Tesla Model 3 Towed 3 Times For Same Simple Problem: Video

DEC 24 2018 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY 95

Sometimes, a simple problem is tough to find. Thankfully, this video may help current Tesla Model 3 owners.

With a brand-new car — especially one that’s in its first model year —Β  there may be strange problems and quirks. If the issue is something that has never been discovered before, it’s not uncommon for a service center to struggle to diagnose it. This is why some people avoid vehicles until they’ve been offered for at least a few model years. This Tesla Model 3 is a perfect example of the latter.

YouTuber DamienGΒ has owned his Model 3 for three months. In that time, the car has been towed three times. It was throwing error messages and would not go into gear. Damien was able to get the car home the first time this happened. He simply reset it numerous times. However, after parking it in his garage overnight, the issue returned.

Damien’s car spent four days at a Tesla Service Center during its first trip. The technicians replaced the charge port, charge port door, and ECU. As far as they were concerned, the car was working fine. As it turns out, the problem quickly returned. During the next trip, Tesla found a fault in the power conversion system. After another three to four days, Damien got his car back and it was working well.

Not long after the second fix, the car was “broke” again. The employees at the Tesla Service Center felt horrible about the situation and offered to take Damien to dinner and give him some free gear. He opted for a free Tesla Model 3 key fob.

Problem Secured!

Thankfully, the third time was a charm. Damien’s Model 3 was only in the shop for a day. This is because the issue had been discussed at a regional meeting and there was an understanding about what it was and how to fix it. Crazily, it was a loose grounding bolt!

So, if you have similar problems with your Model 3, be sure to mention this to the folks at your Tesla Service Center.

Video Description via DamienG Videos! on YouTube:

Model 3 Towed 3 times for the same problem!

My 3 month old Model 3 Performance + has been towed 3 times for the same problem! It has just over 3000 miles on it. Take a look to see the final resolution.

TESLA MODEL 3

Tesla Model 3 Performance
16 photos
Tesla Model 3 Performance Tesla Model 3 Performance The Tesla Model 3 is not hiding anymore! Tesla Model 3 (Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs) Tesla Model 3 Tesla Model 3 Road Trip arrives in Tallahassee Tesla Model 3 charges in Tallahassee, trunk open.

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95 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Towed 3 Times For Same Simple Problem: Video"

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That’s how debug goes. It’s usually something simple, but finding the simple item is the difficult crux. In the end, all other people hear is how it was just something simple.

I did computer repairs for twenty plus years. Some problems were just dust in the cooling fans, and a common printer problem was a plug put in upside-down.

I was able to fix a major problem with disk drives with some alcohol and nail polish because a shaft was milled about a thousand of a inch too small.

Simple problems take simple fixes but can take a long time to find.

Fixing a hard drive shaft? You must be almost as old as me! (We used to have the dinosaurs chew on the platters to wipe our hard drives! )

Early in my career I also repaired PCs, back in the olden days before they became SOC and all solid state, and mice and men had balls.

btw, Problem only look simple in retrospect.

As complexity increase in electronics and electromechanical equipment in general, the technician is more dependent on an internal diagnostics system, or a dedicated diagnostics tool they can use to locate the error. In the early life of equipment like this, the internal/external diagnostics software/firmware is less precise at finding errors, and may give several examples of what the problem may be – and they may be related to two completely different PCBs, or say it is related to unstable power from the power source or be faulty wireing or a loose connector. Usually, when it’s nothing above – the technician will share his finding (that is was for example a sensor, a solenoid, a controller chip or what not), and the data will be analyzed by the manufacturer and after a while, the firmware may be updated so the system will find the correct error for this event. This is more likely to happen in a modern vehicle (EV or ICE), then a car from 1970 for example. If a car manufacturer can use a very similar system on several car models, and there are only minor changes from one generation to the other – there are less likely to… Read more »
A tech who depends on a failing system to diagnose itself, is as bad a diagnostician as a doctor who believes the lies his patients tell him or lets the lab make his diagnoses. In the real, non-software world the majority of all system failures are in the mechanical parts and connections. I respect good technicians. There aren’t enough of them. Good techs understand how the devices that they work upon function. Great techs use a combination of experience, knowledge of others and good work methods to develop relevant internal troubleshooting scripts. Bad ones throw parts, tools, and “diagnostic systems” at a problem. Every automotive diagnostic system, internal or external, on the market is a “canned answer” system. At most they might be able to indicate that something is wrong, and a lily cause for that symptom. The in vehicle vehicle’s systems are well known for generating irrelevant error codes, “symptoms”. The external shop systems need an operator who understands the vehicle well enough to gather the data , bypass the vehicle software, and exercise the system components needed for a good human diagnostician to identify the root problem cause- of an electrical/electronic system fault. None of these “diagnostic systems”… Read more »

