As one of the best-selling EVs in the US, Tesla’s Model 3 is out on the roads en force. If you’re lucky enough to own one of these front-running electric sedans, you may be wondering what you can do to improve your ride or extend the life of the Model 3’s exterior and interior.
Alternatively, you may just be wondering how you can mod your Model 3 to stand out from the crowd. After all, there are a whole lot of Model 3s out there—over 240,000 sold in 2022 alone—and only a handful of standard color options.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular modifications and accessories for the Model 3, starting with exterior mods:
Top 5 Exterior Mods for the Model 3
Note: if you have plans to trade your Model 3 back to Tesla at some point, be aware that any aftermarket mod could affect Tesla’s trade-in quote. When Tesla buys back their own vehicles, they put the most value on the car being as close to “stock” condition as possible. If you can’t easily reverse the modification on your Model 3 before trading it in, your Tesla’s value in the trade may be sub-par.
#1: PPF and Mudflaps
This is a 2-part mod, since these mods can be used together to save to paint job on a Model 3:
First, installing Paint Protection Film (PPF) is an excellent way to extend the life of your Tesla’s paint. For a fully-wrapped finish that allows your original paint color to show through, choose a Gloss PPF (which is clear and adds to the shiny paint look) or a Satin PPF (a softer look, often called a Matte PPF or Stealth PPF).
You can see a great side-by-side of Clear vs Satin (Matte) PPF here:
At minimum, a PPF install for the Model 3 rockers is a great idea, and here’s why:
The Model 3 may be an incredibly engineered electric car, but it does have one ongoing exterior issue: the questionable effectiveness of the Model 3 mud guards. Reports of scratched up lower panel paintwork from dirt, rocks, and general road debris on the Model 3 are numerous. While we’re hoping to see this issue addressed with the rumored upcoming refresh of the Model 3, any Model 3 from 2017 to 2023 needs a little extra protection for the rockers.
That brings us to the second half of this mod recommendation: Model 3 mud flaps. Tesla’s own mud guards are better than nothing, but a good aftermarket set of mud flaps can reduce the impact of road debris even further. We recommend looking for a design that doesn’t require any drilling to install.
#2: Wheel Swap
Since EVs aren’t nearly as easy to tweak with performance mods as internal Combustion engine (ICE) vehicles (there’s no engine to tune, no exhaust system, etc), the range of things the average gearhead can do to increase performance is slim. Front-runner in this category, though, is a wheel swap. Tesla includes a couple of options in their configurator, but there are a growing host of Model 3 aftermarket wheels and tires available.
Swapping between wheel sets can help you increase efficiency on your daily commute (effectively increasing range) or give your Model 3 a firmer or softer ride. Most Model 3s have the 18” or 19” wheel options straight out of the configurator (the Performance Model limits you to the 20” Überturbines). The nice thing about this Tesla 3 mod is that it’s easily reversed.
While you’re thinking about wheels, you might consider giving them a professional powder coat. While this doesn’t really do anything for performance, it does look pretty sharp and adds some extra protection against scratching.
#3: Window Tint
Window tinting is very popular on the Model 3, with many people choosing to go about 35% on the side windows and about 80% on the rear windshield. The glass roof of the Model 3 comes with a tint from the factory, so it’s not as common to put additional tinting up there.
We’d strongly recommend that you get your Model 3’s window tinting done by a professional. While the job is certainly possible to DIY, the amount of prep work and time it takes to get a clean tint installation is pretty extensive.
Quick note: state laws dictate what is or isn’t considered a legal window tint percentage, so check with your state before getting your Model 3 tinted. Each window typically has its own light-blocking percentage limits. Also, if you’re planning a move to another state in the near future, it’s a good idea to research window tint laws in that state as well just in case the tint on your Model 3 could become an issue.
#4: Colored Body Wrap
Want to give your Tesla a visual overhaul without re-doing the paint? Vinyl body wraps are a great way to add personality without making any permanent change to your Model 3’s OEM paint. There are glossy, satin, matte, textured, patterned, and even color flip wraps available for the Model 3, so you’re only limited by your imagination (well, that and your budget…some of the options are on the expensive side).
One of the best parts about the vinyl wrap is that it can be removed, so even a leased Model 3 can be wrapped (though you should check with the leasing company first). A word of caution, though: you’ll need to be very careful in removing the wrap before returning the car to avoid doing any accidental damage to the paint.
Installation of the body wrap is, again, something we’d recommend getting done professionally (though you actually can DIY it). It’s a fairly labor intensive process (think cleaning prep, Tesla badge removals, etc) that can take up to a week depending on how complicated your particular wrap is.
#5: Brake Caliper Covers
We know of two reasons that brake caliper covers should be on your list of mods for the Model 3: they help keep brake dust from building up in your wheels, and they look awesome. You can either get covers matched to the general color scheme of your Tesla or use them to add a color pop to your Model 3’s wheels.
Look for covers sold by a reputable Tesla aftermarket parts dealer (like EVANNEX or TESLARATI) for the best fit and get them powder-coated to increase rust-resistance and ease of cleaning, if possible. Avoid plastic covers; they aren’t durable and won’t give you the heat dissipation benefits that come with a good set of aluminum covers.
Bonus: Suspension Mods
If you’ve got the Performance version of the Model 3, suspension mods may be an attractive option, depending on how you plan to use your car. There are a wide variety of sway bars, lowering springs, camber arms, coilovers, and so on out there (for instance, check out this lineup from Unplugged Performance). However, you should be aware that these kinds of Tesla Model 3 exterior mods come with the possibility of voiding your factory warranty.
