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Model S: Frustrating experience with Tesla Roadside Assistance

JDH55

Member
Feb 16, 2021
6
8
Auburn, GA
Hello,
This is my first time posting and I am a new Model S owner (I took delivery early December 2020) I have enjoyed my Model S and the driving experience for the last two months and decided to take it on a road trip. I did have some range anxiety and wanted to see how my Model S would fare on a long trip. The trip was 496 miles one way and I was expecting 2-3 stops at Super Chargers. Tesla navigation only recommended two stops but i wound up needing three and learned I really needed to determine my own stops and not rely on the routing from Tesla.

My return trip home is where the problem occurred at my second super charger stop. I had completed the charging and went to unplug from the station and the cable would not disconnect. I thought I had not unlocked the port and selected unlock port and tried again, no luck. I went through the user manual tried the recommendations up to using the manual disconnect (which i did not try initially) I did a soft and hard restart of the computer, tried unlocking and locking the car then unlocking the charge port - no luck. I asked another Tesla owner at the charging station if they have seen this problem before and ran through some of the same steps again with another pair of eyes, no luck. You could hear the port click, but the cable would not disconnect. I finally tried the manual disconnect and this did not work either. I had 5 other Tesla owners take a look and they all said this seemed unusual.

So I tried contacting Tesla Roadside assistance through the Tesla app. This started on a Sunday at 12:30pm I contacted them around 2:45pm. A few minutes later I received a text response with a couple of suggestions. I responded I had tried the suggestions with no success. They had me to take any phones with the Tesla app and all keys and stay at least 30 feet away for 20 minutes. I stayed away for ~25 minutes and tired again without success. At this point I said i had been there for 3 hours and who could I escalate too. They said they needed to finish troubleshooting before they could escalate. They then said to hold down the button for 2 seconds and try and pull out - no success. They then asked to press the trunk button for 5 seconds and try to remove the cable, no success. I asked them to call me so we could speed up the process as the weather was quite cold and I had been there for over three hours now.

Tesla Roadside Assistance then told me they will send the request to Urgent Mobile to come out to assist. They are not open on the weekend and they would contact me TOMORROW. I replied back that they have to be kidding, I would be stuck at the supercharger overnight? They replied that Mobile Service would review my case tomorrow and contact me with next steps. I replied this has to be the WORST customer service I have ever received.

I called Road Side Assistance at this point and to make an already long story a bit shorter - they said the same thing and said they could give me a voucher for Uber. I was 5 hours away from home and this was not acceptable but they suggested renting a hotel room and staying the night. There were no Uber cars available so we wound up taking a Lyft car to a nearby hotel to stay the night.

The next day at 9:11am Mobile service called and said they would have a technician over after they finished their current service request. I believe the technician made it around 10:30 while I was away from the vehicle (did not call in advance). The technician was polite and professional and had removed the cable before I arrived. I asked what had caused the cable to stick and he said the end of the cable had melted onto my charge port. He had to manually remove the two charge caps from the supercharger cable from my charge port. He was not able to fully repair my charge port and I am now waiting to hear back from Mobile support on when the final repairs will be made.

Tesla did not offer to re-reimburse my time (I had to take a vacation day from work) nor did they offer to pay my hotel bill. I see this issue as being 100% a Tesla issue and not something I could have prevented (or caused). There were some other communication issues from Tesla during this ordeal but I just don't want to keep adding to this frustrating experience.

Has anyone else seen this issue and what are your thoughts on having no Mobile Tesla support over the weekend. If this had happened on a Friday night it would have ruined the entire weekend. I was just shocked at the poor response from Tesla.
 

BigNick

Disaffected Member
Dec 3, 2017
1,068
1,299
Pennsylvania, USA
I hope the Supercharger in question never went to 50% of stalls in use, or you might see some crazy idle fees if the system saw you as "done charging but still connected" at the Supercharger.

I always keep AAA for situations like this. AAA Premier is only $125/year (PA). Haven't had to use AAA since 2017 but it's a good backup plan.
 
