So, You wonder what it takes to make your Tesla stand out?
I can’t tell you exactly what to do. The point is to make it your own!
I spent many hours researching the right mods for my Model 3 and got familiar with the customization options for all Tesla models.
I’ll share with you what I learned online and from other owners at car meets. You’ll get a better understanding of the modifications that work best and how much these will cost you on average.
I’ll cover pretty much everything you need to know to make informed decisions about your car’s personalization.
So it won't end up like Sergey Brin's Tesla Model S...LOL
By the end of this guide, you’ll know what it takes to customize a Tesla, regardless of the model you own. If you need some inspiration first, my list of jaw-dropping custom Teslas is a good starting point.
What Kind of Mods Can You Do to a Tesla?
Teslas gained huge popularity in the last decade, which led to a full range of modifications available even for the Model S and Model X.
I’ll show you the most common exterior upgrades and interior customization options, and then we’ll talk about performance mods.
We’ll look into affordable Tesla accessories and the premium options on the market. Let’s get this journey started.
Customize a Tesla Exterior
What can you do to the exterior of your Tesla? A vinyl wrap and window tint are a nice combo. If you like the matte look, chrome delete is another alternative that complements the aesthetics of Teslas.
In case you want to go big, tuning kits take aerodynamics and appearance to the next level. Matt’s modified Model 3 Performance is a nice example. Let’s dive into each one in detail.
Vinyl wrap is a growing trend in automotive customization, and Tesla owners love it. It allows them to change their car’s color in a matter of hours. Vinyl wraps are applied directly to the vehicle’s existing paint to resist fading and scratching.
A partial wrap typically costs around $1,000, depending on the Tesla model. A full wrap is anywhere from $2,000 – $4,500 and up to $8,000 if you want to go for paint protection film (PPF). It’s not the cheapest but a cost-effective way to personalize your ride!
Tinting your windows will enhance the looks of your Tesla and increase comfort and privacy. The Model 3, for example, comes partially tinted from the factory. Still, there is plenty of room for improvement.
Glass tinting films come in a range of levels of reflective darkness, providing gentle heat reduction and protection from UV rays. There are many guides on how to tint your windows, but I think it’s better to have the work done by professionals.
It carries less risk of bubbles or peeling. A partial tint would cost around $300, while tinting all the glass with high-end materials will be in the $1,000 range. DIY tints are cheaper and available even for the Tesla Roadster, but based on my experience, they don’t last as long.
I love all the chrome on American classics, but not on Teslas. Getting rid of all the chrome was the first thing I did on my Model 3 in 2019.
Today, depending on your model, you can order a Tesla with a different trim from the factory or find Delete Kits for less than $200. It’s a great addition to tinted windows.
Customizing your brake calipers is another affordable way to enhance the looks of any Tesla model. You can buy brake caliper covers in many different colors and styles, costing you between $100 and $300.
However, I see a lot of Tesla Model 3 owners complaining about the quality of the covers. Therefore, I recommend having them painted or powder-coated. This way, you can also add a custom logo of your choice.
Wheels Powder Coating
Not happy with your factory Tesla wheels? Don’t want to pay for a nice set of aftermarket rims? Powder coating is the way to go. You’ll give your wheels better looks and protection; if that’s not your thing, wheel covers are also a good option.
Powder coating is a particular type of process that uses heat and electricity to bond a colored layer onto the surfaces. The average cost is between $400 and $600.
Installing a full-body kit makes any car stand out, and Teslas are no exception. I’ve seen some stout kits for Model X, and Model S. Such upgrade includes bumpers, diffusers, spoilers, side skirts, custom trunk lids, and hoods.
Tuners offer complete body kits of ABS plastic, fiberglass, lightweight aluminum, or carbon fiber. The price depends on the material and varies from $3,000 to over $10,000.
I wouldn’t go for the cheap ones, as they’re heavy and inefficient. You can see my body kit recommendations for Model 3 here.
While a widebody kit will improve your Tesla aerodynamics and appearance, you can easily exceed your budget when combining it with other upgrades.
In this case, I suggest selecting individual body mods that will still give your vehicle a sleek look and won’t break the bank.
A combination of a front lip and a rear spoiler is not as expensive, and you can install it yourself, paying less than $1,000 for the parts.
