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What to do when software bugs cause the owner to lose confidence in the car


TLDR:
I experienced a series of sudden software errors in my Model 3 while driving, nearly got into a collision as a result, and simply do not feel safe driving this car anymore. I’m hoping to understand if this has happened to others, and what to do in response.

Long form:
I picked up my new Model 3 AWD DM LR from the Brooklyn, NY service center this past May. After months of obsessive YouTube video review watching, safety rating test ogling, I had never been more excited to own a car (so much so that I decided to use the car to relocate cross-country from NY to WA).

But starting in the first week I noticed software issues – starting with the rear camera turning black suddenly during operation, and staying that way until a scroll-wheel reset.

Then in the middle of the road trip, the screen freeze issues started. During high-speed highway travel the M3 center screen would become completely frozen and unresponsive. It was intermittent enough though, that we drove the car cross-country. By the time I was able to get an appointment at the Tesla Service Center in Seattle, I was told to “wait it out”, correspond with a technician, and continually assured there would be a fix. Eventually the screen freezes have become a once every 10x drive thing.

But just two weeks ago, after five ~5 months of ownership, and fresh updates up to v10 (I’m on 2019.32.12.2), I started to see the error message “Autopilot/safety convenience features unavailable”. At first intermittently, then on every drive, and then consistently, despite numerous attempts at resets (scroll wheel and power off).

And then today, during my commute home while on a busy arterial road, a sequence of errors: auto breaking, regen braking, etc., flashing atop the car avatar in succession – and with the regen braking gone, the car suddenly handled differently. And with just a second or two to react and adapt, I nearly rear-ended another car.

Simply put – I never imagined I’d be this disappointed with the Model, and feel this unsafe. I do not want to wait a week for a service appointment – and do not want to try and drive that thing 8 miles to service center

After calling emergency roadside assistance, they’ve told me I have no other options but to see if the service center will send a technician to me, but that there’s no guarantee for that.

After that long diatribe my question to the forum is this: if I don’t feel safe or trust Tesla and this car anymore, what are my options? Is it possible to return the car if it's relatively new, or get a partial refund?

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Your car has one or more hardware/software issues. You haven't taken it to a service center to have it fixed yet. Do that first. If you're afraid to drive it, have it towed.
Right? If this was a a check-engine light on a Toyota, you'd take it in, wouldn't you? Call roadside, tell them you don't feel safe driving the car and have them tow it to the SC.

Lemon law rules vary from state to state. Not sure how your move would affect that either.
 

C141medic

Active Member
Apr 9, 2016
1,714
1,579
New Jersey
If it was me, I’d contact the SC and try to get an appointment ASAP. If they gave me the runaround I’d drive it to the nearest SC and have a chat with the manager and let him/her know (politely but directly) that I’m not comfortable continuing to drive the vehicle with these safety issues. I wouldn’t have waited two weeks to “see what would happen.” I think the window for returning the car has closed; however, if you don’t get any resolution to the issues there’s always the lemon law. But that entire process can be lengthy and not always the best option. Sometimes going to a different SC is also helpful. Good luck.
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Moderator
Nov 28, 2018
14,309
18,120
Riverside Co. CA
TLDR: I experienced a series of sudden software errors in my Model 3 while driving, nearly got into a collision as a result, and simply do not feel safe driving this car anymore. I’m hoping to understand if this has happened to others, and what to do in response.

Long form:
I picked up my new Model 3 AWD DM LR from the Brooklyn, NY service center this past May. After months of obsessive YouTube video review watching, safety rating test ogling, I had never been more excited to own a car (so much so that I decided to use the car to relocate cross-country from NY to WA).

But starting in the first week I noticed software issues – starting with the rear camera turning black suddenly during operation, and staying that way until a scroll-wheel reset.

Then in the middle of the road trip, the screen freeze issues started. During high-speed highway travel the M3 center screen would become completely frozen and unresponsive. It was intermittent enough though, that we drove the car cross-country. By the time I was able to get an appointment at the Tesla Service Center in Seattle, I was told to “wait it out”, correspond with a technician, and continually assured there would be a fix. Eventually the screen freezes have become a once every 10x drive thing.

