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EPAS_w001 - Our Model X almost killed us today :(

gigawatt1010

Member
Aug 21, 2016
496
487
Orange County, New York
Running some errands this morning and when I got back to our Model X, it had a bunch of warnings, Autodriving features disabled, sentry mode not active, etc. I didn’t realized that one of the errors was “steering assist reduced” EPAS_w001. I didn’t pay much attention to it and I thought it was related to my 51 miles SOC. I was about 8 miles from the Supercharger, so I just went about my day.

4 miles into my drive, I was approaching a left turn intersection, and as I was making the left trying to beat oncoming traffic, the steering wheel felt like it locked up - it was so heavy that it required a brute amount of force. Oncoming car had to do a full stop a few feet away from me.

I managed to finish the turn and pull into the shoulder. When the nerves finally settled, I completely turned the car off and rebooted the MCU. Continued on to the supercharger despite the EPAS_w001 error still appearing, but the steering wheel hasn’t locked up anymore. Made it home ok, but took local roads.

I already submitted a service request from the app, and now I’m afraid to drive this thing. Anyone else had this experience? 2019 MX 100D, pre-Raven, June 2019 delivery.
 

gigawatt1010

Member
Aug 21, 2016
496
487
Orange County, New York
Quick update on this... my local Service Center called me this morning and asked me to bring it in. They even had a signature series MX P90D for me as a loaner. Too bad it’s locked on chill mode.

SA mentioned they may have our MX for over a week. It looks like it’s something serious. I’ll update this thread as I hear from them.
 

TSLA Pilot

Active Member
Mar 12, 2013
1,816
2,534
United States
Yes, power steering failure is a very serious safety defect.

Recommend you file a report with NHTSA ASAP: www.safercar.gov

On a more pertinent note, our country (US) has a stunningly poor level of driver's education, especially as compared to Europe. Hence, the OP's feeling that the steering wheel "locked up" when, in reality, it was simply very, very hard to turn in his situation. Had he sped up, or applied more force, a near-head on collision situation would have been avoided. It was a very poor move to just let that sort of accident unfold due to a lack of knowledge of how non-powered steering works.

No Model X has a steering wheel lock, AFAIK, and never will . . . but it's what you end up with when there is nearly zero quality drivers education here.

p.s. And, a huge shame on Tesla for not improving the alert/warning for this failure mode. They really need to hire some Human Factors Engineers to explain to them how to rank order and alert for various failure modes . . . .
 

gigawatt1010

Member
Aug 21, 2016
496
487
Orange County, New York
Thanks @TSLA Pilot - I agree that Tesla need to do a better job at the warning for these events this serious. My local SC took the car in the very next day with a nice P90D MX as a loaner and my SA forewarned me that they may have the car for well over a week. So that sounded serious indeed.

Regarding your comment about the US having a poor level of driver's ed - I agree 100%. My biggest pet peeve is the dork that stays on the left lane at 65mph without passing anyone and just clogging traffic. That's a no-no in most other countries, including Asia where I grew up in and learned how to drive at 12. Also, I did know the steering wheel did not lock up, I did say it "felt like it locked up." I did speed a little bit, it's a left turn, so I can't necessarily floor it, but I did increase my speed but the oncoming car swerved to his right so we ended up vying for the lane at the turn. It behaved as any non-power steering, 5,000+ car. I happen to have one, a 1965 Series IIa Right Hand Drive Land Rover that I have to double clutch to shift.

Thanks also for the tip on filing a report on NHTSA's website. So far, I haven't heard from the SA yet.
 

TSLA Pilot

Active Member
Mar 12, 2013
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Thanks @TSLA Pilot - I agree that Tesla need to do a better job at the warning for these events this serious. My local SC took the car in the very next day with a nice P90D MX as a loaner and my SA forewarned me that they may have the car for well over a week. So that sounded serious indeed.

Regarding your comment about the US having a poor level of driver's ed - I agree 100%. My biggest pet peeve is the dork that stays on the left lane at 65mph without passing anyone and just clogging traffic. That's a no-no in most other countries, including Asia where I grew up in and learned how to drive at 12. Also, I did know the steering wheel did not lock up, I did say it "felt like it locked up." I did speed a little bit, it's a left turn, so I can't necessarily floor it, but I did increase my speed but the oncoming car swerved to his right so we ended up vying for the lane at the turn. It behaved as any non-power steering, 5,000+ car. I happen to have one, a 1965 Series IIa Right Hand Drive Land Rover that I have to double clutch to shift.

Thanks also for the tip on filing a report on NHTSA's website. So far, I haven't heard from the SA yet.

Yes, I too have had an EPAS failure and, at low speeds, the steering wheel is extremely difficult to turn, and this was just on a "lightweight" Model S--a Model X weighs a few hundred pounds more?

Hope that your SC escalates this concern. I tried to get Tesla to give a damn and escalate this as a safety defect and, AFAIK, nothing happened.

Elon: Tesla has a HUGE amount to learn about safety systems and protocols; it distresses me that they persist in being such slow learners . . . . This doesn't have to be the case. Fix it, STAT!
 
