Tesla Model S P85D Tire Shop Joyride? – Video


Recently, a Tesla Model S P85D owner took his car in to “resolve a TPMS error.

With the dash cam running, the video captured shows the tire shop guys going for a joy ride in the Model S, according to the owner of the vehicle.

However, after having watched the video multiple times, we conclude that joy ride is an exaggeration and little to no wrongdoing occurred.

Here’s the Model S owner describing the situation:

Okay, so he floored it once...

Okay, so he floored it once…

To resolve a TPMS error I was seeing in my Model S, Tesla sent me a new sensor, and asked me to take it to any tire shop to have it mounted… I took it to one across the street from my work (name withheld for the moment). This video shows them trying to open the frunk/hood for no apparent reason, and confirms that during a test drive, the car was floored in an attempt to do an Insane Launch. Thankfully I had valet mode enabled, so it was a bit anticlimactic (and likely disappointed the driver/mechanic). I did talk to the shop afterwards, but had not compiled this video yet, will see what kind of response I get (if any) when I email this to them.

And here’s his follow-up post:

So the shop did email me back quite quickly (and after hours). While I still need to check under the car to see if they followed my instructions on jack points / inspect for damage if they didn’t, assuming I find none, I am satisfied with their response. Its a bit of a raw deal for the mechanic, but these days, you really need to conduct yourself professionally in whatever you do, as consequences are more readily handed out with videos and data and everything we have going on.

The Model S owner has received several negative comments on his YouTube page. Those who’ve actually watched the video mostly agree with us in saying that this owner is overreacting to the whole situation.

What’s your take? Is this joy riding?  Just a typical test drive?

Category: Tesla, Videos


39 responses to "Tesla Model S P85D Tire Shop Joyride? – Video"
  1. David Murray says:

    All these shops want to open the hood. It is standard procedure on gas cars because they want to find more stuff they can sell you (air filters, etc)

  2. Fool Cells says:

    Case in point why one should not take their 110k car to a no name car shop staffed by high school flunk outs.

  3. Taser54 says:

    So Tesla service centers can’t install a TPMS?

    Also, the Tesla has to be placed in insane mode to do an insane launch. Since it was never in insane mode, the mechanic never attempted an insane launch.

    1. Speculawyer says:

      Well, why go to Tesla for a TPMS issue?

      1. Taser54 says:

        Another defective Tesla part? Shouldn’t they fix it?

        1. Speculawyer says:

          Well, since there are few Tesla repair places I presume it may be more hassle to go to the Tesla repair place than the local tire shop. But it is certainly up to the owner.

        2. BraveLilToaster says:

          I bet you think that they make the TPMS sensors too, don’t you?

  4. kdawg says:

    Only thing I learned is valet-mode did its job.

    1. Josh says:

      +1, it took way too long for them to release that feature.

  5. Scott says:

    I guess it’s naive to feel this way, but I’m still amazed at how few people really know anything about Teslas. I called my bank to inquire about getting financing for one…it took 5 minutes to convince the person on the other end of the phone what in the world I was talking about.

    1. Foo says:

      My credit union has a special checkbox on its car loan form: “Tesla”

      ‘Course, I live the Bay Area. 🙂

  6. ffbj says:

    Name of the company withheld? Heck it’s on their signage, “Trail Tire.” Much ado about nothing, sure owners naturally want their cars treated with kid gloves, but mechanics take cars for spins.
    No damage, no issues, and the owner is no fun at parties.

    1. scottf200 says:

      As I understood from the TMC thread the person also got fired. Maybe he had some history already but that’s a bummer.

      1. Mikael says:

        Seriously? I hope that is not true. The only one that should get fired is the cars owner… fired from the human race.

        1. Fool Cells says:

          that is the dumbest thing i have read today

        2. John says:

          I’m guessing the *only* reason that car didn’t end up wrapped around a telephone pole was the fact that the owner put it in valet mode.

          I’m guessing that “mechanic” doesn’t drive a 700hp rocket daily, and had the car taken off like it could have, the results could have been deadly…

        3. Spiffater says:

          Agree, the owner needs to get off that high horse of his. I would say that if this mechanic had a history of taking cars for a “joy ride” then he should have been canned for that reason, this particular situation, was not a “joy ride”.

    2. JakeY says:

      I have seen plenty of examples of mechanics going on “harmless” acceleration runs, losing control, and crashing the car. I can understand being pissed at that, esp. given they didn’t have a reason to test drive the car in the first place. And given the guy was fired, I’m guessing he wasn’t following policy at the shop.

    3. Fool Cells says:

      if the mechanic wants to just go for a spin, he/she can go buy their own Tesla.

  7. MTN Ranger says:

    I can see Tesla adding a new “Paranoid Owner” mode that is even more constrained than the valet mode. Shouldn’t be hard to do.

    1. Tesla already has a smartphone app for owners wanting to monitor “location” and “speed” of their Model S/X. Screenshot(s) of app viewable at:

      1. Josh says:

        I would recommend any owners, as concerned as this one, to warn the mechanics about that the phone app and tracking to prevent them from attempting anything reckless.

  8. kubel says:

    Overreaction. I’ve got dashcam of a Nissan tech taking my LEAF to lunch, eating McDonalds in my car with the heater running, rummaging through my glovebox (and commenting on what was inside) and giving me back a car with then battery almost completely drained.

    They inconvenienced me, but they made it right by giving me a free rental. The problem was solved, they made things right, no big deal. I ended up giving them a positive review.

    1. Bonaire says:

      Well, a rental makes good some dude using your car as his own? Sounds fair 🙂 I guess it could have been worse. I had my Volt in for work which required what they say was “reprogramming” of the computer. They drove it 60 miles including a period of 30mpg gasoline driving. I tend to get over 40mpg when I drive it.

