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Tesla’s Real Range Anxiety: The YTOD

technomation

Member
Sep 8, 2016
48
33
Houston
I’m having severe problems with my new Model SR+ that has only 2,000 miles on it. It has broken down twice with the “Yellow Triangle of Death,” you know, the dreaded YTOD that says “…vehicle needs service, may not restart.” The first time this happened the odometer was only at 1,710 miles. I had to stop for an appointment 70 miles away and when I tried to return home, the car would not start. It was towed to the nearby service center and after two weeks they replaced the rear motor. This part of the YTOD story has probably been told many times on this Forum.

What seems unusual is that at a mere 300 miles later the vehicle again displayed the Yellow Triangle of Death (I know some people say the YTOD sometimes goes away if you reboot; not for me). The vehicle is towed back to the SC and four days/96+ hours later they text me back telling me “…diagnosis complete and this time the front motor will be replaced, and it will be 10 days to get the parts.” As everyone here likely knows, there’s no way to actually talk to the SC. You get these texts issued by a humanoid chatbot with verbose stock phrases that seem to be coming from a Tesla app that couldn't care less about analyzing customer sentiment. The SC is keeping my vehicle for half a month and there is no offer of a loaner whatsoever. It’s like the polar opposite of Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, etc.

We’ve been under a 100+ degree heatwave and I requested by text that they keep the vehicle inside to protect the screen and interior like I diligently do at home. No response so I called the Tesla HQ main number and after being pinged around endlessly in their automated system, I finally got through to a real human being. That person assured me that they would call the SC and that my vehicle would be kept inside out of the blistering sun. When I texted the SC to ask if that was done, half an hour later I get a text “no can do.” I immediately texted them back telling them, “I paid $400 for a Tesla Model S cover; let me bring it to you.” I get a text back 20 minutes later saying “You have to get here in the next half hour.” If any of you are familiar with Houston, you know how bad rush hour is. I texted back that I needed more time to get there, and btw, why is it taking you 20-30 minutes every time to respond?” I then get a text message that “all customer messages have to go through our system.” Now think about this for a moment. This is Tesla, where Elon has lately been bragging that “we’re very near Level 5 autonomy,” and it's the same company that lands rockets back on their launchpad, but yet their SC communications system has the latency of a 1980’s 1200-baud Hayes modem. Just incredible! They said that they would not be there to receive my cover and to come back after the weekend on Monday.

The worst part of this is that my wife will no longer drive the car. The second time it broke down with the Tesla YTOD, she was just three miles away at the grocery store. She calls me frantically asking, “it’s that Yellow Triangle of Death again; what should I do?!” to which I said, “whatever you do, don’t turn the thing off…come straight home.” She later told me that she was scared about being stranded and having to deal with tow-truck drivers who refuse to wear a mask during the pandemic…and that she will never again drive the Tesla, sticking instead to our second car, a BMW. I’m thinking, that’s just great; I’ve dropped $100k+ of my wife’s and my hard-earned money on a vehicle that she refuses to set foot in again.

My apologies for the tl;dr, but I’d appreciate the advice of the Forum members. Given my wife’s disdain and my frustration, I’m thinking about getting rid of our Tesla, selling it at a loss, or pursuing a Lemon Law remedy. Some questions: Concerning the frequent occurrence of the Tesla YTOD, is this a systemic defect, or does my vehicle happen to be a true lemon, or is it possible that our nearby service center simply does not know what it’s doing? Concerning the SC, have any of you experienced the same noncaring and abysmal treatment, and their inability to quickly diagnose and correctly resolve a problem? We’ve all seen this phrase: “when it’s working, it’s great, when it’s not, well…”. I can’t really say that our Tesla SR+ has ever worked for any appreciable amount of time. All it has done is inject a bunch of stress during an already epic stressful time with the pandemic. I would very much appreciate your candid advice.
 

Bmac

Member
Nov 17, 2017
198
70
SE Pennsylvania
This is really a shame you are going through this especially with such low mileage. I'm sure that forum members, who have more experience with issues like yours, will offer their experiences which hopefully will be helpful to you. For me, the service center in Wilmington DE is a joy to deal with with no attitude issues whatsoever.

