Does the Tesla Model 3 Have a Heated Steering Wheel Standard?

By Nicki Schill •  Updated: 10/07/21 •  4 min read

A heated steering wheel is no longer just a luxury; it’s necessary for ultimate comfort.

A chilly winter morning is more unpleasant if you’re gripping an icy steering wheel for your commute.

There’s some good news, though:

Model 3 comes equipped with the hardware to heat up the steering wheel. This has been the case in the U.S. since February 2021. Depending on your trim, however, you may have to enable the feature through a software upgrade.

Namely, the heated steering wheel comes standard with the Long Range and Performance models.

At $300 USD for the upgrade in the Standard Range Plus (SR+) model, some might question if it’s worth it.

Here’s why it might be for you.

Why Do You Need a Heated Steering Wheel?

Part of the luxury experience you’re looking for in your Tesla is driving comfort.

And what’s more comfortable than having your hands warmed as you grip the wheel?

Steering wheels now have so many mounted controls on them for certain features of the vehicle, such as taking calls and changing music, that it’s logical for them to be heated.

On the Tesla, it’s all about the scroll buttons on the steering wheel to help you tweak the settings on the navigation screen.

So it makes sense that you’d want to have your hands on the wheel as much as possible when driving.

It’s not only for convenience, but for safety reasons too.

It’s already tempting enough to take your hands off the wheel with Autopilot turned on. Imagine having to deal with a freezing steering wheel. 

Warming your hands while you drive will help keep them where they should be—on the wheel.

It’s Never Too Hot to Handle

As noted in a master thread on the Tesla Motors Club forum, you can find the settings for the heated steering wheel in the climate control section of the touch screen.

Here’s a quick clip showing how to turn on the heated steering wheel function:

Skip ahead to 0:41 to see the exact interface icons to tap.

Located just above the seat heaters, there’s a button for engaging the heated wheel. Red means it’s turned on.

For convenience while driving, consider also using voice commands to turn this feature on.

Hate a Freezing Cabin? Try Preconditioning

Any driver who experiences a true winter knows that getting into a freezing cold vehicle is just not a good idea unless you’re really trying to wake yourself up.

We’ll spend those extra minutes beforehand acclimating the vehicle to the outside temperature just to avoid that chilly experience.

That’s why getting the preconditioning settings in your Tesla right is so important to heat up your vehicle before getting in.

Tesla recommends doing this in colder climates by opening up the app and tapping “Climate” to activate preconditioning.

Next is to set a temperature that you’re comfortable with and start basking in that warmth.

Here’s an Extra Hot Tip

Did you know that having a heated steering wheel can actually save you energy?

With the option to toast up your hands on the steering wheel and the heated seats that come standard in the Model 3, you can stay warm in the vehicle at a lower internal cabin temperature.

Instead of blowing more heated air through the vents, you can stay warm while conserving energy.

Using the HVAC system is the #1 battery drainer in winter, according to a study by AAA

It showed that HVAC use decreased the overall range in electric vehicles by as much as 30%.

Avoid having the heat cranked up for your entire drive by simply warming your seat and your hands on the wheel.

Tesla provides some winter driving tips stating that to conserve energy on the road, if possible, lower the cabin temperature setting and use these features for added warmth.

The heated seats and steering wheel pull considerably less power from the battery than the internal HVAC system.

Final Thoughts: Does the Tesla Model 3 Have a Heated Steering Wheel?

Since February 2021, Model 3 is equipped with the long-awaited heated steering wheel.

Long Range and Performance models will enjoy this toasty feature standard — and owners of the lower-priced Standard Range trim will have the option to upgrade for $300 USD.

Considering heating air is the main contributor to range drops in winter, the cost could prove worth it.

These heated features will warm your body up without cranking up the heat — and enable you to go the extra mile as a result.

Nicki Schill

Nicki Schill is a writer and content marketer out of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. As the former Geotab Marketing Manager, she’s got loads of experience in electric vehicles and fleet electrification. She’s a tech blogger and marketing guru who enjoys all things Canadian like hockey and poutine.

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