I this is good info, but without knowing what bolt was loose it doesn’t help a lot. To the original poster, if you could call and get the location of said bolt that would be great.

It was a grounding bolt. Really, any bolt can come loose (or be incorrectly installed at factory level). The fact that it took three tries is not amazing, the fact that it ONLY took three tries and they were able to conclude that it must be a generic-type fault such as grounding error was more amazing. I highly doubt that another car company would have found it with only 3 strikes!

When I saw those 3 errors, I concluded it could be loose connection since he said there was nothing wrong with charging. Basically, car was diagnosing too much resistance, so not letting you damage it. And knowing that factory was rushing to put them together it is not a surprise problem.

The very same Problem Happened with my brand New Mercedes , Only It Wasn’t as Pleasant as your Experience & it Went On for 4 Months . My car would just die at random, I would pull over Stop , Start it & it would Go again . I had to tow it At Least 6/8 times that I can recall .. The car would then Start As soon as it came off the Flat bed .. They could not figure it Out & Mercedes was Not helping, Until one day it Died on the Highway While Traveling at Hi Speeds, where I Almost Got Steam Rolled by an 18 Wheeler Transport Truck , I Got out of His way On The Nick of Time . In turn I Threatened Mercedes with a Law Suite if this were to cause me an accident in the future . After a “Big Fight” Mercedes Switched the Car for another New car , Upon this Occuring , The Dealer Tried To Charge me SALES TAX Twice* …, TAX , Which I already Had Paid The The Car they Exchanged ..lmao……….. Talk About a Shady Stealer Dealer .

Btw ,, Found Out Much Later that It was a Loose Ground Wire Bolt .

Don’t you find it bothersome to capitalize every other word?

for some strange reason , No . * πŸ™‚ *

The Down Votes Must Be From All The Shafty Shady Stealer Dealers … lol .. * πŸ™‚ *

The difference?

Your case wasn’t plastered all over the internet to gain some clicks.

Because … you know … Tesla.

Recalls are routine for ALL Auto manu. Ford is recalling nearlrly Half a Million of its F150 P.ups for engine block heaters, and another recall is about seatbelt recall that can cause a fire 2 million on that recall .A century old Auto co. should be perfect right?

I looked over a few part vendor contracts, and they can be highly complex. A brand will make sure they don’t suffer (much) from faulty parts from vendors. Seatbelts, airbags, block heaters and stuff like that is made by different parts suppliers to the auto industy. They are all pushed on price, and there is a fine line between how well a product can be made, or what quality the company want to order. There are some well known parts manufacturers that have an unknown sub brand they use to deliver parts that is below a certain standard. Don’t forget industrial espionage errors that has been discovered by the IP owners too, and they have then fed cleverly faked information to the spy. I know about fake recepie for the electrolyte in capacitors (affecting a lot of main boards from a well known manufacturer, with massive recalls) and the glue used to glue the touch screen digitizer on LCDs (affecting both larger equipment using touch screens, and for a tablet series which resultet in huge global recalls as well – especially on the large equipment since the error happened after 1-3 years). It may sound boring, but if you read… Read more »

“Ford recalls 1.4 million cars for loose steering wheels”

That also happened.