It does bother me that Tesla corporate is dictating this type of service policy which IMHO will come back to bite them in the future when there is more valid competition. It's too bad that current owners can't start a petition which might gain the attention of social media, Electrek, and other publications that follow Tesla.
 

FoxSTL2HOU

Member
Nov 12, 2018
510
295
HOU
If it's any consolation, it's now going to be rain for the next 5 days (if not 10!).

Which service center - North HOU or Westchase?
 

AMPd

Active Member
Nov 27, 2012
4,601
4,159
Northern California
I’m having severe problems with my new Model SR+ that has only 2,000 miles on it. It has broken down twice with the “Yellow Triangle of Death,” you know, the dreaded YTOD that says “…vehicle needs service, may not restart.” The first time this happened the odometer was only at 1,710 miles. I had to stop for an appointment 70 miles away and when I tried to return home, the car would not start. It was towed to the nearby service center and after two weeks they replaced the rear motor. This part of the YTOD story has probably been told many times on this Forum.

What seems unusual is that at a mere 300 miles later the vehicle again displayed the Yellow Triangle of Death (I know some people say the YTOD sometimes goes away if you reboot; not for me). The vehicle is towed back to the SC and four days/96+ hours later they text me back telling me “…diagnosis complete and this time the front motor will be replaced, and it will be 10 days to get the parts.” As everyone here likely knows, there’s no way to actually talk to the SC. You get these texts issued by a humanoid chatbot with verbose stock phrases that seem to be coming from a Tesla app that couldn't care less about analyzing customer sentiment. The SC is keeping my vehicle for half a month and there is no offer of a loaner whatsoever. It’s like the polar opposite of Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, etc.

We’ve been under a 100+ degree heatwave and I requested by text that they keep the vehicle inside to protect the screen and interior like I diligently do at home. No response so I called the Tesla HQ main number and after being pinged around endlessly in their automated system, I finally got through to a real human being. That person assured me that they would call the SC and that my vehicle would be kept inside out of the blistering sun. When I texted the SC to ask if that was done, half an hour later I get a text “no can do.” I immediately texted them back telling them, “I paid $400 for a Tesla Model S cover; let me bring it to you.” I get a text back 20 minutes later saying “You have to get here in the next half hour.” If any of you are familiar with Houston, you know how bad rush hour is. I texted back that I needed more time to get there, and btw, why is it taking you 20-30 minutes every time to respond?” I then get a text message that “all customer messages have to go through our system.” Now think about this for a moment. This is Tesla, where Elon has lately been bragging that “we’re very near Level 5 autonomy,” and it's the same company that lands rockets back on their launchpad, but yet their SC communications system has the latency of a 1980’s 1200-baud Hayes modem. Just incredible! They said that they would not be there to receive my cover and to come back after the weekend on Monday.

The worst part of this is that my wife will no longer drive the car. The second time it broke down with the Tesla YTOD, she was just three miles away at the grocery store. She calls me frantically asking, “it’s that Yellow Triangle of Death again; what should I do?!” to which I said, “whatever you do, don’t turn the thing off…come straight home.” She later told me that she was scared about being stranded and having to deal with tow-truck drivers who refuse to wear a mask during the pandemic…and that she will never again drive the Tesla, sticking instead to our second car, a BMW. I’m thinking, that’s just great; I’ve dropped $100k+ of my wife’s and my hard-earned money on a vehicle that she refuses to set foot in again.

My apologies for the tl;dr, but I’d appreciate the advice of the Forum members. Given my wife’s disdain and my frustration, I’m thinking about getting rid of our Tesla, selling it at a loss, or pursuing a Lemon Law remedy. Some questions: Concerning the frequent occurrence of the Tesla YTOD, is this a systemic defect, or does my vehicle happen to be a true lemon, or is it possible that our nearby service center simply does not know what it’s doing? Concerning the SC, have any of you experienced the same noncaring and abysmal treatment, and their inability to quickly diagnose and correctly resolve a problem? We’ve all seen this phrase: “when it’s working, it’s great, when it’s not, well…”. I can’t really say that our Tesla SR+ has ever worked for any appreciable amount of time. All it has done is inject a bunch of stress during an already epic stressful time with the pandemic. I would very much appreciate your candid advice.
Tesla is not in the rocket business, I think you’re thinking of spacex, which is a separate company.

