Tesla Model S Hidden Features, Tips, Tricks & Tidbits

A compilation of Tesla Model S Hidden Features Tips, Tricks & Tidbits for your Tesla Model S as curated by the community members of the TeslaMotors Club (TMC).

Each of the members names are credited with their respective tidbit.

Want to submit a tip? Email us tips@teslarati.com

A) Steering Wheel Controls

  • MUTE/PAUSE: when listening to most audio sources, click left steering wheel roller button to pause and resume (or in the case of radio and some streaming services, mutes and unmutes the audio). Nice that this works regardless of what’s displayed on your left-of-speedo info display. [JoshG]
  • MIC MUTE: the left steering wheel roller button will mute and unmute the mic when on a call. [DaveVa]
  • RECENT CALLS: With a bluetooth phone connected, you can call up a list of recent calls and select one for redial without lifting your hands from the wheel. Click right-side “Menu” button on steering wheel, select the phone icon, and your recent calls will appear on the right-of-speedo info display. Right click-wheel can be used to pick and dial any entry. [JoshG]
  • IN-CALL FUNCTIONS: While on a call, clicking the right-hand “Phone” button on the steering wheel brings up a menu of choices such as hang up, mute microphone, or put the call on hold. Select from the options with the right scroll wheel. [Todd Burch]
  • SCREEN REBOOT (Main Display): Hold down the middle steering wheel buttons on both sides for a few seconds to reboot the main display. 
  • SCREEN REBOOT (Driver’s Display):Hold down the top steering wheel buttons on both sides for a few seconds to reboot the driver’s console display. [Todd Burch]
  • TAKING SCREEN SHOTS: Hold down the bottom steering wheel buttons on each side for a few moments to grab a screenshot. (Tesla service can access this. We might be able to later). [Todd Burch]

B) Center Console 17″ Touchscreen & Telematics

  • FULL-SCREEN SHORTCUT: Clicking an icon along the top edge for an app that’s already displayed makes that one go full screen. Sometimes easier than clicking that tiny little “expand the window” button in the lower corner. Clicking it again in the top bar makes it go back to where it was. [JoshG]
  • APP SCREEN LAYOUT SHORTCUTS: The “App” icons from the “Tray” at the top of your 17″ screen can be dragged directly to either the top half or the bottom half of the touchscreen, depending on where you want that app to show up. You can also drag it to the miniature “top-half” and “bottom-half” icons that appear at the top of the screen when you begin dragging an app icon. [JoshG]
  • CHARGE SCREEN SHORTCUT: Rather than going through the controls screen, you can simply tap the little Battery icon that is always at the top edge of the 17″ screen. [JoshG]
  • BLUETOOTH CONFIGURATION SCREEN: tap the little bluetooth icon that is always at the top of the 17″ screen. [JoshG]
  • CHARGER MAP + NAV + TRAFFIC: Split the touchscreen so that PlugShare’s http://tesla.plugshare.com charger map is on top using the Tesla browser. Load the Tesla map powered by Google in the pane below. This will allow you to see EV chargers within your proximity while retaining turn-by-turn navigation with traffic conditions. [Teslarati]
  • SIRI: iPhone 4S and later can use Siri when paired with your Model S. Mic and speakers in car will function for siri’s voice input and output. However, as of now, there’s no way to trigger Siri from the vehicle controls, you’d still have to press and hold your iOS device home button. [rlowenth]
  • TESLA ‘About’ SCREEN: Pressing the tesla logo on the 17″ screen brings up an image of your car, showing your VIN#, firmware version, and most recent firmware release notes. The image of the car on screen should match your actual car’s color, wheel choice (?), roof type, headlights/fogs/DRL state. left turn signal or flashers state, and brake light state. (High beams, pano roof status and windows are not dynamically drawn to match their current state.)
  • TESLA ‘EASTER EGG MENU’: An easter egg menu presents all easter eggs that can be activated from a single touch. The menu can be accessed after clicking on the Tesla “T” and then swiping down from the image of the vehicle. Here’s a video outlining how to access Tesla’s Easter Egg Menu.
  • TESLA ‘SANTA MODE’ EASTER EGG: This Christmas-themed easter egg called “Santa Mode” transforms your vehicle into Santa’s sleigh and comes with its very own reindeer! Here’s you you access it.
  • TESLA ‘SKETCH PAD’ EASTER EGG: Elon Musk reveals a new ‘Sketch Pad’ easter egg that allows one to draw and ‘paint’ directly on the Model S and Model X touchscreen.
  • TESLA ‘MARS’ EASTER EGG: Elon Musk baked in the ability to transport your Tesla Model S and Model X to the surface of Mars by activating this easter egg.
  • TESLA ‘PERFORMANCE MODE’ EASTER EGG: Simulate different Model S and Model X versions by toggling between performance options. See how to enable ‘performance mode’
    Turn the Model S and Model X charge port LED into an array of colors while charging. See how to enable ‘rainbow charge port’
    Elon Musk reveals via Twitter how to put your Autopilot-enabled Tesla on drugs. See how to enable ‘psychedelic cowbell road’
    “The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything” See how it’s done
    Display an animated graphic of Ludicrous Speed made famous by the movie Space Balls, toggle to and hold down ‘Ludicrous’ for 5 seconds. See the video
  • JAMES BOND SUBMARINE EASTER EGG: Unlock the famed Lotus Espirit submarine from the James Bond movie, The Spy Who Loved Me, by pressing and holding the Tesla logo, enter 007, hit OK, and then go to the suspension menu [video]. [great.white.buffalo] of Instagram
  • TESLA TEAM EASTER EGG: Pressing the tesla logo on the 17″ screen brings up an image of your car.  Press and hold the lower right corner for 10 seconds where the Model version is displayed will make the car zoom off and reveal a picture of the Tesla Staff.  [aaron0k]
  • TEMPERATURE SYNC: You can toggle passenger and driver temperature sync when the “settings” menu is being
    displayed. Tap on the up temperature arrow and you can select or deselect the syncing of temperature. [Jammerdjc]
  • RESET CLOCK TIME & TIME ZONE: Tapping three times on the time displayed on the upper right hand corner of the screen will re-sync the time and time zone based on your location. [KmanAuto] 
  • SENDING URLS TO MODEL S BROWSER: Typing in URLs directly into the Model S browser can be a slow and arduous experience. A quick way to circumvent this is by adding URLs directly to a calendar event through your mobile or desktop device. From within the Model S Calendar App you’ll be able click on the URLs and view them from the car’s browser without having to type. [Rob M]

