Some tips to make Tesla’s incredible Autopilot feature more functional and less naggy!
Reducing Tesla Autopilot nag
1. Hand on the wheel
Drape a hand on the wheel and let your arm weight hang a bit. This is the official recommended way to do it. Unfortunately, there are still drawbacks:
- It still nags sometimes!
- I can’t use my arm to do anything else (stretching, reading, check my phone, etc).
- Sometimes in trying to exert more weight, you accidentally take control (VERY SCARY!).
2. Roll the steering wheel buttons
This works really well to shut off the AP nag. Takes little force and you don’t risk taking the car off AutoPilot. Also allows you to do other things with your hands.
Hacking Tesla Autopilot
When it comes to hacking the Autopilot, you basically need something heavy enough but not so cumbersome to apply. There have been many 3rd party products and tricks but many of them I think are too clunky and kind of break the zen. Let’s go over the requirements:
- Location – should place on either side steering wheel to have enough leverage (especially during turns).
- Heavy enough – 12oz minimum weight if close to outer edge of wheel, up to 2lbs (24oz) if going around the thick spokes.
- Cheap – because who wants to pay $250 for a silly product that may or may not work [cough]AutoPilotBuddy[cough].
- Looks nice – because who wants an orange or other clunky thing on their steering wheel that bumps their legs or hits the left signal stalk?
1. Using wrist weights ($10)SPRI Wrist Weights Thumblock Arm Weights Set for Women & Men (4lb Set – Two 2lb Weights)
- Any arm weights will do but try to get simple on/off formless ones. Some of them have annoying straps and inside on a certain shape.
2. Velcro ($3) + heavy weight ($7-130)
I’m quite proud of myself for figuring this out. I wanted something super clean that can be attached and detached quickly without cluttering up my steering wheel area. The hard part was finding a heavy-enough weight that wasn’t so bulky. I went looking around for all kinds of different metals. I was almost stupid enough to think of lead fishing weights (but they cause cancer and reproductive harm) so I had to go looking for other metals.
Velcro 1 7/8in circles ($3)
First buy a pack of these (available on Amazon or your hardware store, like Home Depot). Take one of the furry-side velcro circles and stick it BEHIND the thick left spoke of the steering wheel. I placed it here so that my fingers don’t feel it during regular driving.
- NOTE: if it peels later because of the weight, you can just super glue it!
Now you have 3 choices…
OPTION #1 – Tow Hitch Ball ($7-15)
Buy one of these tow hitch balls online or at your hardware store or Walmart. I picked this $15 one because of its black color, but you can get the chrome ball for cheaper. (Probably only $6 in store.) They are so cheap and yet heavy enough to be small. Will work beautifully.
Now cut a small piece of the stiff-side velcro and stick it to one side of the nut. Or cut a strip and run it vertically along the ball. And then stick it to the velcro when you want to use it.
If want to put velcro on the ball, then it’s probably better if you put the furry velcro in the curved nook where the outer edge of the steering wheel meets the spokes.
OPTION #2 – Aircraft Tool Supply Bucking Bar 5-3/8″
Put the velcro on the middle, and have it to the angled goes inward (towards) around either the top or bottom of your steering wheel left-spoke.
Other angled bucking bars here:
OPTION #3 – Tungsten weight ($125)
Buy from https://www.tungstenheavypowder.com
Expensive but works great and looks beautiful. If you think I’m crazy for thinking of this, it’s because I am. I went researching online for the densest metal possible and found Tungsten which is used for many purposes like weighing down race cars and what not. It’s super compact but really heavy. So the major benefit is you have a nice little stylish weight that doesn’t up much space and doesn’t mess with your car interior aesthetic.
I didn’t buy from the store above because they didn’t have it available until December, so I bought mine from a more prestigious company (Midwest Tungsten). They don’t make that exact size and weight so you have to custom order it. It was about $160 + shipping but looks beautiful and I love it so much.