When will there be a National recall of the loose nuts BEHIND the wheels?

It was a loose bolt, not a major problem. In fact the problem was so rare that Tesla had never seen it before and didn’t recognize the symptoms because of it.

Immobilizing car IS major problem and of course bad ground is not rare problem. Not a direct risk of fatality, but you still have slight chance to be run over on highway.

It becomes much worse when there is no proper debugging procedure in place to detect it, as it is beyond qualification and time allotment of regular technicians. Not just Tesla or EV problem, but so much for this silly “no moving parts so it must be reliable” nonsense.

Nice strawman. Nobody ever said “NO moving parts”. The reality is FEWER moving parts, which REDUCES failure points. There will still be problems, that’s just life. But nice job at building a fake strawman that there are “no” moving parts when nobody ever claimed that.

Not a major problem?! It was towed three times in 3 months due to the same issue which turned out to be ground bolt issue and it not being tight. For something so minor, it caused a lot of headaches. It’s a damn good thing it didn’t lock up on the highway in the left lane.

Electrical gremlins are nasty to find.
My buddy had a car that would blow a fuse everytime he signalled left.
Turned out it was a short between the dome light and the underside of the roof.
I’m sure you can image how hard it was to find that, given the dome light functioned fine.

Back in the 90s I had an 86 Thunderbird that would intermittently lose power driving down the road or even while trying to start the car. It was completely unpredictable when and where it would happen. It finally got so bad it would rarely turn over any more and I parked it. I was pretty much broke and couldn’t afford to take it to the shop and pay hundreds or more for a new alternator or whatever the problem turned out to be or at least what some mechanic decided to tell me what it would be and charge me. So out of desperation my plan was to consult my Chilton manual and look at the cheapest and easiest to repair electrical part-after the battery which I had just replaced- that could be causing the problem and then work my way up until I reached a part that I couldn’t afford or couldn’t replace with what I had. The first part I decided on was the approximately 3″ x 3″ voltage regulator bolted onto the side of the fire wall. It cost a handful of dollars and I replaced it in minutes. Got in and it started right up and… Read more »

I have a friend who literally took a 2×4 to his late 80s VW Sirocco and busted every window and dented every door panel before selling it for scrap, he swore no one should have to deal with the electrical gremlins he dealt with. He liked the car, but after it stranded him for about the fifth time he gave up.

Boy do I remember that, and the Rabbit to had its share too!

The 80s were not good for German Electric systems. The bosch wiring on my 84 Volvo Turbo was constantly crumbling and shorting out. I finally got rid of the car because of this even though I really loved it.

Yes ! Electrical Gremlins Could Be a Living Nightmare & The Old English Jaguars , MG Triumph, Etc: Basically Anything That Had “LUCAS” Electrics in Them Were a Living Nightmare. “Only By Fluke*, Would You Get A Trouble Free Car * . I was In The Country Traveling At A Brisk Pace in The Night , When All My Lights Went Out ! TALK ABOUT SCARY ! * πŸ™ * It was so Dark I Couldn’t See Past My Nose ! These Cars Were Possessed By “LUCAS” The God Of Darkness …. ie : Put On The L Turn Signal & the Heater Fan Would Come On and So On ! It Was Like Science Fiction ! , Absolutely Nuts ! Cars Today are Built Much Better , There Is No Comparison . The Worst Car Today Would Have Been The Very Best Back Then…

Not unique to high tech EVs. I had similar happen to my Harley. It would suddenly start running on only one cylinder, and only when it was very hot outside. Multiple dealerships tried everything, couldn’t debug it. Turns out it was a bad stator (V-twin equivalent of the alternator).

As someone else here posted, “electrical gremlins”……

Basics of electrical/electronic systems. Make sure you have good grounds. Surprisingly a very common issue with new and old cars

It is one of the firsts tasks of electricians working on older cars, to measure voltage between ground and minus on battery. All the galvanic connections tend to go bad after years.