C) Navigation System

  • SCROLLABLE NAVIGATION ROUTE STEPS : The window that contains upcoming turns and street names during navigation is scrollable. Click on a step and map will zoom to show that step on your route. Click the step again to return to normal route navigation. [Nickjhowe]
  • NAVIGATION ROUTE DISPLAY WINDOW: The window that contains upcoming turns and street names during navigation will display overhead freeway signs.  Passing through a tunnel will also be reflected onto the display. [Teslarati]
  • NAVIGATE VIA VOICE COMMANDS: Using the "Where is the nearest" voice command, locate points of interests through the power of Google search and Google Maps by speaking into the car. See the full list of Tesla Model S voice commands.


D) Cruise Control

  • CRUISE UP/DOWN ADJUSTMENTS: when cruise control is active, tap cruise lever down or up slightly for - or + 1 MPH; push it further down or up for - or + 5 MPH. [JoshG]
  • SPEEDOMETER CRUISE SPEED MARKER: when cruise control is cancelled, but not turned "off", a marker is shown on your speedometer where you left the setting (and where it will return to when you hit 'resume'). [JoshG]
  • SUSPEND vs. CANCEL CRUISE CONTROL: Press in the end of the cruise control stalk slightly to cancel and reset cruise to zero but leave it "armed". (Whereas pressing forward on the CC stalk cancels it but leaves the set speed ready for a resume). [Todd Burch]


E) Other Driver Controls

  • WIPER SINGLE SWIPE: push in the end of the turn signal stalk to have the wipers do a single swipe without spraying cleaner. Push in further to have it spray with wash fluid. [Todd Burch]
  • MIROR TILT-ON-REVERSE: Both side mirror tilt positions can be programmed when the car is in reverse. [Todd Burch]
  • SIDE MIRROR DEFROST: Side mirrors do have electric defrost circuitry but there is no separate on/off for this as in some cars. Side mirror defrost comes on automatically with rear defrost function. [mlascano]

F) Interior Storage, Lighting, and Features

  • COVERED STORAGE: Use the front armrest cup holders to stow away items such as fast pass devices, coin purses, mobile phones or other small items.  Slide the armrest back over the cup holders to conceal the items. [Teslarati]
  • HIDDEN STORAGE POCKET: If you have the Leather package, you have one small semi-hidden storage pouch for storing documents, charging cards, coins, etc.. It's on the leading edge of the driver's seat cushion. Not easy to find until you know where to look. [JoshG]
  • CHARGE ADAPTER HOLDER: There's a recess built into the very back left side of the glove box that perfectly holds your J-1772 adapter so it's always at hand when you need it rather than going into the trunk where your other charging accessories are likely to be stored. Push the adapter in along the left side of the glove box until it snugly fits into the storage area. [JoshG]
  • EMERGENCY FRUNK OPENER: There's a secondary, mechanical latch beneath the glove box to open the frunk as well as one within the frunk itself (towards the front).
  • EMERGENCY REAR DOOR LEVERS: There's an emergency mechanical door release for the back doors in case of electronic failure. Under the front edge of the seat covered by a carpet cutout. [efusco]

