MCU always had problems and finally failed. Costing a fortune

MCU always had problems and finally failed. Costing a fortune

My MCU was always rebooting and I had always pointed out the service center. The issue started at around 39k. They said it was nothing. Again it had pointed out at 49k (before the warranty expired). Nothing was done. The answer I always got was “it seems to be working fine now, just reset the trips and clear the address history and it will be fine”. Never worked since then. Screen would always reboot and locations wouldn’t load. For the last 10k miles we had been using google maps. Couple of months ago I took it again and they flashed the CPU and reinstalled the software and I was told that it should be fine now ($175). Last week, I was driving and the screen starting rebooting again and was stuck in a constant loop where the car was functional but nothing else worked. I had to take it in right away considering it was 90 degrees and I had a toddler in the car and the AC wouldn’t turn on. Same problem as before but not the MCU unit had to be replaced. Almost 3k with labor (they did pay for half of it because it was a known issue and I did point it out before the warranty expired). Wait what. Why should I even pay for half of it? The service managers are just a human shield for deflection.
And check this out. I dropped it off with 59 miles because it was an emergency and a week later they did not plug it in and I got three notifications to plug in the car. I called them with no answer. The charge dropped below 10 miles and the 12V battery died while at the service center. And I had to pay for that as well! Nope not their fault. The customer service representative did not even know that could happen. It is comical.

Love the car but I’m afraid that service centers have no empathy and are just cold. Just can’t make a product, you have to stand behind it. How does a MCU which controls 99% of the function of the car fail in under 3 years?

reed_lewis | 24/04/2019

If this is a true story, I would ask them to look at your history and have them comp the repair of the MCU because it started failing before your 50K mileage.

But I doubt that this is a real story. What service center are you bringing your car to? Have you tried escalating to the service manager of the location? What model car do you have? What year?

Silver2K | 24/04/2019

They charged you labor while warranty was still valid? This makes no sense. The fact they charged you 3k for the MCU when it costs 2200 replaced makes no sense either.

Must be that time of the year

DallasModelS | 24/04/2019

Plano service center. Just escalated the issue with the regional manager thru the chat option (been a week but nobody’s called me back). I have 2016 model S. And yes it’s a real story.! MCU unit and the 12V battery we combined 3k after tax. I paid $1500. Considering the 12V was full price. You can adjust for the MCU being $1250 out of pocket. But whoever is worried about that is missing the point here

Silver2K | 24/04/2019

I didn't miss the point. They should have replaced the screen and 12V on their dime due to their neglect.

When numbers are mentioned i tend to analyze them. The 12v is $200 replaced by a ranger. The numbers don't make sense.

DallasModelS | 24/04/2019

MCU - 2078 + 331 part & labor = $2409
12V with labor $204
Total $2613
discount $1204.50
Total - $1408.50
Tax - $85.88
Total out of pocket $1494.18

DallasModelS | 24/04/2019

Not to add all the $175 diagnostics fees paid for the same issue

p.c.mcavoy | 24/04/2019

I know another owner, his is a older MS, but similar story where was having symptoms of issues, yet no hard failure, prior to his MCU being diagnosed as failed about a month or so after his warranty expired. Similar results where local service center failed to cover the replacement of the MCU under warranty and failed to provide him with diagnostic logs which he felt could substantiate the presence of stored errors confirming issue started before the 4 yr/50k mile expired.

I know some of you will find stories like this hard to believe, but this individual was a very ardent supporter of Tesla, was considering a new roadster as his next vehicle, but this soured his willingness to be an advocate for the brand going forward.

Not everyone gets the same level of goodwill which some of you experience.

rxlawdude | 24/04/2019

The goodwill has stopped, at least according to the service manager at the Costa Mesa SC.

I just paid $714 to have my windows be able to roll up properly. Not thrilled, but this is my first out-of-pocket expense beyond what were the scheduled service visits.

Tldickerson | 24/04/2019

@rxlawdude, what exactly did they do for $714? I ask because I was in the auto glass business in Costa Mesa for over 40 years. That's also the same service center that I've been using for over 4 years now.

Aerodyne | 24/04/2019

These stories are really hurting the brand image.

If true, will take a long time to overcome, like more than FSD...

FWIW, I have reached out a visited the Santa Barbara SC. After an hour's conversation, and buying 100 worth of parts that should have been covered under warranty, I hope I have built some Goodwill.

