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Headlights turning off by itself

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by Teriyaki88, Dec 6, 2016.

  1. Teriyaki88

    Teriyaki88 Member

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    Background: I have a 2013 P85. I made two modifications: Added additional LED lights for the Frunk and the Trunk (it's getting power from the existing bulbs in the trunk and frunk). I also added a Blackvue two-channel dash cam (professionally installed).

    Over the past 18 months i noticed that one of my headlights would turn off on its own. Sometimes the left one would go off. Sometimes the right one would go off. And most recently both would turn off. Needless to say this is very dangerous.

    When this happens, I would turn off the head lights then turn them back on. This would cure the problem temporarily. Over that past 6 months I noticed that the problem has gotten worse. The intermittent problem has become more frequent. Almost 3-4 times in a period of 10-15 minutes.

    I took it into Service and had them diagnose it. They said my frunk and trunk lighting is causing this problem. So to correct this, I completely disconnected all of the lighting. Well this didn't correct the problem.

    I then guessed that the problem could be the dash cam. I took the car into where i had it installed and they moved the power source from rear view mirror area and it is now drawing the power from the USB/Center console area.

    Guess what? Now the problem is now worse! To see if it would solve the problem, I disconnect the dash cam, pulling the power cord to the device. Well this didn't solve it either. So now i'm really stumped as nothing is connected.

    One thing i observed is that when I'm driving slow, the lights would turn off more frequently. When I'm driving fast (60+ MPH), the problem would not be as frequent.

    Any suggestions? I'm completely stumped and frustrated.
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. mrElbe

    mrElbe Active Member

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    Your lighting mods and dashcam have nothing to do with the headlight problem. Just a poor excuse of blaming something. Since your vehicle is a 2013, you most likely have regular 9005 headlight bulb units. The filaments in them seem to be intermittently making contact. Change the bulbs. If you have HID bulbs, then it gets more expensive to replace them.
     
    • Like x 1
  3. Teriyaki88

    Teriyaki88 Member

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    Thank you. I think I have the High Intensity bulbs. I'm going to see what it would cost to replace them.
     
  4. Teriyaki88

    Teriyaki88 Member

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    Another MS 2013 driver said he experienced similar problems. He had to replace the MCU (master control unit). I think this is the display screen. That would suck as its supposed to be pricey. Sigh.
     
  5. number12

    number12 Active Member

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    Would that not be covered under warranty?
     
  6. Teriyaki88

    Teriyaki88 Member

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    Mine is 2013. Not sure if that would be covered.
     
  7. Maximapolak

    Maximapolak Member

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    When you were at the service center, did you ask if you're still under warranty? Put all the stock lights in an go in again.
     
  8. Teriyaki88

    Teriyaki88 Member

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    I finally got the car into the service center.
    They've identified the problem as something with the headlight bulb and the unit. Also found an issue with the ground. Cost to repair: $995 for parts and labor. <Sigh>
     
    • Informative x 1
  9. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    As I understand it HID Ballasts wear out, and that could cause intermittent issues like this. The other option I can see is an unstable 12V voltage, either because of a failing battery or a failing DC-DC converter.
     
    • Love x 1
  10. Bill in NJ

    Bill in NJ New Member

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    Had my car into for this exact same issue 2013 just this week. Been having the same headlight issue for about 2 years and it never gets resolved. Multiple visits to fix this issue with guesses on the fix. Clean the wires, ballasts, etc, etc. There have to be more owners having this issue.
     
    • Like x 1
  11. Teriyaki88

    Teriyaki88 Member

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    I got my car back two days ago. The left HD Headlamp unit was replaced. $830 for the part plus labor. It is working. The bad news is that the other side is going on and off...but not as frequently. Sigh,
     
    • Informative x 1
  12. AMPUP

    AMPUP Member

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    So are l you guys out of warranty? You can get replacements on eBay for less than $200 each, might be the way to go.
     
  13. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    Same issue here. It started happening just rarely and over time more frequent.

    I would think it's just the light bulbs. I have the tech package so I have the HID lights. I will replace the bulbs first and see if that fixes the problem.

    I'm stunned by the different stories here. I can't imagine the MCU needing replacement or the entire headlight unit.
     
  14. whisper2015

    whisper2015 New Member

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    Well, it's not just 2013's. I have a Model S 2015 and my headlights are doing the same thing described here. Left might go off, right might go off, they might both go off. I tend to lean towards it being the ballast although it certainly could be the bulb. The reason I lean towards the ballast is because sometimes they flicker badly before going out. Much like if you have a bad ballast with fluorescent lighting and it flickers, goes out won't turn on, etc.

    Unfortunately I am out of warranty (>85k miles) and I would be more than willing to replace the ballasts myself. Does anyone know of any guides for where they are located and what needs to be removed, etc?
     
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  15. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    I'm in the middle of moving so I can't work on my car right now. Once I have a day I will replace light bulbs and see if it helps. The lights are accessed through the wheel well. It's probably easiest if you remove the wheel first, then remove the covers. Maybe it works by just turning the steering all the way one way.
     
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  16. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    Just wanted to post an update. I finally got time to replace my head light bulbs and the problem is gone. It was just the HID light bulbs that caused the light to turn off randomly. Charging $830 for a single light bulb is almost criminal! WTF? I got mine for $35 a pair from Amazon and they work great. I replaced them myself and everything is fine now.
    I think it's just so messed up that Tesla owners get ripped off this way. If anyone needs help replacing their head lights, I'm going to edit together a little video how to replace them.
     
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    • Like x 1
  17. Teriyaki88

    Teriyaki88 Member

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    That would be awesome. My other headlight is doing it as well. Sigh.


     
  18. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    Short video how to swap the light bulbs out.

    I swapped out both sides and the problem of my lights randomly turning off is completely gone.
     
    • Informative x 1
  19. SDRick

    SDRick Member

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    Nice video, how much does one save by doing it yourself?
     
  20. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    Tesla charges an outrageous amount for it. Someone mentioned around $1000 to have them replaced. Someone else said their service center said the random turning off is a problem with the main computer which is several thousands to replace. Seriously I don't mind pay for for good quality or service, but this is just a rip off.

    AutoZone has them for $130 each, on Amazon you can find them for $34 a pair! Total time is about 45 min. If someone needs help replacing theirs in Orange County, send me a PM and I can help.
     

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