G) The Key Fob

  • ALL WINDOWS DOWN: press and hold the "roof" (middle) button on your keyfob to lower all the windows at once. nice when walking up to a hot car. [JoshG]
  • DOOR UNLOCK WITH DEAD KEYFOB BATTERY: The car can be unlocked even when the battery in the fob is dead by placing it on the passenger side window by the windsheild wiper. [efusco]
  • CAR STARTING WITH DEAD KAYFOB BATTERY: The car can be started even when the battery in the fob is dead by placing it in the cub holder of the arm rest. [efusco]
  • PROTECTING THE KEYFOB: Slip the Tesla Model S keyfob into a USB carrying case or use a FobPocket. [Teslarati]
  • REPLACING THE KEYFOB BATTERY: We've outlined 5 easy steps to changing your Tesla key fob battery (CR2032 lithium). Save a trip to the Tesla Service Center by resetting your own 'low battery alert'. [Teslarati]

H) Charging

  • CHARGE CONNECTOR IS LOCKED WHEN IN USE:  The car needs to be unlocked (door handles extended) before the charge connector can be removed.  This is done as a security precaution so that other EV owners can not simply unplug your car while it's being charged. [Teslarati]
  • RANGE CHARGE IS 'STICKY': Selecting a Range-mode charge is an option that will not go back to "standard" after the charge. Repeatedly charging in "Range" mode is not good for the batteries and Tesla cautions against frequent use, so user needs to remember to set this setting back to normal after a range charge. [JoshG]
  • CHARGE AMPERAGE SETTING IS GPS-AWARE: If you select a lower current limit at one location, the car will remember that setting and apply it for all future charging sessions at that location. Charging at another location will occur at the default amperage setting. [DaveVa]
  • UNIVERSAL MOBILE CONNECTOR (UMC): Reasons why you should keep the UMC plugged into your NEMA 14-50 or 110 v wall outlet ... Read More [Teslarati]

I) Other Miscellaneous Tips

  • LOWERING WHILE PARKED: After setting your car to parked, set the car to the "Low" suspension setting to achieve a more sporty stance while parked.  This will only work if none of the doors have been opened after setting the car to parked.  The car will immediately move to the "Standard" height setting once the vehicle is in motion. [Teslarati]
  • WASHING TIP: When hand washing your Tesla, raise the vehicle to its "Very High" suspension position and then turn it off - less bending down and makes it much easier to spray out the junk in the wheel wells. [JoshG]
  • HOMELINK DIFFICULTIES? When programming homelink, it's easier if you hold the remote inside the frunk. [Todd Burch]
  • PASSENGER DOOR CLOSING DIFFICULTIES? if your front passenger door is difficult to close, remove the drain plug on the bottom side of the passenger door. [Todd Burch]
  • PANO ROOF STOP: If you press on the rubber seal where the pano roof is seated while it's closing, it will stop. [Todd Burch]
  • PANO ROOF HATCH MAXIMUM HEIGHT: The hatch maximum opening position can be set by manually putting it in the position you want then pressing and holding the close button unti there's a beep (~3 seconds). [efusco]
  • TRUNK EMERGENCY STOP: Motion sensors will prevent the trunk from auto closing if something happens to get in the way while closing.  [Teslarati]
  • SPARE TIRE STORAGE: Using the frunk, store a jack, 12v tire inflator and spare wheel/tire as a back up in case of a flat.  [Teslarati]
  • WAKE & UNLOCK VIA TRUNK BUTTON: If you approach car from the back while its charging, pressing the trunk-latch button on the trunk will wake and unlock the car (assuming you have your key fob on you), and that will also release the charging handle so it can be removed. Saves you from having to take out Fob from purse/briefcase or first go to drivers' door and then return to charge handle for removalK [GeekGirls]
  • DISABLE AUTO-DIMMING MIRRORS: Locate the tiny light sensor on the rear view mirror (facing the driver) which resides on the top edge and 1.5" left from the center.  Place a small piece of tape over it (eg electrical tape) will disable auto-dimming. [SocalTesla]

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