Walmart, $3 and nag no more! (Almost)

Walmart, $3 and nag no more! (Almost)

I have always been a driver who keeps his hands on the wheel when I am using Auto Pilot but since the last few updates AP has been difficult to use because it keeps telling me to apply light pressure. So someone suggested adding some fishing weights to one side of the steering wheel. So I went to Walmart and got 2 6 oz led weights and using a tiny bungee cord wrapped around the right side of the steering wheel (on the spoke) and tied so it does not unwind. Then apply a 6 oz weight to each bungee hook and I can drive without touching the wheel and no nags. Now the funny part, if I do hold the wheel I get occasional nags. I think my hands on the wheel counteract the weights!!!!

Anyway some tweaking of placement and how I hold the wheel should sort that out. (one hand on wheel and weights on other side of wheel).

So I have my own Auto Pilot Buddy for about $3. :)

bishoppeak | 2 August 2018

Be prepared to be flamed by folks that are under the impression that they are your mother and that you should always keep your hands on the wheel. I simply don't see any utility in an autopilot that requires you to keep your hands on the wheel.

Tldickerson | 2 August 2018

Did you try both weights on one side of the wheel? Kind of like the auto pilot buddy does on the left side of the wheel?

Silver2K | 2 August 2018

Dumbass! A small water mellon is cheaper! 1.99 tops!

jjs | 2 August 2018

BRILLIANT. No more nag AND a snack.

rxlawdude | 2 August 2018

No, not @Bill's mother. Just a note that when some mook follows your idea and plows into a wall.

rxlawdude | 2 August 2018

... the mook's attorneys finding your message may want to talk with you.

NKYTA | 2 August 2018


kerryglittle | 3 August 2018

Yes there are many ways to get around it. But what happens if you have a medical emergency or you fall asleep at the wheel? Are you prepared for a lawsuit or having to live with the fact that you might have killed someone other than yourself? I tried my home remedy too by sticking my wife's iPhone in the steering wheel. Worked great and only tried it to see if it worked and not since. Drivers who continue to get around the safety devices are only asking for trouble. Just my opinion.

bp | 3 August 2018

Solutions like this caused Tesla to increase the nag in the first place - and could result in further increases in the nag to ensure the driver is paying attention and holding the steering wheel.

It's likely most drivers are doing what Tesla intended - keeping hands on the steering wheel most of the time, and having a periodic reminder to put hands back on the wheel isn't unreasonable.

For the few who try to defeat the nag, instead of increasing the nag for everyone, Tesla should try to detect the presence of these hacks - and increase the nag in those cases, possibly even disabling AP if it believes a hack is present.

Or, if the software believes a hack is being used, it could disable AP, display a warning on the console about using hacks, and require the driver to acknowledge they accept full responsibility for any accidents before re-enabling AP - which would get transmitted back to Tesla - as evidence when an accident occurs.

Another item... Reporting this on Tesla's forum - using a Tesla Account e-mail address means Tesla should be able to identify who is using a hack - on specific vehicles, and possibly take action on those vehicles...

redacted | 3 August 2018

Now you can watch Harry Potter DVDs while the autopilot does the driving. Awesome!

SbMD | 3 August 2018

As someone who deals directly with public health as well as individual health, I can say with certainty that efforts to circumvent vehicle safety are dangerous, and should not be developed, let alone broadcast to the public.

@bill - if a person circumvents safety features, you are endangering yourself and others.

Think of it this way:

Would you cut your seatbelt out?
Would you remove your airbag?
Would you replace your windshield safety glass with regular glass?

Of course not. Hands on the wheel, at this time, is another safety measure akin to these other measures. While the “nag” may be annoying to some, it is needed at this time. It’s really not that big of a deal, despite the comments about nag, and especially considering why it is in place.

Having also seen firsthand the effects of people circumventing safety features on their cars and the morbidity and mortality left in its wake, it is irresponsible to suggest and give instructions on how to bypass a safety feature.

@rx is absolutely right. Just imagine if someone uses this or other methods that have been posted here to bypass a safety feature, and then gets hurt or hurts someone. You have broadcast this on a public forum. You don’t think some industrious lawyer won’t come after you or the others who have posted this information, let alone the risk to public safety?

