5 Important Questions to Ask When You Get a New Tesla

Pierce Keesee
Pierce Keesee
April 27, 2022
5 Important Questions to Ask When You Get a New Tesla

Buying a new Tesla marks a huge milestone in a person’s life. It can be a time of great excitement, but it may also be a time filled with questions about the proper care and maintenance of your new futuristic ride. Understandably, you might be searching for a good resource that provides answers to some of the important questions that arise for new Tesla owners. To help with this, we’re addressing the 5 most important questions that arise for new Tesla owners as they embark on their new electric journey. By getting these questions answered, you’ll be ahead of the curve and on your way to becoming a seasoned Tesla owner!

1. How do  I set up autopilot correctly?

One of the most common questions that comes up for new Tesla owners is whether or not they have set up autopilot correctly, which is an understandable concern, as autopilot is one of the most sought after Tesla features.

Engaging Traffic-Aware Cruise Control

One great way to get more familiarized with the driving assistance options that you have access to is to begin utilizing the Traffic-Aware Cruise Control. This feature matches the speed of your car to that of the surrounding traffic. Keep in mind that this feature still requires the driver to steer and change lanes, so it’s a great way to dip your toe into the various driving assistance features you have access to. To engage the Traffic-Aware Cruise Control feature:

  • (For Model S and Model X) - pull down once on the cruise control stalk on the left of the steering column.
  • (For Model 3 and Model Y) - pull down once on the gear selector stalk on the right of the steering column.

Engaging Autosteer

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the Traffic-Aware Cruise Control feature, you may want to try out the Autosteer option. Autosteer assists in steering within a clearly marked lane, and uses traffic-aware cruise control. To engage the Autosteer feature:

  • (For Model S and Model X) - pull towards you twice on the cruise control stalk on the left of the steering column.
  • (For Model 3 and Model Y) - pull down twice on the gear selector stalk on the right of the steering column.

As helpful as these introductory steps are, we know that many users like to see the process in real time. If you’re looking for a good video that walks through the steps of setting up autopilot, this is a great video to check out.

2. Should I get a HomeLink?

Now that you know how to engage Autopilot, let's discuss the purpose of the Tesla HomeLink.

What is Tesla HomeLink?

The Tesla HomeLink is an automatic garage door opener that can control up to three devices. These devices include garage doors, gates, lights and even security systems. This feature can be retrofitted and installed for Model 3’s and Model Y’s, and can be ordered through the Tesla online store. If you’re interested in a deeper walkthrough that discusses setting up the Tesla HomeLink, check out the walkthrough on HomeLink’s dedicated Tesla page.

One of the main reasons we see Tesla owners opting for this feature is the ability to set up geofencing. Geofencing creates a virtual fence using the car’s built in GPS system. When a geofence border is crossed you will be able to initiate different actions. This feature will allow you to interface with the Tesla web services API to create custom geofencing triggered actions and alerts. With these advanced geofencing capabilities, you can configure your HomeLink to open a gate or a garage as you approach your home. To better understand the full features of HomeLink and the rich integration though the Tesla APIs check out this through walkthrough How to Build a Tesla Data Dashboard with the Tesla API.

3. How does the on-board Tesla standard connectivity work?

Tesla Connectivity is an on-board feature that allows drivers to connect with applications that require data usage such as streaming music, media, traffic visualization and more. Important to note, all Teslas come equipped with standard connectivity features but Premium Connectivity supports enhanced connectivity features. This allows your Tesla to connect to different internet services, such as Spotify, Google Maps traffic updates, and even Netflix.

Per Tesla’s support page “ Premium Connectivity is available as a monthly subscription of $9.99 plus applicable tax and can be purchased at any time from your Tesla Account. Orders of Model S, Model X, Model Y and Model 3 with Premium Interior will receive a Premium Connectivity trial for one year after delivery.”

If you’re on the fence about upgrading to Premium Connectivity, here’s what you’ll gain access to by upgrading:

  • Live Traffic Visualization
  • Satalite-View Maps
  • Video Streaming
  • Caraoke
  • Music Streaming
  • Internet Browsing

If you’re looking to learn more about premium connectivity, check out Tesla’s support page here.

4. What times should I charge my Tesla?

As with owning any new piece of technology, owning and maintaining a Tesla can be overwhelming at first. One of the many questions you may have is “How much does it really cost to charge my car, and when should I be charging it? To put it simply: it depends. There are a wide variety of factors that affect how much it costs to charge your car, and when the best times to charge it are. Depending on your electricity plan, the cost to charge your car at different times of the day vary widely.

As shown above, the price of your electricity can change, depending on what time of the day that you charge. There are many different pricing structures power companies utilize to charge you for your electricity, but one of the most common is a variable plan. This means that during certain times of the day, when more electricity is being used in your area, you will be charged more for that usage.

Learning when may be the best time for you to charge your new Tesla may seem overwhelming, but there are some ways to mitigate the stress. Optiwatt is a free app that can learn from your electricity bill and show you your specific rates. It can even schedule your car to charge at the cheapest and most environmentally friendly times to give you a breakdown of exactly how much you really spend on powering your new car.

5. How do I get updates faster?

You may have heard that you’ll have access to frequent software updates for your new ride. Your Tesla stays up-to-date through over-the-air software updates. As you get used to these updates, you may find that they take a bit longer than you would hope. To combat this, there are several proactive measures that Tesla owners can take to ensure they are downloading these updates in the most efficient way possible.

  • Maximize the time your Tesla has Wi-Fi connectivity. Usually, your car will be configured to update whenever you aren’t using it, such as in the middle of the night, as long as it is connected to wifi.
  • Set the software preferences to “Advanced” This will push out the software update as soon as possible. If you leave the “Advanced” software unselected, software updates will push out based on your VIN number selected by Tesla.
  • If you happen to be encountering challenges with downloading software updates, reach out to Tesla chat. Tesla support can help if your update happens to get stuck, or your Tesla isn’t properly downloading updates.

Next Steps

As you may have realized, Tesla ownership opens up a world of new opportunities. Whether through Tesla add-ons or third party services, you now have access to countless additional features to help you customize your experience and improve your ride. As you begin to learn about new features and ways to optimize your Tesla experience, make sure to check out other educational resources specifically made for Tesla owners. For those looking for more information on charging, check out our recent article The Comprehensive Guide to Maximizing your Tesla’s Battery Efficiency and Battery Life. We’re sure this can provide a great starting point as you look to maintain healthy efficient charging practices for your Tesla.

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Pierce Keesee
Pierce Keesee

Technology enthusiast with background in battery building and electronic repair

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