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Rear light condensation then completely fail

Discussion in 'Model S' started by johnmodels, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. johnmodels

    johnmodels Member

    Feb 2, 2013
    Hi All!

    Been a while since I posed. My S85 MS is about 4 years old, 69,xxx miles. No extended warranty. When my MS was 1 year old I noticed that the rear light had condensation in it and asked the SC if there was a fix. They said no and I didn't think anything of it. I rarely follow myself while driving, so I had no idea that the light was failing until when my MS had 53,xxx miles and I noticed some of the LED's (I think) were failing while I was in another car following my MS. I called the SC and told them that I brought it up while under warranty and that there was no fix and not that the light was failing was there anything they could do for me. No call backs, no returned emails and when I spoke to them they said there was no record of my conversation while under warranty so it would be out of pocket.

    Zoom ahead 9 months and not the entire light attached to the trunk has failed and 1 month after that the entire right side night driving lights have failed. The brake lights do work, however.

    I think it is odd that the problem spread to the light on the quarter panel. I live in SoCal and have seen over a dozen MS's with the similar issue but on a different side and in varying conditions.

    Does anyone have any advice? Anyone know how to replace these lights, since I can buy then on ebay. Any recall that anyone knows of since it is a problem?

    I encourage everyone to have someone look at their lights while under warranty so this doesn't happen to you.

    Thanks in advance!

    The pic attached was the initial sign of a problem. Now the entire "outline" light doesn't work. ;(

    Attached Files:

    • Informative x 3
  2. Tam

    Tam Active Member

    Nov 25, 2012
    Visalia, CA
    #2 Tam, Jan 5, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
    Mine is 2012 MS85 85,000 miles. Condensation has been noticed since the first car wash. I waited till first annual check for Service Center to change the seal. That didn't solve the problem. The condensation has been still there with every car wash and rain so I figured there is no fix and I didn't bother to fix that problem any more.

    Luckily, mine is still functioning well despite of the chronic problem.
  3. Blu Zap

    Blu Zap Grinning member

    Oct 1, 2014
    San Rafael, CA.
    Thanks for the heads up. My P85+ is two years old and has condensation in the left reverse light. Still under warranty, I'll have it checked out and make sure we have a record of it. Thanks.
  4. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Active Member

    Apr 10, 2014
    There is certainly a fix. As you've noted its a fairly common problem. They have a new rear applique that either completely fixes the issue or helps in part with having the lights themselves be properly sealed. Here is the line from our service invoice from 3/2016:

    Concern: Customer states: There is condensation in both rear tail lights on lift gate. The
    passenger side tail light has a strip of bulbs that are not lighting up.
    Pay Type: Warranty
    Corrections: Liftgate Water Ingress - Inspect
    Water tested vehicle. Found water getting into liftgate from behind both reverse lights.
    Condensation also behind liftgate applique lens. Removed reverse lights and found
    gaskets not sealing properly. Reverse lights and liftgate applique will need to be replaced.
    Corrections: Light - Fog/Reverse - Rear - LH
    Replaced left reverse light assembly. Verified condensation no longer in reverse light.
    Verified water no longer leaking into liftgate
    Corrections: Light - Fog/Reverse - Rear - RH
    Replaced right reverse light assembly. Verified condensation no longer in reverse light.
    Verified water no longer leaking into liftgate
    Corrections: Replace Liftgate Applique
    Replaced liftgate applique due to lens separating from applique.
    Part Quantity
    liftgate applique (1026649-00-D) 1
    Parts Replaced or Added
  5. SabrToothSqrl

    SabrToothSqrl Active Member

    Dec 5, 2014
    My warranty is up 03/2019 and you can be damn sure I won't own it past 04/01/2019...
  6. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

    Aug 7, 2012
    Toronto, ON
    Had the backup light condensation problem. After several failed attempts to fix, they finally replaced the rear chrome strip with the newer version that doesn't have the second clear lens.

    Also had the condensation in the tail light problem that eventually took out a bunch of the LED segments. Repaired under my extended warranty, but had to pay the deductible.
  7. jplasmd

    jplasmd Member

    Apr 16, 2015
    Las Cruces, New Mexico
    Initially, the problem was/is the rear light seals. I have a P85 made in Sept'14, and out of warranty. Never had an issue with water, as I live in southern New Mexico were it almost never rains. But this fall, I've been spending lots of time in the Austin area were it had been raining quite a bit. I recently opened the liftgate, and about a liter of water poured out and into the trunk. I also noticed water behind the left tail light.