Sorry, @bishop, if you think this post is being someone’s “mother”, but it isn’t. Unless that mom has also spent countless hours over the years saving and putting people — including innocent bystanders — back together when people don’t follow basic protections with their cars. But if you want, I know a some surgeon mom’s that do, if you want their opinion as well.

Sorry for rant, but this is simply foolish.

acegreat1 | 3 August 2018

Here they come

kerryglittle | 3 August 2018

Good points bp and SbMD. When I was at work before I retired we had a supervisor who bypassed a safety feature to try and fix something without stopping production. Was a stupid thing to do and he could have got injured or killed. That was his last day at work. Fired on the spot. Its not worth the risk to avoid warnings that were put there to save your life or others lives.

SbMD | 3 August 2018

@kerry - thanks and great example.
@ace - is there something that I and other folks have posted in opposition that you think is incorrect? Please feel free to say so. Being serious, not flaming you.

dvanlier | 3 August 2018

I wish people would stop saying hands on the wheel gets rid of the nag because it doesn’t . The nags were because of a horrible design flaw that means you have to apply torque against the natural direction of travel just enough to overcome nags but not enough to override autopilot. No one would drain it like this intentionally.

The side effect of increasing the nags is that you exponentially increase the amount of people using defeater devices, and making it more unsafe every time you change the nag interval .

dvanlier | 3 August 2018

Drain = design I hate phone typing

SbMD | 3 August 2018

@dvanlier - fair point. Still, though, it shouldn’t be a reason to defeat a safety measure.

jordanrichard | 3 August 2018

I agree that it is all of these, "....hey I figured out how to trick the car" threads is what has made Tesla put even more "nags" into the AP system. You are basically being part of the problem.

StatsApp | 3 August 2018

Natural selection

dvanlier | 3 August 2018

I think you’re flipping cause and effect .. without the nags or with infrequent nags there would be no need for defeater devices

jordanrichard | 3 August 2018

MaaDo Taa, I agree, but this hurts the brand and cause "law bidding" AP users more headaches because of a relative few that are so over burdened with having to occasionally nudge the steering wheel.

SbMD | 3 August 2018

No flip, @dvanlier. There are several studies that look at driver attentiveness and the need for systems like hands-on for driver safety with less than autonomous driving. We aren’t there yet with any system.

SbMD | 3 August 2018

@jordan + 1

NKYTA | 3 August 2018

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m a bit concerned that @bill goes to extreme lengths to defeat a safety feature in a 4,700 lb moving vehicle, but can’t seem to figure out how to change his forum handle...after being shown how to.

acegreat1 | 3 August 2018

If you a it cheating, you ain't trying

Anthony J. Parisio | 3 August 2018

What you say is true. However it has forced me to keep at least one hand applying rotation force as you described. Once I get in the sweet spot of applied force I never get nagged.

sentabo | 3 August 2018

SbMD's longer thread above: + infinity

blacktape242 | 3 August 2018

hands are free

gridley1950 | 3 August 2018

Just came back from a road trip and used AP a lot! Very relaxing way to drive! I did find it hard to find that "sweet spot" though and even though my hands were on the wheel the whole time I collected enough nags to disable AP. Bit of a bummer BUT WHAT A FUN DRIVE!!! :)
2015 P85D ver 2018.26 3bbd9fd

TranzNDance | 3 August 2018

I also went for a long drive and got lots of nags, but it was still worth it to me to use EAP.

dvanlier | 3 August 2018

I’m not really arguing with the need for some type of driver attentiveness tool, but there would seem to be better options then what is currently equipped (ie holding the wheel and looking all around to stay attentive does nothing to eliminate nags). A camera that detects awareness might be a better idea, or some sensor on the steering wheel that just lets you hold it instead of actively turning against the normal direction of travel at all times. I guess its just not a priority or they would have come up with something much better on the model 3.

rxlawdude | 3 August 2018

@dvanlier, there is a rear facing camera in the rear view mirror on the M3. No one knows what it eventually will do.

bill | 4 August 2018

I love how people only read what they want.

My thread started with:

"I have always been a driver who keeps his hands on the wheel when I am using Auto Pilot but since the last few updates AP has been difficult to use because it keeps telling me to apply light pressure. "

I still drive with my hands on the wheel. I only added the weights so I would not get the nags when my hands are on the wheel and I am using AP. I also wrote this for the many drivers who are experiencing nags even though they have their hands on the wheel.

