condensation in driver side B-pillar camera

condensation in driver side B-pillar camera

I had an error message come up several months ago: Left door pillar camera blocked or blinded. Made appt through the app for service & had the entire assembly that the B-pillar camera is housed in replaced. The same error message reared its ugly head again in early December. Mobile service came out &, again, replaced the driver's side B-pillar camera housing. The tech said it was very rare for these to need replacement more than once. Today.....same error message. This will be the third service on this issue. During the last repair the tech mentioned going to Service Center vs. doing Mobile Service if this happens again as there is clearly something else going on. I made an appt via the app again & it will not let me select Service Center. So, mobile came out again today, this time only to say, "We can't help the weather." Seems odd that it is only happening on 1 side if it is "the weather." If the humidity / cooler weather leads to condensation it seems like the Model 3 would NOT be able to do FSD in cooler environments. I've read of other owners having this issue....just wondering if there is an actual resolution?

teslamazing | January 23, 2020

Oh boy. Another thread ..

teslamazing | January 23, 2020

@OP condensation pillar

No need for further comments.

M3phan | January 23, 2020

Does the condensation eventually go away? if so, why worry?

NorthValley | January 23, 2020

5 minutes of the AC and away the condensation least in my case when the right hand b pillar cam fogged up.

FISHEV | January 23, 2020

Condensation inside is a problem to be repaired. Those cams go offline in the rain way too much already much less water in side the camer

A couple threads about it, a common problem that Tesla does fix as a warranty problem. Don’t let them classify it as a “goodwill” repair vs. “warranty”.

teslamazing | January 23, 2020

You just couldn’t resist to comment, could you.

rblackwell | February 2, 2020

@M3phan: The problem is not that the condensation doesn't go away. The problem is that a) it causes the car that I paid good money for to fail to perform as advertised, and b) water droplets contain contaminates. Ignoring a) for a moment, let's consider b). Environmental water vapour is not pure; it contains contaminates. Over time, the condensation/evaporation cycle is going to leave a film of those contaminates on the camera lens. It won't happen all at once, but rather slowly over time the acuity of the cameras will deteriorate as the contaminate builds up. By the time you realize it is affecting the Autopilot, Auto Wipers, Sentry etc., it might be a couple of years down the road. Now you are out of warranty and YOU will pay to have the problem corrected.

The bottom line is that this is a design and/or manufacturing defect and falls under warranty. These camera housings... all of them...should be hermetically sealed. Apparently, at least some are not.

So, to answer your question, THAT is exactly why people should worry.


drrock75k | February 2, 2020

This occurred with my car once, along with condensation over front cameras. It was during a cold period, with temps in the teens, which may be a factor.

M3phan | February 2, 2020

@ rblackwell, good points.

M3phan | February 2, 2020

I’ve had the condensation twice in 20 months, went away in an hour, but @rblackwell points have made me reconsider service request.

bp | February 2, 2020

Saw this on mine today as well. It is a defect, and it should be fixed. The question is: where is the humidity coming from? Intuitively it would be coming from outside, but I actually think there is a greater chance it’s coming in via cabin air from the inside. That might make the issue somewhat less severe but also potentially harder to fix.

vmulla | February 2, 2020

Some of us owners are experimenting if turning on the defroster on the heat setting can mitigate the effects of condensate on the cameras, you can try that and provide useful feedback on what might help a lot of users.
But let's be fair, this is an engineered machine - it will fail at times, especially when you're comparing it to yourself - an intelligent being that has millions of years of evolution.
If you want to be part of the solution, experiment with settings that might mitigate the problem and let the community know. Thanks

FISHEV | February 3, 2020

" That might make the issue somewhat less severe but also potentially harder to fix."

From what other owner's who have gotten it fixed describe, it's just replacing the seal in the camera compartment. Keep in mind this only addresses the water inside, the side cameras go off mostly from water outside.

jallred | February 3, 2020

Rain and other environmental factors can completely obscure any optical sensor. Even if rain isn’t obscuring the sensor completely, rain and snow in the air can cause significant issues to a sensors efficacy.

If you have internal condensation you should get it fixed. Moisture outside covering the sensor should go away with defroster use and normal driving.

christinebalbas | February 3, 2020

I just got off the phone with a service rep—he said that Tesla is aware of the problem, and they can fix it, but it will probably continue to occur. My M3 is garaged outdoors (no garage), so it’s in exposed to more moisture. The service guy said they can’t seal out the moisture, so my question is why doesn’t the other side have the problem?

FISHEV | February 4, 2020

"I just got off the phone with a service rep—he said that Tesla is aware of the problem, and they can fix it, but it will probably continue to occur."

Another owner says Tesla told him it is in "within normal limits".

"The b pillar cameras are subject to some amount of condensation by design"

teslamazing | February 4, 2020

Too many duplicate threads.

Google search the following condensation pillar

No need for further comments.

FISHEV | February 4, 2020

"Too many duplicate threads. "

it's proved useful as some owners are quoting Tesla as saying a problem to be fixed vs. others saying Tesla says water disabling cams is "within normal limits".

We'll have to see how it plays out. If Tesla can't/won't fix it vs. fixing it. I don't seem to have the problem with the condensation inside the camera housing but I do have the issue of "Cams offline" a lot just with rain and wet weather.

andy.connor.e | February 4, 2020

its ok the OP will never be back as they all do

aperfectecho | February 4, 2020

I believe part of this is that it is winter, the sun is as a different angle, and that may complicate or compound the issue. I drive N-S, and the sun now shines on the driver's side more directly. I have the camera issue on that side more often, and it is indeed condensation. I think the sun heats that pillar more, causing condensation. I have had the message for the other side B-pillar once.
I have read the other threads, and it seems Tesla is aware, but until there's a more-reliable fix, I won't necessarily bring it in for this. I think the sun's angle is also why I was having more phantom braking in the Fall/Winter, as opposed to Spring/Summer, where it never seemed to happen. Perhaps more glare on the cameras during those cooler months?

ajksp1 | March 20, 2020

The OP has been monitoring what I've been reading. And have been in a text thread with Tesla with how often this happens to me (at least once/day for several hours). They asked me for dates/times so they could check logs. Fortunately I had been keeping a log & provided them with >10 instances. I have an appt at SC today & will see what they offer in terms of a solution & post-back. Unfortunately, I had scheduled several times & had to re-schedule in order to make timing work. Thanks to all, duplicates & otherwise, for the insight/information.

dognabit | March 20, 2020

I have had that problem since I got mine in December. For context, I am in northern Wisconsin, so below freezing is the normal high all winter. Experience has been similar to that described by a perfect echo above. I sent photos to Tesla and they sent Mobile Service. Mobile service removes a gore-Tex patch that is behind the camera to allow for better ventilation and drying. The tech said that the newest cars don’t have the patch anymore, as it was found that contamination issues were negligible. Haven’t driven much since the fix, but it sounds reasonable.

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