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Altes

Member
Sep 30, 2016
637
486
SF Bay area
Yes, I too have had an EPAS failure and, at low speeds, the steering wheel is extremely difficult to turn, and this was just on a "lightweight" Model S--a Model X weighs a few hundred pounds more?

Hope that your SC escalates this concern. I tried to get Tesla to give a damn and escalate this as a safety defect and, AFAIK, nothing happened.

Elon: Tesla has a HUGE amount to learn about safety systems and protocols; it distresses me that they persist in being such slow learners . . . . This doesn't have to be the case. Fix it, STAT!
elons gonna jump right on that as he reads ALL the posts here.....
 
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TSLA Pilot

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Mar 12, 2013
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elons gonna jump right on that as he reads ALL the posts here.....

As Elon is really smart, I remain eternally hopeful that he just runs searches for "Elon" on the TMC Forums every few days and reads all the posts where he's mentioned;-)

Not to derail the thread, but, seriously though, power steering needs to work reliably; when it doesn't, it needs to be a HUGE, BIG, RED ALERT. True story: Our low-miles 2017 MS Perf had erratic ps failures (some alerted, some not) that were supposedly "fixed" the first time with "let's throw a new 12-volt battery in there," a seemingly random repair idea that, as you might guess, had no impact. Other times the powertrain would just go into an odd "limp home" mode with about 30-50kW of power at WOT, only to "fix" itself after sitting for a few days or hours.

With the SC's being so hopelessly backed up, and Tesla Customer Service reaching a new low every week, we just traded it for another MS Perf. After massive faults in the first few days (so many that they wouldn't all fit on the MCU display!), thus far our 2019 has been infinitely better behaved. Except that even though it's a Raven with only 4k miles, we need the new front half-shafts fix due to the grinding at WOT . . . why can't Tesla get durability testing right? They've been building these since 2012 for Pete's sake!

Get this: I asked, begged even, the Dallas SC to FIX the 2017 MS Perf before it was sold to someone else. The car was traded in on Dec 31, 2019. I already had a scheduled appointment for that car's repairs on Jan 2, 2020. Even though the car was ON THEIR LOT on Dec 31st, and I had spoken with a service writer, and sent emails, AND left "do not transport; parts ordered for repair; must be fixed" notes in and on the car, you can guess what happened: it wasn't touched.

I returned a week or three later and spoke with the SC Manager, explaining that that car needed to be FIXED before it was sold. He said he'd "look into it." (Yeah, sure he would. Never heard from him again.)

After I did some backdoor research and found out it STILL hadn't been touched, but had been sold and was about to be delivered to a new owner, I screamed bloody murder to any email I had at Tesla: that MS Perf was going to kill someone if they didn't fix it. Tesla supposedly fixed it. Let's hope . . . .

(It was a very rare car: 2017 MS Perf, Silver over white ventilated seats, solid roof, and light on options, without Premium Sound, cold weather package, or a carbon fiber spoiler.)
 
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mxnym

Member
Mar 9, 2018
990
369
Bloomington, IN
in reality, it was simply very, very hard to turn in his situation. Had he sped up, or applied more force, a near-head on collision situation would have been avoided. It was a very poor move to just let that sort of accident unfold due to a lack of knowledge of how non-powered steering works.
Have you had the experience of driving a Model X without any power steering assist? I'm guessing not. I've driven old vehicles that don't have power steering and cut power to full size ICE sedans to see what not having power steering felt like. I agree with your advice generally, but not for a Model X. I had a "power steering assist reduced" message in 2017 shortly after purchasing my new X, but power steering assist was completely gone, and it took all of my weight to turn it at low speeds. I headed to work anyway because my drive is mostly highway and I assumed it would be easier to steer at higher speeds. Before jumping on the highway, I got up to 30 or 40 MPH and it was not ANY easier to turn. At that point, I chose not to get on the highway and struggled to get back home instead, exhausted from a 2 mile drive. I'm no expert, but I would guess a few factors play into this, such as:
  • The Model X is very heavy, it may weigh nearly twice as much as the vehicles involved in my prior experiences.
  • The power steering assist is electric; the electric power steering motor may add resistance when it is not active.
  • The power steering is not hydraulic, and as far as I know, there is no power steering fluid. The lack of power steering fluid may mean steering is more difficult regardless of the two previous points.
Unfortunately for OP, if I read correctly, he was in the middle of an interchange when the assistance dropped, so he didn't have the up-front experience to decide not to attempt the drive and speeding up likely wasn't a viable option (not that it would actually have helped anyway).
 
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Krazaak

Member
Jul 30, 2017
909
1,004
Charlotte, NC
I'm glad the OP avoided an accident, but I'm confused about exactly what Tesla could have done better. It sounds like there was a warning on the car about a power steering problem before it occurred and if I'm not mistaken, that is more than any other car with an impending power steering failure is going to give.

Tesla obviously owes an explanation of what failed and what was replaced in order to restore confidence in the vehicle, but no dash warning should be dismissed.

