Tesla Cabin Overheat Protection Explained | Troubleshoot

Whether for safety, security, or entertainment, Teslas come with a lot of interesting features that can enhance your experience. For example, they have several different climate control features each of which has its own purpose. 

One of these features is called overheat protection. In the rest of the article, I’ll explain what overheat protection is for, how it compares to other climate control features, and why you might need it. I’ll also explain how to enable the feature and go over what might be happening if it isn’t working.

What Is Tesla Overheat Protection?

Tesla’s overheat protection is a climate control feature that protects the inside of the vehicle from extreme heat. It is designed to keep the cabin below 40°C (105°F). 

The overheat protection feature is useful for those who live in places that get very hot or who regularly park their car in areas with high sun exposure. While the feature maintains a more reasonable temperature inside of the cabin, it will not keep the car cool.

Here’s what to know about Tesla’s overheat protection feature:

  • It can maintain temperatures of around 40°C (105°F)
  • It uses the car’s battery power
  • It operates for 12 hours or until the car’s battery dips below 20%
  • You should not leave children or dogs in the car with overheat protection on

Overheat Protection vs. Dog Mode

Overheat protection differs from something like dog mode, which is designed to keep the cabin at a much more comfortable temperature. 

Dog mode allows you to actually set the temperature in the car, and it’s specifically meant for people who will be leaving their dog in the car for a short period of time.

Temperatures with overheat protection are still fairly high, so it’s ill-advised to leave a pet inside with only this feature enabled.

FeatureManual Temperature SetHeat/CoolBattery Percentage requiredMobile app monitoringTime LengthElectronic Charging
Climate Keep OnYesHeat and coolAt Least 20%YesUntil low BatteryNo
Camp ModeYesHeat and coolAt Least 20%YesUntil Low BatteryYes
Dog ModeYesHeat and CoolAt Least 20%YesIntended for short periods of timeNo
Overheat ProtectionNoCool onlyAt Least 20%Yes12 hoursNo
Different climate control features will be used for different reasons, and this table gives a quick breakdown of each one.

How Do I Enable Tesla Overheat Protection?

You can enable Tesla’s overheat protection by navigating to Touch Controls > Safety > Cabin Overheat Protection. From there, you can toggle the feature on or off. 

The overheat protection feature has three different settings. When it’s set to “off,” neither the fan nor the A/C will run while you are away. When it’s set to “on,” both the fan and the A/C will be running. However, if necessary, you can select a “fan-only” mode that will disable the A/C to save on battery. 

On a similar note, I also wrote a related article about Tesla Air Conditioning Not Working: Troubleshooting Guide. Go check it out!

Reasons To Use Overheat Protection

While the intention of Tesla’s overheat protection isn’t to leave children or animals in the car, it can be a necessary safety net. 

After all, accidents happen even when you think you’re being careful. If you accidentally leave something precious in the car, overheat protection should prevent the temperature from reaching levels that are too dangerous. It’s important to note that temperatures will often be higher if the A/C is deactivated.

Here are other reasons to enable overheat protection:

  • Potentially protects your Tesla’s MCU (Media Control Unit) from getting too hot. 
  • Helps your car get back to temperature faster when you return.
  • Protects personal items, such as electronics, from getting too hot.
  • Makes the car more comfortable to sit in when you get back.

Other people may have more specific reasons for keeping their overheat protection on, but the general idea is to protect anything that might be damaged due to excessive heat. 

We’ve all been waiting for this feature upgrade! Check if your latest update includes this feature! It remains to be seen if you can trigger the automatic overheat protection from the app as well. If not it will eventually come. Fingers crossed!

A nice additional feature would be have the ability to activate Dog Mode and Sentry Mode at the same time!

Pro Tip:

Tesla automatically disables the passenger-side air vents if no passenger is detected. Which could mean that your pet may not get the needed AC cooling if sitting on the front passenger side. So, if you want your dog to stay comfortable be sure to bring up the HVAC menu and select the vent on the passenger side. You will see (and feel) the air start to flow in the on-screen animation.

Check out all my Tesla Pro Tips

How Can I Troubleshoot My Tesla’s Overheat Protection?

You can troubleshoot your Tesla’s overheat protection by checking if the overheat button is grayed out or if the app shows a high cabin temperature. Make sure of the following:

  • Your car’s battery is above 20%
  • It hasn’t been more than 12 hours since overheat protection was activated
  • Your car is in park

Overheat Protection Button Is Grayed Out

When the overheat protection button is grayed out, there is usually some condition not being met, or there is another feature running that disables it. Regardless, unless there is a genuine software issue or glitch, there is typically a reason.

For example, if your car is below 20% battery or not in Park, this may gray out the overheat protection button.

A common issue involves trying to run sentry mode and overheat protection at the same time. Sentry mode enables the tilt/intrusion detection, which might disable overheat protection. Since these security features detect certain sounds and movements, it’s possible that having the fan and compressor running could inadvertently sound the alarm. 

Another common cause is transport mode. If your Tesla was recently delivered, the car may still be in transport mode, which would disable many battery-draining features. 

Tesla App Shows High Cabin Temperature

If overheat protection is on but your Tesla app displays a high cabin temperature, that doesn’t always mean the feature isn’t working. The temperature on the app could be a little off if the fan isn’t currently running. 

Additionally, temperatures will be higher if the A/C is disabled. Without the A/C, the overheat protection feature only uses the fan, which won’t be able to cool the cabin as efficiently. 


How Much Battery Power Does Tesla Overheat Protection Use?

Remember that overheat protection is a battery-draining feature. If you have it enabled, you can expect your battery percentage to drop while you are away. Having the A/C on will drain more of the battery than the fan-only mode. 

Tesla’s overheat protection uses a small amount of battery power, but you could lose as much as 4-5 miles per hour in extreme heat. The fan-only mode will drain less battery than the A/C mode. 

In terms of battery drainage, results can vary dramatically. For example, a Tesla parked in higher temperatures or direct sunlight will be more difficult to cool down and will likely drain more battery. Other times, a Tesla may only lose 12-15 miles (19-24 km) over an 8-hour period.

In this YouTube video, Alex Venz tests out the rate of battery drainage in his own vehicle. 

What Happens if a Tesla Overheats?

If a Tesla overheats, it may reduce power. Teslas maintain healthy temperatures for their batteries even when the car is off, but overheat protection can further protect electronics from high heat.

If you live in an area where temperatures frequently get uncomfortably hot, Tesla’s overheat protection is a potentially great safety feature. You can protect your electronics or anything else that might be damaged due to extreme heat. It would also prevent you from getting blasted with heat when you return to your car after several hours.

I also wrote an article that goes more in-depth about Tesla Batteries overheating and the possible causes. Eliminate the risks (the small ones that are there) and inform yourself. Rather safe than sorry.


Will Overheat Protection Drain My Battery?

Overheat protection will drain some battery power, but it will disable itself if your car’s battery goes below 20% so that you won’t be left without any power.

Since overheat protection turns off at 20% battery, battery drainage doesn’t seem to be much of a concern, especially if you have full power. However, if your car doesn’t get very hot or you typically park in the shade, activating overheat protection might not be necessary.

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Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

Thanks for visiting evspeedy.com. The goal of this site is to be a helpful resource for Tesla and EV owners as this is where my passion lies. I was a TSLA shareholder before the hype and still am. I also believe in Tesla’s speedy mission to accelerate the world to a sustainable future.