Model S

2018 Running lights keep burning out

edited November -1 in Model S
I have a 2018 75d that has had both headlights replaced due to the running lights in the lower corner burning out. This happened on both lights in the same spot within a month of each other. Now only 2 months later a replaced one has burned out again. Do others keep having this problem? I worried how long they will last after my warranty runs out!


  • edited June 2019
    Have your DC to DC converter checked. It sounds like the voltage charging the 12 volt battery is too high.
  • edited November -1
    This may be far out, but is there any chance where you park there is some focused sun that heats up that area on the headlight? LEDs are not as tolerant to heat as incandescent bulbs. For example, there is an area in London where the nearby highrise has a mirrored windows in a concave design. When the sun is out, it creates a beam so strong that it melts plastics on cars.

    Ok, that idea seems far fetched to me.

    LED failures seem rare, and to have both lights and fail multiple times is really strange. Something else is going on.
  • edited November -1
    I presume what the OP is referencing is that the LED eyebrow has failed. This actually appears to be a pretty common failure mode on the refresh MS vehicles. Not sure why some seem to keep denying that they fail and look for far fetched theories when it's been discussed multiple times. You can find multiple references to this, but here's just one thread from this forum from Dec 2018.

    Failure typically is not the full DRL band around the headlight, but starts at the inner edge (toward center of the car) and most typically what I've seen result first in yellowing, and then ultimately most of the upper band going out completely. I had both of my headlamp assemblies on my mid-2016 refresh MS fail short of 2 years and both were replaced at 25 months/32k miles in service when my car was in for another issue. Here are photos of mine taken in the dark to make it easy to see the failed section.

    It's tougher to see in daylight, but here's a shot.

    I've started to view this for the refresh models almost like some of your 2012-2014 owners view door handle failures as something that most can expect to encounter with the question being mainly a matter of when, not if. I noticed a few days ago that the eyebrow on my passenger side is starting to show signs of yellowing now after 11 months and 16k miles. Am curious whether I can get them to replace it for me a second time when I take it in for my 4 yr service just prior to my 50k mile warranty expiring. Information I've seen suggests that each headlight is about $1,100 to replace when done out of warranty.
  • edited June 2019
    @p.c.mcavoy - Thanks for the post and pictures. From the OP's description I was thinking it was single LED failure, but that looks more like a string of LEDs. They are run fairly hard to get the brightness needed, and perhaps Tesla is pushing it too hard leading to early failures.

    Do you live in a hot area (i.e Phoenix)? It should be designed for any climate, but I can see hot areas having more failures than other area. Then again, perhaps the LED vendor is not meeting the needed specs.
  • edited June 2019
    @TT - I live in south central Indiana. Not sure I'd call in a hot area. I know other owners in Indiana, some that live farther north than I, that have experienced the same failure.
  • edited June 2019
    I have had the same thing happen to me three times on my 2016 (refresh) 90D. The first two times they were replaced under warranty. They came to replace it again last week (it was replaced in November 2017) and quoted me almost $1600 (NJ). I declined the service. It’s definitely a problem. I see them burned out on other cars all the time. They did say that they would have paid for the replacement had it been less than a year since it was replaced.
  • edited June 2019
    @mikeo.cfp - I think the comment of replacing for free if less than 1 year since it was replaced is referencing the standard warranty on replacement parts. You can find details on that warranty here:

    The short version of it is:

    The Tesla Parts, Body & Paint Repair Limited Warranty begins on the purchase date of the part(s), and coverage extends for a period of 12 months. Specific categories of parts have unique warranty coverage periods:

    Sheet metal: Limited lifetime
    Drive Unit: 4 years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first
    Vehicle High Voltage Battery: 4 years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first
    Wall Connectors: 4 years
    Touchscreen and microcontroller unit: 4 years
  • edited June 2019
    "Vehicle High Voltage Battery: 4 years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first."

    Yikes. Sounds like Tesla's not very confident about their rebuilt HV batteries. So it's very conceivable that one could have an HV battery fail at 35,000 miles, replaced under warranty, and then be SOL at 85,000 miles when that replacement fails. Notwithstanding the "unlimited" warranty on the original.

    That just makes zero logical sense, given the new warranty.
  • edited November -1
    @rxlawdude - If you read the long version available via the link above, you’ll find the actual agreement that says any parts replaced under the original warranty are covered for the duration of that warranty. So for your example, if the failure of the replacement battery occurred during the original 8 year/unlimited mile period, then it appears it will be covered. However, outside of that 8 year period, yes, you could be exposed, just as if your original battery failed after 8 years.

    But yes, either way, failures after 8 years go to owner responsibility. But it does at least give you some coverage for work down outside of warranty.
  • edited June 2019
    @mikeo.cfp - It should be covered on the 4 year warranty.