There’s really no advice I can give other than looking at the bright side, now that both motors have been replaced the chances of failure are low.
Also you paid over 100k for a standard range model s? Think you got ripped off bud
 

Babaron

Member
Jan 24, 2017
233
149
SW Ohio and west central FL
Lemon law the car if you meet the criteria for your state. Many new Tesla’s have no problems to speak of; mine had one problem early on but has been great ever since. It looks like you may have gotten a lemon. It happens with cars of all makes and models from time to time. It’s an unfortunate fact of life.
 

FoxSTL2HOU

Member
Nov 12, 2018
510
295
HOU
Lemon law the car if you meet the criteria for your state.

For TX, details are at txdmv.gov/motorists/consumer-protection/lemon-law but in short to qualify...

Four attempts at repair within first 24 mo / 24k miles, or
30 days (in-total, not required to be consecutive) in for repair within first 24 mo / 24k miles, but any days where you were given a loaner do not count

Given separate parts were worked/ordered, I'd guess Tesla would claim this as two distinct defects.
 

beatle

Active Member
Aug 31, 2019
1,244
683
Springfield, VA
Throwing different parts at the same error message does not make it a different problem. From the owner's perspective they are still fixing the original problem, so you'd have more grounds to file for a lemon law.

For the OP, I wouldn't worry about the screen or having them put a cover on the car; that's just extraneous stuff IMO. The SC was being curt with you because they didn't want to waste your time or theirs, and they probably wouldn't have put the cover on or kept it inside anyway. The SC is full of other Teslas - why would yours be different?
 

AMPd

Active Member
Nov 27, 2012
4,601
4,159
Northern California
Throwing different parts at the same error message does not make it a different problem. From the owner's perspective they are still fixing the original problem, so you'd have more grounds to file for a lemon law.

For the OP, I wouldn't worry about the screen or having them put a cover on the car; that's just extraneous stuff IMO. The SC was being curt with you because they didn't want to waste your time or theirs, and they probably wouldn't have put the cover on or kept it inside anyway. The SC is full of other Teslas - why would yours be different?
Op is not saying his car is different he’s just trying to protect and prolong the life of the screen.
 

beatle

Active Member
Aug 31, 2019
1,244
683
Springfield, VA
Everyone wants their car to last and be free of problems. In this case he's taking precautions when the car is under his control. When it's not under your control, you can't expect people to treat it differently than any other car that comes through. It's not different that handing your keys to a valet and saying "make sure you don't scratch it and leave an extra space between it and other cars!" Of course they aren't going to comply. Or if they agree, you know they're just going to put it with the other cars. Nobody wants their car to be damaged when giving it to someone else. Everyone should be offered the same level of protection - especially when they're all the same car.
 

MXLRplus

Active Member
Mar 11, 2020
1,599
2,467
Eastvale, CA
I’m having severe problems with my new Model SR+ that has only 2,000 miles on it. It has broken down twice with the “Yellow Triangle of Death,” you know, the dreaded YTOD that says “…vehicle needs service, may not restart.” The first time this happened the odometer was only at 1,710 miles. I had to stop for an appointment 70 miles away and when I tried to return home, the car would not start. It was towed to the nearby service center and after two weeks they replaced the rear motor. This part of the YTOD story has probably been told many times on this Forum.

What seems unusual is that at a mere 300 miles later the vehicle again displayed the Yellow Triangle of Death (I know some people say the YTOD sometimes goes away if you reboot; not for me). The vehicle is towed back to the SC and four days/96+ hours later they text me back telling me “…diagnosis complete and this time the front motor will be replaced, and it will be 10 days to get the parts.” As everyone here likely knows, there’s no way to actually talk to the SC. You get these texts issued by a humanoid chatbot with verbose stock phrases that seem to be coming from a Tesla app that couldn't care less about analyzing customer sentiment. The SC is keeping my vehicle for half a month and there is no offer of a loaner whatsoever. It’s like the polar opposite of Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, etc.

