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1400 miles and my first flatbed/service experience

Discussion in 'Model S' started by PatD, May 11, 2015.

  1. PatD

    PatD Member

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    Broomall, PA
    So was out for most of Mother's Day. Stopped at a friend's house for a gathering and some individuals NEEDED a ride in the MS. Happy to oblige! They were beyond impressed. One girl said "mind blown!"

    Anyway, was heading home in the evening and had a friend in the car. Was doing some hot dogging and was come off a spirited run in insane mode. Got an alert on the console that ready "Car needs service. Car may not restart." Drove it home gently (Was only about two miles away at this point) and parked it (In the drive, not the garage!) Emptied a few things from the car, then went back out to see if it would start. Now had a few more alerts, and it wouldn't start. Got the 12v battery alert, car may not start and car will not start.

    Called Tesla (This was about 7pm on a Sunday night), very quickly got a nice tech and he did a few things on his end and had me power cycle the car. He said it was definitely going to need a flatbed. Let him know I had to run back out but had another car for the evening and I'd be back in an hour. He said he'd call the tow provider and get right back to me. I let him know I'd need a car first thing in the AM and he said he'd handle it.

    He called back about 10-15 minutes later and said the tow provider would be out in 60-90 minutes and he'd follow-up once they had the car on the flat bed.

    Got home 45 minutes later and the tow driver was already there, already had the nose cone off and a jump box hooked up to the 12v leads. Guess he knew what he was doing, but thought it slightly odd he'd start without me since he couldn't even get in the car to see if anything he did was worthwhile. Whatever. Said he tows a LOT of these (I said, that's not good, and he laughed and said he didn't mean it this way - he just does all of the towing for Tesla out here and we have a decent sized SC.) Anyway, he fiddled with it for a few and couldn't get it to stick in tow mode. I'd hear the brakes come off, and go right back on. He groaned and said I might be the first to have it dragged on to the bed (But he had dollies, so. . .)

    We fiddled some more and got tow mode to hold, so he quickly hooked it up and pulled it on. Was a success. Checked my email and noticed I had a reservation from Enterprise sitting in my inbox.

    Driver took off and shortly thereafter, got a call from the same tech at roadside assistance. I was ready to express my disappointment about Enterprise, but before I could, he told me set up an Enterprise rental because he couldn't confirm my SC had a loaner, and he'd left a voicemail on the manager's cell and would get back to me ASAP if he heard from him Sunday night. He said if there was a loaner available, or if I had to go to Enterprise, they'd have Uber come and pick me up and drop me at either location. Enterprise was just a backup. He said to expect a call by 7:10am worst case.

    Got the 7:10am call from roadside and they let me know they had a loaner at my SC and it was all ready and did I need Uber to come get me. I actually had a change of plans and didn't need to get out ASAP, so I let them know I'd hold off to see if it was an easy fix and maybe I could just go get MY car instead of two trips (Think positive, right?!)

    Anyway, emailed back and forth with the service writer at my local SC and he said they'd be looking at it around 8am. He'd keep the loaner ready for me in case I needed it now or later today and would update me if it was something easy in that I could just come get my car. He said it may be a few hours to diagnose though. Going on three so far and no word. One can hope, but I expect I'll be heading out to get the loaner.

    So - almost made it 1500 miles before my first service experience. I was JUST thinking the other day how well I was doing given some of the stories on here. Guess I didn't knock wood. But I wanted to come out here and say - I'm impressed! While I wish I didn't have this experience, I'm stunned at how well Tesla is handling this so far. The entire experience has been simply outstanding and I'm VERY happy (Other than I miss my car!)

    However, my son (4 years old), who initially was scared of the fast car, was almost in tears as they took it away. He was so upset and wanted to know why the man took my car away (He almost refuses to drive in Mommy's slow car now!) Was almost hysterical, had to explain he was taking it to make it all better and it would be good as new! I had to video him, I'll put it up here later maybe.

    I'll update here later on with hopefully good news. In the end, it will work out, so no biggie. Just a minor inconvenience.
     
  2. apacheguy

    apacheguy Sig 255, VIN 320

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    That's unfortunate. Please keep us posted.
     
  3. mibaro2

    mibaro2 Member

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    Georgetown, ON
    Sorry to hear you needed to get a flatbed. Sounds like Tesla came through with their high level of service. Glad you had a good service experience.
     
  4. JMG

    JMG Member

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    Location:
    NE Texas
    I'm exactly at the same point you are (1400 mi) and I've had that uncomfortable thought in my head creep in a few times "No problems so far...knock on Obeche Gloss Wood!". Good to know if it does happen, Tesla will be right on top of it.

    Sorry to hear about the problems, but glad to hear they are on top of it. Thanks for the update and let us know how it goes.
     
  5. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    A problem in my neck of the woods is that Tesla only has one certified towing company and it can take several hours for them to reach you if you are stranded (trust me!). I have CAA Membership and often see them out and about with flatbeds.

    Curious to know if anyone has used any other towing companies (i.e. auto club) or do you always rely on Tesla Roadside?
     
  6. Zarwin

    Zarwin Member

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    Location:
    Hillsborough, NC
    Mine made it 3,700 miles before I got the 12v message, 45 minutes later followed by this:

    2014-06-18.jpg

    Fantastic service though ... took it away, fixed it and brought it back to my workplace. No issues...
     
