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Pillar camera blocked message….

Picked up a brand new model 3 in late November and honestly this has been the worst buying and ownership experience I have had in 30 years of car ownership.

I’ve already posted about major safety concerns with AP and CC slamming the brakes when passing under blinking yellow lights. I have had a myriad of other complaints starting from the day I placed a deposit on their website that I will spare you. All I can say is I really am not the complaining type, and generally tolerate an awful lot and will often let people “push me around” just to avoid confrontation. But when I reach my breaking point, I tend to “explode.” I am reaching that breaking point with this Tesla.

Within the first month of owning the car, one of the TPMS sensors went out (never hit a pothole or touched the OEM tires). Scheduled a service through the app that was a couple of weeks out, only to have a service person call me a few days before the appointment telling me I had to reschedule due to a “glitch.”

Finally got in this weekend for an 8 am service appointment to get it taken care of. They told me I had to pick the car up at the end of the day, and at that point I basically went off on them, telling them that no one communicated to me that it would be an entire day to get it fixed. I also let them know how dissatisfied I was with the entire ownership experience to date and that I would never recommend the brand to anyone else at this point. The service person said she would get the car fixed within 2 hours and I thanked her.

This morning on my way to work I got a message that the left side pillar camera is blocked and that I could not make a lane change with AP on. I literally had the car washed yesterday and it is spotless. When I got to work, I inspected both side pillar cameras and the housings both seem to have identical condensation within them. Is this normal? In any event, I only got the message about my left camera and not the right. I am not even 2 months into ownership.

This is easily the worst new car ownership experience I have ever had in 30 years, and I regret buying this car so much. It is hard to envision things getting better as the car and its electronic systems age. The whole experience seems like one big beta test that I paid $60k for having the privilege to participate in. Right now, wrongly or rightly, I perceive the AP and CC systems to be nothing but scams and I feel like a sucker. The car is an amazing cruiser, but the terrible AP and especially the intrusive CC completely ruin what would otherwise be a fine driving experience.

Ok, end of rant.
 
This definitely isn't the right car for you. The whole company is about moving fast above all. Sometimes things break as a result. Its like a startup software company that happens to build cars. The service model is extremely impersonal and still in its infancy.

With the high demand and price of used cars just sell yours to Carmax, take a ~$5k hit to your bank account, buy a Lexus which is built using proven software/hardware.
 
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My pillar cameras and front camera all have condensation issues. At first, I remember Tesla replacing cameras but that seems to have switched to 'it's (condensation) is normal and they won't do anything unless the condensation never dissipates.

I think luck of the draw plays a big role in quality/satisfaction. I'm in the same boat in terms of looking elsewhere for my next EV. My bud who bought his 3 a few months after I did doesn't have half the issues I do.
 
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jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Moderator
Nov 28, 2018
14,628
18,728
Riverside Co. CA
There are two different things you are saying here, OP. one is about the pillar message (which could be sun, or a couple other things, the other is how much you hate the car.

The reason people are recommending "sell it" is because of this statement:

This is easily the worst new car ownership experience I have ever had in 30 years, and I regret buying this car so much. It is hard to envision things getting better as the car and its electronic systems age. The whole experience seems like one big beta test that I paid $60k for having the privilege to participate in. Right now, wrongly or rightly, I perceive the AP and CC systems to be nothing but scams and I feel like a sucker. The car is an amazing cruiser, but the terrible AP and especially the intrusive CC completely ruin what would otherwise be a fine driving experience.

That part has nothing to do with pillars, and its fairly clear that you are unhappy enough that it doesnt really matter what else happens. Given the used car market right now, this is an excellent time to exit ownership and buy a car you might enjoy better. Life is too short to be that unhappy about a car.
At the end, its just a car, not a lifestyle, and because you wont take a huge hit getting out of it now, now is the time.
 
FWIW...i was having a hell of a time on a recent trip keeping my basic Autopilot (and then just the TACC) engaged. Cams blocked (front, side, you name it). Was not quite cold enough for heater, and the windshield would just barely fog.

Sun angle was early morning/low, so it could have been that. Then i turned the defog on to clear the barely fogged windshield. Never got the front cam blocked message the rest of the trip. So...YMMV.

Plus i do a cursory clothwipe of all the cams periodically during winter when there's lots of grime building up on the outside of the car.
 
Looks like you just aren't suited to a Tesla. Different strokes for different jokes. BUT, the message about your cameras are getting blocked is nothing new, and it's not something to blame on Tesla. I'm a photographer and when you point a camera lens at the sun bad things happen. It's just a matter of the physics of optics, especially digital optics. It was the morning, the sun was low, it was pouring right into the car's camera lens. This is NORMAL. If you had another car with cameras and those cameras were pointed directly at the sun the same thing would happen. Its why we are always told not to look directly into the sun...it can blind you!
 
