Radar Detector in Model S

Radar Detector in Model S

With the kind of speed the Model S has, does anyone have experience in adding a
Radar Detector? Does Tesla have an option to integrate into 17 inch monitor?

jamesgx | 13 December, 2012

@Timo - Comparing a radar detector to illegal drugs is quite the stretch IMO. What about cigarettes being illegal to underage minors? Should every store not sell them because they are illegal to some or could potentially lead to something illegal? Perhaps an adult is passing those onto a minor. Should a gun shop owner not sell guns because they may be illegal in one state and not another? On top of that, should a gun shop owner be held liable because somebody decides to go and use the gun to kill somebody or commit an illegal act? I can get a radar detector installed by several different audio shops, so should they not install them because they are illegal somewhere or could be used to speed? It isn't up to Tesla to decide what I use the detector for anymore than it is their job to limit my speed to 60 because that is the fastest speed limit in my State. I am breaking the law when I drive over that speed on the freeway. They designed a car that I can use to break that law. The insane acceleration in this car could potentially kill someone in a car accident. It is illegal to drive recklessly. Should Tesla limit the acceleration? I am asking them to provide a service that I could get locally if I was willing to take the risk of someone messing up my car.

Sorry, not trying to upset you and this isn't intended to put you on the defensive. I am just trying to help you understand how I see things and that from MY perspective Tesla isn't being asked to do anything outside of providing a service. How or why I decide to use a radar detector is entirely up to me and unknown to Tesla.

BYT | 13 December, 2012

I was going to reply to Timo about this as well but you all did a splendid job. I am also looking to put a Radar Detector in my Model S at some point.

Brian H | 13 December, 2012

Actually, getting a radar warning is probably the most effective way to slow down traffic, even if only for a while. It'll all be obsolete soon anyway; all cars will be GPS tracked, and you'll get your tickets and license suspensions in the mail -- maybe in your email!

Thumper | 13 December, 2012

I believe I remember reading that the founding laws for the FCC specifically gave citizens the right to access any frequency. This is why there are police scanners as well as radar detectors. There are laws that prohibit passing along what you hear on a police scanner to another party. (tough to enforce)

Mel. | 13 December, 2012

Timo, I like your idea of hidden compartments in the car. Maybe under the center piece?

Timo | 14 December, 2012


@Timo - Comparing a radar detector to illegal drugs is quite the stretch IMO. What about cigarettes being illegal to underage minors? Should every store not sell them because they are illegal to some or could potentially lead to something illegal? Perhaps an adult is passing those onto a minor. Should a gun shop owner not sell guns because they may be illegal in one state and not another? On top of that, should a gun shop owner be held liable because somebody decides to go and use the gun to kill somebody or commit an illegal act? I can get a radar detector installed by several different audio shops, so should they not install them because they are illegal somewhere or could be used to speed?

- What about cigarettes to minors? You are not selling them to minors, right? If adult is passing them to minor, it's that adult that is responsible then, not the shop anymore. Correct analogy to this using kids with cigarettes would be someone selling them to kids legally "it's not our fault if kids smoke the cigarettes we just sold to them".

- Guns? If the sole purpose of the gun is to kill someone I would say they should be illegal everywhere for everybody in entire planet except law enforcement and military (who are expected to face criminal threats that can't be solved without). Guns designed for hunting are OK with permits and follow-ups.

You really don't see anything wrong in the system? If there are speed traps and "artificially too slow" roads designed to give people tickets, then it would be appropriate to fix those speed limits, not to get radar detectors so that you could dismiss them as irrelevant suggestions.

I got an impression that somehow cops get money from speed tickets in US? ...sole purpose of shaking down drivers for revenue... Is that right? Then fix that. No money to cops from that. That's a flaw in the system.

@ckessel, going from 45 to 30mph at the change should be done before the sign. If everybody does it after, then everybody is doing it wrong.

Problems come when there are places where normal slowdown isn't enough: there was one such place in one of the roads here, long, quite steep downhill with sudden change from 100km/h directly to 60km/h at the near end of the hill but still at the hill with speed camera right after that. Solution was to fix the road speed limit. Not to get radar detector.