    I talked with the assistant service manager at the Austin service center. The official fix, as indicated above, is to replace the liftgate light units (even if working normally) and seals. The applique is also replaced for water getting inside of the liftgate. Price of the applique, and light units (for the liftgate only), with seals is approx. $450. We didn't discuss labor costs. Since my lights had a little water inside of them, that has since dried out, and are working fine, I decided just to replace the seals myself. Price of the 2 light unit seals and some double faced sticky stuff for the applique (that has to be removed ever-so-carefully) was about $25.

    The assistant service manager was quite helpful. He mentioned that this particular job was one that the techs didn't like doing. Taking the applique off it tricky. He recommended having someone help me when I do it. (There is also info that can be gleaned from looking at the install instructions/YouTube videos for the lighted rear T appliques - just google 'Tesla rear lighted T'). He said the techs prefer to pop out the two liftgate door handles, and access everything through these holes, rather than pull all the plastic off the inside of the liftgate (that's because the top piece has to come off first).

    Hopefully, replacing the quarter panel light units will not be as difficult. But I have nothing to offer regarding this.
    • Informative x 1
  8. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

    May 10, 2012
    Timonium, Maryland
    This has been an well-known issue for some time. That you raised it while your car was still under warranty and nothing was done to fix it could help you make a case for it to be fixed now.
  9. Sir Guacamolaf

    Sir Guacamolaf The good kind of fat

    Mar 15, 2016
    My Model S
    What can I say .. I'm in warranty, and I'm trying to have the Rockville service center look at an issue. But they just keep delaying me, and won't give me an appointment. They don't return phone calls. When you call, 99% chance it goes into a voicemail that does not get returned. They are not responsive at all. I'm worried that with this level of "service" issues won't be addressed, and I'll find myself in the same boat as you.

    Really sucks!
  10. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Voltage makes me tingle.

    Nov 3, 2009
    Smithfield, VA
    Happened to me.

    Had condensation all the time, and finally the light failed after an extended drive in a downpour. Replaced under warranty.
  11. Nosken

    Nosken Member

    Jan 15, 2015
    Lincoln, CA
    I saw condensation March 2015 when I picked my car up from Fremont. I was lucky enough to get them to noted on the "due bill" and I'm waiting to have the new facia installed when I get some body work on my tailgate done
  12. thecloud

    thecloud As rhythm raced inside, the ship came alive

    Nov 24, 2014
    Sunnyvale, CA
    Ugh. There's been a lot of rain in the Bay Area recently, the most we've seen over the past 2 years, and yesterday my Model S was out in it again for a few hours. When I got home, parked in the garage, and opened the liftgate, a whole lot of water started pouring out into the trunk from the handle cutouts on either side of the latch, as well as from the two rubber stoppers on the corners. This water was inside the liftgate, not on top of it or in a channel.

    It didn't stop, either. The dripping water filled up the recess at the bottom of the liftgate opening where it latches. I ended up positioning the hatch about 1/4 of the way open and leaving it that way for a few hours to drain out the liftgate onto the back bumper and down onto the floor.

    Had previously read about issues with condensation in the tail lights, but this was a whole new level of moisture. Oddly enough, the inside of my tail lights seem completely dry. Not sure where the water is getting into the liftgate, but I'm going to be paranoid about finding covered parking until my next service.
  13. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

    Sep 16, 2013
    Bay Area, CA
    You're not alone! I was leaving the Stanford Shopping Center parking lot this weekend and a few cars up saw an owner open their liftgate. She immediately leaned in to put some stuff in the trunk and then got absolutely SOAKED as water began pouring out of the liftgate onto her. It went on for a really, really long time. She saw me and gave me a horrified "WTF do I do?" look. I felt bad for her. I hope she had the all-weather trunk liner. It looked like a waterfall!

    I'd be worried about mold behind the panels. You should get it in quickly, I think.

    Regarding the applique fix: I had it done to mine and condensation still gets in there sometimes. Not as frequently as before, but it does still happen.
  14. demundus

    demundus Member

    Jul 5, 2015
    Oceanside, CA
    I have condensation but no failure yet. 100k miles in socal. I asked them about the out of warranty cost and got a quote for 900 i think? Something around there. We'll see how long I can go before I have to do that (or buy a salvage part with matched paint)
  15. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

    Aug 7, 2012
    Toronto, ON
    Had the exact same issue with my car. I was surprised how much water was inside the liftgate. It just poured out of all the places you mention plus around the electric button you push to close it. I could not for the life of me figure out how it got in there. It seems to me it would have to be a bad seal around the rear glass. I asked Tesla about it when my car went in for it's last "annual" and they could not find any cause and were as stumped as I was.

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