How To Precondition a Tesla Battery (Step-by-Step)


Owning an electric car can be daunting for those unfamiliar with its ins and outs. While you don’t have to worry about gas or oil changes, taking care of your battery is a major priority that you should know how to approach. A piece of this puzzle is a feature known as “preconditioning,” which is vital to ensure your battery is properly and efficiently charged.

While it may seem easier to skip over such an unfamiliar part of driving your car, you’ll be sure to enjoy the rewards of your careful maintenance. This article covers the benefits you need to know about preconditioning your Tesla battery and, most importantly, how to do it successfully. Read on to inform yourself on taking care of your Tesla or in preparation for your future Tesla.

Get The Tesla Mobile App

If you have not done so already, make sure you have the Tesla app downloaded on your smartphone. From it, you can monitor all of your Tesla products, from solar panels to cars. For our purposes, you’ll be able to view your battery information and adjust controls for your car. More on this later.

Before you need to precondition your battery, it’ll still be useful to explore the Tesla app, as you can learn more about any features your car offers. This is particularly helpful to new Tesla owners and gives access to the referral program, which you can earn points for referring both vehicles and solar products.

Preconditioning Your Tesla

The act of preconditioning itself is made simple and easy to follow by using the Tesla mobile app. There are three ways in which you can achieve the preconditioning effect for your battery:

  • Under the “Climate” option, you will be able to press the “Turn On” button to precondition your vehicle,
  • Under the “Climate” option, press the defrost icon,
  • You can also schedule preconditioning ahead of time by using the “Scheduled Departure” option on the app and change settings.

The time it takes to completely finish preconditioning depends on the external weather conditions, but you should expect it to take up to 30-45 minutes. Be sure to plan accordingly before charging or driving.

Preconditioning a Tesla Before Supercharging

A common topic of discussion for Tesla owners when it comes to preconditioning is its effect on supercharging.

Supercharging stations are designed to quickly charge Tesla cars, keeping drivers on the move. Being DC chargers, these stations can give off 72 kW of power with sessions that usually last 45-50 minutes. Almost all superchargers are open 24/7 and have many locations, which can be found on this interactive map.

It should be noted, however, that there are potential drawbacks to using these stations. DC chargers can damage batteries over time through extensive and frequent usage, decreasing capacity and charge rates. Unless you enjoy spending more time, effort, and money than necessary, you’ll have to combat this problem. Thankfully, preconditioning can help this area, as well.

How Preconditioning Helps Supercharging Sessions

The damage done by superchargers is exacerbated by the cold weather, as a cold battery will take longer to charge fully. This leads to more time spent at the supercharger, which means more stress that accumulates for the battery itself. Eventually, costly repairs or replacements may become necessary.

A preconditioned battery will not only work better but will charge better. This will optimize and ultimately reduce your supercharging time. In turn, this will also help with the concern for battery capacity.

By reducing the time spent supercharging, its impact on the battery will be reduced in the long run. Preconditioning ensures that supercharging sessions stay quick and safe for your battery. You can read more about supercharging at Tesla’s support site.

Know The Basics of Your Tesla Battery

In order to understand preconditioning, you should understand how a bit about how Tesla 12V batteries actually work.

Just as phones or computers depend on the factors surrounding their batteries, Tesla batteries need to be kept in careful condition. Damage to some parts of the vehicle can be patched up, but battery damage must be avoided at all costs. Otherwise, your car will sink well below peak performance.

To go over a few parameters:

  • Climate matters. Tesla batteries should not be exposed to temperatures higher than 140*F (60*C) or less than -22*F (-30*C).  Such exposure that extends over 24 hours can permanently damage the battery.
  • Don’t let it get empty. Letting the battery charge reach 0% can also lead to irreversible damage, potentially requiring a full replacement. Tesla advises that you keep in mind that a battery charge typically decreases by approximately 1% each day.

The high voltage system in your car is not to be handled in the user’s care. Any need for repairs or removal should be handled by a professional. What you can do is try to prevent any need, however, and keep a close eye on your car. Understanding this will be important in maintaining your battery and knowing how to implement preconditioning into your maintenance care. More on how to better track your battery performance levels later.

Why Precondition a Tesla Battery?

In order to help maintain safe conditions for your battery, preconditioning is a major tool in the toolbox. Mainly used to combat the harshness of cold weather, Tesla has added the feature to change the car’s temperature. By applying heat to the cold (or cold the hot) battery, the temperature extremes are offset and leveled off. But why?

By using Tesla’s preconditioning effect, the performance and lifespan of the battery are maximized, as well as its charging efficiency. As a result, the rest of the car flourishes in different areas, helping to guarantee smooth and safe driving.

What’s Impacted by Preconditioning a Tesla?

The welfare and safety of your car can truly hinge on whether or not you precondition it. Tesla cars depend on the efficiency of their batteries, making it important to take care of them.

Some may argue that the effect of preconditioning is usually achieved while driving, as temperature extremes are slowly leveled out. While true in some cases, preparing will ensure that your drive goes as smoothly as possible and prevents a build-up of hazards and troubles.

Braking

Preconditioning affects the effectiveness of the regenerative braking. For those unfamiliar, Tesla cars that are in motion without the accelerator being used will use kinetic energy to charge the battery. It’s a useful feature but will be limited when the battery is cold. While this can be helped throughout your drive, preconditioning will avoid any lost energy.

