Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

New Model 3 brake issue

m-i-l

Member
Jun 20, 2019
113
130
London NW3
I had the Brake warning light appear while driving on Sunday night, 5 days after collecting my new Model 3. The message told me that the brake fluid level may be low and that I should find a safe place to pull over and contact Tesla. I should have taken a photo for the exact wording, but it did sound a potentially serious issue.

I used the app to report the issue and schedule a service. I also phoned the Service Centre on the Monday and spoke to someone there, who seemed familiar with the issue and fairly relaxed about it, although they did say the message was unlikely to go away by itself.

I didn't use the car after that, but took it into the Service Centre yesterday (Thursday). In my case, the people at the Service Centre did say the brake fluid was slightly low, so it wasn't likely to be a false alarm as such. They said the issue is likely to be that there was a small air bubble somewhere in the system. It sometimes happens if they fill it up too quickly in the factory, and it can take a while for the bubbles to work their way out through use. The same can happen with the battery coolant fluid sometimes as well apparently. When the bubbles have worked their way out that can trigger the warning about the fluid level. Topping up is usually the end of it, which they did. They don't think the warning will happen again, but if it does they said they would take another look to see if there is some other issue.

By the sounds of it, there are others with this issue too, so hopefully this information is of some assistance to those.

BTW, it was my first trip to a dedicated Service Centre. Seemed reasonably well appointed, with nice coffee, some children's play things, and doors to the service bay that open automatically when you approach in your Tesla. The staff seemed knowledgeable and helpful as well.

Got an approx 800 mile road trip starting on Sunday so hopefully all well for that now.
 

pdk42

Active Member
Jul 17, 2019
1,091
1,069
Leamington
Holly sh!t - hydraulic brake systems leaving the factory with air in them!! That's a serious issue. I'm a bit speechless that they are so relaxed about it and consider it "normal". Air will cause a spongy pedal and potentially the inability to achieve full braking potential. If you had a crash and it could be shown that the brakes failed due to lack of them being bled properly at the factory then Tesla could be in for a big law suit.
 
  • Like
Reactions: VanillaAir_UK

davidmc

Active Member
May 20, 2019
1,581
1,694
Leicester
Had this problem last night with the following 4 messages, only picked the car up yesterday:
  • Automatic Emergency Braking is Disabled
  • Traction Control disabled
  • Brake Fluid Low (Says below - Pull over safely - Press pedal firmly to stop)
  • Autopilot safety/convenience features unavailable
I have had a good google search (I have also got a Service appointment booked in).

Some people have mentioned the following:

A Reboot (Turn it on and off again!) can clear the messages and some times this causes them not appear again! You have to go in to setting in the Car and press "Turn Off Car" (Sorry not sure where it is but i have seen it). When you press this button do this do not touch ANYTHING (Pedals, buttons, screen the LOT) for 2 mins, after 2 mins press the break pedal to turn on again.

In the "US of A", people have said this does fix the issue (Also there is a firmware fix so it may be the "turn it on and off again" that gets this fix, not sure tho?)

Well in my case - I came to work parked up (yep messages still on screen from last night) and went out for Lunch but this time they had cleared? Odd but will keep an eye on it..

If they come back im trying the turn it on and off again approach

Also @DaveW mentioned he topped up the break fluid somehow? Not sure how but may be able to point you in the right direction?
 

pdk42

Active Member
Jul 17, 2019
1,091
1,069
Leamington
Topping up is hiding an underlying problem. Either there's a leak, or trapped air has somehow vented. Either way, it's a serious issue. The braking system is a critical safety feature so ignoring problems is completely the wrong thing to do. IMHO, this needs attention by the SC and I'd expect them to ensure there are no leaks and then to bleed the system to ensure there is no air in it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: VanillaAir_UK

NorfolkMustard

Active Member
Apr 18, 2019
2,214
2,186
M3P w/FSD
I’ve seen a few of these now, brake fluid seems to have been filled just upto the lower limit. Any change in level due to bedding-in kicks in the sensor and error messages. pour a little bit of brake fluid in upto the top level and you should be fine.