From a resale standpoint, suspension mods may not be as great of an idea for the base Model 3 or the Long Range Model 3.
Top 5 Model 3 Interior Mods
The most popular interior mods for the Model 3 are practical, and #1 on this list is the same mod we recommend for all Teslas:
#1: Touchscreen Protector
A screen protector is a must for your Model 3 as soon as you take delivery. The console screen is so essential to functionality, climate control, navigation, and pretty much everything else in a Tesla that damaging it can pretty much cripple your driving experience. Honestly, the cost of a $50 screen protector is way less painful than a $1,500 repair bill for a Tesla service center replacement.
Be sure to look for 9H tempered glass for your screen protector, and we recommend a matte finish to reduce fingerprints and glare. Screen protectors can be found at most EV stores that cater to Teslas (TESBROS, Teslarati, and RPMTesla all offer a screen protector for the Model 3).
#2: Center Console Wrap
A lot of Model 3 owners opt to wrap the center console since the original Piano Black finish is notorious for showing fingerprints. You can find both vinyl and hard abs plastic solutions for the console, which we’ve already described in detail here.
#3: 2nd Screen / Instrument Cluster
Since the Model 3 only has one screen that displays your speed (and everything else), some people opt to add a second screen behind the steering wheel to display speed, range, and even altitude (you know, in case Elon added an easter egg for taking flight…just kidding, altitude really does have an impact on range). This mod isn’t cheap, though, with the better units costing over $3,000 (like this screen from Mountain Pass Performance).
#4: Seating Reupholstery
Another way to distinguish your Model 3 from the crowd is to get the seats reupholstered. Quite a few people choose to swap out Tesla’s OEM synthetic leather for genuine leather seating in neutral tones like tan, gray, white, and black. We’ve also seen some pretty crazy colored seating on the Model 3, too, like a racecar red.
You can purchase kits to DIY the upholstery, but again, if you don’t have the time or the DIY savvy to pull it off, check for vehicle upholstery professionals in your area.
#5: Yoke Steering Wheel
This mod is weirdly controversial, but swapping out the regular steering wheel for a yoke steering wheel on your Model 3 does lend something extra to the look of the cabin. Plus, some people really do prefer the way the yoke feels when Autopilot is engaged.
And hey, if you want yoke steering to practice your Formula One racing a-game, it’s your car. You do you.
Bonus: Powered Frunk
Since Tesla doesn’t currently include a powered frunk on the Model 3 (or any other Tesla model), many people have taken it upon themselves to add that option in (to the tune of $400-$500).
You can find a lot of manufacturers offering powered frunk kits for the Model 3, so we recommend a thorough check through reviews and keeping an eye out for info on the kit’s compatibility with your model year. For example, this version of the Hansshow Powered Frunk Kit works for the 2017-2021 Model 3, but not for the 2022 or 2023 Model 3.
Practical and Popular Model 3 Accessories
You can check out our list of Top Ten Best Tesla Accessories for a longer discussion on accessories, but here’s a quick list of must have Tesla Model 3 accessories:
Portable 12V Digital Air Compressor
Portable air compressors tend to be very user friendly and fit easily in the frunk or the trunk. Keeping tire pressure at the recommended levels goes a long way towards maintaining efficiency and reducing tire wear and tear.
All Weather Floor Mats
Keep your carpeting fresh and the dirt to a minimum. These are especially helpful for parents, pet owners, and outdoor enthusiasts.
Pet Seat Cover
Speaking of pets, a good pet seat cover fitted to the Model 3 can help you keep hair and nail damage from wrecking your back seat while helping our pet ride in comfort. Tesla sells their own version for $145, but you can also find them on Amazon or at an EV aftermarket shop (Tesmanian has a pet seat cover for the Model 3 for about $50).
Dog Mode Cling
A window cling that proclaims “Dog Mode Enabled” lets concerned citizens know that the doggo is doing just fine inside the car with Dog Mode active, thank you very much. You can find these in most EV shops with Tesla accessories (like this 2-pack Dog Mode cling from Abstract Ocean).
Either to keep the temp in your Tesla down while it’s parked or to provide yourself with some privacy during car naps (wait, doesn’t everybody do that?), your Model 3 could probably do with a set of sunshades that provides decent coverage for all windows. If you’re really serious about keeping out the heat, search for the term “heat shield” rather than sunshade. We’ve got a slightly longer discussion and recommendations for sunshades in this article under the section for Model S accessories.
Speaking of car naps (or road tripping, or camping), an air or foam mattress that fits perfectly in the back of your Model 3 is a great addition for the Model 3 lifestyle.
Trunk / Frunk Organizer
Finally, taking control of your Model 3’s frunk or trunk with an organizer just makes life simpler. This organizer from EVANNEX fits neatly inside the Model 3’s trunk well, so it won’t even interfere with those car naps we keep mentioning.
Find a Model 3 to Mod
Obviously, if you don’t already have a Model 3, you can buy a new one straight from Tesla’s website. But since throwing mods on a pristine, stock condition Tesla is the most expensive way to do it, why not consider looking for a used Model 3 to bring those costs back down to earth?
Model 3s are flooding the used Market right now, so it’s a great time to get a good deal even on low mileage Model 3 in excellent condition. Check out our 2021-2023 Model 3 listings to see what’s available. You might be surprised at how far prices have fallen from their peak last year.
Want to check out an already modded Tesla Model 3 for sale? We include a filter in our listings section to let you see exactly which available used Model 3s have modifications already made. Who knows, you might find a customized Model 3 you love with all the modification work put in it already!
Check out our used Model 3 listings today to see what’s available!