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2012 Model S undrivable due to parking brack won't release

efusco

Moderator - Model S & X forums
Mar 29, 2009
5,422
685
Nixa, Missouri, United States
Tried to drive my daughter to school and myself to work this morning in my 2012 Model S with 80,000+ miles and the parking brake would not release. I think it's just the right rear brake, but may have been more than that initially, but the other(s) broke free. I made multiple attempts to back the car up and pull it forward to try to get the frozen parking brake to release, because that has worked in the past over the years when damp weather caused the pad to stick to the disc brake, particularly in the winter. We have had torrential rains and flooding here and I drove through some fairly deep puddles (maybe 6" max) on Saturday during the rains, then parked the car around 3pm Saturday and did not drive it again until today (Monday)...so it sat for ~40 hours without being driven.

Called service, they had me power down for 2 minutes, then power up and do a reset with the scroll wheels, but that didn't do anything...I really don't think it's an electronics issue, I think the brake pad is physically stuck to the disk from the moisture.

Having it towed 180 miles up to the KC Service center this morning, suspect it will be a quick fix, but still a pain in the rear to be without the car for a couple of days.

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efusco

Moderator - Model S & X forums
Mar 29, 2009
5,422
685
Nixa, Missouri, United States
Not that its much consolation, but this is not a unique problem to Tesla.
What other vehicles use a similar system (secondary disk brake system for parking brake)? I thought it was pretty unusual.
I suspect this will be a 5 minute fix once at the service center, but the 180 mile flat bed to get it there sucks. And it took the towing company 2 hours to get it on a truck. The first guy had no clue, the second guy understood what I had told them initially (needs a roller under the right rear (locked) wheel, car in neutral and pull on the truck...but the first guy just couldn't get it...called Tesla and they ran him through the whole shut-down/reboot sequence again which, of course, did nothing and then he panicked and didn't want to try to load it on his truck.

In any case, she is enroute to Kansas City....and I'm driving a 13 year old Prius...
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jaguar36

Active Member
Apr 10, 2014
2,098
1,898
NJ
What other vehicles use a similar system (secondary disk brake system for parking brake)? I thought it was pretty unusual.
I've only see it on high end cars, like the R8 and F430. (Incidentally Tesla is only putting them in the P cars now too).

I meant in generally parking brakes getting stuck on happens on ICEs too. (even ones with the typical drum inside the disc setup)
 

KidDoc

Member
Aug 6, 2014
348
431
College Station, TX
Good luck with this repair. I have noticed that the day after I wash my car it makes a clunk noise when I first drive out of the garage. I'm guessing that is these brakes sticking due to the moisture. I may try to get the leaf blower out and dry them in the future.
 
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efusco

Moderator - Model S & X forums
Mar 29, 2009
5,422
685
Nixa, Missouri, United States
Good luck with this repair. I have noticed that the day after I wash my car it makes a clunk noise when I first drive out of the garage. I'm guessing that is these brakes sticking due to the moisture. I may try to get the leaf blower out and dry them in the future.
I typically only have noticed it in the winter months for some reason, usually a bit of rain isn't a big deal, but we have had a lot of wet weather, so that wast probably a factor.

The thing is, you'd need to dry them while the car is in neutral, reverse or drive while someone holds the brake so that you dry the area where the parking brake caliper engages before you hit the P button. Could be a pain in the butt. If you put it in park, I don't think you'll get that area dry.
 

KidDoc

Member
Aug 6, 2014
348
431
College Station, TX
I typically only have noticed it in the winter months for some reason, usually a bit of rain isn't a big deal, but we have had a lot of wet weather, so that wast probably a factor.

The thing is, you'd need to dry them while the car is in neutral, reverse or drive while someone holds the brake so that you dry the area where the parking brake caliper engages before you hit the P button. Could be a pain in the butt. If you put it in park, I don't think you'll get that area dry.

I think I could do that in the garage. It is pretty flat. Good point though I wouldn't have thought of that.
 

bishoppeak

Member
Oct 3, 2015
501
581
San Luis Obispo, CA
It's a unique problem to high tech cars. The more technology you put in a car, the more stuff can go wrong. Nothing was wrong with the old physical mechanical parking brakes, but some people just have to make everything futuristic and easily broken.
When I was a kid, my 1965 Dodge Dart's ebrake locked when I used it due to corrosion.
 

SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,251
10,124
SF Bay Area
Sorry you are having this issue. I have seen it mentioned on the forum before. Did want to say what a great looking car you have, nice wheels and I love your plates. Hope you have it back soon.
 

efusco

Moderator - Model S & X forums
Mar 29, 2009
5,422
685
Nixa, Missouri, United States
Did tow driver have to drag this 5000 lb car w/ wheels locked? I can't imagine "tow mode" would have released the brake
As BrettS posted above, I was able to feel that it was just the passenger side brake/wheel that was locked. If you look at the photos closely the one where the truck driver is laying under the car he's putting the roller under that wheel.
 

efusco

Moderator - Model S & X forums
Mar 29, 2009
5,422
685
Nixa, Missouri, United States
Sorry you are having this issue. I have seen it mentioned on the forum before. Did want to say what a great looking car you have, nice wheels and I love your plates. Hope you have it back soon.
Thanks, I appreciate that. I have over 80k miles on her and this is the first time she's been undrivable. I've had most/all of the various early adopter bugs, but none impacted drivability.
 

Cyclone

Cyclonic Member ((.oO))
Jan 12, 2015
5,058
1,153
Charlotte, NC
I typically only have noticed it in the winter months for some reason, usually a bit of rain isn't a big deal, but we have had a lot of wet weather, so that wast probably a factor.

The thing is, you'd need to dry them while the car is in neutral, reverse or drive while someone holds the brake so that you dry the area where the parking brake caliper engages before you hit the P button. Could be a pain in the butt. If you put it in park, I don't think you'll get that area dry.

I've been fortunate that there are decent hills in my neighborhood. So whenever it rains, I pop it into neutral when I enter the neighborhood and use the physical brakes up to the house. This warms up the rotors so that when I park in the garage, the rotors are hot enough to quickly evaporate the water before rusting. Do you have an opportunity near home to use your physical brakes more before pulling into the garage?

* Note that really isn't an option to those without a garage as the car would still sit in the elements regardless.
 

efusco

Moderator - Model S & X forums
Mar 29, 2009
5,422
685
Nixa, Missouri, United States
I've been fortunate that there are decent hills in my neighborhood. So whenever it rains, I pop it into neutral when I enter the neighborhood and use the physical brakes up to the house. This warms up the rotors so that when I park in the garage, the rotors are hot enough to quickly evaporate the water before rusting. Do you have an opportunity near home to use your physical brakes more before pulling into the garage?

* Note that really isn't an option to those without a garage as the car would still sit in the elements regardless.
I've used the technique and probably could pull that off as I coast into and down my fairly long driveway, but it first has to occur to me to do so and as this lockup issue has never been this bad (minor sticking only in the past) I never considered it prior to parking. I've used it when the brakes were wet and not grabbing well before.

So, yes, it's an option...just not one I'd considered prior to the problem occurring.
 

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