      1. Bonaire says:

        I really want dealers to learn from the Tesla example. However, it is the country club comparison to the municipal golf course. Entirely different experiences — that you pay for.

  9. hutch says:

    I feel the guy overreacted. He took a very expensive car to a shop that doesn’t work on them. To me the the video clearly shows they are just curious and want to check it out. If my Volt gets attention I can only imagine the amount a Tesla would get.

    1. John says:

      Except the tech floored it…
      What would have happened had the full 700hp been unleashed? He could have died, innocent bystanders could have died…all kinds of bad.

      1. Spiffater says:

        Looks like he applied the throttle, didnt get the response he expected at part throttle and gave it another push… perhaps he thought something else was wrong. Get over your assumptions already… people always assume the worst in others with VERY limited data.

  10. Doug (dhanson865) says:

    I’d assume they wanted to open the hood to do a courtesy check for wiper fluid.

    1. Foo says:

      Maybe he thought it needed some oil, or new spark plugs perhaps.

      1. james says:

        and refill the headlight fluid…

        But seriously, ACE certification isn’t easy. High school or not, GOOD car mechanics make good money in an honest shop.

  11. rage777 says:

    I had a 4 TPMS sensors changed not that long ago and the tire place never had to take it for a test drive. All they did was install the new TPMS sensor, program it to the car, and off I went. Of course they tried to sell me on the 4 tire rotation and alignment, which I declined. They never opened my hood either. The biggest difference is that I don’t ever leave the shop. If I were to leave a $100k car, I would definitely not leave the shop.

  12. Scramjett says:

    I don’t think we have enough information to reach an informed conclusion.

    What kind of shop is it? Did the owner give permission for a test drive? Was there anything the owner signed that said the shop reserves the right to perform a test drive to check for faults/issues?

    If it’s a full service shop, then they probably are doing a courtesy check on the “hood” and test driving it to make sure there are no other issues (as others have said). Though they should have been upfront and said that they would do that.

    However, if it’s a tires only shop (i.e. America Tires, Costco Tire Shop, etc.) then why would they need to test drive it after replacing a TPMS? I have taken every car I’ve ever owned to America Tires and they have never test drove it after replacing the tires, let alone the rotations, TPMS or any other service I’ve had them perform.

    If it’s a full service shop, then they were just checking for other problems (though I would argue that they should be upfront with the owner that they are going to do that). If its a tires only shop, then test driving it, particularly without the owners permission, is completely unjustified and unwarranted.

    The bottom line? Without more information, we have no right to pass judgement on either the shop or the owner.

    However, having said all that and based on what we have so far and without further info, I’m inclined to side with the owner. Most of what I’ve seen and heard against the owner so far sounds like victim blaming. You know, stupid things like “don’t take it to *insert shop*” which sounds like “don’t drink at a party.” I expect any and all places of business to conduct themselves with integrity and professionalism. Anything else is unacceptable.

  13. Speculawyer says:

    In defense of the tire shop, you do need to drive the car to reset a TPMS system. At least you do in my car according to the owner’s manual.

    1. John says:

      Does the owners manual say to floor it?
      Luckily it was restricted, if it wasn’t the result could have been devastating.

  14. Speculawyer says:

    Here . . . from page 113 of the Tesla Model S Owner’s manual:

    To reset TPMS sensors:
    1. Inflate all tires to their recommend
    pressures, as indicated on the Tire and
    Loading Information label located on the
    driver’s door pillar.
    2. Get ready to drive for ten minutes, then,
    on the Model S touchscreen, touch
    Controls > Settings > Service & Reset >
    Tire Pressure Monitor > Reset Sensors.
    3. Follow the onscreen instructions

  15. Nix says:

    I went on the tire shop’s web page. They do offer other services besides tires, so it is likely that they pop the hood and check fluids on every car that comes in. Then they probably do what is typical of these places, and say they inspected it and suggest $100-$500 bucks in services that they want to upsell you on.

    They definitely needed to test drive it after doing the TPMS, even if just to see if any warning lights came on. If anybody had TPMS sensors done where there was no test drive, then it is because they were making YOU do their job of testing if lights came on. If you don’t mind being their quality control tester, and rather not have them do it for you, then everybody is happy. But that doesn’t mean they were wrong to test drive it.

    But this person is absolutely correct that the test drive should have NEVER included any attempted WOT runs, or any attempted tests of the 700 HP.

    The fact that the Valet Mode made these into failed attempts (and thus no harm) doesn’t forgive the fact that he tried.

    As for the mechanic losing his job, the Store Owner had to weigh his potential liability for future cars that weren’t put into Valet Mode, and decide how much risk he was willing to take with this mechanic.

    In his/her mind, he had to decide if it was worth the risk to keep an employee who was on video in the public realm Attempting to joyride a car. If he didn’t act, and this employee joyrode a car without valet, and got into a wreck and killed somebody, it would be the store that would be sued for keeping on an employee who they knew tried to joyride cars before.

    Lesson: Customer cars are not for WOT runs or checking out the horsepower. And even if the Valet settings stop you, even trying to do a WOT run is the wrong thing to do.

    I don’t have Valet Mode on my car. I’m glad my car wasn’t the next vehicle this mechanic took for a test drive with WOT runs. If you are happy thinking of your car being used for WOT runs by a mechanic, why don’t you go down to your local tire store today, pick a mechanic, hand them your keys, and tell them to go out and hot-rod your car. Don’t like that idea? Then why would you want somebody doing that as part of a test drive?

  16. Spiffater says:

    You people seriously serious? All this drama over a curious mechanic? The guy floors the car once and you call this a “joy ride”? Please, PLEASE tell me you people are not this lame, and dont have as much time on your hands as the owner obviously does. This whole story and comments are just so *weak* sauce.