This ultimate guide will walk you through the nuts and bolts of the Model 3’s steering wheel, along with some valuable suggestions to improve your experience as a Model 3 owner.
I went through 100+ forum posts to see what bugged Model 3 owners and what needs to be addressed about the steering wheel of the Model 3.
After a whole lot of research (and a really painful stiff neck), I present you with this ultimate guide.
I’ve included every necessary steering wheel-related information a Model 3 owner must know: controls, features, accessories, and much more.
Let’s dig into it.
Tesla Model 3 Steering Wheel Controls
First thing first, let’s discuss all of the commands you can control from your steering wheel in detail.
To my surprise, not many owners were aware of the power these scroll buttons have over the car.
Give this section a read and unfold all the wonders you can do with those high-tech buttons on your steering wheel.
Left Scroll Button
- Adjust the Side Mirrors
- Tap “Settings” on the multimedia screen.
- Tap “Mirrors” under Quick Controls.
- Scroll the left button up and down or side to side to adjust the mirrors in the desired direction.
- The left mirror will be selected by default, but if you want to adjust the right mirror, select the “Right Mirror” option from the screen.
- Adjust the Steering Wheel
- Again, tap “Settings” on the multimedia screen.
- Tap “Steering Wheel” under Quick Controls.
- Scroll the left button up to raise the steering wheel or down to move the steering wheel in the downward direction.
- Similarly, if you push the button to the left, the steering wheel will move toward you, and if you push it to the right, it will move away from you.
- Adjust Volume or Change the Track
- While listening to music or podcasts, just scroll the left button up or down to adjust the volume.
- If you’re listening to a playlist, click the button to the right to go to the next track or left to go to the previous track.
- Adjust the Headlights
- Move the scroll button up or down to adjust the beam in the vertical direction. Note: This will only work if you’ve bought the premium package.
Right Scroll Button
- Adjust the Speed and Distance from the Following Car
- While in cruise control, scrolling the button up or down will increase or decrease the speed by 1 mi/h or 1 km/h.
- If you swiftly flick the button up or down, you’ll get a 5 mi/h or 5 km/h increase or decrease in speed.
- Clicking the button right or left will increase or decrease the distance from the car you’re approaching.
- Voice Command
- Pushing and holding the right scroll button will activate the voice assistant. Once activated, you can ask it to do anything.
Right + Left Scroll Buttons
Pressing the right and left scroll buttons at the same time will reboot the media center of the Model 3. And if you press the brake along with the buttons, it’ll reset the whole car.
Is Tesla Model 3 Has Heated Steering Wheel Standard?
Customers with the refreshed Model 3 version (2021) have reported that their cars are equipped with a heated steering wheel feature.
However, this feature is only available in Long Range or Performance models. For the Standard Range trim, you’ll have to get a software upgrade worth $300.
To know how to enable the heated steering wheel feature, go through the following short clip by the Patao Family YouTube channel:
Want to know more interesting facts about this feature? I encourage you to read this article.
Tesla Model 3 Power Steering: What It is — And Why Should You Care?
Power steering is one of those features that make the driving experience effortless.
As you’d expect for an electric vehicle with the latest in tech, the Tesla Model 3 is equipped with an electric power-assisted steering system.
This system senses your effort on the steering wheel and adds an additional force of its own in the same direction.
In terms of specs, the Model 3 was built with a 10:1 power steering ratio — which means you turn the steering wheel 1 degree and the wheels and tires rotate 10.
Separate power lines taken straight from the vehicle’s high-voltage battery provide full redundancy for the power steering.
Two electrical modules and two inverters provide “hot backup” to the system if one fails, according to the experts.
So your steering will be painless at all times.
Best Aftermarket Steering Wheel for the Model 3
Let’s talk aesthetics.
What if the OEM steering wheel doesn’t tickle your fancy?
If that’s the case, you have plenty of choices. I covered 7 temptingly beautiful steering wheels for the Model 3 in this article.
A specific brand stood out among all for its seamless shopping experience, quick delivery, and outstanding quality.
Favorite Brand: SUMK
If you want a handsome carbon fiber steering wheel without breaking the bank (or waiting for months), this is the one you need.
Customers receive their packages in as little as 2 days, while competitors can take 4–6 weeks to ship their steering wheels.
It isn’t the most innovative design by any means, but having all the tools you’ll need to replace your steering wheel in 30 minutes, this product is certainly worth the investment.
Check out its latest price. It’s very competitive with other products, and you can have it on your hands in days.
