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Heating issue: right front heating vents pump out cold air


2020 Model S LR+ Owner
May 3, 2015
New Mexico, USA
First, before you ask, the temps are set in SYNC to "HI" for both driver and front passenger.

Ok, that out of the way: the right heating vents up front put out cold air much longer before they eventually warm up. This is a relatively new phenom. Often by the time the right side gets warm, I've arrived at my destination so it's moot.

When it's 19F outside, and the car's cold, it obviously takes a while for the heater to start putting out warm air, but when the driver's side dash vents are finally putting out warm air, it's still like frigid air coming out of the front passenger's dash vents... and it stays that way for a good while.

Anyone had this problem before? Is there more than one heater for the car? Like, L and R? Trying to figure out why I'd be having this problem.
Do you have range mode enabled? ;p

I have not had the issue your referencing, however with V7 I noticed a reduction in the ability for the car to heat the cabin generally speaking. I would reach out to your service center and ask them regarding the L or R heater. I cannot imagine that there are two different ones, but they would know for sure.
I'm on 7.0 (2.7.56); classic 2013 Model S85.

I've never gotten prompted to load 2.9.12.

I suppose I should add this to the list of things to tell service when I drive 900 miles to get service next week. (Hey, it's New Mexico, the state Tesla doesn't give a s*** about.)

Took the car into service, got new 7.0 firmware. Result: heating problem WORSE. New symptoms: same as before, eventual heat in driver's side dash vents, but ice cold air coming from passenger dash vents, even 20 minutes in! BUT also, sometimes the problem would switch, and driver's side went COLD, and passenger side got warm!

So I took it back to service this morning, they gave me yet another firmware update sideloaded; I did install tonight while at dinner. Result: NO HEAT AT ALL NOW for 10 min drive home from dinner.

It's blizzard conditions in New Mexico, we head back Monday. We're concerned there's no heat now. Sheesh, Tesla!
Latest update:

Got the 7.1 software installed, no difference to the heating problem.

Which is what it is. My car's heating has a problem, and it is getting worse as the weeks go by.

Basically, there's now never any heat coming out of the right two dash vents (passenger side) and the left two vents (driver's side) are getting less and less warm, if there's any heat at all.

• Range mode ON or OFF makes no diff
• Even an hour later and the heat is iffy in the driver's vents, and still cold on right vents
• Temp set to HI, sync'd on left and ride sides
• Doesn't matter if fan is 1 or 10, except that the higher speed the fan, the colder the air is.
• Doesn't matter if mode is Recirc or Outside air.

I guess the next step is the dreaded one.... only way to get this fixed is to have the car towed to Denver for $180 (yes, Tesla is now charging customers in the vast wasteland called New Mexico, devoid of service centers).
This morning's update -- I think the heat is BROKEN now in my car. There is basically no heat.

I went out for breakfast this morning and the car said the outside temp was 3ºF. Even attempting to pre-heat the car while it sat in the garage did no good. The heater fan just blew out frigid cold air. Good thing the seat heater still works.

Surprised no replies to this.

Has anyone else been through this problem? Is it something a Ranger can fix on-site? I really dread having to pay big bucks to ship the car to Denver for warranty work.
This morning's update -- I think the heat is BROKEN now in my car. There is basically no heat.

I went out for breakfast this morning and the car said the outside temp was 3ºF. Even attempting to pre-heat the car while it sat in the garage did no good. The heater fan just blew out frigid cold air. Good thing the seat heater still works.

Surprised no replies to this.

Has anyone else been through this problem? Is it something a Ranger can fix on-site? I really dread having to pay big bucks to ship the car to Denver for warranty work.

I've seen this before posted on the forum, basically the cabin heater / DCDC converter / front HVJB had to be replaced. Shouldn't be related to 7.0 install.
Latest update:

Ranger showed up today, spent a couple hours checking out the problems with heat.

Conclusion: This isn't a firmware issue, it is real genuine hardware failing. One or more of the actuators are flaky and not working right.

Result: The heat was being blocked from coming out the vents, so intense hot air was building up behind the dash, causing the temp sensor for the right pair of dash vents to record a temperature of 165ºC (!!!!! that's 329ºF!!!!) and the driver's side sensor was finding 67ºC (152.6ºF), which confused the system, to say the least.

Further result: This helped explain why when I got in the car and turned the heat on but set it to a fan speed of 1, it was getting out (at least driver's side), but if I turned it up, it went cold, as too much heat was being trapped behind the dash, around the heating unit, which was getting super-hot.

