Should I Precondition My Tesla Before Driving? (Video Evidence)   

Teslas are the cars of the future with innovative electric technology that can make certain driving habits a thing of the past.

Since Teslas operate on electricity instead of gas do you still need to precondition the battery before driving?

In this article, we’ll address how to precondition your Tesla battery, the advantages and disadvantages to preconditioning, as well as whether or not you need to precondition your Tesla before driving. 

Key Takeaways:

While most tires on fossil fuel vehicles last an average of 50k-60k miles (about 4 years), tires on electric vehicles don’t last nearly as long and you may need to change them as soon as 15-20K miles.
As a general rule, you should start shopping for new tires one the tread pattern has about 4/32″ of an inch remaining.
While many tires are warranted between 45k-60k miles, electric vehicles like Teslas wear out much faster, meaning replacement can come as soon as 15k miles.


How Do I Precondition My Tesla Battery?

Unlike gas-powered cars which require you to physically turn the ignition or use a remote starter, there are three different methods to precondition your Tesla without ever having to step foot in the cold before you plan to leave.

The easiest way to precondition your Tesla is by scheduling your departure time.

If you already know when you plan to leave, you can set your Tesla to begin preconditioning for a set amount of time before you depart. 

Alternatively, you can use the Tesla app to turn on the climate control or the defrost functions to precondition your battery.

No matter which method you choose, you should allow for at least twenty minutes of preconditioning before departing. 

What Are the Advantages to Preconditioning My Tesla Battery?

The advantages of preconditioning your Tesla battery far outweigh the disadvantages.

In fact, most Tesla drivers report seeing a noticeable difference in the performance of their car when the battery is preconditioned compared to a cold start.

The best time to precondition your battery is when it’s cold outside. Batteries need to function at an optimal temperature and performance can be affected if the battery is trying to support the normal processes of a car when it is too cold. 

If the outside temperature drops to at or below freezing, precondition your battery before driving preferably while it is plugged in.

Preconditioning a charging battery will draw power from the charger rather than your battery, saving your battery’s energy for the road.

While some users report there is negligible savings on battery energy and range when preconditioned, others have found that they can save up to 10% compared to a cold start.

Even though energy savings may or may not be applicable, preconditioning your battery will definitely improve its longevity, allowing you to drive longer before replacing the car’s battery.

While it may take a little while for the entire battery to warm up for peak efficient functioning, it takes less than ten minutes to get the interior of the car heated.

Preconditioning your Tesla means you will have a far more comfortable driving experience than in a cold-started car. Not only will it already be warm inside, but the ride will also be smoother.

Preconditioning provides a smoother ride due to supplying regenerative power that you would otherwise not have on a cold-started Tesla.

With preconditioning, you will have the full range of braking and acceleration power to get you where you need to go. 

Additionally, once you get to a charging station since your battery is already up to temperature, it will recharge faster than if you drove it from a cold start. 

What Are the Disadvantages to Preconditioning My Tesla Battery?

While there aren’t many disadvantages to preconditioning your Tesla battery, there are still a few to be aware of and take into consideration.

You should never precondition your Tesla when the weather is warm because it drops the efficiency of the vehicle significantly.

The battery does not need time to warm up because the environmental temperature will already keep it at a good starting point.

However, even if you precondition the proper way during cold weather, you are still using extra energy either from your house line or from the battery itself.

If you precondition your Tesla while it is still plugged in, your energy bill will increase. If you precondition your Tesla while it is unplugged, you’ll be relying on the battery power and draining battery life. 

The other downside to preconditioning is wait time. It takes at least twenty minutes to precondition so you need to plan ahead or wait around for the battery to warm up before you leave.

Sometimes environmental conditions may be harsh enough to require up to forty-five minutes of preconditioning. 

Do I Need to Precondition My Tesla Battery?

Despite all the benefits of preconditioning your Tesla before driving, you are not required to precondition even in cold weather.

However, both the Tesla driver’s manual and many Tesla drivers highly recommend the practice of preconditioning in cold weather because of all the energy savings and battery life extension.

The consequences of not preconditioning your Tesla could be buying a new battery sooner than expected or at the very least driving a less than optimally functioning car in the winter.

However, the Tesla will still function and get you where you need to go.

Additionally, the testimonies of Tesla drivers who strongly advise preconditioning your car during cold weather give comparisons to cold starting your car, so that the differences in energy consumption, recharge time, and regenerative power are easy to see. 


When it comes to preconditioning your Tesla, you don’t have to but there are so many benefits that it doesn’t make sense not to.

You should only precondition your Tesla in cold weather, since there are no advantages to preconditioning in warm weather and you will only waste battery power and life. 

However, preconditioning your Tesla in cold weather will allow for a more comfortable drive, provide regenerative power, elongate the life of your car’s battery, and allow you to spend less time at the recharging stations. 

Preconditioning may take a little forethought and planning ahead but any time spent setting up your Tesla for preconditioning will be more than made up for in the long run.