Yes, and we found out the hard way on a custom bike we built… the motor won’t run right if not grounded to the frame.

Not just cars, Armadillo Aerospace had a number of problems with their rockets because of loose wires leading to grounding problems.

Would be nice if after the first time Tesla found the root cause that someone put in an IT ticker requesting the warning message be changed to say “Warning: Loose grounding bolt needs tightening.”

I suspect a troll.

Tesla service centers need to talk to each other more often it seems which may improve the typical dealer solution of just throwing parts at it in hopes it will get the car out the door.

That will come as they mature. I’m sure they have a database where technicians can report errors and what the problem was.. all the stuff auto diagnostics is not capable to find out now. After a while with a software/firmare upgrade the diagnostics will chose is as a possible problem. This happens fairly quick. They will get technical bulletins explaining all the most common stuff, and the rest is also online ready for them to find. A new model takes time to fail in may weird ways.. just imagine how many situations a car can be in. Give a manufacturer of a new model 12-18 month to find most weird cases. . after that is has more to do with parts and car quality, corrotion and so on. Most errors will be known by the manufacturers during testing in different areas of the world, and all the torture testing. Of course there is no limmit to how much damage a customer can cause either. A friend of mine had bought a three year old cheap tiny Suzuki 4×4 in mint condition, which he used to drive down on the beach (seawater). He drove it until the water was almost to… Read more »

It must be frustrating for you seeing Model 3s proliferate and take over the world of ICE. I saw fourteen yesterday in my little town of Half Moon Bay – population 12k. Yes there are lots of tourists here and it is close to Silicon Valley- nonetheless these things are selling like hot cakes. The Madoff reference is grasping at straws for trolls like you. Take a look in the mirror and wake up.

I drove up to McLean Virginia the other day. I thought Arlington Virginia had a lot of Teslas. I saw a Tesla every couple minutes in McLean. They are the car everyone wants to have. The cool factor is huge.

I’ve had my Model 3 for a month and haven’t seen too many around Warrenton, but I do see quite a few S and Xs so it’s only a matter of time. Stop and Go traffic has been much more pleasant with Enhanced Auto Pilot!

Mechanical problems can be hard to figure out. Software issues? Even harder.
I used to own a RAV-4. Don’t ask. Anyway, I suddenly noticed a nearly continuous rattle in the front passenger side foot panel. I took it off, nothing loose. Rattle continued for a week so I took it in. Toyota dealer tore out the panel, tightened everything up, took it for a drive, rattle still there. I was standing there with two techs and the manager staring at the car, all of us baffled.
Old dude walks up behind us, asks what we are looking for. We tell him about the rattle in the foot panel area. He asks, “Have you checked the nuts on the top of the roof rack?” We are like, “the sound is from down there, not up there”. He walks over, tightens the loose roof rack nut. We take the car out, no rattle. The sound was telescoping down the A Pillar until the pillar hit the chassis behind the foot panel.
Simple problems are only simple if you know the answer.

Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas to you Rennie. Looks like you need it.

@Rennie,

May all of your Holiday festivities go off WITHOUT a hitch,
avoid having a screw loose, steering you NOT into a ditch.

Have a Merry Grinchmas!🌲🎁

Good find on the ground wire. Usually it takes multiple failures across different systems in order to find a common loose ground wire fault. Once there are multiple failures, you can pull out the ground wiring diagram and see where they share a common ground point. Testing continuity along ground wires won’t always catch a loose ground, because it can test fine when sitting in the shop, and only fail on the road.

Proper codes make this an easy task, you fail.

You have not done that many repairs, I think. The number of cases where just moving the item causes it to work find for the next couple of days account for why today I am bald.

Most errors codes only narrow the list to a dozen or so causes.

Two causes for the baldness would be would be beating your hand against your head, or your head against the wall. ;-D

Codes from an malfunctioning electrical system would only indicate that there was a problem somewhere, possibly the OBD system itself.

Drive that TSLA price down, I intend to add to my position BIGLY, believe me.