  7. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    I'm lucky my 12V message allowed me a few days of driving. Presuming it's a bad 12V, it seems odd that some of them fail immediately and some can limp along for a week or so before dying. I had my annual service a week or two before mine failed. You would have thought there'd be some kind of warning sign. Tesla checked my logs and said I had a few days before it gave out completely and made me an appointment for a few days later.
     
  8. apacheguy

    apacheguy Sig 255, VIN 320

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    12 V warning in and of itself is not enought to bring down a MS. It's only when the cause of the message is due to the HV battery that it's a show stopper. In that case though, the car should not even go into drive so I'm a bit curious as to how the OP was able to continue driving. Suggests the issue is not related to the HV battery. I also thought Tesla had solved the contactor issue for good.
     
  9. PatD

    PatD Member

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    I actually had a 12v battery message maybe a month ago and I called it in. They said it was a bug in the firmware and it should not come back (Which it didn't, until now.)

    When I spoke with the tech last night and mentioned the 12v issue, he said - yup, they've replaced a lot of 12v batteries. He did say that message can come up for a multitude of reasons, so he was under the assumption that the "issue" I'm experienced caused the 12v battery message, not the other way around.

    Still no word from them, so my thought is it's not the 12v battery (At least not on its own) otherwise that would have been a quick fix.
     
  10. spottyq

    spottyq Member

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    Thanks for sharing you unfortunate experience with us.

    The fact that the tow mode wouldn't stick is quite strange… I'm curious to know why that would happen.

    Anyways, I hope you can get your car back quickly !
     
  11. Cyclone

    Cyclone Active Member

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    The one thing that truly surprises me is why Tesla doesn't switch to a beefier, deep-cycle battery. One would imagine the increment cost of switching to the more capable batter (even if it isn't supposed to be needed) would be less than all the service and replacement costs?
     
  12. TSLA Pilot

    TSLA Pilot Member

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    Or even better: TWO 12-volt batteries so we can stop reading about MS's leaving new (and old) owners dead in the water . . .

    Frankly, we're about to reach the three-year anniversary of the first MS delivery and this should have been designed out by now. This is disappointing; let's hope they're already working on a more robust 12-volt system as this has become a common failure point.
     
  13. Barry

    Barry Member

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    I don't believe it's the battery. I believe it's an issue with the DC to DC converter and charger for the 12V battery. There are just too many of them failing.

    I got my 12V battery warning a few days ago at 900 miles. They scheduled a service appointment and loaner in mid-June(!) They assure me it's just an early warning and I should be fine until then. I hope they're right.
     
  14. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I'm not so sure. I've had my 12v battery replaced at least twice. Both times were proactively by Tesla and I never had any kind of warning message. Nothing has ever been done to my DC/DC converter.
     
  15. TomServo

    TomServo Member

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    Is there a better aftermarket 12V battery available, ie. DieHard Optima etc?

    Or are Tesla owners forced to live with what Tesla installs?
     
  16. PatD

    PatD Member

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    Just picked up my loaner. While there, I saw my MS pulling out and asked the tech where things stood since earlier they were "still troubleshooting." He said he was surprised to see it moving, since they were still trying to figure things out before lunch. He went back and we saw the front bumper is completely off, so they're still digging. They got it back online, but can't replicate it or determine (yet) what caused it. My SWAG is that this is not the battery (At least wholly.)

    With that said, still LOVE the choices I made on my MS. Next gen seats were the way to go, as well as the pano roof, grey interior and matte wood. The loaner was almost a complete opposite of my car. Glad I spent a little more to get what I wanted!
     
  17. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    You're probably right. They see tons of those 12V failures, and I would assume by now every SC is familiar with all of the symptoms and resolution process. Replacing that battery is now a matter of routine. If they're still troubleshooting, it's got to be something else.
     
  18. PatD

    PatD Member

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    Sounds like they worked on the car all day and had engineering involved. They think they've narrowed it down to possibly the high power cables running from the battery pack to the front motor. They have a few more tests to run in the AM, but if that's it, they said they have a set in stock and should be able to button things up tomorrow.
     
  19. theapple

    theapple Member

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    Bummer! For what it's worth, I'm past 29k/1.5yrs without any major issues. They did replace a drive unit for hum, and I've had a number of annoyances Tesla has been happy to fix, but all in all I've had a very good experience and certainly never been towed.

    Hopefully you just hit the left side of the bathtub curve.
     
  20. Vger

    Vger Active Member

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    I agree. Our first Model S (Signature) had this exact symptom pattern on our first road trip after about 4 days of ownership. The car was driving along fine on the freeway (in WA) and the "Car may not restart" popped up. It did not tell us to pull over, just that it would not restart once stopped. We had to stop to charge, so we parked it at the level 2 charging station (there were very few superchargers deployed at that time, Dec. 2012).

    Without going through all the gory details, it turned out to be a safety switch on the cover of the HV junction box (centered under back seat). The switch failed open and cut the pathway from the HV battery to the DC/DC convertor, and the 12V battery quickly ran down, making the car un-bootable.

    So this is not the same exact cause probably, but the same general area of fault, and quite difficult to pin down, apparently.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Similarly to the OP's case, Tesla's response was fantastic, so even though we were stranded in a snow storm 200 miles away from home, two days before Christmas, they made it all work out brilliantly!
     

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