Unfortunately, most Tesla owners don’t take advantage of the cabin overheat protection because they don’t understand how the feature works.
This article discusses what cabin overheat protection is, how it functions, its benefits, its downsides, and how you can operate it.
What Is Tesla cabin overheat protection?
The cabin overheat protection is a software safety feature available in all Tesla vehicles. It is part of the climate control system that makes your car’s cabin comfortable by reducing extreme temperatures.
Sometimes, the summer heat can be troublesome, especially when your Tesla is exposed for hours under direct sunlight.
When you park your Tesla in direct sunlight or in the outside high temperature, your car’s cabin will get too hot. As a result, such extreme temperature poses a threat to humans and could damage the car’s interiors.
Since the overheat prevention feature is inbuilt into your Tesla, you can activate it to curb any excess heat in your car.
The cabin overheat protection helps prevent the cabin and touch surfaces of your car from getting too hot. When the interior temperature reaches 40 degrees Celsius (105 degrees Fahrenheit), the safety control feature uses fans and/or air conditioning to decrease and maintain the temperature of the cabin.
The cabin overheat protection is designed not just to protect skin and personal items from dangerously hot temperatures but also to keep the cabin not too cool for passengers or pets.
When turned on, the cabin overheat protection starts the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) climate control system when it gets too hot (over 40°C/105°F) inside the car interior and, therefore, cools the cabin. You can activate the cabin overheat protection through the car’s touchscreen or mobile app to turn on the air conditioning or the fan.
The overheating protection is a part of the climate control system that uses air conditioning and ventilation to keep your vehicle cool for up to 12 hours, so long as your car has enough battery.
The system operates until 12 hours elapses or until the energy level of your battery declines below 20%.
How to turn on Tesla cabin overheat protection
You can turn on the cabin overheat protection using two methods:
1. Using the touchscreen:
- Select Controls > Safety > Cabin Overheat Protection
- You can turn on the air conditioning to automatically operate when the cabin temperature exceeds 40° C (104°F). You can also set a customized temperature of 90, 95 or 100°F, based on your preference.
- You can also turn off the air conditioning (if you want). In this case, only the fan will operate when the cabin temperature exceeds 40° C (104°F) to prevent the interior and touch surfaces from getting too hot.
2. Using the Tesla app:
- Tap on Climate
- Go to the bottom menu and then click a setting under cabin overheat protection. From there, you can turn on or off A/C.
Does Tesla overheat protection drain the battery?
While the cabin overheat protection system may affect your battery consumption, it will provide your Tesla with better overall protection.
The cabin overheat protection system will constantly try to communicate with your vehicle. As a result, that causes a slight drain on the battery.
A well-functioning cabin overheat protection system does not consume a lot of battery. If the draining issue happens, then it is because you’ve left another car accessory on or the key fob on.
If your car battery drains very fast, there are several things you need to look at that could explain why the battery keeps dying (as highlighted below):
- Your car battery age: If your car battery dies quickly, the problem could be caused by its age. The older a battery gets, the less efficient it is at holding a charge. Your car’s battery could last up to five years. However, that depends on where you live and how you drive. General everyday use, frequent short trips, and extreme temperatures could shorten the life of your battery to two to three years.
- Extreme weather conditions: Hot summer days and freezing winter weather also may cause problems for your car’s battery. Newer batteries tend to have more resistance to extreme temperatures. However, if your battery is older, intense heat or cold could weaken its performance or even cause it to die completely. If you suspect your battery is draining very fast, contact auto technicians to help diagnose and fix the problem.
- Parasitic drain: The parasitic draw could be caused by something else such as the clock, the radio, and the alarm system. But these things don’t have a major impact on your battery. What may drain the battery when your car is off are things, such as headlights on, interior lights, door lights, or even bad relays.
If you think your cabin overheat protection system is draining your car’s battery, it’s likely time to contact auto technicians or get a new battery.
How much battery does cabin overheat protection use?
Whenever your cabin overheat protection system is activated, it uses a certain amount of energy from the battery to maintain a comfortable interior temperature of your Tesla.