Back up the electric truck!!!

The root cause is poor quality control 101.

No. You’d be surprised how much a ground wire can QC fine but actually not be fine.

It’s a problem for many brands of cars and even for other electronics.

Teslas spend way too much time in the shop.

The highest ISO QC rating still allows for failures.

When thousands of parts are joined together, a once in a million chance that a component will fail,, means a minimum of one (probably more) component will fail per 1000 vehicles- without considering human mistakes. There’s a lot of inspection of completed vehicles, but errors that lead to in-the-field failures don’t get caught before buyers take possession.

My take on this is the same as my grandfather’s: “NEVER buy a car during its first year of production. Let the stupid and the rich be the ones who pay a premium for a chance to get arrows shot into their backs.”

we bought 2013 for a reason.

Loose grounds. Ugh. BTDT. One of the worst gremlins, and still problematic.

Floating grounds are very common problems with cars of all varieties. If you have an intermittent problem it should be the first thing checked.

Thanks for the written synopsis; saved having to listen to the tedious video. Grounding issues can be difficult to troubleshoot. Glad this was finally fixed.

Most likely reason that it only happened on restart is that some systems will do a BIT check upon start but not while you’re driving.

Intermittent problems are often hard to diagnose, especially in machines which are as complex as a modern automobile.

As others have pointed out, intermittent electrical problems are hardly unique to Tesla cars or to electric cars.

“discussed at a regional meeting and there was an understanding about what it was and how to fix it. ”

Seems they should have had this video conference during the second occurrence to resolve this for all potential customers – i.e. disrupting and innovating service call troubleshooting. The old dealer model puts up roadblocks to this type of info sharing.

The Tesla dealer model doesn’t block communication, it just hasn’t been completed. It’s more complicated to create that the Model 3 was, because all the critical parts are organic.

Every Tesla dealer benefits when customers aren’t pissed off. They all work with the same cost structure and selling prices are fixed. hey all want a little warranty work as possible, and to be able to do it as efficiently as they can.

Dipsticks cant diagnose a simple cct hi trouble code. Funnier is the code wasnt avail.

12 minutes to say that the issue was with a loose grounding bolt? Jeez. I laughed when he said he tried to keep it short.

Well, it was a ‘Slice of Life’ Video. Customers and Service Center Managers alike get very frustrated with this type of trouble since everybody really WANTS to get to the route of the problem. And, no doubt the Service Center Manager is scored on how many cars he fixes the FIRST time, not the Third time.

You need to keep an Open mind. and not be intermittent.

Checking to make sure it was grounded. Is one of the first things to check. Sounds like Tesla can’t get it together

Read all the other car company fails first.

Clearly you have never done any diagnostic work on any electrical systems. When you test a ground that is having intermittent problems because it is loose, it will test as being just fine when the vehicle is sitting still.

You are confusing testing for a broken ground (easy because it will always test as bad) and testing for an intermittent ground (much more difficult, because the ground will test as good except when it is being intermittent.)

Yeah, this owner had one of the worst problems to diagnose.
OTOH, I suspect that Mr. Lane is a lawyer that is shorting Tesla.

im sorry.
Where do you work at and what electronics testing do you do?

Nothing at all unique to Tesla, in fact probably happens more with other car manufacturers.

This Tesla Model 3 might have been built on a Monday!

Definitely built during a day whose name ended with a “y”.

i’ll go further and say that it ended with a ‘day’, not just a y.

After seeing the model 3 teardown and being floored by the number of connections I am not surprised this might occasionally happen. Hopefully it gets resolved quickly.

First year problems were a thing for US cars until maybe the past 15 years. They haven’t been a thing for Japanese cars since people started buying Civics in the 70s. The Tesla Model 3 is just a terribly unreliable car.

Consumers shouldn’t be beta testers for car companies. That the cars cost $70,000 makes it obscene. This car probably qualifies for a lemon law buyback.

