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?

nickjhowe | November 26, 2012

Hi Tom. This has been discussed elsewhere on this forum. Since there is no search function, head over to (the page explains why it is called that) to search the forums and punch in 'radar detector'; you'll get a bunch of hits.

Volker.Berlin | November 27, 2012

This thread over at TMC may be of interest to you:

Vawlkus | November 27, 2012

As an FYI, Radar detectors aren't legal everywhere, so Tesla wouldn't be able to add in support for one in their UI. Depending on how apps are handled, you may or may not be able to get one in that way, although IMHO I'm leaning heavily towards 'not'. If Tesla has to review and approve all apps for the S, then it's a definite not.

mrspaghetti | November 27, 2012


Adding software to support a radar detector is not the same as installing a radar detector. I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me Tesla could add software support for radar detectors, car-mounted miniguns or anything else without running afoul of the law, as long as they didn't actually install the illegal hardware.

Volker.Berlin | November 27, 2012

As far as notification of fixed radar installations in sat nav systems goes, which is illegal in Germany, the vendors' solution is to make it a separate component that can be uninstalled by the user. It is usually preinstalled but disabled and can be enabled by acknowledging that it must only be used where it is legal. Of course! ;-)

Vawlkus | November 27, 2012

The catch is that by installing UI support it could be argued that Tesla is tacitly approving of an illegal practice / use of illegal technology.
They aren't installing it, but they can be though of as going "Nope, no radar detectors here *wink*wink*nudge*nudge*".

It wouldn't amount to more than a wrist slap, but I doubt Tesla can afford any legal foolishness like that.

mrspaghetti | November 27, 2012


Consider that radar detectors are legal everywhere but Virginia and D.C. in the US.

Also consider that talking on a cell phone is illegal in some places while driving. Would you say that car makers who enable bluetooth connectivity or other means for using a cell phones while driving are at risk of legal action?

Vawlkus | November 27, 2012

There's more to the world than the US ;) I'm Canadian, and I don't know of a province where radar detectors are legal. Dunno what it's like in Europe or Asia.

For the record, I HAVE heard of lawsuits entered against cell phone companies after tickets were issued for drive while on cell phones, although I don't THINK any have been won (and I hope they never ARE won either).

BrianMRolfe | November 27, 2012

I didn't see the mini-gun option on the configuration page. Will this be a software upgrade? I want one! I am too often caught behind woefully slow (read "law abiding") drivers and this will only get worse when driving the Model S. ;-)

DouglasR | November 27, 2012

How about getting TM to enhance the nav system by noting the location of brothels and drug dens? :)

jbunn | November 27, 2012

I believe you can already do that on Google maps.

mrspaghetti | November 27, 2012


Now Brian, we don't want to use our miniguns on other drivers. The minigun would be an option for owners who want to be prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse, which I believe is due to begin on December 21st.

family | November 27, 2012

I have the Escort 8500 installed in my S, and it works GREAT! (I'm Dadaleus on TMC and the one whose car is discussed in the thread above.)

I never had radar before, so it's amazing to me how well this works. Every time it goes off, sure enough I see a highway patrol officer shortly after. Interestingly, here in California, CHP cars seem to broadcast radar signals even when they are just driving. They must have some kind of display in their cars that shows the speed of cars around them.

I'm not using it to be able to get away with anything. But I once got a ticket for someone else's speeding because the officer misidentified which car his radar had picked up. So I like to know when radar is being used so I can use extra caution to avoid these situations.

Michael Emrich | November 27, 2012


at what location on the windshield did you install your Escort? I was under the belief that there is no gap in the windshield where radar could get through to the Escort?

Thank you.

jamesgx | November 27, 2012

I wish that I had Dadaleus' setup in my Model S, but I don't trust anyone to install it. I am hoping once they get a local service shop setup soon, I can either have Tesla install something (doubtful) or they can at least coordinate with a local installer who can be trusted not to destroy my car. I have never had a speeding ticket, but I think this car is going to be the death of my clean record.

BrianMRolfe | November 27, 2012


Ok, but what if they drive like zombies, would that count?

