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12v battery died 250 miles from SC making me pay for 150 mile towing

Lhagin

New Member
Dec 20, 2015
4
0
Atlanta,GA
Today my beloved 2014 Tesla P85 with 13,800 miles on it stranded me at the Savannah airport SC station. Fortunately I was there near rental cars and not on the vastly empty I 16 headed to Atlanta. The roadside assistant was very helpful and got a tow truck there quickly but Tesla's policy is to cover only 50 miles. Now she extended it to 100 but that still leaves me to cover 150 miles at $3.5 per mile for a warranty item repair to get the car to a service center. I'm a little put out about that as they were agreeable to have me go rent a luxury car which I didn't and cover that cost but not the full tow since the closest SC is in Atlanta where I live. Am I wrong to feel like Tesla should cover the full tow cost?
 

Electricfan

Active Member
Aug 24, 2013
1,250
283
Houston
LOL! What a first post! You're in for a tough life here on the TMC forum! But, I will agree with you. For an issue like this - the 12V battery problem - they not only should cover your entire tow bill, but send you flowers and candy. Inexcusable to still have 12V battery issues at this point. Or, not cover a tow bill for one - the least they could do.
 

MsElectric

Active Member
Oct 11, 2014
1,604
18
New York
Why can't the system throw a 12V battery warning before it goes kaput and leaves you stranded.

Isn't this due to the voltage of the 12V battery being too low? Can the system not show a warning when you still have 20% of useable capacity? "12V Battery Needs Replacing. Service Required Soon"

I wonder how this would work out of warranty. I suppose then you'd be on the hook for the whole tow bill because the 12V battery failed. Is this an annual replacement item?
 

Lhagin

New Member
Dec 20, 2015
4
0
Atlanta,GA
I found it interesting that I did not have an issue or any warning about the battery being low until I plugged into the SC station. Not too sure if that's just a coincidence. My thought about the out of warranty comment is to get AAA Premier as for $129 they'll tow you 200 miles on a single tow. At least there's that.
 

dsm363

Roadster + Sig Model S
May 17, 2009
18,278
151
Nevada
Sorry to hear about this. Do any manufacturers pay for towing regardless of distance for warranty issues?
 

dhanson865

Active Member
Feb 16, 2013
4,393
5,989
Knoxville, Tennessee
Today my beloved 2014 Tesla P85 with 13,800 miles on it stranded me at the Savannah airport SC station. Fortunately I was there near rental cars and not on the vastly empty I 16 headed to Atlanta. The roadside assistant was very helpful and got a tow truck there quickly but Tesla's policy is to cover only 50 miles. Now she extended it to 100 but that still leaves me to cover 150 miles at $3.5 per mile for a warranty item repair to get the car to a service center. I'm a little put out about that as they were agreeable to have me go rent a luxury car which I didn't and cover that cost but not the full tow since the closest SC is in Atlanta where I live. Am I wrong to feel like Tesla should cover the full tow cost?

I agree, call up the service manager and ask for an allowance/exception. If that fails try regional or corporate.

Either way if they pay or don't consider getting a 12v smart charger like Amazon.com: CTEK (56-864) MUS 4.3 12 Volt Fully Automatic 8 Step Battery Charger: Automotive and charge the 12v battery every 2 or 3 months and consider keeping it in the frunk on long trips.

Plugging this in would recharge the 12v enough to make the car drivable again if they just towed you to the nearest EV friendly store/hotel/restaurant so you could charge the 12v and avoid the long range tow.

On a short trip you can just have the car towed home, charge the 12v and then drive to the service center.

and be sure even if they do cover the short term financial issue that you also get a complaint in to service/engineering to address the issue long term. They won't fix the issue any time soon but the more that ask/complain about this issue the better.

and while they do need to replace your 12v battery I wouldn't consider doing that the long term fix.
 
Last edited:

qwk

P130DL
Dec 19, 2008
3,024
766
Why can't the system throw a 12V battery warning before it goes kaput and leaves you stranded.

Isn't this due to the voltage of the 12V battery being too low? Can the system not show a warning when you still have 20% of useable capacity? "12V Battery Needs Replacing. Service Required Soon"

I wonder how this would work out of warranty. I suppose then you'd be on the hook for the whole tow bill because the 12V battery failed. Is this an annual replacement item?
The system used to email the SC, when the 12V passed a voltage threshold. Either the newer FW versions did away with that, the DC/DC went out first, or the SC is too busy to care.
 

dsm363

Roadster + Sig Model S
May 17, 2009
18,278
151
Nevada
The other manufactures are not hundreds of miles away so towing distance is not an issue.

I didn't say hundreds of miles but are you saying it's not possible to be more than 100-200 miles away from the closest dealership anywhere in the US?
 
Last edited:

msnow

Active Member
Jul 14, 2015
4,951
2,236
SoCal
I didn't say hundreds of miles but are you're saying it's not possible to be more than 100-200 miles away from the closest dealership anywhere in the US?

Of course it's possible however Savannah is a metropolitan city. Virtually every other car manufacturer has sales and service there. I have a friend that moved to Des Moines with his Tesla, same issue. Nearest SvC is 250 miles away in Minneapolis. Unless you are grandfathered with Ranger Service or your SvC goes above and beyond (many do) your looking at a $700 tow bill.
 

Cyclone

Cyclonic Member ((.oO))
Jan 12, 2015
5,056
1,141
Charlotte, NC
The question still stands. Do other manufacturers offer free towing to nearest dealership?