We’ve been under a 100+ degree heatwave and I requested by text that they keep the vehicle inside to protect the screen and interior like I diligently do at home. No response so I called the Tesla HQ main number and after being pinged around endlessly in their automated system, I finally got through to a real human being. That person assured me that they would call the SC and that my vehicle would be kept inside out of the blistering sun. When I texted the SC to ask if that was done, half an hour later I get a text “no can do.” I immediately texted them back telling them, “I paid $400 for a Tesla Model S cover; let me bring it to you.” I get a text back 20 minutes later saying “You have to get here in the next half hour.” If any of you are familiar with Houston, you know how bad rush hour is. I texted back that I needed more time to get there, and btw, why is it taking you 20-30 minutes every time to respond?” I then get a text message that “all customer messages have to go through our system.” Now think about this for a moment. This is Tesla, where Elon has lately been bragging that “we’re very near Level 5 autonomy,” and it's the same company that lands rockets back on their launchpad, but yet their SC communications system has the latency of a 1980’s 1200-baud Hayes modem. Just incredible! They said that they would not be there to receive my cover and to come back after the weekend on Monday.

The worst part of this is that my wife will no longer drive the car. The second time it broke down with the Tesla YTOD, she was just three miles away at the grocery store. She calls me frantically asking, “it’s that Yellow Triangle of Death again; what should I do?!” to which I said, “whatever you do, don’t turn the thing off…come straight home.” She later told me that she was scared about being stranded and having to deal with tow-truck drivers who refuse to wear a mask during the pandemic…and that she will never again drive the Tesla, sticking instead to our second car, a BMW. I’m thinking, that’s just great; I’ve dropped $100k+ of my wife’s and my hard-earned money on a vehicle that she refuses to set foot in again.

My apologies for the tl;dr, but I’d appreciate the advice of the Forum members. Given my wife’s disdain and my frustration, I’m thinking about getting rid of our Tesla, selling it at a loss, or pursuing a Lemon Law remedy. Some questions: Concerning the frequent occurrence of the Tesla YTOD, is this a systemic defect, or does my vehicle happen to be a true lemon, or is it possible that our nearby service center simply does not know what it’s doing? Concerning the SC, have any of you experienced the same noncaring and abysmal treatment, and their inability to quickly diagnose and correctly resolve a problem? We’ve all seen this phrase: “when it’s working, it’s great, when it’s not, well…”. I can’t really say that our Tesla SR+ has ever worked for any appreciable amount of time. All it has done is inject a bunch of stress during an already epic stressful time with the pandemic. I would very much appreciate your candid advice.

Step One Today: Get a rental car Now for peace of mind.

I went through something similar with another brand of EV. There are lemons of all brands.
Document everything. Times, miles, days out-of-service, receipts.
Get knowledgeable about the lemon law in your state.
Pictures of CELs (check engine lights) with miles always works great.

Do not use an attorney unless your attempts at settlement have failed for 30 days. An attorney will just slow down the process, the settlement is dictated by law.
Rent a car if the MFR does not provide one, especially if your state law requires reimbursement. This is for "Happy Wife equals Happy Life".

I really loved my EV Lemon, it was my favorite car of all time. But my wife got tired of the service visits, even though it NEVER left me stranded, it just went into Limp Home Mode.

I hope it hasn't soured your spouse on all EVs. I've been 'juiced' since 2012, and I love my EVs. Finally I found an EV that my wife truly loves. And guess what, it's a Tesla... :eek:
 
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technomation

Member
Sep 8, 2016
48
33
Houston
Tesla is not in the rocket business, I think you’re thinking of spacex, which is a separate company.

There’s really no advice I can give other than looking at the bright side, now that both motors have been replaced the chances of failure are low.
Also you paid over 100k for a standard range model s? Think you got ripped off bud
Tesla is not in the rocket business, I think you’re thinking of spacex, which is a separate company.

There’s really no advice I can give other than looking at the bright side, now that both motors have been replaced the chances of failure are low.
Also you paid over 100k for a standard range model s? Think you got ripped off bud

I realize that SpaceX is separate from Tesla. I just identify it as another Elon company, supposedly with the same high-tech culture, so the SC communications system seems very backward given that culture. An SR+ is the Model S Performance, the Raven update with the permanent-magnet motor upfront. I paid list right after the big ~$20K reduction, less the usual $1,000 from a referral. I'm not sure what to make of my couple of data points of the back-to-back failures of both the front and rear motors with only 2k miles. That's why I was asking in my post if others are seeing this. I'm wondering if the SC replaced the wrong motor on the first go-around!
 
