One of the things that makes Tesla vehicles unique compared to other cars on the market is that every sub-system of the car is designed/created by Tesla themselves. As such, just about every aspect of a Tesla is controlled through the touchscreen where everything is centrally integrated and controlled. Compare this to other cars on the market and you’ll find that since each subsystem created by separate sub-contractors, it’s nearly impossible to tie them all together in the way Tesla has. Therefore, we have created this short walk-thru of all the different menus and the options on each menu that might need to be adjusted during your rental. We will not cover every option, but just remember you can always reference the on-screen manual for anything not covered.
This is an image of what we’ll refer to as the main screen. It’s composed of a bottom and top navigation bar, highlighted in blue, which will remain constant across all screens. Then, in between those navigation bars, you’ll find your app screens. In this image, we see the Navigation on top and the Media Player on bottom. Please note the the little icons that are highlighted in the bottom left and right corners of each app. These icons will exist on each app. The icon in the lower left-hand corner can toggle the app to go full-screen or split screen. The icon in the lower right-hand corner will flip which app is on top or on bottom. Please be advised that if the navigation app is on top, it will auto-hide the top navigation bar after a few seconds, so you may need to flip it to the bottom to reveal the top navigation bar again.
Top Navigation Bar
The top navigation bar is split into two sections, which we’ll detail below.
In the upper section of this top navigation bar, from left to right:
Blue Box: Lock Status – This shows whether the doors are locked or unlocked. You can touch this to manually lock/unlock the doors. Doors get automatically locked while driving. Doors will automatically lock/unlock based on the presence of the key fob – Walk away from the car and the car will automatically lock, walk towards the car and it will automatically unlock.
Yellow Box: Charging Window – This will launch the charging window, which I’ll cover below in more detail.
Green Box: Homelink Window – This is used for programming and using garage door opening features, which won’t be needed for the purpose of a rental.
Purple Box: Driver Profile – This will launch a pop-up window for selecting which driver profile you’d like to use. There is a Guest profile already created for your use during the rental period, but feel free to create another one if you’ll have multiple drivers using the car. The driver profile will store things like your seat position, headrest position, mirror positions, etc.
Pink Box: Tesla Window – I will cover this window below in more detail.
Turquoise Box: Bluetooth Settings – I will cover this window in more detail below.
Grey Box: Wifi Settings – These are for attaching the car to a home wifi for the purpose of uploading diagnostic data to Tesla and downloading software updates. You won’t need to use this window during your rental.
In the lower section of this top navigation bar, from left to right:
Blue Box: Music App – This app is pretty self explanatory, but it allows you to play FM radio, Streaming Music (Slacker Radio) over the cellular connection to the car, TuneIn Podcasts, and Phone (Bluetooth music streaming from your paired cell phone). For streaming music, you can search for what you want to hear via the search box or voice recognition on the steering wheel, which I’ll cover later, or you can pick from the pre-configured streaming radio stations
Purple Box: Navigation App – This app, as well is pretty self explanatory. Several pieces of the navigation app are covered under the Charging FAQ.
Pink Box: Calendar App – This app won’t function for rental purposes.
Orange Box: Statistics App – This app can show more detailed graphs with regards to your driving and energy consumption, but won’t be covered in detail at this time.
Red Box: Browser – This is the in-car internet browser. You can use it to load basic sites, such as this one (which you’ll find bookmarked), but since it loads over the cellular connection, it isn’t exactly fast. It also doesn’t support advanced websites with flash, streaming video, etc.
White Box: Rear-View Camera – Like most cars, the rear-view camera will show when the car is put into reverse, however, you can tap this to turn it on manually.
Yellow Box: Phone App – Once a cell phone is paired to the car, you can use this app to make calls from your screen. I’ll include more detail on this below.
This window can be launched to access your charging status and settings. This window will automatically launch when the car has been plugged in and automatically started charging. If you are NOT supercharging, one setting you may need to review is the “Set Charge Limit” button. This setting is designed to stop charging the car before the battery is full (say charging to 70% for example), which is helpful for overall life of the battery during daily driving, however, during trips or the purpose of your rental, feel free to set this setting to 100%. When Supercharging, the car will assume you’re on a trip and automatically adjust to 100%. There is no need to change any other setting, like the “Charge Current” setting for example, as this will be automatically detected.
The Tesla window is used to launch an “about” screen to reveal VIN #, Odometer, and Software Version. Additionally, the screen is also used to show the available “Easter Egg’s” available with the Tesla, which won’t be covered in detail at this time.
The bluetooth window is pretty self-explanatory and can be used to pair your cell phone with the Tesla for making phone calls and streaming music from your phone.
Phone App Window
The phone app is self-explanatory and can be used to make calls with either a the dialer or contacts window.
Bottom Navigation Bar
The bottom navigation bar, as detailed below, will always be accessible on all screens.
Blue Box: Controls Screen – This is the main location to access all vehicle settings and controls, which will have a detailed walk-thru in the following section.
