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2021 Model 3/Y Heating Issues

variable

Member
Dec 16, 2020
22
27
Chicago, IL
So, my car just got this issue. It seems to be fairly quick to diagnose (besides not actually feeling heat) since the climate screen will have the "Climate Keeper is unavailable..." message, and you won't be able to turn on Dog or Camp mode, etc. You also won't be able to use the remote climate feature on the Tesla app, as it will error out.

I have an SC appoint for two weeks out (hoping they can switch to mobile service, but apparently no service centers or people are working on the weekend) for this, but wanted to throw some stuff up here for others as I suspect those of us in cold climates (which is pretty much everyone in the U.S. at this point thanks to the cold snap) are going to experience this based on what I've read.

The short of it is that it seems there are some defective temperature / humidity / pressure sensors in the heat pump 3/Y. This misreport what they're supposed to report, and that jacks up the software that controls how the heat pump is supposed to operate. Past videos show that Tesla got around this with firmware updates that would bypass these sensors. They are also apparently replacing these sensors, but clearly were still using bad sensors as of the December batch of Model 3s, so who knows how many are out there.

I've had my 2021 since early December and the heat was fine up till the 2021.4.6 update that installed a couple days ago. Not sure if this is correlated with my heat stopping working today or not, but given the past FW updates bypassed these bad sensors to "band-aid" the issue, I'm wondering if something changed with the "bug fixes" that undid what previous firmwares did.

I'm going to go to NHTSA and file a safety report since this is obviously a safety issue since it could impact the defrost working in cold climates. I highly recommend anyone else who has this issue do the same. The only way to get Tesla to actually do a recall for these faulty sensors (which seem to be very common from what I've read) is to get the NHTSA to force them to (which is much the same as the MCU1 flash issue that Tesla was ignoring and forcing owners to pay for out of pocket to fix that they now have to fix under the national recall or reimburse owners who already paid).

You can find the form here: File a Vehicle Safety Complaint | Safercar.gov | NHTSA

I'll post here with updates after the SC messages me back. I'm sure the SC will be able to fix it based on other YT videos I've watched, but I feel like it's really important to get some NHTSA pressure on Tesla so they can do a better job of vetting parts in the future and more proactively recall cars for safety issues.
 
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run-the-joules

Active Member
Aug 13, 2017
3,632
6,494
SF Bay
I'm going to go to NHTSA and file a safety report since this is obviously a safety issue since it could impact the defrost working in cold climates. I highly recommend anyone else who has this issue do the same. The only way to get Tesla to actually do a recall for these faulty sensors (which seem to be very common from what I've read) is to get the NHTSA to force them to (which is much the same as the MCU1 flash issue that Tesla was ignoring and forcing owners to pay for out of pocket to fix that they now have to fix under the national recall or reimburse owners who already paid).

You can find the form here: File a Vehicle Safety Complaint | Safercar.gov | NHTSA

I'll post here with updates after the SC messages me back. I'm sure the SC will be able to fix it based on other YT videos I've watched, but I feel like it's really important to get some NHTSA pressure on Tesla so they can do a better job of vetting parts in the future and more proactively recall cars for safety issues.


I think you are unfortunately correct. Tesla is in the big leagues now, which means never doing the right thing by choice, only when forced.
 
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variable

Member
Dec 16, 2020
22
27
Chicago, IL
I think you are unfortunately correct. Tesla is in the big leagues now, which means never doing the right thing by choice, only when forced.

Believe me, I wish I wasn't, I definitely want Tesla to succeed. They just need to understand that there are good reasons every other car company has a strong Six Sigma / Lean style quality process. Sometimes fast is too fast, especially where safety is involved.
 

tstolze

Member
Oct 9, 2020
213
301
OFallon, MO
They have identified there are faulty sensors and have updated sensors to install, seems they have accepted responsibility for the problem.
This is the first Winter for the Heat Pump system in these cars, a fairly quick fix has been designed, produced and is being installed as units are reported as not heating.
Remember, what seems to you as a lot of failures might be a very low percentage, it's the way it is in today's world, anything bad is all you see, meanwhile there might be a couple hundred thousand units operating without issue.
 
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Tdriver

Member
Jan 20, 2015
536
306
Palm Desert, CA
Only a small percentage of Tesla owners even read these forums let alone leave remarks in the forums. It’s basically impossible to determine how widespread problem is within the community.
 
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run-the-joules

Active Member
Aug 13, 2017
3,632
6,494
SF Bay
They have identified there are faulty sensors and have updated sensors to install, seems they have accepted responsibility for the problem.
This is the first Winter for the Heat Pump system in these cars, a fairly quick fix has been designed, produced and is being installed as units are reported as not heating.
Remember, what seems to you as a lot of failures might be a very low percentage, it's the way it is in today's world, anything bad is all you see, meanwhile there might be a couple hundred thousand units operating without issue.

I'm sorry but I have to disagree. This is something they need to be proactively contacting owners about and fixing. Functioning heat isn't a "nice to have", it's an essential safety feature.
 
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tstolze

Member
Oct 9, 2020
213
301
OFallon, MO
I'm sorry but I have to disagree. This is something they need to be proactively contacting owners about and fixing. Functioning heat isn't a "nice to have", it's an essential safety feature.

We have no idea what percentage of units are impacted, every Y has a Heat Pump and I believe every 3 since the 4th quarter, that gives me some indication that this is a limited issue or that is all we would be seeing posted here in the forums.
 

variable

Member
Dec 16, 2020
22
27
Chicago, IL
So, update on this. Rather than waiting for an appointment two weeks out, I just drove down to the local SC (which luckily is only a few blocks away from me). They took me in right away and luckily just received the three sensors that had to be replaced that day, so I was able to pick up my car after about 24 hours. My understanding is the actual fix to replace those sensors is pretty quick.

Overall I'm happy they were able to accommodate me and fix the issue quickly, though I really wish there were some better feedback mechanisms on the app itself. I don't mind using it for service, but not if they aren't responsive on it. Nobody had even updated the initial status until I physically drove into the SC and asked if they could help.

They also initially gave me a loaner M3LR since they said they didn't have the sensors in stock when I dropped the car off and didn't know when they'd be in, which was a bit of a surprise (I was expecting an Uber credit).
 
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elptxjc

Member
Dec 15, 2019
749
141
El Paso, TX
My question is if all sensors are 'bad', meaning they'd act up if it gets cold enough. My 2021 hasn't acted up yet, at least down to freezing (32F), so I'm not too worried about the sensors, even if 'bad'. But if there's a general issue with those sensors, hopefully Tesla will voluntarily recall them, so we have a functioning vehicle if we need to venture to colder places.
 

variable

Member
Dec 16, 2020
22
27
Chicago, IL
So, another update, this is NOT fixed. Just went for a 20 minute drive and the heat worked for about 10 minutes before it started blowing cold air despite being set to HI. Got home and the Climate Keeper Unavailable message is back. I'm going to drive it back to the SC tomorrow, but I am NOT happy. I don't think they actually replaced the sensors, or if they did they did with the same garbage sensors that are causing this issue.

Tesla really needs to get their act together.
 

father_of_6

Member
Jan 24, 2021
105
75
Buffalo, NY
I, too, have failing sensors... but they've bypassed them in software, so the car still has heat. This isn't the "major recall event" that you're describing. Cold air can defrost a window too.
 

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