You have painstakingly chosen a model, a paint color, and whether or not you want that beautiful white interior. No matter the combination you have chosen, Tesla's are fantastic daily drivers right out of the box. Luckily, there is also a huge landscape of accessories that will help you personalize and make better use of your new car. Some are down to personal preference, but I have a number of picks that you should consider right out of the box for your new Tesla Model 3. While this article focuses on what I purchased for my Model 3, many of these items will apply to any new Tesla.
Your Tesla's battery is hidden away as part of the floor pan of the car. This means you can fit a whole lot of battery cells with a low center of gravity for optimum vehicle handling. This also means that you can damage the battery by improperly lifting the car when it is time for maintenance. Not all shops are prepared to see your Tesla and you certainly want the right tools if you are rotating your tires yourself.
The Tesla Model 3 and Y are equipped with a small hole on the underbelly of the car at the recommended lift points. Jack pads have been made for a long time for European vehicles that also feature odd lifting points - and the Tesla is no different. A jack pad is a small disc that helps you to locate the right place to lift the vehicle as well as acting to distribute the load on the underside of the car. These can be made of anything from metal to plastic, but a small rubber disc is the preferred material leading these items to be referred to as jack pucks. We do not recommend you play hockey with these pucks as they do have a small extension that fits in to the aforementioned underbelly hole.
There are many jack pucks out there for the Model 3 but I recommend ones that come with a rubber o-ring that help the pad fit firmly in the underbelly such as the Newace Model 3/Y Jack Pad. Just remember to remove it when you are done! The Newace pads also come with a flat carrying case for ease of storage.
Air Compressor and Tire Pressure Gauge
Proper tire inflation is critical to the range on your Model 3 as well as even wear of the tires. Without regular trips to the gas station, many electric vehicle owners find themselves without access to squeegees and the tire air pump. Thanks to Stoner's Invisible Glass I have not used a squeegee in decades and thanks to Amazon Prime we can solve our tire air access problem as well.
For many years I have used the dead reliable VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor. It plugs in to the 12V "cigarette lighter" in the center console of your Tesla Model 3 and has the correct amperage rating so that it will not blow the fuse in your Tesla's on-board circuits. It also features a built-in tire pressure gauge that is mounted on the compressor. The 85P screws on to the tire valve, but if you prefer a press on air chuck VIAIR also makes the same compressor as the 84P model.
If by chance you already have 20V DeWALT power tools at home, I would recommend an upgrade to the DeWALT DCC020IB Cordless Inflator. I use this air compressor at the track and being able to move around the car without routing a power cable through the car as well as being able to set a pressure to automatically shut off at is very convenient. As a bonus, it comes with a number of other attachments that we have used to tackle bicycle tires, pool toys, as well as air mattresses.
While the VIAIR and DeWALT may have onboard pressure gauges, the engineer in Emotive Engineering is a bit obsessive compulsive over air pressures. I simply cannot bring myself to use the simple but effective pencil style gauges and own 5 racing tire pressure gauges. They provide clear readings and make bleeding air from the tires on an overfill much easier. My budget racing tire pressure gauge of choice is the Longacre 50417, which has a large analog face and measures pressures from 0 to 60psi. If you want to geek out over tire pressure gauges, please email me and we can talk through some more obscure and expensive picks.
As with many newer cars, the Tesla Model 3 does not come with a spare tire. What you gain in lower vehicle weight and increased storage, you may lose a bit of piece of mind. While you can wait for roadside service, there are cases where you can safely plug a tire and be on your way. In some cases you may be towing the car to a local shop to do the exact same thing.
While there are products you can use to pump "slime" in to the tire, what you will end up with is a sticky unbalanced mess inside of your wheel and a very unhappy tire technician. If your puncture can indeed be fixed, having an inexpensive tire repair kit on hand can be cheap and effective insurance.
The first thing we noticed at delivery of our 2022 Model 3 Performance was what looked like dirt on our minty fresh white seats. Upon further inspection with a service advisor we determined that the black marks were not dirt, but lint from the floor mats. While it may seem somewhat ridiculous to buy new floor mats to replace perfectly functioning new factory mats, the OEM mats are prone to dusting and the quality of the mat itself leaves much to be desired.