Need to have coolant and passenger SRS replaced soon. Wish me luck!

rxlawdude | 25/04/2019

@Tdickerson, replaced left driver and left rear door controllers, with labor.

Tldickerson | 25/04/2019

@rxlawdude, I can't even imagine what a door controller could be? I've had all 4 of my door panels off to have a look inside when I added some extra insulation for sound deadening material. These cars are put together just like any other car. The only difference compared to most other cars is having the windows drop about a quarter inch when you open the door. I'm sure there are other cars with this same feature out there now. Was that part of your problem with the windows? | 25/04/2019

@Tldickerson - There is a controller in the front door, which controls both the front and rear door window, door handles, locks, release latch motors and all the lights in the doors on that side of the car. Don't know why I remember it, but when I looked at the controller, it was made in England. Sort of expected something from China.

@AERODYNE - Not sure why out of warranty repairs hurt the brand image. Owners have the option of buying an extended warranty, but elected not to. Yes, it hurts when something dies just out of warranty, but that's why an extended warranty may be worth it (although I've never bought one).

Every brand has items that need replacement, which occurs the older/more miles the car has. Actually ICE cars are often far more expensive to maintain as they age . Timing belts, water and fuel pumps, mufflers, and all sort other stuff that fails by design. Those cars also have occasional multimedia unit failures and are not cheap to replace. | 25/04/2019

I had a similar experience. A couple of weeks ago, Tesla mobile service came to my house to do a recall work for passenger side airbag, when the technician finishes his work the central screen stopped working but he left by saying he will ask someone to check the cause of the problem. After that I never head the technician's reply, then I took the car to the service center they want me to pay the full cost to replace the touch screen unit (include MCU) because the vehicle is out of Warranty by one month.

dsteal | 25/04/2019

@DallasModelS That really sucks. You shouldn't not have to pay out of pocket for a problem you reported inside the warranty period. @wayne, One month out I guess is technically correct on their side. But not exactly nice.

The problem I have with Tesla service right now is that I can never actually talk to anyone without waiting 30+ minutes on hold. I haven't tried in some time because I'm sick of the hold messages. This applies to cars and energy products. When I do talk to someone, it's rarely of any help. Same with messages I send if I have a question or problem. It takes weeks to get a reply and then the reply is some noncommittal thing that isn't useful. I understand why they're being noncommittal but then I might as well not bother asking anything. Maybe that's the whole point. | 25/04/2019

@dsteal, my model-S' touch screen was working fine before the recall work, I thought maybe the technician did something wrong during his recall work.

bill | 25/04/2019

We are suffering from Tesla trying to make a profit. The bean counters are taking over and they are stripping every bit of what they perceive to be fat. This happens to almost every company when a startup company moves from establishing themselves in their market to becoming a profitable company.

MilesMD88 | 25/04/2019

I agree. Customer service is at a 0 out of 10.

jordanrichard | 26/04/2019

It’s not the “bean counters” it’s Wall Street’s inability to see beyond the end of thier noses. | 26/04/2019

@MilesMD88 - Wow, so different from what I've experienced - 10 out of 10. Trival to make appointments from phone app or via web. Now those that go without warranty, not sure why the expectation is to do out of warranty repairs for free. Tesla is unusual in that they even offer an extended (paid) warranty for 4 extra years. Rare to see that in the industry. I have sympathy for anyone that has a problem with their car, but seem most here just want unlimited free service and rate Tesla as awful because they didn't' get free service.

rxlawdude | 26/04/2019

@TTap, that's not a fair analysis whatsoever. The OP describers MULTIPLE TIMES complaining about his MCU while the car was in warranty. Each time Tesla did nothing. Until it was out of warranty and a $3200 repair. I sympathize with OP in this case.
Similarly, my window controller issue (problems with windows going partially up, then down) occurred and was reported during warranty. But 46,000 miles have passed since my S70D went out of warranty, so while I had hoped for a little gesture of goodwill, I was told that "there will be no goodwill repairs" and that came from the mothership. Even asking for a courtesy discount requires getting approval of the SC manager.

So, no, I certainly don't rate Tesla as awful; but their service is unequivocally worse than it used to be, at least in SoCal. The elimination of routine service intervals has reduced traffic at the Service Centers, but then there are the staffing cuts.

That said, I wouldn't hesitate buying another Tesla or continuing to evangelize the products. | 26/04/2019

@rx - very fair - I was thinking more of the later posters and didn't make it clear.

