My AC went out in 111 degree Arizona heat

My AC went out in 111 degree Arizona heat

I am a happy owner by I was very disappointed today. I have had my Model S 85 for six months now and never had any problems except for today. The temperature was 111 degrees in phoenix and my AC went out all of a sudden. I called the roadside assistant, the guy I spoke to couldn't do anything. I had to drive my car home in the scotching sun. I was soaked from the top of my head down to the soles of my feet. Who knows may be Tesla can not withstand a temperature above 100 degrees. So disappointed. | 12. Juni 2014

Would you care to share some details, like for instance, did the air start blowing hot instead of cold, or did it stop blowing entirely? I can assure you that Tesla a/c can and does work in temps over 100F. So disappointed that you didn't provide more information with your complaint.

Roamer@AZ USA | 12. Juni 2014

Sorry to hear you lost AC in Arizona. It's never fun when that happens in AZ. Let the car sit for a few hours then try the AC. Sometimes the system can ice up and freeze over if it is running hard and there is a little humidity, pretty dry today, so unlikely. They usually Ice up descending from Flagstaff or a higher altitude. Can also ice up if the condensation drain gets plugged. Or maybe you just had a refrigerant leak or other system failure.

Even on a hot day a frozen system can take several hours to thaw out after you shut down the system.

Please post what fixes the problem. We are on our second AZ summer and have had no AC problems.

bigdahud | 12. Juni 2014

I left my house around 9am this morning and the AC was working fine. I parked the car for 6 hours and the AC was still working fine until I drove 10 minutes after. It was just blowing heat. I turned everything off and back on, same thing. I tried everything I could but all to no avail

Roamer@AZ USA | 12. Juni 2014

Just another thought. Did you try a reboot to see if it was a software glitch.

AC systems that have a refrigerant leak normally slowly lose cooling performance over time. When it stops quickly it is often an iced up system.

Looking forward to finding out what caused the failure or fixes the problem.

bigdahud | 12. Juni 2014

I am too tired to even go into the garage to try anything right now. I drove the car for 1 ½ hours after the AC started blowing heat, the heat sucked the energy out of me today. Never felt so exhausted. I guess I will find out if it works in the morning when I'm ready to go out again. Now I'm scared to even take it out in the morning. What if it works and stops again when it's hot? i will update you guys tomorrow.

Thomas N. | 12. Juni 2014

Most likely just bad luck. I believe I read somewhere a long time ago that the air conditioner system is the same one that Toyota uses in the Prius. There are 15,000,000 of those on the road so it's probably pretty reliable.

Somebody correct me if that's bad information, please. | 12. Juni 2014

Does the a/c on a Model S use a system like an ICE, with refrigerant and a compressor (but driven by a an electric motor)? If so, a sudden loss of cooling could be due to a sudden loss of refrigerant. A burst hose or failed connector could do that. Happened to me once; there was a loud "whoosh" as all the R12 (this was a long time ago) escaped and headed for the ozone layer.

DTsea | 12. Juni 2014

Pettifogger there isnt any other kind of air conditioner.

GeekEV | 12. Juni 2014

@bigdahud - I've made it through two summers with 110º + in the Sacramento, CA valley. Yours is just a defect...

ChasF | 13. Juni 2014

Reboot first before declaring the AC dead.

J.T. | 13. Juni 2014

Since the OP stated that he tried everything he could, and he could try a reboot, then it must be something else.

However, it's possible the OP is unaware of the reboot procedure, a great tool which is explained in the TIPS, ADVICE and TROUBLEHOOTING thread.

I would hate to think that a reboot would have saved him from heat exhaustion considering it was so available to him.