Closer to topic, a radar detector can also attract tickets. I have several friends who happen to be police officers. They have mentioned several times that if they see a radar detector, and can issue a ticket, they will, even at speeds they would normally ignore (e.g. three to five miles over the posted limit).

They seem to take it as some sort of personal insult. I didn't ask why.

mrspaghetti | November 27, 2012


Take heart - speeding tickets can almost always be beaten if you're willing to fight them. The only catch is that you may have to waste a day sitting in a court room, and possibly $50-$100 or so on a traffic ticket lawyer.

There are also some apps that can help prevent tickets. Trapster is one that I use, but unfortunately it doesn't seem like a lot of other people are using it. "Escort Live" is another one I've heard about but haven't tried yet.

BYT | November 27, 2012

@jamesgx, I am in the exact same boat. Want to put one in, can't trust nor want to be the first for an installer.

DouglasR | November 27, 2012


Are you serious about the $50-$100 lawyer? Even a few years ago (before I retired), that would buy you only about 10-15 minutes. I shudder to think of what you'd get . . . | November 27, 2012

Between the local police using Lidar and the amount of false positives from speed reading signs etc. I gave up on the radar detector. The ride is much quieter & the music doesn't get interrupted.

mrspaghetti | November 27, 2012


Yes, here in Houston there are firms that apparently do nothing but traffic tickets. The lawyers have loads of clients and they spend all day in the courtroom going down the list. What you get for that fee, in my experience, is expedited disposition of your case, since those with lawyers are handled before those without. Also, the traffic attorneys are usually pretty chummy with the prosecutors and/or judge, so they can usually get your ticket dropped outright if the (alleged) offense is not too severe.

family | November 27, 2012

Michael Emrich: It's an installed unit (8500ci plus) so it's not on the windshield. I'm not even sure exactly where the equipment is--I just have a little display mounted inside.

I had it installed at Al & Eds of West Hollywood. They have a lot of experience with Tesla Roadsters, and now probably have the most experience of anyone with the Model S.

BYT | November 27, 2012

Want to find some of that experience more North here in the Bay Area. Maybe if I buy all the stuff and ask the builders at the Fremont Factory? :)

"Hey! PSSSSST... you in the Tesla Motors Factory Jump Suit, can I borrow you for 3 hours?"

family | November 27, 2012

BYT, I wouldn't be surprised if Ellie of West Hollywood knows someone in the Bay Area he could advise on it. He's pretty well connected, even inside Tesla. You should give him a call and at least ask for advice. I've talked to Tesla employees who would love to do this kind of stuff on the side, but they are absolutely forbidden by Tesla.

branden | November 29, 2012

Kurtis Harville at AMS in the bay area just successfully equipped my Model S with an Escort 9500ci in under 4 hours, totally professionally done. I've been going to them for all my high end work for years. (408) 248-1111

Getting Amped Again | November 29, 2012

Not sure if this is feasible, but I'd like one hidden behind the front end plastic with a Bluetooth connection to the 17" display, which is running an Escort app in the corner. Seamless!

BYT | November 29, 2012

Thanks Dadaleus and Branden!

@Branden, what did he charge you for the install and think he can do the MobilEye installations as well?

branden | November 29, 2012

Kurtis can do it for $2900, installed. It's a premium price for premium work.

I'm sure he could do a MobileEye too, these guys take on any challenge. Be advised, those MobileEye or similar systems use X band radar to measure distances so it makes the radar detectors freak out if you don't disable the X band sensor (which I recommend anyway since it's always false positives)

Hope this helps.

Michael23 | November 29, 2012

Sweet i might look into that too. Yeah, no x band needed.

Michael23 | November 29, 2012

Hmmm some iffy reviews on that place though. Can you post pics of the install?

BYT | November 29, 2012

Thanks again and yes, pictures of the setup would be awesome!

branden | November 29, 2012

Sure - there's unfortunately no way to post photos in this forum, so I'm happy to email them upon request. I think this forum lets me see your email addresses, so I'll send them over to you two.

branden | November 29, 2012

Oh well, it doesn't show me your email addresses after all. Just send me an email and I'll reply with the photos. My email is

ckessel | November 29, 2012

$2900! That's nearly 2x the cost of the 9500c itself.

nickjhowe | November 30, 2012

@branden - just post the pictures to flickr or and use the <img embed code

Brian H | November 30, 2012

Yes, works fine:

branden | December 11, 2012

It takes them about 6 hours to get it done, and they do the install with a level of care and attention to detail unlike anything you've seen, so yeah it's a bit expensive.

