The more Teslas become mainstream, the more we see Tesla mods showing up everywhere. As with most things people want to push the boundaries (literally) and figure out what can an cannot be done with Teslas. So, can you drive on dirt- and muddy roads with a Tesla?
All Teslas can go off-road, but of course it depends to which extremes you want to take it. The more extreme conditions will work best for the Tesla Model Y that is equipped with “off-road assist mode”. In this mode the Model Y will control the power between the motors to optimize traction and spin.
I took a turn off the beaten path and found some interesting information regarding this topic. Check it out!
How Teslas Work Off-Road (if at All)
For clarity’s sake, let’s take the Model X as an example of what Teslas can do off-road. It can handle most terrain with its all-wheel drive and high ground clearance.
Plus, it has a decent air suspension system, meaning it’s less likely to bounce on uneven roads.
That said, you may need some mods to make your Tesla off-road ready. For example, you might want to get off-road tires and skid plates. These will provide additional protection against rocks and other obstacles.
In other words, Teslas can theoretically go off-road, but you’ll still need to take precautions.
For starters, don’t expect your car to compete with dedicated off-road vehicles like Jeeps and Land Rovers.
You’ll most likely end up scratching the underbody of your Tesla if you subject it to anything too extreme.
If you’d like to find out how many miles Tesla Model 3 tires last, then see this somewhat related article that I wrote. I also explain the factors that affect your Tesla tire’s lifespan
Fitting Your Tesla With Off-Road Tires
One of the best ways to make your Tesla more off-road-ready is to invest in off-road tires. These provide increased traction and grip on loose and uneven surfaces. They also tend to be wider than regular road tires, which can help you navigate obstacles more easily.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for off-road tires for your Tesla:
- Make sure the tires are compatible with your suspension system. Otherwise, you could end up damaging your expensive car.
- Off-road tires can be quite loud on the highway. Therefore, you might want to invest in tire covers to help keep the noise down when you’re driving on rough pavements.
- Off-road tires are more expensive than regular tires. So, you might want to shop around and compare prices before you decide to swap your tires for the off-road variety.
|Cooper Tires Discoverer At3 4S||$201|
|BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3||$287|
|General Grabber Arctic||$184|
|Continental TerrainContact A/T||$242|
|Sumitomo Encounter AT||$205|
Replace the Skid Plates on Your Tesla
Aside from off-road tires, you might also want to add metal skid plates to your Tesla.
Skid plates help to protect your car’s underbody from rocks, stumps, and other obstacles. They’re vital if you’re planning on doing any serious off-roading.
You can find skid plates for your Tesla online or at your local auto parts store.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to drill holes in your car’s frame to install them. This is a pretty delicate process, so it’s probably best to have a professional do it instead.
In case you have problems with it, you can take advantage of the 1-year unlimited-mileage quality guarantee.
Add a Winch, Just in Case
The only issue with this mod is that you’ll have to remove the front bumper to install it. I’ve seen guys make mounts around the front tow hooks, but I haven’t personally tried this.
Here’s a Youtube video to help you see how these modifications can work on a Model 3:
According to Tesla, the Model 3 can tow up to 2,000 pounds (907.2 kilograms). This is enough to tow a small trailer or a couple of dirt bikes!
How Your Tesla’s Power Holds Up for Off-Roading
Teslas are primarily designed for efficiency, not off-roading. This means they don’t have a lot of low-end torque, which is the secret behind conquering slippery or uneven surfaces.
The good news is that Teslas are still quite capable off-road.
I’ve seen people take Teslas on light off-roading trails with no problem. Just don’t expect to win any rock-crawling competitions.
That said, you can do a few things to increase your Tesla’s off-road capability:
- Install a larger battery pack. This will give you more power and torque to work with. Just be aware that it’ll also add a lot of weight to your car.
- Install a performance motor. That’ll give you more power and torque, but it’ll also make your car less efficient.
- Install a performance suspension. That’ll give you more ground clearance and better suspension — both of which are essential for off-roading.
- Do your homework. If nothing else, find out what other people have done to increase Tesla’s off-road capability.
Did You Know?
Some people use their Teslas for camping. They add solar panels to the roof and a trailer hitch to the back. This way, they can camp anywhere they want without worrying about finding an electrical outlet.
You can use this online Tesla tire calculator to find how long any Tesla Model tire will last. You can also estimate the number of miles left on your current set and how many days you have until they need to be swapped out for new ones. If that is the case, you can also find the price for any set of Tesla tires by selecting the appropriate tires. Have fun!
Modding Your Tesla for Off-Road Capability
Whether it’s worth it to mod your Tesla for off-roading depends on how much you enjoy off-roading and how often you plan on doing it.
It might not be worth the investment if you only hit the trails a few times a year. On the other hand, if you live for off-roading and plan on hitting the trails every weekend, it might be worth it to mod your Tesla for off-roading.
However, I recommend waiting for the Cybertruck to come out. It’s supposed to be pretty capable off-road right out of the box.
We’re talking about a truck with dual motors and all-wheel drive — a total beast of an off-road vehicle if I’ve ever seen one.
In the meantime, you can always buy an older, used (and, unfortunately, non-Tesla) truck and mod it for off-roading. You’ll probably spend less money in the long run, and you’ll have a lot more fun in the process.
There’s an off-road racing series called the Baja 1000. It’s a 1,000-mile (1609.34 kilometers) race through the desert, and it attracts some of the biggest names in off-roading.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Tesla Has the Highest Ground Clearance?
Does Tesla Model 3 Have Enough Ground Clearance?
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