BTW the fix to getting nags with the weights and the hands on the wheel is to put the weights on the same side of the wheel that you put your hand on. In my case the left hand side.

I am not recommending that anyone use this method so that they can drive hands free because that is indeed dangerous.

So you have nothing to fear from me I am driving paying attention with my hands on the wheel. I can even prove it if I were in a accident because MIT mounted cameras in my car that watch my face and steering wheel and records it on a hard drive in the trunk. I am part of a study they are doing on automated driving.

The real problem is Tesla needs to design a safety system that works without all the false indications that hands are not on the wheel. I find driving with AP while concentrating on applying the right amount amount of pressure to keep AP engauged very distracting and IMHO more dangerous than driving with the NAG always complaining.

There are also many methods to defeat the nag on lots of threads so what I am saying here is hardly new.

A safety feature that does not work reliably is not a safety feature.

SbMD | 4 August 2018

So you think it is ok to hang weights off your steering wheel because your AP doesn’t seem to sense your hands on the wheel, rather than take it up with your service center or perhaps hold your wheel just a little bit more?

No, I read you correctly, but with your last post it is fair to broaden the scope of asking you to think twice about what your are espousing.

If you really need to hang weights off of your steering wheel, there may be other factors regarding your vehicle control at play, AP or not. Conjecture on my part, admittedly, but now you are adding additional resistance to your control of the car. That’s not good, with or without AP.

Bad move.

The other people who post about defeats and cheats are also wrong.

Xerogas | 4 August 2018

It’s an arms race, just like antivirus software. The more people who apply this kind of defeat, the more Tesla engineers will have to come up with new attention-detecting methods. “Wiggle the wheel slightly to prove you’re awake” will make the weights tricks stop working.

I’d rather get my torque sensor calibrated than add fishing weights to the wheel.

bill | 4 August 2018

I will bring it up the next time I have the car in and if they can make it work without the weights I will not use them. But until then I will do what works best for me.

Has anyone brought it in to service and had an adjustment made that improved the sensing of hands on the wheel?

Ross1 | 5 August 2018

When you take it in for service, will you be removing the weights prior?
The answer to this will determine if the idea was good.
If it was good, the SC will report it back to Tesla who will incorporate fishing weights from now on on all new cars delivered. Easy fix for them.

Silver2K | 5 August 2018

My steering wheel looks like a junk yard.

I have the following hanging off it:

Bathroom trash can with pop up lid (duh)
Corded electric Weed whacker (need cord for hanging)
Clear storage unit (small)
A full shower spray bottle
Battery from my mower
Bathroom mat
Bunch of bath duckies stringed together
Broken laptop
Old car keys
Broken hp laser printer
Desktop monitor
Wet towel
Bunch of floor tiles taped together

Not all at the same time though, duh

dvanlier | 5 August 2018

Taking it in for service will do nothing.

djlott | 5 August 2018

This is irresponsible at best. Especially this part: "...and I can drive without touching the wheel and no nags".

In my opinion there is something wrong with bill's (and other's) sensor in the steering wheel. I drive to and from work every day w autopilot and I can keep the nag away without even trying or thinking about it. I mean I can have my left elbow on the window panel area with almost no pressure on the wheel. Other times I can simply hold the bottom of the wheel with my right arm resting on my lap. Again not trying or even aware of the pressure on the wheel.

I'd rather have the service center look at my car than turn the steering wheel into an 80's spandex old fisherman's net.

avesraggiana | 5 August 2018

Thing is, even keeping your hands on the steering wheel with a constant torque-ing pressure does NOT eliminate the nags, much to my annoyance after driving a total of 500 miles in our two Teslas.

If doing what you're supposed to be doing isn't getting rid of the nagging, why continue doing it?

jordanrichard | 5 August 2018

Bill, the problem is as you said, no one reads the back story, just “hey put weights on the wheel”. Knowing that people don’t read details, why then even bring this up?

It’s like people making a 1 minute video of them eating lunch while using AP. Sure they have only done that once, for the video, but people will just assume you can do that all the time.