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AustinP

Active Member
Apr 6, 2015
1,198
941
Belgium
Hello,
This is my first time posting and I am a new Model S owner (I took delivery early December 2020) I have enjoyed my Model S and the driving experience for the last two months and decided to take it on a road trip. I did have some range anxiety and wanted to see how my Model S would fare on a long trip. The trip was 496 miles one way and I was expecting 2-3 stops at Super Chargers. Tesla navigation only recommended two stops but i wound up needing three and learned I really needed to determine my own stops and not rely on the routing from Tesla.

My return trip home is where the problem occurred at my second super charger stop. I had completed the charging and went to unplug from the station and the cable would not disconnect. I thought I had not unlocked the port and selected unlock port and tried again, no luck. I went through the user manual tried the recommendations up to using the manual disconnect (which i did not try initially) I did a soft and hard restart of the computer, tried unlocking and locking the car then unlocking the charge port - no luck. I asked another Tesla owner at the charging station if they have seen this problem before and ran through some of the same steps again with another pair of eyes, no luck. You could hear the port click, but the cable would not disconnect. I finally tried the manual disconnect and this did not work either. I had 5 other Tesla owners take a look and they all said this seemed unusual.

So I tried contacting Tesla Roadside assistance through the Tesla app. This started on a Sunday at 12:30pm I contacted them around 2:45pm. A few minutes later I received a text response with a couple of suggestions. I responded I had tried the suggestions with no success. They had me to take any phones with the Tesla app and all keys and stay at least 30 feet away for 20 minutes. I stayed away for ~25 minutes and tired again without success. At this point I said i had been there for 3 hours and who could I escalate too. They said they needed to finish troubleshooting before they could escalate. They then said to hold down the button for 2 seconds and try and pull out - no success. They then asked to press the trunk button for 5 seconds and try to remove the cable, no success. I asked them to call me so we could speed up the process as the weather was quite cold and I had been there for over three hours now.

Tesla Roadside Assistance then told me they will send the request to Urgent Mobile to come out to assist. They are not open on the weekend and they would contact me TOMORROW. I replied back that they have to be kidding, I would be stuck at the supercharger overnight? They replied that Mobile Service would review my case tomorrow and contact me with next steps. I replied this has to be the WORST customer service I have ever received.

I called Road Side Assistance at this point and to make an already long story a bit shorter - they said the same thing and said they could give me a voucher for Uber. I was 5 hours away from home and this was not acceptable but they suggested renting a hotel room and staying the night. There were no Uber cars available so we wound up taking a Lyft car to a nearby hotel to stay the night.

The next day at 9:11am Mobile service called and said they would have a technician over after they finished their current service request. I believe the technician made it around 10:30 while I was away from the vehicle (did not call in advance). The technician was polite and professional and had removed the cable before I arrived. I asked what had caused the cable to stick and he said the end of the cable had melted onto my charge port. He had to manually remove the two charge caps from the supercharger cable from my charge port. He was not able to fully repair my charge port and I am now waiting to hear back from Mobile support on when the final repairs will be made.

Tesla did not offer to re-reimburse my time (I had to take a vacation day from work) nor did they offer to pay my hotel bill. I see this issue as being 100% a Tesla issue and not something I could have prevented (or caused). There were some other communication issues from Tesla during this ordeal but I just don't want to keep adding to this frustrating experience.

Has anyone else seen this issue and what are your thoughts on having no Mobile Tesla support over the weekend. If this had happened on a Friday night it would have ruined the entire weekend. I was just shocked at the poor response from Tesla.
Very sad this happened to you.
I don’t have stats but seems like one in a million.
Hope this does not discourage you from your next road trip.
We have had our S for 5+ years and I really miss not having been able to drive to Italy and the French mountain last year, because of Covid.
 

JDH55

Member
Feb 16, 2021
6
8
Auburn, GA
Very sad this happened to you.
I don’t have stats but seems like one in a million.
Hope this does not discourage you from your next road trip.
We have had our S for 5+ years and I really miss not having been able to drive to Italy and the French mountain last year, because of Covid.
It will not discourage me - but I am sad this was my first experience with a road trip and Tesla support. My wife on the other hand has no desire to take a road trip in a Tesla again.
 

