Model 3

Car showing warnings of brake fluid, says pull over

edited November -1 in Model 3
My tesla keeps throwing this error (started yesterday) so I've resorted to not driving it obviously due to safety concerns. https://i.imgur.com/p9N6zSy.jpg

The earliest I could get an appointment with a service center was over a week from now. Has anyone dealt with this before? I saw a post saying to top up the brake fluid but I know it's recommended to have Tesla service folks to look at it.
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Comments

  • edited December 2019
    @collin - where are you located ? Is the SC close ?
  • edited December 2019
    Silicon Valley @mrburke - they're everywhere but impossible to get into.
  • edited December 2019
    If the brake fluid is low, simply add some until your appointment. Look at the reservoir next to the washer fluid filler in the trunk (you have to remove the cover, but its just pressed on).
  • edited November -1
    Make an SC appt. in the app with description, they prioritise based on urgency of need.
  • edited December 2019
    @Collin that's "frunk" ... not trunk.
  • edited November -1
    Try topping it off per Page 166. Which says "Don't top it off" and then tells you how to do it.

    if it is actually low, topping it off until Tesla can top it off seems prudent.
  • edited December 2019
    @collin - Hopefully a mobile service tech will contact you soon. I had a charging issue that I was scheduled more that a week out, but I got a call from mobil service the next day.

    Also in Silicon Valley.
  • edited December 2019
    what brand of fluid does everyone suggest?

    I also went to follow this video ( but my funk didn't have the fluid on the left side, I couldnt find it (UK vs US maybe?). Where is it in the US version?
  • edited November -1
    Tesla actually has their own branded DOT 3 fluid, any DOT 3 fluid will work.
  • edited December 2019
    @collin - Unless the owners manual mentions adding brake fluid, I would not do it. If there is an issue, you would not like to get blamed for it because you added the wrong type of fluid, or the wrong amount. $$$
  • edited November -1
    I found it in the US version, seems to be drastically below max. For adding extra, what do people suggest?
  • edited December 2019
    If your brake fluid is truly low, there's a leak in the system somewhere. That's a safety hazard, because you don't know why there's a leak - is a brake line splitting (could fail catastrophically anytime you're braking), a coupling nut loose (could finish unscrewing at any time), or something else wrong?

    Most likely, however, the brake fluid level sensor has gone bad and needs to be replaced. This isn't a significant safety hazard as long as you can get the sensor replaced reasonably quickly (a week would be fine). A quick look into the brake fluid reservoir would tell you which is the more likely cause. If you're not comfortable finding and opening the brake fluid reservoir, your local auto mechanic is likely to be willing to do so for you for a small fee. If the reservoir is full, my recommendation would be to drive the car and don't worry about the warning for the next week. If the reservoir is low, I'd recommend parking the car until your SC appointment, and driving slowly and cautiously to the SC. If you wish to top off the brake fluid, look for a sticker near the reservoir telling you what to use - the owner's manual doesn't list what fluid to use.
  • edited December 2019
    Ninja'ed me.