But just two weeks ago, after five ~5 months of ownership, and fresh updates up to v10 (I’m on 2019.32.12.2), I started to see the error message “Autopilot/safety convenience features unavailable”. At first intermittently, then on every drive, and then consistently, despite numerous attempts at resets (scroll wheel and power off).

And then today, during my commute home while on a busy arterial road, a sequence of errors: auto breaking, regen braking, etc., flashing atop the car avatar in succession – and with the regen braking gone, the car suddenly handled differently. And with just a second or two to react and adapt, I nearly rear-ended another car.

Simply put – I never imagined I’d be this disappointed with the Model, and feel this unsafe. I do not want to wait a week for a service appointment – and do not want to try and drive that thing 8 miles to service center

After calling emergency roadside assistance, they’ve told me I have no other options but to see if the service center will send a technician to me, but that there’s no guarantee for that.

After that long diatribe my question to the forum is this: if I don’t feel safe or trust Tesla and this car anymore, what are my options? Is it possible to return the car if it's relatively new, or get a partial refund?

View attachment 473586 View attachment 473587

No, you will not be able to "get a partial refund", but you can do what people do when they are unhappy with the car they have, and sell it.

Tesla is obligated to fix your car, they are not obligated to "return" any money to you for anything. You can sell the car, and if you are not upside down on a loan in it, then you will get some cash. If you ARE upside down on a car loan (which you will be unless you put a large down payment down, or paid cash), then you will have to kick in some money when you sell it to get rid of it.

Unless this is your first car, then the option is the same as any other car that someone doesnt like. Sell it, and move on to another car. Failing losing a bunch of money selling it, you should let them try to fix it. If you dont want to do that, then there is no other option other than selling it.
 
Since your title invoked the word "lemon," which suggests reference to lemon laws, I'll mention this: I'm not aware of any lemon law that kicks in until you've given the maker/dealerships more than one attempt to fix the problem. It sounds like that has not yet happened.

It's a problem, yes. But you need to give them a chance to fix it before concluding it's a lemon.
 
You aren't even in the ballpark of lemon yet. You need to take in at least three times for the same issue and then start looking into your states lemon laws. From there you may have to use a state approved program first and then if that doesn't work, send a final notice for fix, and then if still no resolve then go through the state lemon law process. I recently just won a lemon case on another vehicle. It will probably take over a year from this point, if the car is a true lemon, for a resolution to occur.

At this point you have no choice but get a repair or sell the car. Why you want to get a refund and you haven't even given them a chance to fix it is beyond me though.
 
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tomas

Out of warranty...
Supporting Member
Oct 22, 2012
4,336
4,255
Santa Barbara/New York
stop wasting your time drafting dramatic clickbait titles threads on a forum and take it to service center. Take the service manager for a drive. If undeliverable, go l tell them and show them pix in person.

If you are genuine, let me say that biggest mistake anyone with serious issues makes is relying on phone support. Don’t you know that they only have scripts for common problems, and they try to funnel every inquiry into a script, not just Tesla, all companies!

is this happening to anyone else?” Cmon. If it were, you’d see it plastered on this forum.

good luck.

PS, I can’t say enough how important in person discussion with service manager is. Your car has some unusual flaw that is causing this and needs shop diagnosis.
 
Last edited:
You aren't even in the ballpark of lemon yet.
You need to take in at least three times for the same issue and then start looking into your states lemon laws.
From there you may have to use a state approved program first and then if that doesn't work,
send a final notice for fix, and then if still no resolve then go through the state lemon law process.
I recently just won a lemon case on another vehicle.
It will probably take over a year from this point, if the car is a true lemon, for a resolution to occur.


At this point you have no choice but get a repair or sell the car.
Why you want to get a refund and you haven't even given them a chance to fix it is beyond me though.
From the OP description, it's seems that it is more a problem of a faulty component or connection, or combination of both.
All the major parts, such as propulsion battery and motors controllers, charging inverters... seems to be working or the car would not move.

Like any electronic system, there is a self test process, which is more or less executed when doing a reboot, allowing testing each component.
The service center must have a monitoring process for running self tests and analysing logs to localise issues and defects.

In the case of bad connections, it might be more tricky as the problem might occur only when the car is moving.
I remember a reported case in this forum of a missing ground connection, and a similar problem was reported by another service center.
 

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