Chris25 | 14 December, 2012

I have the 9500ci on my FX50 and love it. The first month is annoying due to false alarms but it has memory on it to remember those locations after driving through them a couple times. It also notifies you of traffic cameras which in city driving is priceless. I am planning to put on in my Model S when it arrives. I had a shop in Huntington Beach on Beach Blvd. install mine, they did an awesome job. Cost about $2k out the door.

mrspaghetti | 14 December, 2012


Then fix that.

Easily said. Personally, I'd prefer to just find a way to effectively circumvent it (e.g., use a radar detector or an app like Trapster) than spend my time on an effort that is extremely likely to be a complete waste of time.

Paraphrasing Elon from his Oxford speech, first you have to do an assessment of the situation and determine if success is even possible. In this case, it is my judgement that it is not.

Timo | 14 December, 2012

@mrspaghetti, should I take this as "yes, your impression was correct"?

I mean if it is then you have serious nationwide problem that most definitely is worth fixing. It practically invites cops to get dirty. And in process gets you dirty as well (by introducing a moral "right" to break laws). It's real error in system.

robert27 | 17 December, 2012

just finished 9500ci install. It took some doing. The wife was concerned that I was destroying the car--disassembly. It really is not possible to totally hide the front shifters but they look pretty cool. The radar unit installed easily behing the nose cone--just to the right of center and lic plate. I had to add a perf through the firewall but it went well. There is a lot of room to work in there. Not for the inexperienced. The rear shifter was more challenging with the hatchback. This car is a ticket waiting to happen. I have the car for the past month as the daily driver--I am still a bit speechless.

nickjhowe | 17 December, 2012

@robert27 - did you take any pictures of the install? Was the nose difficult to remove?

RD7 | 17 December, 2012

Can someone who has simply mounted a radar detector on the windshield (suction cup) or visor (clip) please verify that this works?

I have read elsewhere that the IR-blocking coating used in the windshield blocks lidar, but I would not think that K band (24.05 - 24.35 GHz) or Ka band (34.2 - 35.2 GHz) radar signals would be affected by this.

Thanks in advance!

robert27 | 17 December, 2012

I did not remove the nose cone. You can access just behind it--the frame which is a great mounting point by removing the front container and some simple trim. I'm a little hesitant to post pics on this site--they are awesome, but you have to appreciate the context. Some might get upset, even without the blood. Hey, I'm a surgeon and I love a good dissection. The organization is phenomenal. Lets just say that my years of restoration work on the '96 p38 easily prepared me for this.

AaronB | 17 December, 2012

Robert27 - I am going to be doing this soon. Detector should be here at the end of the week.

Would really appreciate seeing the photos. Can you shoot me an email - Aaron at


robert27 | 17 December, 2012

Aaron, no problem.

mrabina | 17 March, 2013

Robert 27

This is my first time participating on a blog so forgive me if I am not following proper form. I just had Model S delivered this week and am scheduled to install a radar detector tomorrow in New York area with the guy who has been installing them in all my cars for the past 15 years. If you can forward any pictures or photos that may help my installer, I would appreciate it. Is the Escort 9500ci better than the K 40 RL 360 I ?
Thanks for your help.

Jean PierreD | 17 March, 2013

Radar detector is à easy add-on that should become standard on model S

Robert22 | 17 March, 2013


I don't think anyone will squawk if you post the pictures here. Do others disagree?

derek | 17 March, 2013

Robert27 Heck Yeah, I agree. The pictures would be awesome, and very useful for other installers.

PS. @timo, someone else already said it, but the legal reason that we can use radar detectors in this country is that the government determined that the airwaves were the property of "the people". And while we regulate who can transmit, which is a practical necessity to avoid radio interference on every channel, we do not regulate nor limit American's right to "listen" to any frequency they bloody well choose to. If someone is going to blast a radio transmission through your house our car, you have the right to receive it. That sounds fair to me.

So, to allow for such things as paid satellite TV services, or military communications, some transmissions are scrambled and encrypted. We DO have laws forbidding us from hacking or unscrambling someone else's locked transmission, but we can listen to the encrypted version all day long if we choose.

Radar detectors fell into this legal framework as soon as radar speed enforcement was invented. If the police transmit, we are allowed to receive. It's not about a right to evade speeding tickets, it's about a pre-existing right to access the public airwaves.

What IS, therefore, illegal in the US is "jammers" which confound the police equipment by transmitting back unintelligible signals that overwhelm their equipment. We cannot transmit legally. However, people now sell "passive" scramblers for laser "Lidar", which (in the product's claims) reflect and scatter the laser signal and prevent a good speed determination. I'm not sure if these work, but they are legal because they do not transmit any new RF energy, just reflect.