Add a rear diffuser and side skirts if your price range is higher. This combo will cost you another $1,000 for fiberglass parts or up to $3,000 if you prefer carbon fiber.
There are some cheaper options for Model 3 and Y on Amazon and eBay, but looking at the customer reviews, I don’t think these are good.
Tesla Interior Customization
I think Tesla left the most room for improvement inside their vehicles. Features like enhanced autopilot and full self-driving are great when it comes to technology, but the style isn’t there.
That’s why there are plenty of aftermarket options to customize your interior. From carbon fiber accents to steering wheels and any accessory you could think of. Here are the most popular upgrades.
Like all cars, Tesla comes with floor mats. Honestly, these are not great, and that’s not just my opinion. Replacing the floor mats with aftermarket ones is a no-brainer. Plenty of options are available.
I bought the all-weather rubber mats for my Model 3. They look better, last longer, and, most importantly, keep my vehicle clean by capturing all the dirt. I paid a little over $100 for the complete set.
You can see my mats and the ones my man Pete bought for his Model Y in my Tesla winter accessories article. You’ll see other very cool products as well.
Led Lighting Kit
Upgrading the interior lights is a very common thing, especially among Tesla Model 3 owners. The factory lights are so dim that you barely see the seat when entering your car at night.
Aftermarket lighting kits are easy to install and not expensive. The most popular option is a basic plug-and-play LED kit that makes your interior brighter and costs around $150 for a full set.
While things get better in the latest models, the center console you’ll find in Tesla vehicles is still fairly basic. Simple enhancements like ambient light or a different color vinyl wrap will add style to your center console for around $50, depending on your Tesla model.
If you prefer real wood or carbon fiber instead of a wrap, you’re looking at the $150-$200 range. Check out my list of genuine carbon fiber mods for Model 3 and Y.
The center console is just the beginning. Naturally, you’ll want to match it with other components of your Tesla interior. Dashboard, steering wheel, window switch panel, etc., you could easily spend another $1,000 here.
If you want to go that route, I’ll give you a tip to save time.
Don’t order different parts from various websites. There are full interior trim kits that consist of 30+ pieces. You can choose bundles and add individual components while monitoring the total cost. A complete kit is worth around $2,500.
Upgrading the trim of your steering wheel and the center console is a good option if you don’t want to spend too much. You’ll pay not more than $500 for real carbon fiber or wood.
If you want a different shape and look, there is a large selection of custom steering wheels for all models. These are worth from $500 to $2,000.
There are only two things you can do regarding your Tesla upholstery. Seat covers are the cheaper option. Adding some flavor and protecting the original seat fabric from rips, tears, fading, and dirt will cost you around $400.
With custom upholstery, the options are virtually unlimited but be prepared for a 5-figure bill. My buddy Jeff paid $15,000 for car seats and door inserts on his Model X. Keep in mind that this is the lower price range of reputable auto upholstery shops.
See some custom interiors in this article and get inspired to do your own design.
Most Tesla owners with the premium audio system are quite happy with it. That wasn’t the case with me and my Model 3 as it’s not all-wheel drive. It came with the standard 8-speaker/1-amplifier package, and it sucked.
I had a 2001 BMW 3-series that sounded way better – the solution: A $750 easy-to-install upgrade designed for Model 3. Speaker upgrade kits are available for any Tesla model, selling at around $800 on average.
Or you can go wild and completely transform your trunk and audio experience like AJ of RUINED EV did with his Model 3 Performance. Keep in mind that Tesla’s electric system behaves differently, and doing such an audio upgrade is a challenge.
Adding accessories to your Tesla won’t have a major impact on style. However, making your vehicle more comfortable and protecting the interior components from wear and tear is still part of automotive customization.
A windshield shade won’t keep the heat out completely, but preserving your interior is worth the $25 – $50. For the same price, you could also get a screen protector.
I don’t know about you, but I spent 3-4 hours in my car daily. The $42 I “invested” in the center console organizer and steering wheel tray made my life easier.
Tesla Performance Modifications
Most Tesla owners I’ve talked to are quite happy with the performance of their electric cars, and so am I at this point. That doesn’t mean performance upgrades are a bad thing. Just make sure you stay away from mods that are against the law.
You can get better traction, braking, and ride quality; improving your vehicle’s acceleration is possible too. So let’s talk about those.