Fits all Model 3/Y years and trims
✅ Competitively priced
✅ Fastest shipping, potentially same day
✅ Comes with all installation tools
✅ Available in black and white to match the interior
❌ Not a customizable design
Looking for more aftermarket steering wheels? See more choices »
DIY Steps to Install/Uninstall the Model 3 Steering Wheel
It’s quite a straightforward project for which no professional help is needed. Even an amateur Model 3 owner can do it if the procedure is followed properly.
Let’s start with the tools needed for this job:
- 4 mm Allen Key (or something equally thick)
- 10 mm socket
- Extension bar
- Breaker bar
Perry from the Tesla DIY YouTube channel perfectly explained the whole procedure of removing/installing the Model 3 steering wheel.
The whole procedure, from start to the final result, shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. Check out the video:
- The battery must be disconnected and the power system turned off so that the airbag doesn’t explode in your face.
- Be careful with the plugs; a small mistake can cost you a lot (I’ll share an actual owner’s experience below).
Don’t Do What This Owner Did…
Alright, so I made a major **** up when attempting to swap the stock steering wheel on my model 3 for a custom 3rd party wheel.emersonemerson
Here’s my situation:
•I removed and unplugged the steering wheel airbag, then unscrewed the bolt holding the steering wheel on.
•I forgot to detach the other plug behind the steering wheel airbag before pulling it off, so when I pulled the wheel off, I popped off a cover that contains the ribbon cables and shield for the steering wheel plugs.
•All the ribbon cables spilled out and I am unable to figure out how to get them back in there neatly.
•It does not appear there is any damage to the cables, they did not rip or anything, and the pins were not bent or damaged – it’s just a matter of recoiling them neatly so I can place the cover back over them.
Now, God forbid, if you find yourself in a similar situation, prepare to pay at least $500 to Tesla to replace this part as there’s no other solution that can undo this mistake.
Leather vs Carbon Fiber: Which Material Is Better?
Leather, though attractive, can be a real pain in the neck. It’s highly prone to wear and tear and thus requires extra maintenance and precaution.
Almost 90% of Model 3 owners struggle with leather steering wheels. Here’s an owner’s steering wheel coming apart after a year:
The only way to keep it intact is to invest in quality steering wheel covers. Though it’s not a bad choice, most Tesla owners prefer the raw look.
Considering all the hassle leather steering wheels require, I recommend you to avoid it and instead consider investing in a carbon fiber steering wheel.
For starters, it is a highly durable material. It looks awesome and provides a good hand grip, and above all, there’s no need for constant maintenance.
In 2019, fulfilling prior promises, Tesla made the Model 3’s interior 100% leather-free.
To summarize, only invest in a leather steering wheel if you’re really into leather material. Otherwise, stick with carbon fiber; it’s a way better choice.
How to Protect Your Model 3 Steering Wheel from Wear
This question gets asked a lot, especially by owners with a leather steering wheel.
This is indeed a valid concern, and the solution is quite straightforward: wraps and/or covers.
Wraps and covers for the Model 3 are quite popular in the Tesla community; many owners are already using them.
In fact, the best wraps and covers for the Model 3 steering wheel have already been covered in this article on our website. I’ll discuss the best choice here, but you can visit the article to explore more options.
Favorite Wrap: EV Wraps
If you want to give a personalized touch to your steering wheel without breaking the bank, this is the way to go.
With precise cutouts, its installation takes only five minutes. The availability of a range of colors makes this wrap a preferable choice for many Tesla owners.
On the downside, some customers have experienced adhesion issues where the wrap peels off prematurely. But these are few and far between cases.
The company offers great customer support, sending over two pieces to cover such occurrences.
Being a sticker, its thin layer won’t interfere with your button as much as a solid piece of plastic would.
Ninety percent of reviewers have rated the product 4 stars or more. Chances are, you will too.
Favorite Cover: aspeike
If you want a steering wheel cover that fits as if it came with the car from the factory, this is the way to go.
The aspeike steering wheel cap is a solid cover, not a sticker, so you’re less likely to experience the peeling problems that a sticker can cause.
The thicker material may require you to apply more force when using your steering wheel buttons, though.
They also conveniently offer a center console, rear air vents, and side camera covers on the same product page. You can check them out too.
Final Thoughts: Tesla Model 3 Steering Wheel Ultimate Guide
The Tesla Model 3 steering wheel offers way more features than an average owner realizes.
Given a bit of attention, these features can make your life a lot easier while making your driving session more interactive and enjoyable.
I did my best to explain everything there is to know about the Model 3’s steering wheel.
Still, if you’ve any questions or suggestions, feel free to comment them down below and I’ll update the article with any additional information.