Tesla Functions and Features

Other functions of the car can be affected, even if not wholly apparent at first. Cameras, sensors, charge ports, and mirrors can all benefit from preconditioning and prevention from the cold.

Why Preconditioning Is Important

For those new to electric cars, it may seem like a breeze compared to owning a car that runs on gasoline. Not having to worry about oil changes or types of fuel, however, does not make you immune to any cause for concern. What you trade in turn is a new set of rules and functions you may not be aware of.

Preconditioning helps to keep the all-important Tesla battery in peak condition. Taking care of the battery and making it’s not overworked is critical in determining the lifespan and quality of the Tesla.

Preconditioning is one of the many ways Tesla offers its customers solutions to any problems that may arise.Being from the modern age, Tesla hopes to promote conscious consumption, weaving in traits of accessibility and ease into its vehicles.

Know When Preconditioning Your Tesla May Be Needed

If you’re not interested in preconditioning your Tesla car on a regular basis, you should at least keep an eye on your car during the winter. Once the weather gets colder, you’ll notice various issues that require you to take action:

  • Snowflake icon: this blue icon will appear when your battery gets too cold, limiting battery power and regenerative breaking,
  • Sensors and cameras: these being frozen will not make driving impossible but will make it harder. Also, check for dirt and mud on these parts when inspecting your vehicle,
  • Charge port: prior to the preconditioning option, it was not uncommon for Tesla drivers’ charge ports to be frozen shut or for the charging cable to be stuck inside. Now, make sure you use the preconditioning settings to prevent this from happening,
  • Door handles, mirrors, and windows: these can all be frozen if exposed to extreme cold for long enough, making it difficult to operate the car at the most basic level. (Note: side-view mirrors may be frozen shut when auto-folding during cold weather. Turn this feature off on the mobile app through “Controls,” “Mirrors,” and toggling off “Auto-Fold.”)

Keep in mind; it’s better for your car that you see these as issues to avoid rather than issues to avoid. These are inevitable during the colder months, but regularly preconditioning is enough to prevent these obstacles for your driving.

Monitor Your Tesla’s Battery Level and Use

Since you already understand the basics when it comes to your Tesla car and its maintenance, it’s time to apply these lessons with real-time information. Tesla provides you with various opportunities and ways to analyze how your car and its battery are holding up:

Charging Stations

By using your map, you can view both available Tesla charging stations and third-party charging stations. Those with a black pin icon are ones available on your route,

Energy App

Via your touchscreen, you can access data about your vehicle’s energy consumption through “Application Launcher” and “Energy.” From there, you can view two different charts:

  • Consumption – shows you how much energy has been used up over the course of the last 5, 15, and 30 miles of travel (Switching between Instant/Average range will show projected range by using either recent or overall data, respectively)
  • Trip – shows you the recorded usage of energy between different travel points, which can be compared to the projected usage (only works if you are currently traveling)

Range Assurance

As you drive, your car’s map will take into account your battery level and location, cross-reference it with the location of chargers, and notify you when you are at risk of running out of power. (Use the map’s settings to toggle between all chargers, superchargers, as well as destination and visited chargers)

Trip Planner

When turned on, this feature will help you keep a safe charge level, especially on longer drives and road trips. Based on your current charge level and destination, trip planner will notify you if you need a charge before reaching your destination, allowing you to include chargers into your route. (It’ll be good to use this time to heat up your battery if needed before reaching the supercharger)

Using these tools at your disposal will help you throughout your time as an owner of a Tesla, equipping you with the chances to have a successful drive each time, keeping your battery in good condition each time.

Tips for Taking Care of Your Battery and Reduce Use

Preconditioning is a great way to improve the quality of your vehicle, but there are certainly other ways to help. Safe, everyday practices will reduce the burden on your battery, as well as the potential time between charges. As they say, you can never be too careful, and the same applies to Tesla cars. You can save energy by:

  • Keep acceleration and driving speed to a minimum. You can use speed assist and chill mode to help with this,
  • Reduce your usage of lights, air conditioning, and heaters. If it’s cold, use seat warmers instead of the whole cabin,
  • Avoid many short trips and try to make do with fewer but longer trips. The energy used for heating the car and battery will be used on each trip and adds up,
  • Turn off unnecessary features when applicable, such as Sentry Mode, Cabin Overheat Protection, and Headlights After Exit,
  • Keep your car charging while not in use. Look into getting a home charger if you do not have one already. Home chargers will not damage your battery like a supercharger would but will still ensure it’ll be ready for a drive,
  • Turn on the energy-saving feature where available. On the app, under the “Controls” setting, click “Display” and toggle “Energy” saving on.

Following these tips will contribute to better care for your vehicle, particularly its battery. While you may not be able to follow every rule, it’ll certainly lighten the load, providing you with a better experience and chance to make the most of your purchase. Try out each of these and implement them into driving and maintenance routine that fits best for you.

Conclusion

On the whole, knowing about preconditioning can benefit you as a Tesla owner in a number of ways, especially if you live in a colder climate. If you’ve been experiencing issues with your car not working as well as it used to, preconditioning can help restore your vehicle. If you are a new or prospective buyer, it’s best for you to know from the get-go to help keep your vehicle in good shape.

Along with preconditioning your car, it’s best if you use this time researching to open yourself up to new ways to conserve energy. Electric cars, in general, are made as an alternative to gasoline-fueled cars. It’ll be for the best for you to use this opportunity to commit to this idea and take any chance you get to save energy for a brighter future.

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