Hard to compare. In other cars you can usually jump a dead battery and drive it to the dealer. I've been a Toyota owner until the Tesla, so I don't know about tows. Lexus sent out a ranger and jumped my mother's car when her battery died and she drove it to the dealer for a warranty replacement.

Could you start up the S with connected cables and just not get off the driver's seat so the traction battery and DC-DC converter stay active? Or is the car really kaput when the 12v goes? I have the 200 mile plan from AAA for these type concerns. I figure that will get me to a Supercharger and then Tesla can send a ranger there.

Worst case scenario you could replace the 12v yourself.
 

msnow

Active Member
Jul 14, 2015
4,951
2,236
SoCal
Yes my other cars offered free roadside assistance. Most if not all cars in this class do. I think the issue you're missing or maybe I'm not articulating it correctly is Tesla is a small company and hasn't penetrated deep enough geographically yet.
 

jeffro01

Active Member
Jan 30, 2013
2,676
1,926
Teller County CO
Here is what I can't figure out, why MUST the car have a working 12V battery in the first place? The 12V is charged by the traction battery, is it not? Then what would be so hard for a emergency 12v bypass of some sort that could kick in and power the 12v systems directly off the traction pack when the 12v battery fails in the first place?

Directly relating to the OPs question, no I don't think Tesla owes you anything beyond what they normally cover. Now, with that being said, I think Tesla would be wise to seriously look at having the 12v swappable on the side of the road so that way the tow truck driver only has to bring you a new 12v, swap it out, and on you go...

Either way, something needs to be done about the 12v issues... Both at rest and when traveling...

Jeff
 

dhanson865

Active Member
Feb 16, 2013
4,393
5,989
Knoxville, Tennessee
Hard to compare. In other cars you can usually jump a dead battery and drive it to the dealer. I've been a Toyota owner until the Tesla, so I don't know about tows. Lexus sent out a ranger and jumped my mother's car when her battery died and she drove it to the dealer for a warranty replacement.

Could you start up the S with connected cables and just not get off the driver's seat so the traction battery and DC-DC converter stay active? Or is the car really kaput when the 12v goes? I have the 200 mile plan from AAA for these type concerns. I figure that will get me to a Supercharger and then Tesla can send a ranger there.

Worst case scenario you could replace the 12v yourself.

Depends on the health of the 12v battery.

* you could get a boost and drive the 200 miles no problem
* you could get a boost and have the car complain immediately and warn you to get to a service center as soon as possible
* you could get a boost and not be able to get into drive, just have access to the center screen.

But a smart desulfating battery charger could make it better after a 8 hour charge session and then if it starts on its own itd be much safer to drive the trip because then you can actually stop if you have to.

- - - Updated - - -

Here is what I can't figure out, why MUST the car have a working 12V battery in the first place? The 12V is charged by the traction battery, is it not? Then what would be so hard for a emergency 12v bypass of some sort that could kick in and power the 12v systems directly off the traction pack when the 12v battery fails in the first place?

Directly relating to the OPs question, no I don't think Tesla owes you anything beyond what they normally cover. Now, with that being said, I think Tesla would be wise to seriously look at having the 12v swappable on the side of the road so that way the tow truck driver only has to bring you a new 12v, swap it out, and on you go...

Either way, something needs to be done about the 12v issues... Both at rest and when traveling...

Jeff

It's like that so the big pack disconnects when the car is off so that first responders are less likely to die when cutting into a wrecked car.

You can't have an override like what you are suggesting without risking killing said first responders.
 

dsm363

Roadster + Sig Model S
May 17, 2009
18,278
151
Nevada
Yes my other cars offered free roadside assistance. Most if not all cars in this class do. I think the issue you're missing or maybe I'm not articulating it correctly is Tesla is a small company and hasn't penetrated deep enough geographically yet.

I understand there are big gaps in where the service centers are located. I didn't realize the free roadside assistance also included free towing regardless of distance for other manufacturers.
 

Cyclone

Cyclonic Member ((.oO))
Jan 12, 2015
5,056
1,141
Charlotte, NC
I understand there are big gaps in where the service centers are located. I didn't realize the free roadside assistance also included free towing regardless of distance for other manufacturers.

Likely they have some term like closest authorized center, which may not be that makes dealer. For instance, I recall a poster here talking getting an S and prior to that, he said he took his premium/luxury car for oil changes and such to the non-premium make (think Chevy vs. Cadillac and Nissan vs. Infinity) since it was nearby versus 150 miles away.

For Tesla, they do not seem to be willing to let anyone but Tesla be authorized to work even on simply things, so it would have to be that 250 mile tow.
 

omarsultan

Active Member
Jun 22, 2013
2,330
4,713
Northern California
What I have gathered from other threads on the topic is the way the 12V battery is used in a Model S is atypical. In ICEs, the battery is used to start the car, the the alternator takes over. In the MS the 12V battery runs everything not related to the drivetrain all the time--this duty cycle is very different from the intent of the battery's designers, hence the failure rate.

Tesla moved to more durable (and expensive) AGM batteries a while back, which helps, but they are over $200 a pop. While its not an issue while most folks are under warranty, folks are going to be ticked if they are to spend $200 every 12-18 months on 12V batteries.

I understand why they do this as automotive electronics are designed for 12V so providing a 12V supply makes it easier to source components. Theoretically, I guess they could have just stepped down the voltage from the traction battery, but I am assume they have a good reason for not doing that.
 

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