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Who'll be responsible for an update bricking your car after warranty expires?

I love the fact that our cars keep getting better with updates and on Thursday night my wife accepted the message to get the latest flavor of 6.0 overnight. On Friday morning the car was dead with the screens only live enough to tell us to contact Tesla service. Basically the update failed after partially completing. Tesla promptly sent out two repair techs who spent a couple hours trying to force an update with their laptop plugged into the Ethernet port on the car but they could not and said it had to be towed to the nearby service center. It took two tow truck drivers over an hour with a dolly etc to get the car out of the driveway since it would not go into tow mode (which is supposed to be one of the last functions to work in a failing system). They even jumped the 12v battery to make sure it had enough juice. With the full shop equipment the SC soon had the car running again and throughout Tesla was very responsive and is now very good at letting us know what was going on at every step. My only concern is who will foot the bill for something like this after the warranty expires as I expect this was pretty expensive and their update caused the issue?
 

stevezzzz

R;SigS;P85D;SigX;S90D;XP100D;3LR;YLR
Nov 13, 2009
6,100
122
Colorado
Interesting question. Since OTA software updates are part of the core functionality of the car, I guess Tesla could make the argument that a failed update is just like a mechanical failure: covered under warranty and the owner's responsibility after the warranty expires. It's an interesting conundrum, if true: do you accept a software update if there is a small but real chance it'll fail and cost you big bucks to repair?
 

qwk

P130DL
Dec 19, 2008
3,024
857
This is a very good question, and one I have pondered and even asked at the SC. The answer is, Tesla doesn't even know yet. I'm willing to bet that the owner will be responsible for the bill. This is going to be a common theme as soon as cars start coming out of warranty, because a lot of the older hardware throws errors with the new software. I have had a few parts replaced(under warranty)because of this.

- - - Updated - - -

Interesting question. Since OTA software updates are part of the core functionality of the car, I guess Tesla could make the argument that a failed update is just like a mechanical failure: covered under warranty and the owner's responsibility after the warranty expires. It's an interesting conundrum, if true: do you accept a software update if there is a small but real chance it'll fail and cost you big bucks to repair?
I myself, will absolutely not risk loading new software after the warranty expires, if I have to foot the billl for these repairs. The new software is mostly loaded with fluff, and no real improvements for me(no ATT 3G anywhere near where I live).

Tesla basically overpromises and underdelivers on the software.
 
It will be Tesla's liability. Just because an entire car is out of warranty does not mean certain parts of the car cannot be under warranty, such as a new software update. If a ford dealer installs a new alternator, it comes with, I think, a 1 year warranty. If you buy an alternator at Napa, it has a warranty.

I see see no way that Tesla can get away with not providing a warranty on a brand new part/product, no limited to the part itself....but also any other costs associated with the failure.

Beyond bare bones argument, Tesla had demonstrated a strong culture of customer service and they have my confidence that they will do the right thing.
 
If there's a bug that causes a bricking, I can see how this might be Tesla's responsibility.

If there's a failure in your car that leads to bricking: eg, power failure during update, or flash chip failing during update... This is a failure of your car and likely would not and should not be covered by warranty.

Probably the smart thing to do post-warranty-expiration is to do the software updates in the DS's parking lot. If it fails there, it will be much easier to deal with the repair than possibly having to use dolly's onto a flatbed.
 

Electroman

Well-Known Member
Aug 18, 2012
7,357
10,525
TX
Or simply why do any updates and risk it? If it has been running fine for 60k miles and 5 years then the software has stabilized and the only reason to update is to get new features or emergency safety/security patch.

The former can and should be ignored. The latter is equivalent to a recall and can be done at an SC
 
This is a very good question, and one I have pondered and even asked at the SC. The answer is, Tesla doesn't even know yet.

I'm thinking the same thing and a big reason I posted this now (I don't like giving the haters more fodder) is so they can have it worked out by the time our warranty runs out as we know Tesla reads these forums.

Probably the smart thing to do post-warranty-expiration is to do the software updates in the DS's parking lot.

Yup I'm also thinking that unless Tesla makes it clear that they will always accept responsibility then I agree the best thing will be to only get updates while the car is getting serviced by Tesla, as with normal cars these days.

I also expect that there will be a diminishing benefit to the updates over time as the software matures, especially on the same hardware and that, like Apple etc, eventually old hardware will get no more updates (or only bug and vulnerability fixes at least).
 
Cars out of warranty won't be legible for software updates.
They have to draw a line which HW configuration is not actively supported anymore (== tested after each change).
Running out of warranty is a good candidate for such a line.

That sounds like a good place to draw the line. and it would be easy for Tesla to know if the car is out of warranty and not send any updates to that car.
They need to allow for the extended warranty when drawing the line for the HW configurations.
Next question is : If my warranty is 4 years, and another persons warranty is 8 years (he bought the extended warranty), should I be able to pay to get the "updates only" for another 4 years ? They are going to support that hardware configuration for 8 years anyway.

It will be interesting to see how Tesla handles it.
 
I tried to update my out-of-warranty HP Printer once with a firmware that HP said was required to enable new functionality. The update failed and the printer was bricked. HP said "so sorry, buy a new printer". :(

Same thing happened with our Inmarsat satellite phone. It bricked while doing a software update and I had to fight tooth and nail with them to fix it when the phone was actually under the warranty period! I think the safest thing to do post warranty is let Tesla do software updates when you bring the car in for service.
 
Software updates causing true hardware failures would be difficult. Causing a bricking of a battery considerably more difficult than that.

If this were to happen, Tesla would take responsibility and fix it...anything else would be foolish. Why wouldn't they?

SW updates will not stop when a car is out of warranty either.
 

apacheguy

S Sig #255
Oct 21, 2012
5,151
1,340
So Cal
Cars out of warranty won't be legible for software updates.
They have to draw a line which HW configuration is not actively supported anymore (== tested after each change).
Running out of warranty is a good candidate for such a line.

No. When I purchased my service plan it said software updates were included. Furthermore, folks out of warranty are still getting SW upgrades. It makes sense.
 

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