Almost any failure in a vehicle can be dangerous at the wrong time, but things can and do break all the time and if they break during what would be considered a risky maneuver, the resulting accident is ultimately the fault of the driver. Obviously, issues like these should be tracked so that systemic issues like the bolt failure on early Model S vehicles can be recalled, but it's not like Tesla invented this EPAS unit.
 
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Richbot

Member
Oct 16, 2020
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360
STL
Almost every car with EPAS sets a trouble code and alerts the driver if there's a problem detected with the system. IIRC it's even required by regulation now.
 

TSLA Pilot

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Mar 12, 2013
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United States
I'm glad the OP avoided an accident, but I'm confused about exactly what Tesla could have done better. It sounds like there was a warning on the car about a power steering problem before it occurred and if I'm not mistaken, that is more than any other car with an impending power steering failure is going to give.

Tesla obviously owes an explanation of what failed and what was replaced in order to restore confidence in the vehicle, but no dash warning should be dismissed.

Almost any failure in a vehicle can be dangerous at the wrong time, but things can and do break all the time and if they break during what would be considered a risky maneuver, the resulting accident is ultimately the fault of the driver. Obviously, issues like these should be tracked so that systemic issues like the bolt failure on early Model S vehicles can be recalled, but it's not like Tesla invented this EPAS unit.

I too have had this failure, but in the much lighter Model S.

The problem as I see, from a Human Factors Engineering background, is that the warning is far too little, too late. When EPAS fails, for many the steering wheel will "lock up," at least in their minds, because the steering is jaw-droppingly heavy.

The warning comes across as if this failure is no big deal, when, in reality, it is likely to cause an accident.

The warning's aggressiveness and alerts need to be far, far stronger.

Elon: As I stated earlier this year when Tesla tried to sell our traded-in 2017 MS Perf to someone WITHOUT BOTHERING TO DIAGNOSE AND FIX THE PROBLEM, despite having a repair appointment (and supposedly, the parts in stock), someone is going to get hurt if you don't fix this problem.
 

Krazaak

Member
Jul 30, 2017
909
1,004
Charlotte, NC
I too have had this failure, but in the much lighter Model S.

The problem as I see, from a Human Factors Engineering background, is that the warning is far too little, too late. When EPAS fails, for many the steering wheel will "lock up," at least in their minds, because the steering is jaw-droppingly heavy.

The warning comes across as if this failure is no big deal, when, in reality, it is likely to cause an accident.

The warning's aggressiveness and alerts need to be far, far stronger.

Elon: As I stated earlier this year when Tesla tried to sell our traded-in 2017 MS Perf to someone WITHOUT BOTHERING TO DIAGNOSE AND FIX THE PROBLEM, despite having a repair appointment (and supposedly, the parts in stock), someone is going to get hurt if you don't fix this problem.

I don't disagree, selling a vehicle with an active safety fault is unacceptable. Personally, if Tesla isn't going to refurbish vehicles, I think they should get out of the used sales business.

Humans tuning out warnings unfortunately can't be avoided unless you make them so impossible to ignore that you impede operation. Somebody will always come up with a reason why they need to operate in that situation, similar to those that complain they can't drive away while plugged in if the situation is dangerous enough to warrant it.

I wouldn't mind Tesla implementing something more visible though, perhaps changing the background of the instrument cluster red for safety related items, in order to draw more attention.
 
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gigawatt1010

Member
Aug 21, 2016
496
487
Orange County, New York
Hi guys, just a quick update on this. I heard from my SA yesterday and this is what he said... (copy pasted from his text)

“Progress has been made, which is huge(!) but there are still a bunch of checks we are continuing to perform. Looks like it may be related to one fuse, in particular, but we need to make sure that it's only this and not anything else. Will keep you posted as I have more information. Thank you!”

I will obviously have a more detailed conversation on what this fuse is and what caused it to fail so I can restore my confidence. He’s been super informative and responsive to me, so I’m good on that front.

I am not particularly blaming Tesla as there was indeed a warning, stating that EPAS will be “reduced” and having seen that for the first time, I just thought, ok, maybe it’s due to my very low SOC. I was 8 miles away to an SC with just 12 miles range so it came up with other warnings related to my low SOC (like sentry mode, etc).

I do agree with @TSLA Pilot on making the warning more dire and idiot proof (for idiots like me LOL)

Anyway, I’ll keep you guys posted. I started this thread so we have a reference for others in the future, should they encounter an error like this.
 

gigawatt1010

Member
Aug 21, 2016
496
487
Orange County, New York
Another update...

I
DFAD3C33-D47D-4DC1-975C-14D827A021AD.jpeg
haven’t spoken to my SA since the last update but I received an email that shows they ordered the fuse.
 

P85_DA

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Apr 25, 2015
4,214
2,946
CA
I just got this error code EPAS_W001 on 2018 X P ...my situation a little different than OP ...I was passing on a single lane road and did a quick jerk of steering wheel ..for the duration of drive autopilot was disabled and steering was a little heavy ...called in to SC to remote diagnose and they scheduled an appointment...however during a break approx 30 min when car was parked ..the error code disappeared and back to normal now
 
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