However, if a reboot does solve the problem and he suffered because he didn't read the TIPS thread, then it serves him right. :-)

AmpedRealtor | 13. Juni 2014

@ bigdahud,

That really sucks and I feel your pain! Sometimes things just break. Have you contacted Tesla service? They should bring you a loaner Model S and can fix your AC right up. While it's there, ask them to apply the acoustic blanket and bracket service bulletin to reduce the AC noise. You'll get back a better car than you gave them.

socalsam | 13. Juni 2014


really dumb response. The guy had a problem with his car and he is sharing the trails and tribulations of Tesla ownership like so many others do and you go and write what you wrote.

I swear I read these threads and kook aid drinking and cheerleading by some to be downright annoying.

I live in Scottsdale and can completely sympathize with the OP for losing his AC on a hot day.

dglauz | 13. Juni 2014

J.T. - Great plug for the TIPS thread. Shameless.

Jay w | 13. Juni 2014

@socalsam +1

LEvans | 13. Juni 2014

@socalsam: +1. The sickening part of reading this forum, while it has so much useful information, is that anything negative about Tesla or the Model S in any way is treated as some form of heresy. I read the forum to learn about the positives and the negatives so I am well informed and appreciate the OP sharing what happened.

God forbid someone want cup holders, parking sensors, or complain about a legitimate issue or something that stopped working as was the case with the OP.

NKYTA | 13. Juni 2014

Call service and let them know date/time so they can check logs.
Do the reboots when you can and test again.

Sounds like you may have gotten a case of heat stroke and that is no fun.

socalsam | 13. Juni 2014

@WEB_SRFR - Totally agree. I shake my head at some of these posts where valid suggestions are offered for improvement by buyers and prospective buyers and the Tesla Mafia initiates a beat down. The car is great but it isn't perfect.

Its pathetic that everyone that posts anything negative about the car has to qualify their comments with
something like - despite the fact that Im going to post something negative I just want to make it clear that I still love the car so please don't shit on me!

minervo.florida | 13. Juni 2014

Do we have an update?

Roamer@AZ USA | 14. Juni 2014

Update ?

bigdahud | 14. Juni 2014

Thanks everyone for the good comments. The car is still blowing heat. I have scheduled an appointment with the service station in Scottsdale for tomorrow. For the second time, I was told there was no loaner available. So they are probably planning on giving me a rental car from "Enterprise" like they did the last time when I took the car in for tire rotation.

AmpedRealtor | 14. Juni 2014

@ bigdahud - I believe the lack of loaners is due to there being a test drive event in the area today. I was told that whenever there are scheduled test drive events, they use all the loaners for that purpose. I'm less understanding than most in this regard and I would insist on a Model S loaner. If I didn't get one, I'd send some choice comments up the executive ladder. Tesla should be held accountable for the promises and commitments it makes to owners, some of whom based their decision to buy this car on those promises.

redacted | 14. Juni 2014

@amped - and I, on the other hand, would say "oh well." It's usually best not to be too bothered by small things. Although use of the word "wallah" can really get to me...

hcwhy | 14. Juni 2014

socalsam +1

NKYTA | 14. Juni 2014

+1 redacted

@Amped - I asked prior to my latest service about loaners and was told that a Monday drop-off at Burlingame was my best chance for one. Meh. It is 12 miles away. Let other owners have the loaner.

I'm less understanding than most in this regard and I would insist on a Model S loaner.

Yeah, I don't insist. It is a bit distasteful. Insist where it makes sense.

If I need scheduled service, I'll lock a loaner in, if I'm coming in for a must-fix problem I'll take what I can get or have my wife pick me up. Or, I'll do what I did this time, schedule service, but leave the loaner for another owner.

In your situation, Buckeye to Scottsdale SC? ...then maybe I might think along your lines. That is a haul.

I'm also still waiting for the update to the OP.

bigdahud | 14. Juni 2014

My Model S was picked up today around 12pm. I got a call back from service station at 5pm stating the AC extension "varb" (not sure about the spelling) was either broken or shut out. In a nut shell, the extension "varb" will need to be replaced. Rebooting the car several times wouldn't have solved the problem. My car will not be ready until probably Monday. I was given a rental car from "Enterprise" like I predicted.