Next argument, Timo, is not a justification for speeding, but a gripe. I commit just one legal infraction on the roads. I speed. I'm a driver who signals ever lane change. Who drives in the right except to pass (rare in the USA). I come to full stops, observe all signs, don't follow to close, wait my turn, etc, etc. However, when conditions permit, I speed. Why is it that there is almost no enforcement for ANY of the other driving infractions? I've not heard of people get tickets for bad lane changes, no turn signals, driving in the left lanes, driving outside their lane...nothing. Why? They've invented a machine to measure speed and make it hold up in a trial - so that's what they enforce. Police constantly set up "speed traps". When have you ever seen a "lane change no signal" trap, or such? This is not fair enforcement. PS, yes alcohol and parking are also enforced, but those are not driving infractions.

Also, our speed limits were made 55mph (88kph) by Reagan to SAVE FUEL, but were subsequently raised in many states back to 65 because people fought back. Is the fuel saving argument not moot with the Model S?

PBEndo | 25 March, 2013

@rd_redford I mounted a radar detector and dashcam to the rearview mirror stalk. The radar detection seems fine, though I haven't picked up any LIDAR yet to verify if it makes it through the windsheild (I suspect it doesn't). Incidentally, if you pop off the plastic housing on the mirror stalk there is a wiring harness with switched 12V + (red) and - (black)that I tapped into to avoid having to run the wires down to the fusebox or under the dash. The plastic housing separates into 2 pieces if you pull/pry them apart.
pictures here -

Mel. | 25 March, 2013

Derek, it was Nixon that started 55 mph, Reagan got rid of it.

cb9 | 25 March, 2013

As someone who has to drive in DC and VA a fair amount (I believe they are the *only* two places where radar detectors are illegal in US), I would be happy if we could just run trapster (or functional equivalent) as an app. I've only had my MS for 6 days (and 500 grinning miles), so if anyone has had time to figure out how to get those audio warnings relayed to the speakers, I would appreciate that. It's also pretty convenient to have a constant reminder of what the posted speed limit is, and when tolls are coming up since I have to wave my EZPASS out the window for a while longer.

Manta | 25 March, 2013

@cb9 - If you're running on an iPhone, you can hear the warnings through the car's audio if you select your iPhone as the audio source. Of course that does limit your listening options to the music (stored or via streaming apps) on your phone. (I'm not familiar with Androids.)

cb9 | 25 March, 2013

Thanks, Paul, I do have an iPhone, so that'll work some of the time, which is better than none.

sagebrushnw | 25 March, 2013

@ Derek
@ Mel

I believe that it was under the Jimmy Carter administration that the national 55 speed limit was instigated...not Nixon or Reagan.

It really wasn't successful as the commerical (diesel) vehicles were not "geared" to run economically at that speed...too slow for top gear(s)and to high for lower gear(s). I know for a fact as I was driving a private coach (old Trailways Silver Eagle) during those years with a four speed manual...55 was too high for third and too low for fourth.

BYT | 25 March, 2013

I am looking to install the K40 as early as Friday and also would love to see some photo's of that install or get any and all information you have on your install into the Model S!

2050project | 26 March, 2013

@Mel - might be able to conceal the radar detector behind nosecone controlled and concealed in the new CCI

Captain_Zap | 26 March, 2013

Nixon signed the National Maximum Speed Law in January 1974. I remember him asking us to turn our household heat down to 68 degrees around the same time.

Some states revolted with work-arounds for the 55mph limit around 1986 and, as a result, were threatened with a loss of federal funding.

A temporary trial of increased speeds limits was allowed in a few states in 1987.

The repeal of National Speed Limits occured in November of 1995.

Meanwhile, my Valentine One will not work in my Model S. I sure miss it.

P85D | 3 October, 2014

Anyone have an update to this thread. I am looking at getting a detector.

PBEndo | 3 October, 2014

There is no way to integrate a detector into the touchscreen.

The metallic heat shield in the windshield glass will reduce the effectiveness of a windshield mounted radar detector. However, reports from users of the Passport 9500IX, indicate that it is still effective, though at a reduced level of sensitivity.

UberQik | 12 December, 2014 may be of interest to you.