Last edited:

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,121
4,733
MA, NH
Tesla is not in the rocket business, I think you’re thinking of spacex, which is a separate company.

There’s really no advice I can give other than looking at the bright side, now that both motors have been replaced the chances of failure are low.
Also you paid over 100k for a standard range model s? Think you got ripped off bud

I'd be pretty upset and disagree. To me, the odds are they misdiagnosed it the first time and probably the second and pulling motors out and in is more likely to cause other mishaps. It's a used major repaired vehicle now. They will probably eventually get it right.
 

technomation

Member
Sep 8, 2016
48
33
Houston
Step One Today: Get a rental car Now for peace of mind.

I went through something similar with another brand of EV. There are lemons of all brands.
Document everything. Times, miles, days out-of-service, receipts.
Get knowledgeable about the lemon law in your state.
Pictures of CELs (check engine lights) with miles always works great.

Do not use an attorney unless your attempts at settlement have failed for 30 days. An attorney will just slow down the process, the settlement is dictated by law.
Rent a car if the MFR does not provide one, especially if your state law requires reimbursement. This is for "Happy Wife equals Happy Life".

I really loved my EV Lemon, it was my favorite car of all time. But my wife got tired of the service visits, even though it NEVER left me stranded, it just went into Limp Home Mode.

I hope it hasn't soured your spouse on all EVs. I've been 'juiced' since 2012, and I love my EVs. Finally I found an EV that my wife truly loves. And guess what, it's a Tesla... :eek:

Good to hear your Tesla is doing well for you. We first looked at the Jaguar E-PACE but decided that the company just did not have the experience with EVs that Tesla has and we were also worried about Jaguar's financial stability. The Audi e-tron just seemed boring. Of the Tesla options, seemed like the Model S was the most mature and reliable. I'm really surprised by what's happened. I was enjoying the frequent FSD updates between breakdowns. My wife is so done with Tesla and now she's trying to get me to look at the new 2020 BMW M8. After this second repair, I'll give our Tesla one more chance. Strike 3 and it's out!
 
Last edited:

technomation

Member
Sep 8, 2016
48
33
Houston
I'd be pretty upset and disagree. To me, the odds are they misdiagnosed it the first time and probably the second and pulling motors out and in is more likely to cause other mishaps. It's a used major repaired vehicle now. They will probably eventually get it right.

The SC might have very well misdiagnosed it the first time and replaced the wrong motor!
 
Last edited:

MXLRplus

Active Member
Mar 11, 2020
1,599
2,467
Eastvale, CA
Good to hear your Tesla is doing well for you. We first looked at the Jaguar E-PACE but decided that the company just did not have the experience with EVs that Tesla has and we were also worried about Jaguar's financial stability. The Audi e-tron just seemed boring. Of the Tesla options, seemed like the Model S was the most mature and reliable. I'm really surprised by what's happened. I was really enjoying the frequent FSD updates between breakdowns. My wife is so done with Tesla and now she's trying to get me to look at the new 2020 BMW M8. After this second repair, I'll give our Tesla one more chance. Strike 3 and it's out!

I agree. It was Strike 3 and >45 days in service when I started the buy-back process.
The EV selection is still sparse. My 'perfect' EV has not been made yet. Basically I want the Tesla power and range, the Jaguar interior and handling, and the Audi features and dealer network, and price it under $100k.
 

technomation

Member
Sep 8, 2016
48
33
Houston
Tesla is not in the rocket business, I think you’re thinking of spacex, which is a separate company.

There’s really no advice I can give other than looking at the bright side, now that both motors have been replaced the chances of failure are low.
Also you paid over 100k for a standard range model s? Think you got ripped off bud
 

Hawkhandler

Member
Apr 24, 2020
45
13
Oakland. CA
...My 'perfect' EV has not been made yet. Basically I want the Tesla power and range, the Jaguar interior and handling, and the Audi features and dealer network, and price it under $100k.

this is exactly right. I liked driving the iPace a lot but the range and charging network just caused too much concern. Why is it taking so long?
 

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