Model S

MCU always had problems and finally failed. Costing a fortune

edited April 2019 in Model S
My MCU was always rebooting and I had always pointed out the service center. The issue started at around 39k. They said it was nothing. Again it had pointed out at 49k (before the warranty expired). Nothing was done. The answer I always got was “it seems to be working fine now, just reset the trips and clear the address history and it will be fine”. Never worked since then. Screen would always reboot and locations wouldn’t load. For the last 10k miles we had been using google maps. Couple of months ago I took it again and they flashed the CPU and reinstalled the software and I was told that it should be fine now ($175). Last week, I was driving and the screen starting rebooting again and was stuck in a constant loop where the car was functional but nothing else worked. I had to take it in right away considering it was 90 degrees and I had a toddler in the car and the AC wouldn’t turn on. Same problem as before but not the MCU unit had to be replaced. Almost 3k with labor (they did pay for half of it because it was a known issue and I did point it out before the warranty expired). Wait what. Why should I even pay for half of it? The service managers are just a human shield for deflection.
And check this out. I dropped it off with 59 miles because it was an emergency and a week later they did not plug it in and I got three notifications to plug in the car. I called them with no answer. The charge dropped below 10 miles and the 12V battery died while at the service center. And I had to pay for that as well! Nope not their fault. The customer service representative did not even know that could happen. It is comical.

Love the car but I’m afraid that service centers have no empathy and are just cold. Just can’t make a product, you have to stand behind it. How does a MCU which controls 99% of the function of the car fail in under 3 years?


  • edited April 2019
    If this is a true story, I would ask them to look at your history and have them comp the repair of the MCU because it started failing before your 50K mileage.

    But I doubt that this is a real story. What service center are you bringing your car to? Have you tried escalating to the service manager of the location? What model car do you have? What year?
  • edited November -1
    They charged you labor while warranty was still valid? This makes no sense. The fact they charged you 3k for the MCU when it costs 2200 replaced makes no sense either.

    Must be that time of the year
  • edited April 2019
    Plano service center. Just escalated the issue with the regional manager thru the chat option (been a week but nobody’s called me back). I have 2016 model S. And yes it’s a real story.! MCU unit and the 12V battery we combined 3k after tax. I paid $1500. Considering the 12V was full price. You can adjust for the MCU being $1250 out of pocket. But whoever is worried about that is missing the point here
  • edited November -1
    I didn't miss the point. They should have replaced the screen and 12V on their dime due to their neglect.

    When numbers are mentioned i tend to analyze them. The 12v is $200 replaced by a ranger. The numbers don't make sense.
  • edited April 2019
    MCU - 2078 + 331 part & labor = $2409
    12V with labor $204
    Total $2613
    discount $1204.50
    Total - $1408.50
    Tax - $85.88
    Total out of pocket $1494.18
  • edited November -1
    Not to add all the $175 diagnostics fees paid for the same issue
  • edited April 2019
    I know another owner, his is a older MS, but similar story where was having symptoms of issues, yet no hard failure, prior to his MCU being diagnosed as failed about a month or so after his warranty expired. Similar results where local service center failed to cover the replacement of the MCU under warranty and failed to provide him with diagnostic logs which he felt could substantiate the presence of stored errors confirming issue started before the 4 yr/50k mile expired.

    I know some of you will find stories like this hard to believe, but this individual was a very ardent supporter of Tesla, was considering a new roadster as his next vehicle, but this soured his willingness to be an advocate for the brand going forward.

    Not everyone gets the same level of goodwill which some of you experience.
  • edited November -1
    The goodwill has stopped, at least according to the service manager at the Costa Mesa SC.

    I just paid $714 to have my windows be able to roll up properly. Not thrilled, but this is my first out-of-pocket expense beyond what were the scheduled service visits.
  • edited November -1
    @rxlawdude, what exactly did they do for $714? I ask because I was in the auto glass business in Costa Mesa for over 40 years. That's also the same service center that I've been using for over 4 years now.
  • edited April 2019
    These stories are really hurting the brand image.

    If true, will take a long time to overcome, like more than FSD...

    FWIW, I have reached out a visited the Santa Barbara SC. After an hour's conversation, and buying 100 worth of parts that should have been covered under warranty, I hope I have built some Goodwill.

    Need to have coolant and passenger SRS replaced soon. Wish me luck!
  • edited April 2019
    @Tdickerson, replaced left driver and left rear door controllers, with labor.
  • edited April 2019
    @rxlawdude, I can't even imagine what a door controller could be? I've had all 4 of my door panels off to have a look inside when I added some extra insulation for sound deadening material. These cars are put together just like any other car. The only difference compared to most other cars is having the windows drop about a quarter inch when you open the door. I'm sure there are other cars with this same feature out there now. Was that part of your problem with the windows?
  • edited November -1
    @Tldickerson - There is a controller in the front door, which controls both the front and rear door window, door handles, locks, release latch motors and all the lights in the doors on that side of the car. Don't know why I remember it, but when I looked at the controller, it was made in England. Sort of expected something from China.