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FWIW...i was having a hell of a time on a recent trip keeping my basic Autopilot (and then just the TACC) engaged. Cams blocked (front, side, you name it). Was not quite cold enough for heater, and the windshield would just barely fog.

Sun angle was early morning/low, so it could have been that. Then i turned the defog on to clear the barely fogged windshield. Never got the front cam blocked message the rest of the trip. So...YMMV.

Plus i do a cursory clothwipe of all the cams periodically during winter when there's lots of grime building up on the outside of the car.
It is most likely condensation inside the pillar that is causing it, which I observed when I got out of the car this morning. However, this is just shoddy engineering. The housing should either be adequately ventilated with a fan of some sort or hermetically sealed, like they do with optics to keep them from forming condensation on the inside.
 
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Looks like you just aren't suited to a Tesla. Different strokes for different jokes. BUT, the message about your cameras are getting blocked is nothing new, and it's not something to blame on Tesla. I'm a photographer and when you point a camera lens at the sun bad things happen. It's just a matter of the physics of optics, especially digital optics. It was the morning, the sun was low, it was pouring right into the car's camera lens. This is NORMAL. If you had another car with cameras and those cameras were pointed directly at the sun the same thing would happen. Its why we are always told not to look directly into the sun...it can blind you!
Yes, I am not worthy. But it’s most likely condensation inside the pillar that caused it, as I noted it when I got to my destination. That is just shoddy engineering. I wouldn’t expect to see condensation like that on any car.
 
Last edited:
It is most likely condensation inside the pillar that is causing it, which I observed when I got out of the car this morning. However, this is just shoddy engineering. The housing should either be adequately ventilated with a fan of some sort or hermetically sealed, like they do with optics to keep them from forming condensation on the inside.
I agree 100%. Tesla engineers really do only design for CA and it shows. Camera systems need to be either hermetically sealed and purged of moisture with inert gas and dessicant packs, or they need to be in a heated vented enclosure.
 
Looks like you just aren't suited to a Tesla. Different strokes for different jokes. BUT, the message about your cameras are getting blocked is nothing new, and it's not something to blame on Tesla. I'm a photographer and when you point a camera lens at the sun bad things happen. It's just a matter of the physics of optics, especially digital optics. It was the morning, the sun was low, it was pouring right into the car's camera lens. This is NORMAL. If you had another car with cameras and those cameras were pointed directly at the sun the same thing would happen. Its why we are always told not to look directly into the sun...it can blind you!
It sounds like a vision-only system is as bad of an idea as some people had worried it to be.
 

S4WRXTTCS

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2015
6,646
8,084
Snohomish, WA
Picked up a brand new model 3 in late November and honestly this has been the worst buying and ownership experience I have had in 30 years of car ownership.

I’ve already posted about major safety concerns with AP and CC slamming the brakes when passing under blinking yellow lights. I have had a myriad of other complaints starting from the day I placed a deposit on their website that I will spare you. All I can say is I really am not the complaining type, and generally tolerate an awful lot and will often let people “push me around” just to avoid confrontation. But when I reach my breaking point, I tend to “explode.” I am reaching that breaking point with this Tesla.

Within the first month of owning the car, one of the TPMS sensors went out (never hit a pothole or touched the OEM tires). Scheduled a service through the app that was a couple of weeks out, only to have a service person call me a few days before the appointment telling me I had to reschedule due to a “glitch.”

Finally got in this weekend for an 8 am service appointment to get it taken care of. They told me I had to pick the car up at the end of the day, and at that point I basically went off on them, telling them that no one communicated to me that it would be an entire day to get it fixed. I also let them know how dissatisfied I was with the entire ownership experience to date and that I would never recommend the brand to anyone else at this point. The service person said she would get the car fixed within 2 hours and I thanked her.

This morning on my way to work I got a message that the left side pillar camera is blocked and that I could not make a lane change with AP on. I literally had the car washed yesterday and it is spotless. When I got to work, I inspected both side pillar cameras and the housings both seem to have identical condensation within them. Is this normal? In any event, I only got the message about my left camera and not the right. I am not even 2 months into ownership.

This is easily the worst new car ownership experience I have ever had in 30 years, and I regret buying this car so much. It is hard to envision things getting better as the car and its electronic systems age. The whole experience seems like one big beta test that I paid $60k for having the privilege to participate in. Right now, wrongly or rightly, I perceive the AP and CC systems to be nothing but scams and I feel like a sucker. The car is an amazing cruiser, but the terrible AP and especially the intrusive CC completely ruin what would otherwise be a fine driving experience.