Well, in this case that is being more than a little bit unfair. There may be times when on a grounding (earthing) screw the paint to the chassis wasn’t completely scraped off, or in an older car some road salt managed to work its way in there –

Computer problems due to poor connections happen with great frequency among many brands of cars. Its over the top to put all the blame on Tesla on this one.

Hopefully, a Technical Service Bulletin will be released to all the service centers having them double check the troublesome grounding bolts in all cars that come in for service – which will then make the customer much more happy since they won’t have to go through this themselves, and will relieve Tesla of many hours of warranty work.

First year problems are still prevalent. They just aren’t as obviously mechanical or as quickly reporters as ones with Tesla. AFA Japanese cars – look at the gas in oil engine issues that Honda has had with its 2.5L turbos and Subaru with oil leaks.

If faults not being fewer as vehicle price rises makes vehicles obscene, then all cars over $40,000 are more obscene than simpler ones selling in the 30’s.

First year problems are UNIVERSAL for electronic products like phones and computers. Software products have LIFETIME problems.

Funny how Cortez mentions the Bolt EV. I sure am enjoying my highly reliable, highly maintainable Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier!

That may seem random to people not working with electronics, but those who do this is definitely something that pops up from time to time. The problem is that even when one knows the issue it is notoriously hard to find because one had to find the right one.

Is the ground bolt tightened by a robot?
When 5000 cars are made every week, if the robot was not checked for a week, 5000 cars could be affected.
How often do auto-manufacturers check the robots for QC?

That was a long video for very little info. Show the offending grounding bolt with location and show others how to tighten. A simple picture with an arrow would be faster than a 12 minute video…smh

I’m willing to bet that the owner wasn’t shown which bolt was tightened, or allowed in the shop areas where he could see it .

Great testament to the dedication of the Tesla Service department here, normally reports of ongoing problems would put off potential buyers but to see that they never gave up on the problem and showed the Customer that they were on their side will only bring more EV buyers on board, well done!

Wow an issue with a car! This never happens with bmw and the like traditional brands (pun, dah, intended). At least many issues with Tesla are solved over-the-air.

Yes, Tabloid-Steve, absolutely shocked about the issue!πŸ€¦β€β™‚οΈ

The real world is not math class, and even there, just because a solution is possible does not guaranty that finding the solution will be easy or simple. A problem can only be called simple if it has an immediately obvious remedy that CAN BE easily implemented. It’s only in situations where there are no extensive complications as a result of a particular problem could you falsely believe that a problem was simple. Hydraulic cement is an example. If you don’t know about it, you would have a hard time patching an underwater hole in a concrete dam. This wasn’t a simple problem, but one that had a simple solution that COULD be applied in SOME situations when the problem occured. If the problem had manifested at interstate speeds, the “solution” would be useless. A 4 wheel lockup at 65mph would be a disaster. Nor was the difficulty of identifying the root problem described. How many total man hours of customer and tech time were involved, and was the cause found by applying systematic troubleshooting, by throwing parts at it, or by accident? The root cause of this problem was a loose part. Eventually a loose part would fall off.… Read more »

Maybe Tesla ought to just tighten all the bolts during assembly – on every car – this has been common practice in the car industry for quite some time.

Thousand and one explanations reasons why new products fail, but sometimes it’s simply, luck of the draw.

In general, what you just read about is how Tesla runs. They will treat their customers AWESOME.
They may not get it right the first time, but will keep working at it.

Should have just asked a Model S owner from Canada or a snow state. Common problem (weird undiagnosable electric bugs = loose ground stud)

I had an old civic with a blown gasket, i hated every second of my life with that car. My 2013 leaf has not had a single issue. These days i mostly cycle.

It is very easy to get into the mode “we have all of this diagnostic equipment, that’s where I’ll start”. Recurring problems are often best diagnosed by going back to basics. I’ve been around old cars, farm equipment & old airplanes a lot. On any electrical problem I always start with a search for a bad ground. Loose connections are my next stop before attempting further diagnosis & sometime I’ll miss the one causing the issue.