The front sensors go in the front grill, barely visible. The rear sensor goes above the license plate.

There is a nicely accessible USB port for programming the 9500c inside the left access panel on the dash.

Power for the system is fuse tapped off the switched 12v coming off the Frunk's fuse panel. Nice looking install.

And finally, the display and control units are nicely hidden under the touchscreen inside the cabin. Doesn't obscure the stashing of sunglasses in the cubby, and is well enough hidden so as not to be a distraction from the car's craftsmanship.

branden | December 11, 2012

Yeah @Brian, posting images to the forums works GREAT. *rolls eyes*

Brian H | December 11, 2012

It helps if you know enough to include width="xxxpixels" height="yyypixels" .

Try again.

Brian H | December 11, 2012

Check the syntax; what goes between the quotes is a number.

jamessnow | December 12, 2012

For safe driving I highly recommend you the Escort Passport 9500ix Radar/Laser Detector (Blue Display). Escort is one of the best radar detector as of 2012.

Alex K | December 12, 2012

I saw this real nicely installed concealed Escort installation a while ago in a Porsche Panamera at but can't seem to locate it on their website any more.

mthanos | December 12, 2012

Did I hear correctly the radar detector has trouble detecting through the windshield?

jamesgx | December 12, 2012

I decided to contact a Tesla service center to see if they would install a high end radar detector or recommend someone they trust to do an install locally. I was informed that this has become a semi-frequent request. They are waiting for engineering to have some free time (not sure that will ever happen!) and then they are going to take a serious look at the best solution for radar detectors. They told me not to have someone install it since even they are working with the 12v system and figuring out the best way to incorporate 3rd party equipment in general (not specifically radar detectors). I know a few people have done installs, but if you are outside of California (where it sounds like a few installers know what they are doing) then I would steer clear. I got the impression (not explicitly told) that Tesla is not going to support any damage claims if something goes wrong.

Timo | December 13, 2012

This puzzles me, people are really asking Tesla to cooperate in installing radar detectors to break laws? Why on earth would they even consider doing anything like that? That's like asking Tesla to install hidden compartments to car so that you could smuggle drugs more easily. Same category thing.

Alex K | December 13, 2012

@Timo | DECEMBER 13, 2012: This puzzles me, people are really asking Tesla to cooperate in installing radar detectors to break laws?

Radar detectors are not illegal in most US states.

Timo | December 13, 2012

Why not? That's is even more puzzling. Only usage for those that I can think of is trying to avoid speed tickets, and that implies attempt to break laws.

Vawlkus | December 13, 2012

It's the American way of life Timo :P

"Why we gonna do that?"
"For the good old American Way. For the money, for the glory and for the fun.......... mostly for the money"
Paraphrased from Smokey and The Bandit :)

mrspaghetti | December 13, 2012


Why not? That's is even more puzzling. Only usage for those that I can think of is trying to avoid speed tickets, and that implies attempt to break laws.

There have been (and still are) lots of laws that are stupid and ought to be broken. There are many, many places where speed limits are set artificially low for the sole purpose of shaking down drivers for revenue. The vast majority of speeding tickets are issued to people who are driving in a perfectly safe and reasonable manner for traffic conditions.

ckessel | December 13, 2012

@Timo: I use my radar detectors as a backup against overly zealous radar traps. For example, there is a 45->30 speed change in one area. I always slow down, but they setup the radar van _right_ at the change point. You pretty much have to be at 30mph _before_ you get to the change to avoid getting nailed.

Now, like most people, I let up on the throttle and slow down gradually as I hit that change, which is perfectly safe, but not sufficient to avoid the radar van. With the detector, it'll go off and help me slow down early for all those spots that have such traps.

Most tickets are issued in these bogus traps.