Screen Blanks Out Again - 2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: Screen Blanks Out Again

May 29, 2013

2013 Tesla Model S

The primary display screen on our 2013 Tesla Model S went blank, again. If you are keeping track, this is the third outage in three months of ownership. A recap follows...

Our local Tesla dealer replaced the screen the first time this happened. The second time a reboot put things back on track. This time was much like the second. The car operated fine, but the blank screen was annoying. After the two-button reboot, a trick every Tesla owner should know, the screen returned.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 4,425 miles


  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    I'm not sure what to think. On one hand, this really isn't the end of the world, especially because it is a completely new design. On the other hand, its frustrating to see such a cool car being held back by computer glitches, and I don't even own one! Actually, I think that this large computer screen endeavor will tell us a lot about Tesla as a company. Are they paying attention, furiously going over code to reduce glitches, striving to continuously advance and refine their product; or are they resting on their laurels, only applying bandages when needed? I assume that time will tell.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    "The car operated fine, but the blank screen was annoying." The screen is the primary control interface in this car - it's not just annoying if it goes down.

  • throwback throwback Posts:

    If the screen is out, does the presets still work? For example, if you have the auto headlight feature set, will the lights still come on even if the screen is dark? IF not that could be a serious problem if this happens at night.

  • legacygt legacygt Posts:

    I am shocked how little influence auto journalists and their reviews have had on the industry with regard to touch screens. Even the best systems are regularly criticized. They are annoying, buggy, distracting and unsafe. Even the best ones are worse than buttons or dials for most tasks. So why do they proliferate? I think there are two factors here. First is the "gee whiz" component. These systems are pretty cool to play with on the showroom floor. You can sit there and safely stare and the screen and enjoy all it has to offer. Second is price. As the screens get cheaper they will be cheaper and simpler to install than a panel full of individual buttons.

  • drcomputer drcomputer Posts:

    The good part about the computer systems in the Model S is that they are completely independent of each other. So if the screen has a problem a simple two button reboot press on the steering wheel can reboot the screen while driving and has no effect on the other systems in the car. Although it would be great if the software was 100% bug free, that's not really a reality in today's computer based world. I've had my Model S for over 8 months and have had to reboot the screen a few times. It takes just a few seconds. I'm sure every iPhone, Andriod phone, Windows PC or Mac user has had to reboot their device a few times over 8 months. It's just the reality of the modern world.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    @drcomputer: I couldn't disagree with you more. As consumers, we have power. If enough people tell manufacturers (with their mouths and dollars) that they want more reliability in computers, it will become a priority. Reliability has become a big concern

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    @drcomputer: FYI, cars with buttons and knobs don't have this issue, and your car is not a iPhone. If you have to reboot the system in order to access basic controls, it's literally one step forward and two steps back. Is this progress?

  • throwback throwback Posts:

    I have never had to reboot my iphone 4 in 3 years. Just saying. There is clearly a defect in the system when virtually every model S owner has to routinely reboot the screen. This is just as annoying as the my ford touch issue edmunds had previously.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Reboot WHILE driving. I think we have come to the point of convergence concerning the term "crash" in the computer and automotive senses.

  • andyr2 andyr2 Posts:

    Any standard computer system will need a reboot once a month or so. Maybe Tesla should build some sort of protocol to restart it self every couple of weeks if it is parked at 3:00 am

  • regman17_ regman17_ Posts:

    Isn't this a safety issue since the Model S relies on this screen to perform most functions? Is there anything critical that you can’t do while the screen is blank?

  • mayhemm mayhemm Posts:

    @quadricycle: the reason we will never have glitch-free electronics is because we are accustomed to shorter and shorter product cycles, which leaves less and less time for testing. If we waited for them to clear all the bugs out of our electronics, they'

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