    @AERODYNE - Not sure why out of warranty repairs hurt the brand image. Owners have the option of buying an extended warranty, but elected not to. Yes, it hurts when something dies just out of warranty, but that's why an extended warranty may be worth it (although I've never bought one).

    Every brand has items that need replacement, which occurs the older/more miles the car has. Actually ICE cars are often far more expensive to maintain as they age . Timing belts, water and fuel pumps, mufflers, and all sort other stuff that fails by design. Those cars also have occasional multimedia unit failures and are not cheap to replace.
  • edited April 2019
    I had a similar experience. A couple of weeks ago, Tesla mobile service came to my house to do a recall work for passenger side airbag, when the technician finishes his work the central screen stopped working but he left by saying he will ask someone to check the cause of the problem. After that I never head the technician's reply, then I took the car to the service center they want me to pay the full cost to replace the touch screen unit (include MCU) because the vehicle is out of Warranty by one month.
  • edited April 2019
    @DallasModelS That really sucks. You shouldn't not have to pay out of pocket for a problem you reported inside the warranty period. @wayne, One month out I guess is technically correct on their side. But not exactly nice.

    The problem I have with Tesla service right now is that I can never actually talk to anyone without waiting 30+ minutes on hold. I haven't tried in some time because I'm sick of the hold messages. This applies to cars and energy products. When I do talk to someone, it's rarely of any help. Same with messages I send if I have a question or problem. It takes weeks to get a reply and then the reply is some noncommittal thing that isn't useful. I understand why they're being noncommittal but then I might as well not bother asking anything. Maybe that's the whole point.
  • edited April 2019
    @dsteal, my model-S' touch screen was working fine before the recall work, I thought maybe the technician did something wrong during his recall work.
  • edited November -1
    We are suffering from Tesla trying to make a profit. The bean counters are taking over and they are stripping every bit of what they perceive to be fat. This happens to almost every company when a startup company moves from establishing themselves in their market to becoming a profitable company.
  • edited November -1
    I agree. Customer service is at a 0 out of 10.
  • edited November -1
    It’s not the “bean counters” it’s Wall Street’s inability to see beyond the end of thier noses.
  • edited November -1
    @MilesMD88 - Wow, so different from what I've experienced - 10 out of 10. Trival to make appointments from phone app or via web. Now those that go without warranty, not sure why the expectation is to do out of warranty repairs for free. Tesla is unusual in that they even offer an extended (paid) warranty for 4 extra years. Rare to see that in the industry. I have sympathy for anyone that has a problem with their car, but seem most here just want unlimited free service and rate Tesla as awful because they didn't' get free service.
  • edited April 2019
    @TTap, that's not a fair analysis whatsoever. The OP describers MULTIPLE TIMES complaining about his MCU while the car was in warranty. Each time Tesla did nothing. Until it was out of warranty and a $3200 repair. I sympathize with OP in this case.
    Similarly, my window controller issue (problems with windows going partially up, then down) occurred and was reported during warranty. But 46,000 miles have passed since my S70D went out of warranty, so while I had hoped for a little gesture of goodwill, I was told that "there will be no goodwill repairs" and that came from the mothership. Even asking for a courtesy discount requires getting approval of the SC manager.

    So, no, I certainly don't rate Tesla as awful; but their service is unequivocally worse than it used to be, at least in SoCal. The elimination of routine service intervals has reduced traffic at the Service Centers, but then there are the staffing cuts.

    That said, I wouldn't hesitate buying another Tesla or continuing to evangelize the products.
  • edited April 2019
    @rx - very fair - I was thinking more of the later posters and didn't make it clear.

    My only advice for the future (and any car maker, not just Tesla) is any time you have a problem prior to warranty that is not dealt with, make sure it's listed in your paperwork. It's not entirely clear if the OPs problem (rebooting) was the same as the MCU failing - still it would have been nice for Tesla to goodwill it.

    It was nice when Tesla covered out of warranty items for free, but also understand Tesla trying to become profitable. It would be so much worse for all of us owners if Tesla went away.
  • edited April 2019
    I’m pretty sure TM didn’t charge me for my ESA fixes this last, last, round. And it wasn’t even an annual.

    Consider a nice attitude, some pizzas or cupcakes for the SvC folk, six years in, name recognition and gratitude helps.

    This country could us a bit more Golden Rule.
  • edited November -1
    Rebooting MCUs are seen fairly commonly and do not necessarily imply a failing MCU.
  • edited April 2019
    @Big, in 120,000 combined miles (4 yrs in MS, 15 months in M3), I had one spontaneous screen reboot. (In MS. Never on M3.)

    So while software may be at fault, you have to admit it's odd some see this frequently, while others virtually never see it.
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