@ AmpedRealtor- I agree with you about the loaner car. They should be held accountable for those promises, especially; this is the second time the service center did this to me. Also, the service guy was telling me he will need an approval from someone higher before he could apply the acoustic blanket and bracket service bulletin because my car AC is not really making any noise. I guess he is probably saying "no"
I will update you guys again on Monday.
Again, Thanks for all the suggestions and comments.

Roamer@AZ USA | 14. Juni 2014

@NKYTA, I also seldom use a loaners to keep them available for people that need them. Seems like a waste to have one when I have other cars I can drive sitting around. I know I know I paid for the service but if I don't need it I am not going to demand it and get all bothered if they are out of loaners.

We are all in it together, so if I can free up a car for someone who really needs it it's better for everyone. Not real worried about getting my money's worth just want the service I need done with as little disruption as possible.

AmpedRealtor | 14. Juni 2014

I believe OP's situation calls for a Model S loaner. The problem here is that they are all being used for test drives. That is an inappropriate use for those cars by Tesla when they made a commitment to offer loaners to owners. That's my point, this is not about someone else needing the loaner more than OP. It's about Tesla prioritizing test drives over service. That's wrong.

mrdaniel | 14. Juni 2014

@AmpedRealtor Also, if Tesla has a supply problem and not a demand problem as Elon stated during the recent investors forum in Mountain View, why prioritize the test drives over a current customer's quality of service?

Roamer@AZ USA | 15. Juni 2014

Amped, I am glad they prioritize test drives over loaners. Hard to give a test drive in a rental but easy to provide a rental to an owner. Reasonable business decision. I want to see more Tesla's sold so if that means driving a rental for a day I am not real bothered.

At BMW when I took in my seven series I usually pulled out in a three. Then paid thru the nose for the work. If they didn't have a three to loan me they might offer to drop me off if it was close by. Never once had BMW offer a rental car even if it was warranty repair work.

I want to see the company grow and test drives are what sell cars.

J.T. | 15. Juni 2014

@Roamer You and I are in complete agreement on this. I don't take loaners (I have another car at my disposal), I would never insist on a Model S if they had one, because even if i did take a loaner I would just use it for the 15 mile drive home and then I'd use my other car, and I agree that they should prioritize people who havem't bought the car yet. That's where the money is.

As for keeping the promises they made, well, the good people at the service Centers didn't make those promises and they're probably just as unhappy not to be able to supply a Model S loaner as you are not to have one.

Jerome has charged the service Centers with the mission of keeping the customers happy and yet the service centers are not supplied with the tools to do it. So, if you're disappointed with the lack of loaners don't take it out on them.

Have you ever seen someone abuse the waitstaff for a management policy? Have you ever seen someone yell at a dealer at the blackjack table? Have you ever seen someone abuse a meter maid for writing a parking ticket? Those people, to me, always look like jerks.

Don't kill the messenger. The Service people do a tremendous job. Of course, if you are promised a Model S loaner by the Service department then that is another issue, but just make sure you vent at the person who made the promise.

Brian H | 15. Juni 2014

loaner = demo = loaner = etc.

tes-s | 15. Juni 2014

I'd like to see more loaners and would much prefer a MS loaner. But I understand Tesla's issue with not having enough cars and having to use ICE loaners.

If I want to schedule an appointment around MS loaner availability, my service center will do that for me. If I want the soonest available appointment, I know I may not get an MS loaner.

Not something that is that much of a concern to me. Got a service loaner once - and scheduled around a MS loaner.

PBEndo | 15. Juni 2014

I love the loaner program and the vast majority of my service has been stellar. Here in South Florida, I have never had a problem getting a loaner. As a matter of fact I have one in my garage right now! It is probably my 11th loaner, but I admit I have lost track. I am pushing 4000 miles in loaners.