We live in an age where you can engineer the most mundane of things with laser precision. Floor mat companies today literally use lasers! WeatherTech was one of the first companies to do so and has built up a reputation for quality all-weather mats. The WeatherTech CustomFit FloorLiners are a solid choice for any vehicle and are available for both front and back rows for the Model 3. As with all WeatherTech CustomFit products, these mats are laser-measured for precise fitment and feature a high outside lip that helps contain spills or any unsavory elements you might track in to your Tesla.
If rigid plastic-like floor mats are not quite your style, 3D Mats USA has you covered. Their 3D MAXpider Elegant line features a perfect fit carpet floor mat that covers more area than the factory Tesla mats while also providing higher quality tufted carpet with a foam inner layer for comfort.
My choice for the best floor mats for your new Model 3 come from the 3D MAXpider ELITECT line. An exclusive for the Model 3 and Model Y, these mats combine raised edges, waterproof material, and a unique carbon-fiber like weaved design. These are often sold out so check in with us on an estimated wait before ordering.
External Hard Drive
One of the best features of the Tesla Model 3 are the integrated cameras. Many manufacturers will only allow instantaneous access to these cameras while driving, but Tesla will allow you to save footage from the dashcams with a click of the on screen button. Sentry Mode also continuously monitors your vehicle when parked and automatically enables video recording when it detects motion. While the factory 128 GB flash drive might be sufficient for most, I want to make sure I preserve as much data as possible. This is especially true because Tesla's Track Mode records both video and in-car telemetry to the same drive.
The ideal external hard drive for a Tesla is one that is not sensitive to movement, has decent storage capacity, fast write speeds, low power draw, and resistance to heat. The Samsung T7 500 GB Portable SSD fits the bill perfectly for me. Given that it is 2021, it is unlikely that you were going to go and buy a spinning platter hard drive for your Tesla, but a SSD is truly perfect for this application. It features a compact form factor, no moving parts, and blazing fast reads and writes. For less than $100 at the time of this writing, you get a 500 gigabyte drive so your data will not be rewritten all the time. This is healthier for the drive itself as well. The Samsung T7's aluminum enclosure is shock-resistant and acts as a heat sink for the drive itself. It also features "Dynamic Thermal Guard" technology which prevents the drive from reaching excessively high temperatures during data transfer.
Tesla's vast network of Superchargers and the ability to charge at home are extremely convenient, but there are times you just need to fill in the gap. I am at the racetrack all the time, sometimes many miles from the nearest supercharger. Luckily, you will also find many RV power outlets scattered around a racetrack paddock.
The first thing you may ask yourself is if you are stealing electricity. All of the local tracks in my area consider this electricity use as part of the track rental fee paid by the event organizer. You will need a 14-50 Gen 2 NEMA Adapter to use a standard RV outlet. These are available directly and inexpensively directly from Tesla, though they can often be sold out. You can occasionally get one from Amazon, but beware that you will likely pay a high premium over buying it direct from the Tesla shop.
Please note that the 240V 14-50 outlet is considered Level 2 charging and will only provide about 30 miles of range an hour. It is a convenient trickle charge at the beginning of the day to top off to full charge before your first session or for between race track sessions if you are not going to head to supercharge.
This bonus recommendation is mostly for new Model Y owners. Gravel, ice, and salt spray are all common items that can easily ruin the finish behind the wheels of your car and the Model Y seems to be particularly susceptible to this damage. Thankfully, Rally Armor makes a no-drill solution using the factory fender flares to give the Model Y increased protection and a more rugged look. Rally Armor also makes a Model 3 mudflap with custom brackets that do not alter the factory fender liners. For the more stylish among us, Rally Armor makes these mudflaps in pink which also include a donation to Stand Up To Cancer.
With all that being said, congratulations on your new Tesla purchase. The must have accessories for your new Tesla are jack pads, an air compressor, and a tire pressure gauge. Hopefully this collection of accessories will make your life ever so easier, either with utility or piece of mind. When you are ready to make modifications to the handling, performance, and styling of your Tesla, you know where to find us. Happy motoring!