Ok, end of rant.
A couple of things.

You need to turn off traffic light response. This is what's causing your vehicle to slow down for blinking yellow lights. Yes, you lose the ability to have it stop at stop lights but at least it won't do that phantom braking thing. I turned it off in my car as it was driving me nuts.

I would try to separating the car from AP/FSD in your mind. The problem is you'll end up hating the car because the AP/FSD just sucks so bad. At least when driving manually you can enjoy the car.

There isn't anyone to go off on at Tesla because the idiot that ruins everything is at the top. Everyone else is dealing with his crap. The service people are simply in the unfortunate position of being the only people at Tesla one can actually talk to.

It's pretty typical to get the "pillar camera blinded" message. If there really is condensation in them then I would service to check them out. But, that message will pop up periodically due to the sun or weather.

The AP/TACC was ruined when Radar was removed. The Pure vision that replaces what it does is still very much an early beta. It's not even the later beta that the Vision+Radar was.
 
It sounds like a vision-only system is as bad of an idea as some people had worried it to be.

Totally agree.

How many people would consider a single “sense” to be equivalent in ALL RESPECTS to full sensory input? This was a ridiculous move by Tesla. Yes in the most ideal situations vision-only might be equivalent. But people don’t drive in “ideal” conditions.

Compensation / mitigation only goes so far. There are inherent limitations and assumptions with everything.
 
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jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Moderator
Nov 28, 2018
14,628
18,728
Riverside Co. CA
Autopilot / FSD discussions or feedback go in that subforum:


Posts on that topic after this, in this thread, will be moved to an appropriate thread in the above subforum.
 

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
12,159
8,002
It is most likely condensation inside the pillar that is causing it, which I observed when I got out of the car this morning. However, this is just shoddy engineering. The housing should either be adequately ventilated with a fan of some sort or hermetically sealed, like they do with optics to keep them from forming condensation on the inside.
Engineering is the not the problem, it's the manufacturing. The unit is designed to be sealed and have Gore-tex patches to let out any residual moisture. The issue is, if the taillights are anything to go by, when the plastic is welded, the weld sometimes has micro-holes that let in moisture (sometimes where is even a gap if it has not been welded properly, sometimes it is cracks that happened afterwards), thus defeating the purpose of the patches. In fact, the patches end up making things worse because the moisture has a hard time getting out.

More details here (where it does mention the side cameras briefly and the Tesla TSB to remove the patches).
 

afadeev

Active Member
Feb 28, 2019
1,010
1,230
NYC
This morning on my way to work I got a message that the left side pillar camera is blocked and that I could not make a lane change with AP on. I literally had the car washed yesterday and it is spotless. When I got to work, I inspected both side pillar cameras and the housings both seem to have identical condensation within them. Is this normal? In any event, I only got the message about my left camera and not the right.

Yep, this happens.
The car is not particularly well put together, and moisture gets between the camera and the B-pillars under certain environmental conditions. I usually get these error messages around November and March in NJ.
If you park the car with the condensed cameras exposed to the sun, it will dry off the moisture and the error message will go away.

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My pillar cameras and front camera all have condensation issues. At first, I remember Tesla replacing cameras but that seems to have switched to 'it's (condensation) is normal and they won't do anything unless the condensation never dissipates.

I brought the issue up when my car was in for another service matter a few months ago, but SC "could not reproduce the problem". No kidding.
Unfortunately, that's the direct and obvious downside of having a car OEM in charge of the Service Centers.

This is easily the worst new car ownership experience I have ever had in 30 years, and I regret buying this car so much. It is hard to envision things getting better as the car and its electronic systems age. The whole experience seems like one big beta test that I paid $60k for having the privilege to participate in.

The car is great when it works.
But you are in the early days of figuring out which of the Tesla's marketing promises were utter and total BS (AP, FSD, Emergency braking, etc.). And how sloppy Tesla's production control and SC customer delivery practices are (TPMS sensors issue).
Once you get over the hump of learning what works and what doesn't, things will get better !

Right now, wrongly or rightly, I perceive the AP and CC systems to be nothing but scams and I feel like a sucker. The car is an amazing cruiser, but the terrible AP and especially the intrusive CC completely ruin what would otherwise be a fine driving experience.

You don't have to use AP. Ever.
In fact, my better half flat out refuses to endanger herself with it.
I don't mind playing with AP, now that's I've learned all the situations in which it will likely fail (many long threads on that subject on this forum). I used to keep track and hope that AP will get better with OTA updates, but after ~3 years, it remains very marginal and unreliable.

It is, what it is.

a
 
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