Tesla Owners, Don't Forget To Pick Up Some WD-40 This Winter

We already know that winter and battery-electric vehicles aren't best friends. Lower temperatures impact the high-voltage battery's performance, which, in turn, lowers the maximum possible range. But there are other issues to consider. Snow, ice, and freezing rain may stop you from being able to open your Tesla. Fortunately, the manufacturer thought of a solution. Seasoned owners have some of their own ideas. Here's what you should know.
Tesla's EVs in the Winter 10 photos
Photo: Tesla | Edited
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The greatest thing about "computers on wheels" probably is the automaker's ability to deliver over-the-air (OTA) upgrades. EVs made software a lot more important than ever, putting most legacy players in an uncomfortable position. They weren't ready for in-car technology to start playing such a pivotal role.

Tesla, however, figured that out the earliest. Its EVs don't come with the emotion generated by an internal combustion engine. So, the marque had to figure out ways to make customers feel good about their cars. Tech was its secret weapon.

But the Texas-based company didn't just add games, funny features, and entertainment options. It also figured out how to help its buyers when outside conditions aren't the best.

For example, the brand implemented a clever solution that helps owners deal with a charge port latch frozen in place. Activate "Defrost Car," wait a bit, and the inlet heater thaws the annoying ice. Scheduling a charge session activates that feature automatically because the vehicle's sensors can determine outside conditions.

The same function helps melt snow or ice on the windshield, windows, and mirrors. Newer Teslas can also automatically adjust the position of the windows to avoid having trouble opening the frameless doors in cold weather.

However, the world's most valuable automaker did not implement a similar feature for door handles. Its vehicles boast an aerodynamic design, so they sit flush with the door. The driver and the passengers must push the door handle's wide part with their thumbs. That brings forward the slimmer part of the handle, which can be grabbed with the remaining four fingers.

Tesla and Jeep show how fun driving in the snow can be
Photo: Tesla
But this avant-garde design means moisture or water droplets can get around the handle. They can freeze when the temperature is low enough (especially at night). Traveling at high speeds during winter can lead to the same thing. Tesla recommends applying WD-40 to the door handle before icy conditions appear. It says so in the owner's manual!

Still, some owners think the super lube isn't the best solution to such annoying situations. Some believe that WD-40 has a potent smell that sticks, while others claim the product could remove existing lubricants.

WD-40 may be made of 60% minimum petroleum distillates, base oil, and carbon dioxide, but it's not going to stink because it's scented with vanillin. It can leave a strong smell if you use a lot of it, but you generally shouldn't apply too much WD-40.

Car owners living in areas where winter weather persists and heavily changes the landscape recommend silicone spray. If you go on this route, make sure to clean the surface and allow it to dry before applying the preferred frost-resistant and water-repelling product.

If you have a Tesla or plan on buying one, remember that the automaker cautions you not to use force when the door handle is frozen.

At the same time, keep in mind that the EV maker advises owners to press the slimmer part of the door handle a couple of times to remove any possible ice buildup. Then you can try to open the door normally.
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About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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