The system normally consumes about 1-1.5% of the battery per hour. So, if you leave your vehicles in the heat for 8 hours, and the cabin overheat protection is on, expect to lose 8-12% of your battery.
However, the exact amount of energy consumed depends on various factors explained below:
- Outside temperature: The hotter the temperature outside, the more energy the car’s cabin overheat protection system will consume to keep the interior temperature within a comfortable range. In extreme heat, the system will work harder and use more energy, which can have a greater impact on the battery consumption.
- Desired interior temperature: The temperature range that the system is set to maintain will also impact the level of battery consumption. If you desire a lower interior temperature, the system will consume more energy and work harder to maintain that temperature.
- Operation duration: The longer the system is activated, the more energy it will consume from the battery. If the cabin overheat protection system is only used for a short period of time, it will have a lesser impact on battery consumption.
Here are six ways you can use to minimize battery consumption when the cabin overheat protection functions:
- Set the temperature range slightly higher. This will help reduce the load on the cabin overheat protection system and, therefore, minimize battery consumption.
- Use other features to reduce the load on the cabin overheat protection system. You can set other Tesla climate control settings (like Keep Mode and Dog Mode) to help reduce the load on the cabin overheat protection system and, therefore, minimize battery consumption.
- Monitor battery consumption. This will help you to better understand the amount of energy that the cabin overheat protection system consumes and adjust your settings accordingly.
- Park your vehicle in a shaded area. This will help you reduce the temperature inside the car and reduce the load on the cabin overheat protection system.
- Cover your car with tints on the windows and roof to block direct sunlight and reduce the temperature.
- Set the cabin overheat protection system to “No A/C.” Setting it to “No A/C,” means that the system will only use the fan, not the air conditioning unit. This helps consume less power and avoid unnecessary battery drain.
Benefits of Tesla cabin overheat protect
The benefits of the cabin overheat protection include the following:
- Comfort: Tesla overheat protection helps reduce hot temperatures inside your car interior, making it more comfortable.
- Safety: as stated above, the cabin overheat protection helps prevent the interior from reaching dangerously high temperatures. The system, therefore, helps avoid burn injuries and protects personal items, like tablets and phones, from potential heat damage.
- Pet safety: the cabin overheat protection system has a feature called “Dog Mode,” which can be used to keep your car cool for a pet.
Cons of Tesla Cabin Overheat Protect
Tesla cabin overheat protection has some potential drawbacks that could impact its use:
- Reduced range: The cabin overheat protection uses energy from your car’s battery, which will decrease your car’s range. The range of your car means how far or how many miles your vehicle can travel after one time charging.
- Increased energy usage: The cabin overheat protection increases the energy consumption of the vehicle’s climate control system, which can further decrease your car’s range.
- Potential system failure: In certain instances, the cabin overheat protection system may not work properly, leading to the interior of your car getting too hot.
This explains why it’s important to activate other Tesla climate control settings (like Keep Mode and Dog Mode) when leaving pets or passengers unattended in a parked vehicle.
These settings enable you to keep the climate control system operating when you park your car, even when you leave it in the parking bay, or opt to stay inside the car. These settings help to maintain the interior temperature in cold or hot weather conditions.
For instance, you can use the “Keep Mode” (Keep Climate On setting) to prevent spoilage of groceries in the car during hot days. You can use the “Dog Mode” setting to maintain a comfy interior temperature for your pet.
My Final Thoughts
Just like with humans, extreme temperatures are tough on vehicles. The dry air, warm weather, hot roads, and prolonged journeys can degrade your precious car.
But the good news is that activating the functionality of Tesla cabin overheat prevention feature can help keep temperature in your car interior from getting too hot or too cold.
Leaving your Tesla in extreme heat and sunlight can have adverse impacts on its condition in the long term. For instance, hot temperatures could end up damaging both the exterior and the interior of your vehicle.
To avoid these problems, you can follow the above-stated solutions to protect your car from extreme heat and sunlight.