I had my 2nd annual service Friday and I had my son pick me up and drop me off to free up a loaner for anybody else that really needed it. However, a loaner was still offered but I turned it down. The next morning I had to return for a new problem and they had to keep the car for repairs so I left in a loaner.

Even though my experience with loaner availability has been great, I agree with the posters that are complaining about getting an Enterprise ICE. Tesla made the unsolicited promise. They should be doing a better job of keeping that promise. It is no different than making a claim in an advertisement that is untrue.

Carefree | 15. Juni 2014

Come on guys. Is it REALLY the end of the world when you have to drive an ICE for the day because your SC is out of loaners? Are we THAT spoiled? Whenever I need to take our Tesla in for service I have my wife follow me with our other car and I don't even request a loaner. The folks at the SC are working their buds off for us and I totally understand that they can't have a Tesla loaner for everyone who has an emergency - what do you expect? Each SC having 50 loaners at hand, or 100 or 200? Where does it stop?

Let's be reasonable.

PBEndo | 15. Juni 2014

Carefree - you are missing the point. Nobody demanded Tesla offer loaners - Elon promoted it. I am sure that it had some influence on many when they were ordering.

The bottom line is he shouldn't have promised it if they couldn't/wouldn't back it up. It doesn't matter if some feel it is a minor inconvenience. For many it is more than that. I am glad the loaners are not important for you, but try putting yourself in other peoples circumstances:

Some have a long distance to travel to the SC.
Some do not have a wife that can easily drop them off and pick them up whenever it is needed.
Some do not have another vehicle they can use while waiting for the return of their Tesla.
Some may have to use the car for business clients and the rentals are not very impressive.
None of us are eager to have to go back to paying at the pump while in a rental.

Personally, they have been able to make good on it for me and I am happy. But I don't think the complaints from others are invalid.

lvaneveld | 15. Juni 2014

So, back onto the subject of the OP.

@bigdahud, I expect that really failed in your car it the AC expansion valve. This is a modulating valve that regulates the refrigerant flow through the system and thereby controls cooling capacity. I am not certain but would guess that in the Model S the expansion valve is an electronic expansion valve as opposed to the more common thermostatic expansion valve used on most building AC units.

In any case it is a mechanical device with moving parts and probably electronic parts as well. Typically they are quite reliable but of course any mechanical device with moving parts can fail.

lvaneveld | 15. Juni 2014

what really failed … is the AC

Carefree | 15. Juni 2014

PBEnda - I am not missing the point. Yes, Elon promised free loaners for everybody but how can they plan for all the various emergencies and have enough loaners available? There is no way this could be realistically done.

It cracks me up when I read comments from people here that they would not accept anything but a Tesla loaner. In what twisted world do these people live in? Especially Telsa owners who have an emergency, like the guy whose AC died and he needed service ASAP!

What's the big deal of living with an ICE for a few days? Are we saying we can't afford the $30 gasoline to fill up the tank? I get it that we all hate to go to the gas stations but let's inject some realism here.

PBEndo | 15. Juni 2014

There is no way this could be realistically done.
I agree. It was a bold statement for Elon to make. "The point" was that Elon should not have said it without stressing that it was merely a possibility that a Tesla loaner would be available. Apparently many customers were under the impression that it was a guarantee.

It is just like the vanity mirror lights. I don't miss them at all. They are not important to me. However, Tesla said that they would supply them a very long time ago, so until they do, some people have a valid complaint about their absence.

thranx | 15. Juni 2014

I have been in for service twice (minor stuff + warranty work, like the battery skid plate). It is a 100 mile drive from my home to the service center. I had a loaner each time; once time a 60, the other time a Lincoln.

I would have been perfectly content with anything with four wheels and operational a/c and was delighted with what was provided to me. Would I have preferred a P85? Sure. Also sure that there are some seriously spoiled folks out there.

