Last updated 02-Jan-2023
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. A typical example might be where the Tesla has a frozen screen. There are different reset options available which progressively reboot more of the computers and clear local cache, the most common one is a simple main screen reboot, also known as a scroll wheel reboot, but if the fault is deeper within the car, for instance linked to the autopilot or chargers, one of the bigger resets 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 partially reboot itself when you wake it up.
The following reboot options exist. While some are possible whilst driving, we recommend that the car should always be stationary and in a safe place before rebooting the car. In the past it's been thought that the foot on the brake during a reboot helped clear out memory causing things to be re-initialised, and as memory can be a problem on MCU1 cars this became quite widely reported. Tesla now state that there is no need to do this so we have removed the suggestion. The foot on the brake may have just been a suggestion to prevent the car rolling away. It does no harm to have your foot on the brake.
Tesla suggest unplugging all USB devices prior to performing a reboot as it can prevent some sub systems from shutting down. This is something we've also recommended for some times, dating back to the MCU1 eMMC memory issue.
Press and hold both scroll wheels on either side of the steering wheel for up to 10 seconds until the main/central screen starts to reboot. While rebooting you may see the airbag icon become visible in the dash (MS and MX only) and the clicking noise from the indicator will not be heard if they are in use.
While this can be done while driving, if you're driving a M3 or MY you will not see the speedometer. We strongly recommend doing this only when stationary.
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.
Sometimes the issue isn't related to the a computer hanging, it is linked to the car config. This may be a menu option has gone missing such as Spotify disappearing, or Autopilot fails to engage. It may even be a cause for the car refusing to go into drive. Typically this will occur after a software update. To perform a configuration reset, via the menus, change the wheels size and/or design. This will cause the car to reboot with the changed configudation, but will also refresh the whole car configuration. Afterward the car has rebooted you can change the wheels back to the correct design if you want to and reboot again. It's not an elegant solution, but some have found it can solve a number of problems. You can also do this by changing the language, but we believe the wheel change is more convenient as the car will reboot in the new language and all the menus may become readable if you change the language to one you are not familiar with.
This is one of the bigger reboots and is similar to leaving the car over night and shutting down naturally. Sit in the car with the door closed and don't touch anything or open the door other than to follow the instructions to do a powerdown. 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.
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