see

 

pdk42

Active Member
Jul 17, 2019
1,091
1,069
Leamington
I’ve seen a few of these now, brake fluid seems to have been filled just upto the lower limit. Any change in level due to altitude/temp kicks in the sensor and error messages. pour a little bit of brake fluid in upto the top level and you should be fine.

see


If it's really only due to temperture/pressure, then only a little fluid should be needed. Someone over on Facebook though reckoned that they added 150ml! That's well beyond what you'd expect from fluid expansion/contraction.
 

NorfolkMustard

Active Member
Apr 18, 2019
2,214
2,186
M3P w/FSD
Yeah, I’ve edited based on the YouTube refreshing my memory. Ranger told him it was due to pump and bedding in. Perhaps a combination of a few different reasons
 

DaveW

Active Member
May 21, 2019
1,183
938
Beds, UK
If it's really only due to temperture/pressure, then only a little fluid should be needed. Someone over on Facebook though reckoned that they added 150ml! That's well beyond what you'd expect from fluid expansion/contraction.

Mine needed barely any, I put a couple of capfuls in and the issue has gone.

I'm not convinced they've filled them up to the correct level before shipping.
 
  • Like
Reactions: davidmc

davidmc

Active Member
May 20, 2019
1,581
1,694
Leicester
Mine needed barely any, I put a couple of capfuls in and the issue has gone.

I'm not convinced they've filled them up to the correct level before shipping.
Could you link me to the break fluid you used please? (Assuming Halfords sell it?)
 

Adopado

Active Member
Aug 19, 2019
4,153
3,112
Scotland
Mine needed barely any, I put a couple of capfuls in and the issue has gone.

I'm not convinced they've filled them up to the correct level before shipping.

Since cars first were made with hydraulic brakes back in the mists of time the checking of these levels has always been a standard part of the pre-delivery checks made by every car dealer before handing over to the customer. They would be on an actual tick list - on paper in the old days or on a tablet now. It is reasonable to expect that the bedding in of brakes, temperature changes, the odd air bubble floating to the top of the system will result in a slightly low level. In my opinion the fault lies with the pre-delivery inspection at the Service Centre.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Yev000

Durzel

Active Member
Jul 17, 2019
3,436
2,400
Bath, UK
Could you ask for them to have a look and top up when you pick the car up, or are the handover staff not capable of that?
 

DaveW

Active Member
May 21, 2019
1,183
938
Beds, UK
Could you link me to the break fluid you used please? (Assuming Halfords sell it?)

I got it from a local motor factors in the end, I believe Halfords have Mobil DOT4 though, it's just that.

Since cars first were made with hydraulic brakes back in the mists of time the checking of these levels has always been a standard part of the pre-delivery checks made by every car dealer before handing over to the customer. They would be on an actual tick list - on paper in the old days or on a tablet now. It is reasonable to expect that the bedding in of brakes, temperature changes, the odd air bubble floating to the top of the system will result in a slightly low level. In my opinion the fault lies with the pre-delivery inspection at the Service Centre.

Tesla doing a PDI on a Model 3?... Can only assume it goes something like this = Drive into collection area, attach number plate (hopefully the right one for the car!) wipe down with "show shine" - Tick!
 

zayn

Member
Jun 3, 2019
415
121
London
why would you have to top-up fluid one a 1 day old car, that is terrible. Another one to check on collection day list. Next it will be are there any brake pads or washer fluid :(
 

davidmc

Active Member
May 20, 2019
1,581
1,694
Leicester
why would you have to top-up fluid one a 1 day old car, that is terrible. Another one to check on collection day list. Next it will be are there any brake pads or washer fluid :(
Very true, but as i was unaware of this problem until Last night and from the great help from all the people above my Service appointment is the 12th Sept in Birmingham! SO might as well sort it now, and if it works Great :)
 

VanillaAir_UK

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2019
8,216
5,738
Surrey, UK
Brakes should be bled ensuring that level remains at sufficient level that more air is not allowed to enter the system.