MySin_AZ | 5 August 2018

So, the current features is called driver assist...and you want to put yourself and others at risk by jobbing the system? If some fatality were,to happen, I sure hope you are charged with manslaugher and sent to jail. Why do you think this is a good idea? Wait for full self driving, and then go about this with a clear conscience.

kerryglittle | 7 August 2018

Well that was an exciting and enlightening post. Home my comments didn't appear harsh since I did ( only ) once and with a passenger with me try to get around the nag. The voices in my head caught me a weak moment. LOL. I think most will agree trying to bypass a safety feature is just asking for trouble. If there ever was a crash I think Tesla would be able to tell if the safety feature was over rode at the time of a crash just by no fluctuation on the steering wheel pressure. Maybe down the road they will increase the nag to please everyone one but for now please be safe people. Your loved ones don't want to lose you. We have enough problems on the roads with drunks and distracted and aggressive drivers. Nothing is fool proof these days. Cheers and happy driving. :-)

Rsandy | 7 August 2018

When using the previous iteration of autopilot I used to keep my hands on my knees next to the steering wheel, palms up and ready to grab the wheel. I would jiggle the wheel a little when the warning appeared to hold the wheel. That worked OK. The latest iteration has warnings asking me to apply pressure to the wheel much more frequently. I've tried to continuously hold the wheels lightly and keep giving little tugs, but either I overdo it and override the autopilot or under do it and get repeated warnings to apply pressure to the wheel. I just haven't gotten the knack of it. I am using the latest iteration of autopilot mostly for stop-and-go traffic now because it is not worth the hassle for regular traffic. Considering what Autopilot cost, I am not happy about the change. I never looked at my phone while driving or other nonsense. I always watched the traffic and was ready to take over. I don't think there is any safety improvement in the latest version.

Haggy | 8 August 2018

"I wish people would stop saying hands on the wheel gets rid of the nag because it doesn’t . The nags were because of a horrible design flaw that means you have to apply torque against the natural direction of travel just enough to overcome nags but not enough to override autopilot. No one would drain it like this intentionally."

The irony is that I got a nag today for the first time in a long time. I realized that I was unconsciously holding the wheel firmly and steering naturally, exactly where the car expected the steering wheel to be. I realized that I needed to let go of the wheel or loosen up on my grip to make the message go away and let the weight do its thing.

Loosening my grip did the trick, and I was once again holding the wheel naturally. But if not for the weight, I'd have to hold it in a way that would make me want to turn off autosteer, because it's simply more comfortable to drive without it, unless there's a weight added.

Telling people "just hold the wheel" is nonsense. Holding the wheel naturally is what causes the nags in the first place. Holding the wheel in a counter intuitive way makes things less safe because if the car veers unexpectedly, it's no longer a matter of tightening the grip and steering naturally. It's a matter of recognizing the need to stop steering unnaturally and possibly reversing the force in the opposite direction. It takes far more reaction time.

rxlawdude | 8 August 2018

That's why it now says "apply gentle force to the steering wheel." :-)

jjgunn | 8 August 2018

Every 25 seconds - I simply give 3 slight pulls of resistance against a curve or even with it.

It's so simple & I really don't understand people that have trouble with the "nags"

Hint: 60 MPH = 1 mile per minute = 1/2 mile in 30 seconds = - it's very easy & very relaxing to drive Auto-Pilot

bill | 9 August 2018


You hit the nail on the head.

Driving with pressure on the wheel is driving incorrectly. Without Autopilot on it will cause the car to move out of lane. Driving with autopilot in my case cases the car to frequently start to leave lane and disable AP.

As I have stated many time my hands are always on the wheel and if I were to get in an accident with AP on the MIT camera I have watching my hands will prove that.

As for liability I am only saying what has been said by many others and I said it with the inclusion it should only be used with your hands on the wheel. I also believe what I said is covered by the first amendment and no it is not the same as yelling fire in a theater.

rxlawdude | 9 August 2018

"I also believe what I said is covered by the first amendment and no it is not the same as yelling fire in a theater."

Suborning perjury is not covered by the first amendment. Inciting rioting is not covered by the first amendment.

However, publishing explicit information to defeat a safety mechanism in a 2.5 ton motor vehicle may indeed be covered by the first amendment, yet there's no guarantee of immunity from liability to injured parties as a result of someone blindly following your instructions.