    I see at least 5 Model S refreshes a day (Bay area, the most Tesla dense area). I can't say I've seen a single DSL light out. I wonder if it's a regional thing - perhaps cold/hot cycling is taking them out? There is clearly something wrong if it's happening to some multiple times.

    A quick look at the parts catalog show they are are version D (1053570-00-D for left headlight), but that doesn't state what was changed, and it may have nothing to do with the DSL LEDs. I tool a look at my Dec-2016 S, and it is using 1053570-00-B, which is original with the car. Generally Tesla replaces bad parts with the latest version. Hopefully the redesigned part will be better.
  • edited July 2019
    On my 2nd left headlight and 3rd right headlight. Left DRL turned half yellow yesterday. Out of warranty ... June '16 S75. Not willing to pay $1k+. I wonder if the DRLs can be coded to be permanently off vs. having to use range mode every drive.
  • edited November -1
    ... and I live in the Bay Area.
  • edited July 2019
    @TT - The -D part number is at least one year old. That’s what was used when I had both mine replaced last July. Unfortunately the passenger side is now showing about a 4” portion yellowing/fading at the lower inner corner (towards the center of the car). That’s typically the first sign of failure.
  • edited July 2019
    @rdr1rx - so much for my hot/cold theory unless you travel a lot to Tahoe in the winter. Isn't your car in warranty, or do you have more than 50K miles in 3 years?

    If enough of these die out of warranty, I bet someone will start a repair service. I suspect it's less than $10 in new LEDs and maybe an hour's labor after headlight removed from the car. It may be difficult to source the LEDs, but perhaps not. Someone could make good money, even charging $200 for the repair. Not sure what it takes to remove a headlight - I suspect the bumper needs to be pulled, so perhap 1-2 hours assembly/disassembly labor just to get one headlight out of the car.
  • edited November -1
    I'm in NC so we get hot and some cold days. The first 2 died in the winter. Like someone mentioned. All of mine died in the lower, inner part. So that seems to be the failure point!
  • edited November -1, I had my headlights replaced on my 2016 new front facial. Your estimate of 1 hour to replace just might be a little off. The front bumper needs to be removed in order to replace the headlights. When the service center did mine they broke some of the fastening brackets on the bumper. This required almost a 2 week wait for a new bumper and then the body shop had to paint it.
  • edited July 2019
    I see that I missed your comment on the bumper removal. My bad.
  • edited July 2019
    My left one went out last month, mobile service came to replace it, under warranty, when done, I asked him for the cost of the replacement, he mentioned, about $500 for the light, and 1 hr ($129) for labor, yes the front bumper and frunk have to be removed... exactly the time required to have that done.
  • edited July 2019
    @Charsiubao - Labor time much less than I expected. Shop labor rates here in California are $195/hr though, but perhaps mobile is cheaper?
  • edited July 2019
    Don't know, but that was the hourly rate he mentioned. Didn't ask if the light can be bought from Tesla, probably would take double the amount of time for a diy job.
  • edited November -1
    Just now had mine replaced by mobile service. He said they have done plenty of them; he observes a lot of people don't notice (I didn't notice mine until I read about the problem on the forums), and some who do notice don't care enough to spend the time in their lives it takes to get them replaced. About an 45 minute from starr to finish. His guess was $800 per light.

    He also said it is NOT LEDs going out. The light source is at the upper corner of the DRLs, and shines along a tube that stretches the length of the top eyebrow and bottom line. Failure occurs when the tube develops cracks and stops transmitting the light all the way.
  • edited November -1
    Sounds like a design issue.
  • edited July 2019
    "The light source is at the upper corner of the DRLs, and shines along a tube that stretches the length of the top eyebrow and bottom line."

    This explains why we have some of the dimmest running lights of all cars. Poor design for sure.
  • edited July 2019
    @Doublelift - Great to find out what the cause is. Makes some sense as the light is really even. On the old pre-refresh Tesla and most other cars using LEDs, you see the individual LEDs, and they don't look nearly as nice as Tesla continuous light.

    @Bill - They don't seem dim to me - just right. Much better than DRL in most cars that run the high-beams at low power, which I find somewhat annoying - especially at dusk, as often they leave them on instead of using the headlights - so too bright and aimed right at your eyes from a oncoming car.
  • edited July 2019
    Going on 5th headlight replacement and now out of warranty on 2017 Model S. Quoted $1,500 for one.

    Some failed due to turn signal not working and daytime running light fading from the inside.

    I don't consider daytime running lights and turn signal as cosmetic.

    Tesla needs to get Mexican supplier to replace these headlights with a Revision.
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