Repair action: he ordered a new actuator, and has to have it FedExed overnight Saturday delivery to his hotel and then he's driving back here tomorrow to install.

Fingers crossed that this solves the problem once and for all!
Final update:

Yay. What a concept: heat! I have heat!

Ranger came back today after receiving overnighted part from Fremont. He takes dash apart again, to install the new part (an actuator). Only then does he discover Fremont sent THE WRONG PART. Arrrgh. Turns out there are actuators on the drivers and passenger sides, and they are mirror images of each other.

Being a smart Ranger, he decided to take the malfunctioning electronic guts out of the old actuator (whose plastic housing is designed only for the passenger side) and stuff the electronic guts of the NEW actuator (whose plastic housing is designed only for the DRIVER'S side) and presto! the electronic guts were exactly the same and fit in either actuator plastic housing.

So that spared him a THIRD visit to my house.

I was quite impressed. He did a great job and now my car, for the first time in like 2+ months, has heat! Wow, it's like a different car. I forgot how hot it gets!

Count me as a happy customer.
Nice to hear they sent a Ranger out instead of making you come to Denver. Must be a discretionary call by the head of the Denver SC. They've always taken good care of me, too.

Actually (and I'm not saddened by this at all), Denver's out of the picture for New Mexico.

The new Rangers are based in Tucson and EL Paso. The Tucson guy, who visited me on these trips, works for the Scottsdale, AZ service center. I believe the El Paso guy works for San Antonio's service center (there's one there, right?). I'm not sure they'd even tow to Denver anymore. Denver appears to be out of the equation for New Mexico, as it's so overburdened by other demands.

Man, this New Mexico situation is going to get only worse, way worse, before the state finally stops its stupid blockage of an American business and allows Tesla to open its service center in ABQ.
Ugh. I was hoping to not post another update, but, here's another update.

The heating problem has RETURNED!

When the Ranger was here mid-day, we together took a 10 min drive when he'd finished working on everything, to confirm the heat was working. It was. It was awesome! Blaring, blasting heat, out of all four vents in the front. So hot that about 3/4 of the way through the test drive around the neighborhood, I had to turn it down as it was just too blazing hot inside the car. So I was sold, thanked him profusely for all the hard work, etc. Got back to the house, he took his truck and flat-bed trailer, and took off.

Few hours later I decided to go to a movie. I get in the car, turn on the heat, head out, and notice... s***.... how can this be.... same old problem as before... it's as if the Ranger never worked on the car. In fact, it's WORSE. The passenger-side dash vents put out a lot of air pressure, but it's ICE COLD, like A/C. Meanwhile, the driver's vents now put out very weak air pressure (this is when fan is set to max) and there's lukewarm, barely-warm heat, even when both driver's and passenger's temps are set to HI.

The whole 20-min drive to the theatre was this way. The whole 20-min drive home afterwards was also same way.

Now the Ranger is prolly home in Tucson. Crap.

Had a Tesla Ranger come to my house and work for four (4) hours on the heating problem. Still no resolution. Apparently my car has a unique problem nobody at Tesla including the engineers have seen before.

One discovery we made yesterday: he tested the air conditioning at full blast, and found that the right two dash vents put out faint HEAT when A/C is on set to LO. And when the heat is set to HI, those same two vents tend to put out ice cold air.

But then sometimes everything is fine. Like, this morning, plenty of heat in all 4 vents. It's like every other day there's failure, and then the other days are fine. The randomness must be driving Tesla crazy (not to mention the Ranger hours devoted to this already).

I suspect the next step is, haul the car to Scottsdale or Denver, tear out the entire heating and A/C system, and replace everything. Sigh.

p.s. The Tesla Rangers are absolutely great. I wish my car wasn't causing them so much hassle.

The Tesla Ranger is here again today. This is the FOURTH Ranger visit for the same heating problem. He's been here about 2 1/2 hours so far, which is awful because it's 20 degrees outside and the car is in the open garage.

He's chatting with Fremont engineers and apparently they're telling him to send the car to Denver and the shop will work on it there.

So I guess a rental ICE is coming soon to a garage very near me....

- - - Updated - - -

Perhaps the right vents are connected to the wrong side of the heat pump?

Nope, the vents are okay, it's the actuators.

- - - Updated - - -

Have you turned off the AC setting? I only turn it on during rain to keep the window from fogging but that is when I notice the cold air blowing while heating the car.

Sure, done all that. No diff. Yesterday it took 35 minutes of driving before the heat kicked in... and then it was WONDERFUL :)

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