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Power steering failure/recovery

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Rahtid, Sep 20, 2017.

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  1. Rahtid

    Rahtid New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2017
    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Parkland, FL
    Model S 90D with current software. After a 3/4 mile drive to a local grocery store, when I tried to back the car out of its parking space, I was unable to move the steering wheel. Using a great deal of force, and moving very slowly, I was able to move the car to a relatively safe parking space away from other cars. The car seemed to be operating correctly except that the power steering was not working making the car essentially non-driveable. While moving the steering wheel the feel was “notchy” and hard to turn, almost as if the steering was actively trying to prevent the wheel being turned. Not just hard to turn as a failed hydraulic power steering unit would be.

    I called roadside assistance and while waiting on hold I re-booted the main display by holding down the two knurled knobs on the steering wheel while depressing the brake pedal until the Tesla “T” appeared on the main display. At that time I was able to speak to a service technician who remotely re-booted the instrument panel display and told me that there were no errors visible. The power steering was still inoperative. He asked me to power down the car, which I did, waited about a minute and then depressed the brake pedal to turn it on again. When the car powered on, the power steering was operating normally. I was then able to drive home, albeit slowly in order to be safe should the power steering fail again.

    Car was towed to service center, checked and driven overnight with no reoccurrence. They are proactively replacing the steering rack and verifying everything is OK. I will update this thread when I get the car back and a full report.
     
  2. murphyS90D

    murphyS90D Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2016
    Messages:
    92
    Location:
    Horsham, PA
    The steering is electric. The first thing to check in a situation like this is the ground connections. There have been reports of a ground lug on the passenger side of the front of the car corroding and losing contact. Given your location have you driven through any streets flooded with salt water?
     
  3. Rahtid

    Rahtid New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2017
    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Parkland, FL
    Thanks for the suggestion re the ground lug. I will follow up with the service shop. Despite the flooding 2 months ago and the recent hurricane, I did not take the car out into any flooded streets. Especially after reading a member's experience in Houston when his car was in ~20" of water. I'll know more after they replace the steering rack and check out the car.
     
  4. tpham07

    tpham07 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2017
    Messages:
    585
    Location:
    Baton Rouge
    i'm glad tesla proactively replaced parts even though they couldn't find anything wrong. here's hoping it was a one-off and nothing serious.
     
  5. Rahtid

    Rahtid New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2017
    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Parkland, FL
    Update: Tesla service was unable to reproduce the problem, so they pro-actively replaced the entire steering rack. Apparently the rack is not just a rack-and-pinion steering box with electrical assist, but also has control electronics as part of the assembly. I've had the car back for less than a day and so far its been just fine. Here's hoping it stays that way.
     

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