Can Tesla Model 3 Park Itself? (Auto Park Truths)

AutoPark was a feature introduced into Tesla software for the model S in 2017. Today, it is available for model S, model X and model 3 as a downloadable software update. It became a standard feature on the model Y in the middle of 2019. So how reliable is and can the car really park itself?

Yes, the Tesla Model 3 can park itself, but the feature is currently only supported in some parking bays. Autopark is a useful feature but it is currently still pretty limited. Feedback from users and further development work at Tesla will improve the feature with future updates as Tesla’s algorithms improve. In most instances, drivers will find that the Tesla can park itself sometimes but more often than not must be prepared to park the car themselves when the self-parking feature won’t show or doesn’t manage to complete itself fully.

How Autopark Works

Tesla Auto Park combines a network of radar, ultrasonic sensors and cameras around the car to navigate a potential parking space chosen by you, the driver.

Once you have pulled up next to the car in front of the parking space – as you would when carrying out a parallel parking manoeuvre manually – simply wait for the system AutoPark “P” symbol to appear on the car console and hit it. Full instructions below.

Assuming all goes well, the car will find its way into the parking spot as safely and efficiently as possible with a chime sound from the console indicating that the process is complete.

How To Execute Autopark

AutoPark will only work at speeds lower than 15 mph and will only operate when defined by two other vehicles and a curb.

Getting the autopark routine to start is fairly straightforward.

  1. Simply pull up alongside the car in front of the chosen parking space.
  2. Stop the car and put the car into reverse gear. A “P” symbol should be visible on the car display which you can press to intiate autopark.
  3. The car will start to manoeuvre into the space. If it can’t make the turn, the car will stop itself automatically, straighten up the wheels and move itself forward enough to reverse into the space directly. This process can be started either on the right or left hand side of the road.
tesla model 3 autopark

Autopark can also be enabled remotely when outside the vehicle by using Summon.

From outside the vehicle, initiate the parking maneuver by touching Summon on the Tesla mobile app, then holding down the FORWARD or REVERSE button.

For full instructions check out page 91 from the Teslas driving manual.

autopark instructions
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How Good is AutoPark on the Model 3?

AutoPark is a relatively new feature and Tesla owners do report some issues in its installation and use. Firstly, the “P” symbol will frequently pop up when sitting in traffic due to the stationary position of the car for a prolongued period of time. This can be distracting.

AUTOPARK finds space & CURBS / KERBS when parking! | Tesla Model 3 101 (FSD/HW3)

However the effectiveness and usefulness of the current AutoPark feature is probably of greater concern.

Most drivers say it is a nice thing to show off to friends but not really practical on a day-to-day basis.

Some report it fails more often than it succeeds. Others have reported car damage as a result of failed parking attempts involving collisions with bollards or pillars; or ending up on footpaths or grass verges.

The Dangers and Safety of Autopark

There are reports of potentially serious incidents involving autopark. Some users have reported fast movements by the Tesla during autopark which could lead to car damage or potential risks to drivers and, pedestrians or other motorists.

Tesla invite anyone who have experienced such problems to pull the logs and send them Tesla for them to review. Given the fairly recent arrival of the technology, and its dependency on complex algorithms and interaction between the software and physical world, it is not surprising that users have come up against some problems.

However, it is also important to keep in mind that autopark can be over-ridden by manual control at any point in the parking process as and when problems arise.

Autopark can be overridden simply by operating the steering wheel or car gear shifts. It can also be cancelled by hitting the cancel button at any time or paused by hitting the brake pedal.

It is important to note that the autopark feature comes with a message from Tesla to be observant of surroundings and other drivers whilst using autopark and to be ready to step in if something goes wrong.

Autopark FAQs

Can the Tesla reverse autopark?

Yes the model S and model 3 are both equipped for using the Tesla Summon software which includes reverse autopark.

Can the Tesla parallel park?

Yes the model 3 can parallel park provided the above steps are followed. However the feature can be overridden and drivers should be aware that they may need to step in if the feature goes wrong.

Does every Tesla have autopark?

Autopark is now available either as standard (model Y) or as a downloadable feature

Can Tesla autopark into a garage?

Provided the car has the Summon feature installed the car can autopark into a garage. However care should be taken as some users have reported issues autoparking into particularly tight indoor spaces.