Breath Easy
(Click to enlarge)
Debris Guard for the
HVAC Air Intake
in our Model 3

Mark D Larsen
June 17, 2019

A few weeks ago, I happened to see a post touting a new accessory for the Tesla Model 3: a guard to help keep leaves, twigs, and large bugs from getting into its HVAC air intake. It seemed like a good idea to me, so last week I decided to order one from Amazon. It arrived this afternoon, and I immediately installed it. As you can see below, the process was a very easy modification.

NOTE: You can click on any of the following photos to enlarge them.

The guard arrived in a long cardboard box, inside a plastic bag, and didn’t include —nor does it need!— any instructions.

The air intake for the HVAC system is located under the cover behind the frunk when you lift the hood. You can see that the cover has horizontal slits that allow air to enter the HVAC system.

Removing that cover is easy: you simple pry up on its edges all around to pop out the plastic snaps holding it in place.

With the cover removed, you can see a plastic piece surrounding the hole where the air enters the HVAC duct.

This piece also snaps out. Although not necessary to install the guard, I would recommend doing so for reasons I’ll explain below.

With that piece popped off, you can peer into the main duct that drops down to the HVAC fan.

The guard comes with tape covering a light adhesive surface around its edges. I suppose that one could install it with the tape on, but I figured that I might as well remove it so that the guard would fit more securely into the piece that covers the hole.

Here I have inserted the guard into that piece. The reason I suggest doing so with the piece removed is so that you can slightly bend out its edges and avoid having the adhesive stick to the foam insulation when shoehorning the guard into place.

Here is the plastic piece snapped back over the HVAC duct again, with the guard fitting inside it like a glove.

When you then likewise replace the top cover, you can see that the guard’s holes are underneath its horizontal slats, ready to help keep unwanted debris from falling into the air intake.

This was a very easy modification, and I hope it proves its worth over time. My only question is whether or not those holes will allow as much air to enter the HVAC as the slats in the cover. We’ll just have to see if the fan blows as much air when on our next road trip. I just wish that the guard also came with some kind of HEPA filter for the air intake to stop pollutants, toxins, and odors from entering the cabin —like Tesla already provides in the Model S and Model X.