Orange Box – User Comfort Controls – The orange boxes on the left and right control the driver and passenger comfort controls respectively. You can tap the seat icon to turn on the seat warmers, which has 3 different strength settings. Just keep tapping to reach the desired setting. The dual zone temperature control can be set here as well.
Purple Box: Defrost Settings – The left and right purple boxes control the defrost settings for the front and rear defrost respectively. Tap once to defrost with cool air, and a second time to defrost with warm air.
Yellow Box: Climate System On/Off – Tap to turn entire climate control system on or off.
Green Box: Front/Rear Climate Control Settings – Tap each of these to launch the controls for front and rear climate control settings. Both front and rear settings have manual and auto controls for temperature and fan control. The front controls also have a feature (blue box) called Bioweapon Defense Mode. This mode forces all air through a medical grade HEPA air filter and creates positive pressure inside the car to keep outside allergens/particles from entering the cabin. Both front and rear have a “Keep Climate On” section, which will allow you to keep the climate on after the car turns off. This is unofficially referred to as “Camper Mode”, which allows you to sleep inside the car without the climate turning off. This setting will drain the battery, so be careful with this one.
Now, we will do a brief walk-thru of the controls menu.
The doors screen is the first on the controls menu. It allows you to tap the respective door to open and close it. The only door that does not allow for closing via the touchscreen is the front trunk. To close the front trunk, apply equal pressure from both palms applied approximately 6 inches from the center of the trunk on either side.
The bottom half of the screen will remain consistent across all controls screens. You can use it to manually adjust the headlights and dome light controls.
The seats page allows you to control the easy entry settings of the first and second row seats. When enabled, easy entry allows you to move the first and second row seats up, simultaneously, to allow access to the third row. Easy entry can be controlled either via this screen or via the easy entry button on the back of the 2nd row seats on the shoulder closest to the door.
The suspension page allows you to adjust the suspension in real time when dealing with a particularly steep driveway. When you raise it, it will also store the GPS location and raise it every time in the same location. The suspension also will automatically lower when going over 40-50 MPH to help with energy efficiency.
The driving page offers several controls:
Acceleration: Chill will slow down how quickly the car accelerates.
Steering Mode: This will adjust how stiff or easy it is to turn the wheel.
Regenerative Braking: On a Tesla, the car will immediately start to slow down when you raise your foot off of the “gas” pedal. It starts to immediately transfer energy back into the battery for a more efficient drive and longer range. The standard setting is the default, however, if you want a less aggressive approach and more like a combustible car where the car can “coast”, you can switch this to low.
Trailer Mode: No towing should be done with this Tesla without prior approval, so there’s no need to leverage this control.
Traction Control: Self Explanatory
Creep: On a Tesla, the default is off for this setting. If you want the car to start creeping forward when you lift your foot off the brake, like a combustible car, you can switch this to on.
Range Mode: When this setting is enabled, the Tesla will adjust the torque settings between the two motors to work together more efficiently. Also, climate control will be temporarily disabled or reduced at times in favor of energy efficiency to gain more range. You can click the little “i” for more details.
The trips page has your normal odometer and trip settings. Feel free to reset the trip settings as needed, but please don’t reset Trip B.
This page allows you to manually adjust the display brightness and power saving modes. By default, the display will be set to automatically adjust brightness based on the ambient lighting.
This page shouldn’t be used unless directed by us or Tesla roadside assistance.
At the top of the controls page, you can also select the Settings tab to access vehicle settings.
This is the app settings page. Renters shouldn’t need to mess with any of these settings.
This is the Driver Profiles settings page, which was previously discussed above.
This is the Units and Formats page where you can switch between Imperial and Metric systems, time format, and energy display (miles or %).
The vehicle settings page is pretty self explanatory, but most options have additional information by clicking on the “i” for more information. The only setting you might need to adjust is Easy Entry, as described previously, in case you have a car seat installed in the 2nd row seats.
The Doors and Locks page has several settings pertaining to how the doors get locked and unlocked with respect to the key fob. Most of these are self-explanatory. The Child-Protection lock might be the only setting you would need to change.
These settings should not be altered by renters.
These are the same display settings that are available in the controls menu.
This is the HomeLink page for controlling garage doors, which as mentioned above, shouldn’t be needed/altered by renters.
This page has all of the settings that pertain to Autopilot, which will be described in a dedicated Autopilot FAQ.
Autosteer and Auto Lane Change are the two primary autopilot features.
The Summon feature won’t be available to renters.
The Lane Assist warning, which is set to on, will vibrate the wheel (just as if you drove over rumble strips) if you happen to cross a lane marker without using the turn signal.
Speed Assist will aid by showing the speed limit on the front console display, but should not be relied on as the data sometimes comes from dated map data (though Tesla says some updates are coming later this year that should change this).
Collision Avoidance Assistance is exactly what it sounds like.
Just as above, this page should not be used by renters unless advised by us or Tesla Roadside Assistance.