BigNick

Disaffected Member
Dec 3, 2017
1,068
1,299
Pennsylvania, USA
It will not discourage me - but I am sad this was my first experience with a road trip and Tesla support. My wife on the other hand has no desire to take a road trip in a Tesla again.
This is the kind of thing that a pioneering EV manufacturer needs to get right. First time, every time. Anyone who has a similar experience and thinks "I'd be better off driving my old ICEr" may never consider owning an EV again, and attempt to convince anyone who will listen that EVs aren't any good.
 

SO16

Active Member
Feb 25, 2016
2,866
8,845
MI
It will not discourage me - but I am sad this was my first experience with a road trip and Tesla support. My wife on the other hand has no desire to take a road trip in a Tesla again.

That is unfortunate about the charger melting. First I’ve heard of this issue. I often wonder if someone couldn’t “sabotage” superchargers by putting in something into the plug to do something like this. I try to remember to look at the plug before plugging it in. Only one time did I see a damaged charger plug that I then didn’t use. (This was actually at a hotel and I told them about it.)

As far as your wife goes, that is too bad too. But I certainly wouldn’t let one experience like this dictate my entire future.

That is a poor Tesla service experience.

I wonder how AAA could have helped with this. Couldn’t unplug the vehicle.
 
Last edited:

SaveOurPlanet

Member
Jan 6, 2018
202
122
San Francisco
I think some people would damage chargers on purpose for whatever reason, don't think done by Tesla owners though. I've seen damaged charging cable at hotels before. With the exception of getting stuck at supercharger I think getting stuck is no different than any ICE car, I used more Mercedes Roadside than Tesla and usually they would tell me that AAA would show up faster to tow my car to a dealer than waiting for Roadside to show up and they would probably call a tow truck too. I used Tesla Roadside once and it did not work as expected. I used to do road trips down the coast to visit my daughter once or twice a year because I like to spend a night at Central Coast and have a nice dinner then head out the next morning to avoid LA traffic. It was at the tail end of a big storm and I hit some rocks on the road somewhere past Big Sur and got a flat. I was surprised to find out that there is no cell signal around Big Sur so I walked half a mile to the Esalen Institute to use their land line to call Tesla Roadside, they made me wait for about half an hour to see if any Tesla shop would send a spare out to me. Of course no one has a tire but I suspect no one wants to drive out that way and back, so they sent a tow truck to tow me back to Seaside (Monterey). It is a 3 hour round trip for the tow truck so by the time I got to Seaside the Tesla shop just closed (like 5 minutes past closing). I left the car out front and put my key in the dropbox with a note explaining I need a new tire. Of course, I called the next morning and the shop did not answer the phone, I had to call Roadside to have them patch me through. The service manager said there was no key and no car until I patiently asked him to walk outside to look at the car out front next to the front entrance. So I ended up checking into a different hotel and paying for the hotel that I did not show up for. But at least by 10:30 the next morning I was back on the road with a new tire. Do I still do road trip with the Tesla, of course, but I would think twice before driving on remote highways.
 

4SUPER9

Active Member
Jun 6, 2013
2,476
1,485
California
This is very upsetting. I am confused why mobile service was not available to you the same day. Does anybody have access to their contact language? I believe we have 24/7 roadside service, and if they did not offer that to you, take them to small claims for your time, hotel expenses, etc.
Alternatively, I would have asked for a rental car to be delivered to you, and have them tow your car back to you when repaired.
I agree that AAA could not have helped, as they could not disconnect the cable either.
 

2101Guy

Active Member
Jan 6, 2020
1,427
1,232
USA
never heard of the melting issue before. Heard of the stuck issue, but typically holding the button down for a couple seconds and THEN pulling, releases it. That didnt work for you.

Check with your insurance company for potential reimbursement of any kind for the hotel.

Also, you may wish to gather all receipts and proof of cost of a day from work, and submit in writing to Tesla for reimbursement.
 

JDH55

Member
Feb 16, 2021
6
8
Auburn, GA
never heard of the melting issue before. Heard of the stuck issue, but typically holding the button down for a couple seconds and THEN pulling, releases it. That didnt work for you.