    I'd suggest calling the SC and getting Tesla's recommendation for the type of Brake Fluid if you can't find a sticker.
  • edited November -1
    DOT3. That's pretty much a standard in the industry.
    And, just so we're clear: Besides being designed to be incompressible, brake fluid is designed to be hydroscopic: That is, it absorbs water, the better to keep brake parts from rusting. Further, as you probably know, brakes heavy use get hot - really hot, and it's kinda important that the brake fluid not catch fire or boil.
    Usual reason that the brake fluid is low is because the car has sprung a leak somewhere. Gaskets, pipes, hoses, connectors, rust on pipes (unlikely, you haven't had the car that long), master cylinder, you name it.
    Had a VW Beetle back in the day: Discovered that, somehow, the rubber hose between the body and the right front hub had gotten twisted so the front tire would rub on it, but only when the wheel was turned, hard. There was a nice chunk taken out of the hose.. not good.
    Most likely fault: New car, somebody forgot to torque down a join somewhere, and it's been leaking. Add more brake fluid and keep an eye on it?
    On the other hand: New car, some supplier has supplied a hose that's faulty and has developed a crack, and, any minute now, is going to split in two. Good news: All car brake systems use a common reservoir that splits into two reservoirs, so that if one runs dry, the other is still there. So, if left front/right rear is dead, you'll still have right front/left rear, and vice versa. The bad news: The Day The Hose Lets Go, That'll Be The Day You'll Be Pressing On The Brakes, Hard, To Avoid Going Over The Cliff.
    And this is why, if one isn't experienced with brakes, one lets the pros do it - preferably the dealership, because making a mistake _can_ be fatal.
    If I were on a 600 mile road trip and got that warning and there was no SC nearby, I'd look for something obvious under the car (massive leaks, anyone?), and, if it looked vaguely reasonable, buy a can of DOT3 and keep on going. But driving like I'd be bringing eggs to the Czar and checking the fluid every rest stop until I'm sure about the leakage rate.
    So, if you're physically close to a SC.. then maybe.
    Final point. As mentioned before, brake fluid collects water. When it gets saturated with same, actual water can start rusting brake parts, not a good thing. So, it's general good practice with all cars (not just Teslas) to flush out the brake fluid and replace it with new once in a great while. There are fittings on the brakes for the purpose on each wheel and at dealerships they have machines that help with the process. So, if you do use a non-Tesla brake fluid, it's not like an unknown thing to flush out the old and put in new. Assuming that Tesla isn't just bog-standard DOT3 in disguise.
    I dunno. If it was me, I'd be thinking carefully about maybe getting the car towed. Have you talked to Tesla service yet?
  • edited November -1
    It's possible the DOT value is stamped on the fluid reservoir. But it does appear they use DOT 3. If it were my car, I would gets a bottle of DOT 3 and top it up (as per the manual), but remember, glycol based brake fluid will attack any painted surface. Then keep an eye on it. Or... wait to hear from Tesla.
  • edited December 2019
    Its DOT 3, I already flushed it out for se better DOT4 for the track.

    Check if its low and top it up if needed. Driving around with low brake fluid will cause more damage than you ignoring the message until the service mechanic can look at it. It's easy peasy

  • edited December 2019
    Its DOT 3, I already flushed it out for se better DOT4 for the track.

    Check if its low and top it up if needed. Driving around with low brake fluid will cause more damage than you ignoring the message until the service mechanic can look at it. It's easy peasy

  • edited November -1
    In a gas car when I see LOW brake fluid, I add some. Pretty simple
  • edited December 2019
    But have it checked out. Because of regen we don't use our brakes much, so pad wear, the normal cause of lower fluid, seems less likely. So, maybe there's a leak, or maybe it was never properly topped to begin with.
  • JADJAD
    edited December 2019
    +1 to Frank. It is very easy to top off the fluid, but it should not be low to begin with and you need to figure out why it is low not just mask a problem.
  • edited December 2019
    Well, since we hardly use the brakes so this is not as much of a crisis as some are making it out to be. It is possible that it is just a glitch. Did you do a reboot? Does the brake pedal feel any different?, do you see any evidence of clear fluid on the ground under the front end of the car or at any of the wheels?

    Brake fluid is dirt cheap. Check the reservoir and add if needed. If the fluid is at the Max line then this error msg is a glitch.
  • edited December 2019
    The OP already confirmed the fluid level has dropped, so it’s not a software glitch and something to take seriously.

    OP, you can top it off, but keep a close eye out to see how quickly it drops again, and see if you can identify the source of the leak. If fluid is leaking out, air can seep in. Also, the fluid will damage paint, so if the source is allowing fluid to hit paint, clean it off ASAP. Just my opinion, but I’d be concerned driving it until the source of the leak is identified, and even then, be hesitant to drive it until fully fixed. Fortunately regen will do most of the braking, but keep in mind, auto hold will be worthless if the brakes lose pressure. Only Park will hold you in place because those are electric motors.

    I won’t be surprised to learn some road debris damaged a hydraulic line. Happened to me once in a different vehicle, and the emergency brake is the only thing that saved me. Still did some damage, but my passenger and I were able to safely walk away.
  • edited December 2019
    "this is not as much of a crisis as some are making it out to be"

    You know, until you need to do an emergency stop.
  • edited December 2019
    To all - the brake fluid level is low. I checked under the frunk and it is in fact much lower than max. I've only had the car 1.5 years. The only service center appointment is still more than a week away. Upon calling all of my local service centers - I receive no human on the line. This problem seems serious enough to warrant me bringing it in without touching anything, considering brakes are in fact life and death.

    This means I will be without a car for a week. While I do understand that Tesla is very busy, it is disappointing that I can not get faster service, especially considering my location.
  • edited December 2019
    I would be limping that car to Tesla and dropping it in their lap...Just my opinion.
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