Last updated 15-Oct-2021
Tesla cars can sometimes find themselves with a software gremlin that requires a reboot or reset. It's not that common, but it's certainly something that all owners need to be aware of as it solves the majority of issues. Which of the various computers in the car has had the issue means different resets may be needed, the most common one is a simple main screen reboot, but if the fault is deeper within the car, for instance linked to the autopilot or chargers, a bigger reset may be required. It's also possible that just leaving the car alone for a few hours will cure the problem as the car will go to sleep and effectively reboot itself when you wake it up.
The crashing of the main screen (MCU) also seems to be linked to one of a number of issues that point to a memory leak of some description. We provide some tips to help trouble shoot. This is less of a problem on later cars, but those MS and MX cars with the earlier MCU may be showing signs of an eMMC failure
The following reboot options exist. While some are possible while driving, we recommend that the car should always be stationary and in a safe place before rebooting the car.
Tesla now suggest unplugging all USB devices prior to performing a reboot as it can prevent some sub systems from shutting down.
Press and hold both scroll wheels on either side of the steering wheel for up to 10 seconds and the main/central screen will reboot. While rebooting you may have seen the airbag icon become visible in the dash and the clicking noise from the indicator will not be heard.
Press and hold both buttons above the scroll wheels on either side of the steering wheel for up to 10 seconds and the drivers dash/screen will reboot.
This reboot is a little harder to do. You need to be sitting in the car with the doors closed and not open them for the duration of the reboot to perform the hard reset.
Sit in the car with the door closed and don't touch anything or open the door other than to follow the instructions. This is also best done where its quiet as being able to listen to the car can help, otherwise pay attention to the time.
We don't advise doing this hard reset unless you are selling the car but if you are stuck and Tesla support is unable to help, then this can be tried. The process is the same as Option 4 just pick the different option from the screen.
Tesla have advised some owners to change the wheel choice in software if the car is stuck and won't enter drive. This can be done through the menus, and it doesn't really matter what wheel size you change the car too, just change the wheels, let the car reboot automatically afterwards, and then change back. It's not elegant, but some have found it causes the cars configuration to reset (but not seat positions, navigation history etc) and returns any failing functionality.
After a software update, we recommend an option 4 reboot, especially if any function doesn't see, to work correctly. Sometimes the problems are subtle such as the car not wanting to go to sleep causing excessive battery drain over night. If you experience any perculiar behaviour of the car, such a reboot should be the first thing to try as it tends to solve many niggles caused by the software failing.
Some people report their car screens rebooting randomly, the first sign of this on an MS or MX is if the Air-bag light comes on. Nobody knows all the reasons, but there have been a number of software glitches over the years that can cause this to a greater or lesser extent. If you are experiencing frequent reboots, maybe the air-bag light appearing and the steps above do not help, then some or all of the following have been known to help.
They all point to a memory issue, possibly the eMMC issue below, or a software fault of one form or another. Either the memory cannot handle some form of corrupted data, or the actions below move the active part of the eMMC memory to a different area which has not started to fail. If one of the suggestions below does resolve the issue, you should still log the issue with Tesla especially if in warranty as it may be temporary. If out of warranty you may want to consider the eMMC resolution below. If you can attribute the issue to a specific rogue music file or contact then there is no need to contact Tesla.
Your car stores up a history of your driving and clearing the trip computers has been known to improve the stability of the computers, especially if one of the trip computers has a significant amount of history captured.
Your car also stores the sat nav locations that have been previously used. These build up over time. These can be deleted by swiping them off the list.
If you are using a USB dashcam or have a USB stick with music on it, then try removing it. Similar to the trip computer, a large amount of data can cause problems and in the case of music files, the car reads these in and stores the information to make the contents available to the driver. If this cures the problem, then try reducing the number of files on the USB stick and seeing if that solves the problem while regaining the utility of USB music.
You may see a pattern here, if your phone has a lot of contacts then these will be loaded into the car. Disconnecting your phone for a while will help determine if this is the problem.
None of the above options are ideal, the car should be able to handle problems, but if one of these temporarily cures the problem you can start to work out how to permanently fix. It may be a rogue MP3 file, or a phone contact with some corrupted details. If however its trip or destination data then it could point to a problem with the car memory.