Check with your insurance company for potential reimbursement of any kind for the hotel.

Also, you may wish to gather all receipts and proof of cost of a day from work, and submit in writing to Tesla for reimbursement.
 

JDH55

Member
Feb 16, 2021
6
8
Auburn, GA
Feb 26th - My frustration continues - Tesla never contacted me to repair the damaged charge port on my car due to the faulty Supercharger cable. The local Tesla service center phone system leaves you no option to actually talk with anyone. I started a new service request through the Tesla App. I will follow up with the results
 
Last edited:

aerodyne

Active Member
Nov 19, 2018
2,186
1,628
Los Angeles
Feb 26th - My frustration continues - Tesla never contacted me to repair the damaged charge port on my car due to the faulty Supercharger cable. The local Tesla service center phone system leaves you no option to actually talk with anyone. I started a new service request through the Tesla App. I will follow up with the results

You should get a timely response through the app.

Charge port can be replaced by Mobile service in Less than a hour, make sure you request Mobile...

Sorry this happened to you. Been on forum for years, never heard of this problem before.
 
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outdoors

Always roaming
Aug 10, 2014
1,602
2,753
in the moment
Strange situation. Sorry you had a bad experience. I always double-check the charging wand.

Here is the roadside assistance policy:

https://www.tesla.com/sites/default/files/downloads/roadside-assistance-policy-en.pdf

These are the words I think that are pertaining to your out of pocket costs.

Tesla hereby disclaims any and all indirect, incidental, special and consequential damages arising out of, or relating to, roadside assistance, including, but not limited to, loss of vehicle value, time, income, personal or commercial property, or use, inconvenience or aggravation, emotional distress, commercial loss (including lost profits or earnings), bus fares or other transportation costs, vehicle rental, gasoline or lodging expenses, damage to tow vehicle, and incidental charges such as telephone calls, facsimile transmissions, and mailing expenses. The exclusions and limitations in the preceding sentence shall apply whether your claim is in contract, tort (including negligence and gross negligence), breach of warranty or condition, misrepresentation (whether negligent or otherwise) or otherwise at law or in equity, even if Tesla is advised of the possibility of such damages or such damages are reasonably foreseeable.
 
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4SUPER9

Active Member
Jun 6, 2013
2,476
1,485
California
In other words, "We at Tesla can do absolutely anything we want, including gross negligence, and you can't do a darn thing about it. Na na na na nah na."
 
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Doanster1

Member
Feb 14, 2018
896
470
Oregon
First off, sorry to hear of this hugely negative experience in terms of road tripping and being stuck far away from home. Not exactly a good first experience. It’s an anomaly, however, so you gotta get back in the saddle once this resolved. Sounds like much convincing of the wife will be needed, but you gotta do it.
There have been a few examples of melted adapters as well as charge ports. Failed onboard charger, faulty ground, debris in the port, etc. All anomalies I tell ‘ya.
One thing I don’t agree with, however, is expecting reimbursement for the hotel or lost day of work. Def would’ve been good if they could’ve rushed a ranger out to you, but this was on a Sunday and they got to you less than 12hrs later. If this had been a brand new ICE car that broke down on a Sunday, you’d call a tow truck and have it sitting at the dealership until 7am Monday morning. Repairs would be covered under warranty, but you wouldn’t make a claim for the hotel and lost wages, would you?
Again, horrible situation overall and I hope it doesn’t stop you from road tripping and using the SuC network.

Not able to charge at super charging stations.

ps you can reach a real human by choosing “My Car is currently in for service” option from the IVR phone menu
 
May 13, 2019
104
124
Charlotte, NC
So sorry to hear your ordeal. Unfortunately, looks like it is not that uncommon. Something similar happened to me few weeks back that I posted in the SC forum - Supercharger - Strasburg, VA

I was lucky I could remove it, but this was in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere. I can imagine your frustration levels. I was scared it might be a safety / fire issue with wires shorting (came to know later that would never happen due to auto-shut-off like in my case). Still really hope there is a better way they can address this scary issue of cable melting.
 
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