The $2,000 “Acceleration Boost” is a popular hack among Tesla Model 3 and Model Y owners. Improving 0-60 mph by 0.5 seconds sounds fun, but some things must be considered.
For example, you’ll need to change tires more often. Here is a complete guide on the Acceleration Boost in case you want to learn more.
Wheels & Tires
Aftermarket wheels are not just for looks. Even kids know that automakers’ standard setups are far from optimal.
Those who care mainly for the looks of their vehicle can get decent rims for Model 3 or Y for a little over $1,000 or around $2,000 for Model X and Model S.
Wheels that significantly impact your driving range and dynamics will cost you anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000. Most exclusive options that are made of premium aluminum and carbon fiber have a price tag of up to $20K.
Wheel locks and bands are some essential accessories to consider in order to protect your new rims from damage and thieves.
As for the rubber, wrapping up your new wheels in top-quality tires is recommended. They’ll last longer and keep you safe on the road.
You can easily adjust the height and enhance the ride quality of most Tesla vehicles without changing the shocks. Lowering springs are the most common upgrades for Model 3 and Y owners, with best-quality products priced in the $300 range.
Adjustable shocks are in the $2,000 range, and better steering response will cost you another $500 for a set of sway bars. Coilovers are the way to go if you’re into more sporty driving. A set of good-quality spacers will complement it.
For around $2,000, you can get a nice set of coilovers for the street, while high-performance versions for the race track start at $5,000.
Despite the ABS system and regenerative braking, Tesla owners have various options when it comes to upgrading their brakes. The right one for you is determined by how heavy your foot is on the pedal.
Good quality OEM brake rotors and pad replacement can be purchased for $750 on average. I paid a little over $1,000 for my Model 3.
If you want to take your braking experience to a whole new level, you need a big front brake kit. Reputable brands will charge you around $5,000. Do you remember my buddy Jeff and the Model X I mentioned earlier?
Well, he is the type of car guy who goes for top-notch upgrades only. He paid $7,800 for a real deal supercar brake kit, and his Tesla Model X stops better than any modified street car I’ve driven before.
Tesla Customization FAQ
1. What are the most popular mods among Tesla owners?
As you may know, Tesla offers a very limited number of colors. Therefore, vinyl wrap is what most people start the personalization of their vehicle. Other popular exterior mods include window tint, chrome delete, custom emblems, and wheels. The average cost is $5,000.
When it comes to the interior, the majority of Tesla owners start with the center console. The next step would be adding carbon fiber accents or a full-trim package. Steering wheel and audio system upgrades are also very common. These would cost you around $2,500.
Modifying the suspension and installing brake kits is what people do to improve the performance of their electric cars. Early-generation Tesla model owners often change batteries and upgrade chargers. You can spend anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 here.
2. How does customizing my Tesla affect its resale value?
Customization can positively and negatively affect any Tesla model’s resale value. Using high-quality parts will always be in your favor, but you should also consider what are the mods in demand among Tesla car buyers.
On the other hand, poorly executed or uncommon customizations that don’t appeal to most buyers will decrease the resale value of your Tesla. Significantly altering the car’s performance will have a similar effect, as that’s not a priority for most people on the market for electric cars.
Based on my personal experience, you shouldn’t expect to get back all the money invested in your car when you decide to sell. The only exception would be limited edition or classic cars with collector value, which isn’t the case with Tesla.
3. Do modifications void my Tesla warranty?
Tesla’s warranty policy states that any modifications made to the vehicle that result in failure will not be covered. However, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act prohibits automakers from canceling the warranty due to the installation of aftermarket parts.
In general, if you keep up with routine maintenance and customize your Tesla using high-quality parts, you have nothing to worry about. If you want to build a race car, I suggest you do extensive research and contact legal counsel.
Final Thoughts on Customizing Your Tesla
I do a couple of things before putting my time and money into a custom car.
First, I check whether my budget meets my goals, and then I consider the potential impact on my vehicle.
Do your research, and weigh the pros and cons of each modification. Consider both DIY and professional installation.
With the right approach and a clear understanding of your priorities, you can build a custom Tesla that turns heads and makes you feel great behind the wheel.
More on the subject you can find here. Last but not least, don’t install cheap car mods. These will cost you more in the long run.