J.T. | 15. Juni 2014

@thranx Are you seriously admitting that the "But you said" argument, which went nowhere with my parents, is also going to fail with Tesla?

The more things change . . .

AmpedRealtor | 15. Juni 2014

My Model S has experienced more failures and service needs than all of my previous cars combined. The excellent service combined with receiving a Model S loaner made dealing with such issues acceptable. Tesla's Model S loaner policy played a role in my decision to buy this car. I knew I was an early adopter and expected to have some service items. The fact that I could rely on a Model S loaner made that an acceptable risk because I knew that I would still be driving the type of car I paid for, even though mine might be in the shop.

It makes sense for Tesla to use the service loaners for test drives. What makes more sense... to keep shipping/moving a fleet of cars around the country for Tesla test drive events, or simply use the loaner fleet at the local service center? I get this. But I also want Tesla to honor its commitments to owners. If I did not receive a Model S loaner, I probably would not have been as forgiving of the issues I experienced with my car. That's the truth of it right there.

At the Detroit Auto Show, Jerome Guillen announced that Tesla would be experiencing "relentless growth" on the sales and service side in 2014. It would just be nice if some of that growth included stocking enough loaners to satisfy local service needs. After all, this promise was made over a year ago and continues to go unfulfilled for many owners.

mark_g | 15. Juni 2014

Back to the original reason for this post: AC failure

Same thing happened to me, total AC failure. As I found out, there was an "assembly" issue related to positioning of one of the AC hoses such that it rubbed against one of the internal struts and over time caused a very small, slow leak in the coolant line. I was told this is an issue that is low probability but it does happen. Looks like you have the a coolant leak probably due to same problem. Took SC 3 days to pinpoint the leak it was that small.

johncrab | 15. Juni 2014

In short, components fail. It's never a happy moment and I have had my share of anger and anguish. After all, there is nothing like driving in AZ heat without the AC. Here we really only need two AC settings: On and Off. Seriously. So I feel for anyone in this situation.

That said, things happen and the manner they are dealt with makes all the difference. A next day service appointment on a Sunday? A loaner car? Am I dreaming here or what? I would not care if it was a Ford Focus so long as it ran and the AC worked. Just that is amazing. At least I would not have to get a neighbor to follow me to the service center and then take me back.

Quick diagnosis, too. Again, amazing. A fix coming is even better news. After taking in my Pathfinder for a routine service and having my car returned with body damage and the "Oh, it came in that way" garbage, the professionalism of Tesla in how they deal with problems stuns me. Yeah, nobody likes to spend this kind of money on a car and have anything go wrong but no car is perfect forever and ever, amen. This tale tells me that I can expect a much better experience after my MS arrives in August and makes me feel even better about committing this kind of money to it.

I hope all goes well with the fix and that you have endless miles of trouble-free driving afterward.

bigdahud | 16. Juni 2014

Quick update!!!

I got a call from the SC. The expansion valve or whatever its called was replaced and the problem is still not fixed.The car is still blowing heat. The guy said this will be the first time they have come across this kind of lets keep our fingers crossed and wait for the next diagnosis.

J.T. | 16. Juni 2014

Thanks for the update. I hope they get you back in your cooler car soon, and not Tesla soon.

dglauz | 16. Juni 2014

Over the last 12 months I have had my car into a service center 4 time. Each time a loaner was not available and I got a rental, except the last time when they dropped spouse and me at a diner for brunch, since concrete crusher install did not take long. That with A) making reservation well in advance, b) canceling an appointment because loaner not available.

for me... Loaner? don't count on it.

tes-s | 16. Juni 2014

I was parked outside today - 80 degrees and bright sun. Nothing compared to AZ, but gotta say that AC really cranked out the cold air. Good news is once they get it working right, it will be great. Hate cars with wimpy AC.

Thomas N. | 16. Juni 2014

Like any Porsche 911 I had in the 80s ....