Tesla cars can sometimes find themselves with a software gremlin that requires a reboot or reset. Its not that common, but it's certainly something that all owners need to be aware of as it solves the majority of issues. Which computer has had the issue means different resets will 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 deeper 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 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. The worst case however is a sign 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.
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.
Frequent reboots could be the sign of something much more sinister going on and that the failure of the eMMC memory. This is the memory that the car writes to when its being used and as well as the user information we have covered, it also includes logging information the car generates.
Essentially, the eMMC memory can wear out and crashes are a sign that this can be occurring. Once failed, the solution is to have a replacement MCU which is $1000's. The tell tail signs is an steady increase in needing to reboot or the system rebooting itself, especially across software releases. We recommend one of the following:
For more information, see our guide to the Tesla MCU1 eMMC failure and what you should do.
Check out our essential accessories for some ideas on what to buy to make you Tesla ownership more enjoyable.