Its a very basic thing to do and thelaissez-faire attitude concerns me. Topping up is simply putting a sticking plaster over a critical safety system.
 

lefyl

Member
Jul 17, 2019
15
37
Stockport
I had this issue too.

Started the day after I picked the car up and then stopped and appeared again intermittently until I took it in to the service center on Monday where they topped up the fluid. Its been fine since.

In the end worked out that it would happen if the car was parked pointing uphill and would reset itself if the car was parked on the flat or pointing downhill. After picking the car up, I parked on our drive pointing uphill overnight the first night in order to charge it up and it started happening the next day. Other days, I parked pointing downhill and it was ok.

After the first occurrence I went on a chat with a technician and they checked the car remotely and as it wasn't alerting at that time they said to carry on but take it to the SC if it happened again.

It did happen a day or so later so I booked it in straight away. One thing to note is that when it happens you lose the hold feature so the car starts rolling forward/backward as soon as you take your foot off the brake and no amount of pressing on the brake pedal when stopped will make it come on again. Putting creep on helped a bit but it did lead to some rather jerky starts trying to use brake and accelerator at the same time.
 

davidmc

Active Member
May 20, 2019
1,581
1,694
Leicester
Today I just decided to take my son on a drive to Coventry to the EV in the park. A Tesla Service vehicle was there with a technician! I asked him about the brake fluid warning and was happy to fix it on the spot!!! He said that's what he was here for today just to help out and fix any problems to Tesla's if needed! (Fix what he can)

He mentioned the break fluid error is very common as a batch of M3's were not filled correctly and the sensor is very sensitive. He mentioned it mainly happens on a hill the sensor would error on low.

Anyway he filled it up for me there and then!
 

Jamie952

New Member
Jun 22, 2019
2
0
Aldershot, UK
I had the Brake warning light appear while driving on Sunday night, 5 days after collecting my new Model 3. The message told me that the brake fluid level may be low and that I should find a safe place to pull over and contact Tesla. I should have taken a photo for the exact wording, but it did sound a potentially serious issue.

I used the app to report the issue and schedule a service. I also phoned the Service Centre on the Monday and spoke to someone there, who seemed familiar with the issue and fairly relaxed about it, although they did say the message was unlikely to go away by itself.

I didn't use the car after that, but took it into the Service Centre yesterday (Thursday). In my case, the people at the Service Centre did say the brake fluid was slightly low, so it wasn't likely to be a false alarm as such. They said the issue is likely to be that there was a small air bubble somewhere in the system. It sometimes happens if they fill it up too quickly in the factory, and it can take a while for the bubbles to work their way out through use. The same can happen with the battery coolant fluid sometimes as well apparently. When the bubbles have worked their way out that can trigger the warning about the fluid level. Topping up is usually the end of it, which they did. They don't think the warning will happen again, but if it does they said they would take another look to see if there is some other issue.

By the sounds of it, there are others with this issue too, so hopefully this information is of some assistance to those.

BTW, it was my first trip to a dedicated Service Centre. Seemed reasonably well appointed, with nice coffee, some children's play things, and doors to the service bay that open automatically when you approach in your Tesla. The staff seemed knowledgeable and helpful as well.

Got an approx 800 mile road trip starting on Sunday so hopefully all well for that now.


I had the exact same thing happen in my 4 day old RHD SR+ last month but it went away as soon as I left the car and came back to it. I've driven another 1000 miles since then and everything's been great. Just now, the warnings appeared again so phoned roadside assistance and got through straight away and now booked into service centre at West Drayton tomorrow just to be on the safe side (I imagine they'll top it up too).

Car is amazing and booking appointment was super easy - the guy even notified service centre for me.
 

Products we're discussing on TMC...

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top