tires from third-party retailers

3. USB stick for Sentry Mode / Dashcam

The Model 3 has eight cameras that power its safety and Auto Pilot features. A software update this year added the dashcam feature and Sentry Mode: By plugging in a USB memory stick, four of the Model 3’s cameras – front, sides, and rear – can record videos for playback on your computer, phone, or tablet.

The dashcam feature captures video while you’re driving. Touch the Dashcam icon on your screen and the system will save the last ten minutes of footage to the USB stick, preserving it for later viewing. You’ve probably seen videos on YouTube or social media using this technology. It’s a great thing if you witness an accident or if you should have the misfortune of experiencing one.

Sentry Mode, meanwhile, captures video while you are parked. This is a total lifesaver when your car gets dinged or otherwise damaged. It saved us when we had this happen last summer. Your insurance company will thank you!

So what’s the best USB stick to get? Since the camera system overwrites older recordings as it goes, you don’t need tons of storage – but you do need to get something that is rated for “high endurance”, which means that it is designed to handle the constant writing and overwriting of captured video. Your best bet? A high-endurance SD card and a USB adapter.

Price: Around $50 from third-party retailers

4. Wheel caps

The Model 3 comes standard with 18-inch wheels with aero covers. The plastic aero covers are said to help with range, but the look may not be for everyone. The good news is that underneath the easily removable covers are some nice wheels. If you’re looking to personalize your Model 3, Tesla offers a wheel cap kit in its online store; but you can also find compatible third-party kits at other major online marketplaces.

Price: $65 from Tesla

5. Floor mats

Custom-fit floor mats are a simple and effective way to keep your cabin clear of mud and slush, and there are several options available. We went with WeatherTech mats that you can order online directly from Tesla. Another highly rated solution is the Canadian-made TuxMat. You’ll also find many more third-party options in stores and online – these are rather bulky and heavy items, so make sure you check the shipping cost if you’re having them delivered.

We opted to get mats for the trunk and the frunk (the front trunk, where the motor would be in most conventional cars) as well. The one in the frunk is important in case you spill your take out!

Price: Starts at $280 from Tesla

6. Wireless phone charging pad

The Model 3 includes four USB ports – two in the back that are power only, and two up front that also handle data. If you have a phone that supports wireless charging, a wireless charging pad can help keep your phone fresh and ready, without you having to remember to plug it in.

Tesla sells one online but there are many less-expensive options out there. Look for one that gives you a port for plugging in your USB stick as well.

Price: $170 from Tesla

7. Jack pads

Jacking up the car to fix or replace a tire on a Tesla requires a bit more preparation than with normal cars. Be sure to check the manual on how to safely raise the car using its designated jacking points as to not damage the battery modules. Many owners buy dedicated jack pads online to help with this – or you can simply use hockey pucks if caught unprepared. Who doesn’t keep some extra pucks in the frunk?

Want to avoid having to use a jack in the first place? Keep reading!

Price: Around $20 from third-party retailers

8. Tire air compressor and sealant

It’s always a good idea to monitor your tire pressure and keep it at the proper level – a properly inflated tire is less likely to rupture, offers better handling on the road, and is more energy efficient to boot. We keep an air compressor in the trunk that runs off the auxiliary power outlet – you can find them in any hardware store.

However, even with proper maintenance, debris on the road can puncture a tire. For emergencies such as these, tire sealant temporary patches a slow leak, letting you get to a tire shop or service centre. (For reference, Tesla’s roadside assistance covers flat tire services up to 80 km.)

Tesla’s tire repair kit includes both an air compressor and a canister of tire sealant. Note that tire sealants have a best before date – make sure to do a quick check before taking a long trip.

Price: $114 from Tesla

9. Center console wrap

The center console is covered with a very shiny and easily scratched plastic. If you are meticulous about such things – perhaps your phone has both a case and screen protector – go ahead and get a console wrap to keep the scratches away. You might want to get two, in case you mess up the first installation. Not speaking from experience here.

Price: Around $20 from third-party retailers

10. Cleaning supplies

If you opted for the white interior you really need to pay attention here. The go-to way of keeping the white interior seats clean according to other Model 3 owners? Unscented baby wipes. I have not experienced this myself, of course: I’m not a responsible enough adult to have a white interior – nor was the option available back when we got the car.

As for washing the car, well, I never thought I’d say this, but I enjoy doing it by hand. It’s a great way to meet your neighbours as they wonder why you’re wiping down your car in the rain. I use the one-bucket method with Optimum No Rinse, a “waterless” car wash product. Basically, you mix the cleaning solution into a bucket of water and use a microfiber mitt to wash the car and then towel dry – the formula doesn’t rely on conventional detergent, thus no rinsing is required. It’s easy and uses so little water you can do it in your garage. You can also use the product at a higher concentration for quick detailing jobs inside the car.

Cutoffs and a tank-top are strickly optional here, as is a boombox playing your favourite 1980s jams.

Price: Around $3 for baby wipes; around $30 for Optimum No Rinse (32oz)

 

Of all of the many items on this list, I’d prioritize winter tires – consider them essential equipment if the temperatures in your area are regularly below 7°C, even if you don’t see snow on the ground – and the memory stick for the dashcam / Sentry Mode, for added peace of mind whether you’re on the road or at a parking lot.

Gadgets worth grabbing 12/19/2019 12:00:00 PM