Tesla steering wheel weights have been making waves in the Tesla aftermarket accessories niche.
And as is common when something is popular, there is a lot of conflicting, and sometimes misleading and dangerous information out there about what exactly Tesla steering wheel weights are, how they work, if they do work in the first place, and what consequences there might be for using them.
With the above in mind, I have undertaken comprehensive research on everything there is to know about Tesla steering wheel weights, and will be providing you with clear, accurate, and actionable information about using this popular device.
What Is A Tesla Steering Wheel Weight?
Simply put, Tesla steering wheel weights are devices that you can put on Tesla’s steering wheels to deceive the Tesla vehicle into thinking that you have your hands placed on the steering wheels when using autopilot or full self driving.
You may already know that to use autopilot or full self driving, you are required to place your hands on the steering wheels at all times. This is a safety measure which, according to Tesla, ensures that you are always present and attentive and ready to take over control of the vehicle in the case of an emergency. And there are many reasons for this:
- There are conditions under which autopilot and full self-driving do not work properly such as during heavy rainfall or when road markings are not clear, for example
- Autopilot or full self driving may malfunction and require that you take immediate control to avert any mishaps
But, in spite of this, many Tesla users find it tedious to have to place their hands on the steering wheels at all times during an autopilot or full self driving ride. And so Tesla steering wheel weights became popular as Tesla owners used them to place on the steering wheels and fool the Tesla vehicle into thinking that the driver’s hands are on the steering wheels.
The wheel weight is attached to the steering wheel to maintain just enough force on the steering wheel to mimic the driver’s hands without taking over control from autopilot or full self driving. I have attached an image above:
Are Tesla Steering Wheel Weights Safe?
No, Tesla steering wheel weights are not safe. Not in any sense. No variant of the product can be considered safe in any way whatsoever.
You see, the fact that you have to always have your hands on the steering wheels is a safety control measure. It is not that Tesla could not have designed autopilot to not need the driver’s hands placed on the steering wheels at all times. However, the measure is intended to ensure that you are present during the ride even though autopilot or full self driving is on, so that you can immediately take control in the case of an emergency.
Also, using steering wheel weights enhances the temptation to drive unsafely such as watching videos or even sleeping off during the ride.
- As a matter of fact, Tesla steering wheel weights have been involved in several road accidents across Europe and America. One of the greasier incidents was when a Tesla plugged into a teenager getting off a school bus in North Carolina because the driver was using the wheel weights and was not paying attention to the ride.
Thankfully, all the major online shops including Amazon and AliExpress have removed the steering wheel weights from their product listings. This is impressive given the fact that Tesla steering wheel weights were the most popular automobile steering wheel listings on Amazon at the start of the year.
Also, Tesla have introduced the Hands-on Defeat Device Detection feature to ensure that your Tesla vehicle detects when you are using steering wheel weight. If you did not already know, steering wheel weights are also known as Hands On Defeat Devices. I have already covered this Tesla feature in another article which you can read.
Best Tesla Steering Wheel Weights
Normally, I would make a list of the best Tesla steering wheel weights for all Tesla models and link each product to Amazon. However, because of how dangerous the use of wheel weights is for self-driving vehicles, I will not be doing that in this article.
Also, as I stated earlier, Amazon and other major online shops have removed Tesla steering wheel weights from their product listings because of safety and compliance reasons.
You can still get steering wheel weights for your Tesla vehicle from other online shops and perhaps in local aftermarket dealers, but I strongly recommend against this.
- Full self driving, autopilot, and autosteer are great features. But, until driverless technology becomes perfected, you are best served to take control of the vehicle for most of your rides.
- If there are occasions where you need to make use of the self-driving feature, then be sure to follow the recommended best practices for self-driving such as placing your hands lightly on the steering wheel at all times during the ride. Well, most of the time, at least.
What Happens If You Get Caught Using A Tesla Steering Wheel Weight?
As at the time of writing this article, there is no law against using Tesla steering wheel weights. So, if you’re worried about being penalized for this, then don’t be because you are not breaking any law by using steering wheel weights.
- However, there is a penalty by Tesla if you are detected to be using steering wheel weights. When your Tesla vehicle detects that you are using wheel weights or defeat device, it displays a warning on the touchscreen saying Hands On Defeat Device Detected. You would then be asked to perform some action on the vehicle to confirm that your hands are on the steering wheel.
- If you receive this warning a few more times, you will be kicked out of autopilot or full self driving. When that happens, you would need to contact Tesla to plead your case.
Other than that, nothing happens if you get caught using a Tesla steering wheel weight. You only get into trouble if your use of the steering wheel weights results in an accident or puts other road users in danger.
Tesla Steering Wheel Weight Not Working?
If you are using Tesla steering wheel weights and they are not working for you, then that’s a good thing. Follow Tesla autopilot and full self driving recommendations by being completely present during the self-driving ride and placing your hand on the steering wheels at all times during the ride.
- If the steering wheel weights don’t work, it is probably because Tesla has detected the weight, warned you, or kicked you out of self-driving.
- Or, you simply put a wheel weight that doesn’t work well anyway.
My Final Thoughts
Steering wheel weights became popular over the past year because Tesla owners found an ingenious way to fool the Tesla self-driving feature and free their hands for prolonged periods during a ride.
You may make the case that full self driving and autopilot should mean that the car should drive itself anyway and not require your continuous attention. And you would be right!
Unfortunately, we are not there yet technologically. So, for now, it is safety best practice to be attentive during the ride and have your hands on the steering wheels for most of the ride so that you can take control in the case of an emergency or malfunction.
Tesla is waging a war against steering wheel weights anyway, so they are unlikely to work for you without a lot of hassle. So, if you must use full self driving or autopilot, then be prepared to follow Tesla’s best practice recommendations for its use.