My only advice for the future (and any car maker, not just Tesla) is any time you have a problem prior to warranty that is not dealt with, make sure it's listed in your paperwork. It's not entirely clear if the OPs problem (rebooting) was the same as the MCU failing - still it would have been nice for Tesla to goodwill it.

It was nice when Tesla covered out of warranty items for free, but also understand Tesla trying to become profitable. It would be so much worse for all of us owners if Tesla went away.

NKYTA | 26/04/2019

I’m pretty sure TM didn’t charge me for my ESA fixes this last, last, round. And it wasn’t even an annual.

Consider a nice attitude, some pizzas or cupcakes for the SvC folk, six years in, name recognition and gratitude helps.

This country could us a bit more Golden Rule.

Bighorn | 26/04/2019

Rebooting MCUs are seen fairly commonly and do not necessarily imply a failing MCU.

rxlawdude | 26/04/2019

@Big, in 120,000 combined miles (4 yrs in MS, 15 months in M3), I had one spontaneous screen reboot. (In MS. Never on M3.)

So while software may be at fault, you have to admit it's odd some see this frequently, while others virtually never see it.

Bighorn | 27/04/2019

I’ve seen more, but then I’ve driven more than twice as much as you. There are many examples currently on the Model 3 board as well.

bdodell | 09/10/2019

Having this issue now, the historical data only goes back a few weeks ...

Going to have to resort to taking pictures of the issues since using Voice Command "Bug report, " isn't enough to capture the data for analysis.

Costs shown above are about right as that is what is being quoted to me, my car is still under service warranty but having had this encounter with another brand/dealer ... they're "putting off" tactics get you in the end :(

nipper2 | 09/10/2019

My 2016 S90D 2 Reboots no repairs since 2016

akikiki | 31/12/2019
Bighorn | 31/12/2019

$1499?! I read they were being updated for $399.
My S is currently awaiting a fix since I joined the club. Being unable to charge is making it a challenge. | 31/12/2019

@akikiki - That price does seem rather extreme, especially since you have to remove/reinstall the MCU. The parts cost is likely under $20 and maybe 1 hour of labor to replace it. The software they had to come up with to extract and transfer the data was not trivial and they have no competition.

akikiki | 31/12/2019

Hey BH, don't kill the messenger. I just posted what I see, not created or endorsed.
I had not seen the Insideevs article. Thanks.

And I am sorry you have not become a victim of this problem. But you have twice/three times the miles most people have and are just not experiencing the problem? What have you been doing right for so much longer than the rest?

TT, I don't disagree with you. Right now, there's not many people that can do it outside of Tesla, is there?
Are you beginning to believe that this is in fact a problem? Because I thought for a while you discounted it as something else.

Bighorn | 31/12/2019

No attack from me. I was just surprised by that number. That outfit actually reached out to me in the event I was somewhere in New England at the moment.

Jason Hughes' twitter campaign to get TM to address this brought it onto my radar when he started quoting the number of jobs he's done repairing the eMMC. Not sure how I survived 283k miles though I would say the display has been wonky for awhile. Personally, I'm ok with spending a couple thousand dollars a year to keep the car on the road given the original price and the number of miles it's provided.

Bighorn | 31/12/2019

Would obviously prefer that Tesla recognize their culpability and goodwill these, but at this point, I'll be content not having to flat bed it 500 miles in lieu of a ranger. Bad day to get much attention from Tesla, though a national service rep spent over half an hour texting various rangers to try to get the ball rolling for me. Could have happened trying to cross Manitoba, so I'm seeing the glass as half full. Not losing any charge despite the heat being defaulted to on since I've got it plugged in--odd that I've got a blue instead of green port ring with power flowing.

akikiki | 31/12/2019

BH, I am pleased for you that you have such amazing good luck.

Got any ideas how we can help Jason get some attention. I want to give them that $2K for a MCU1 to MCU2 upgrade because it pushes this issue down the road, even if I don't get any other full benefits from MCU2.

After reading Fred Lambert's predictions of the next 5 things occurring in 2020 for Tesla, I might move up to the refreshed refresh S. If a 2016+ is a refresh, what do we call a refreshed again 2020 S? BTW we need a better name for a refreshed-refreshed Model S. Sv3 Sm3 (S with motors times 3)? Where's Mcclary when we need him?

Bighorn | 31/12/2019

I'm looking to upgrade in 2020, but am waiting to see if something new comes with the talk of Plaid along with the loss of the tax credit. I wouldn't pay for tri-motors I don't think, but I suspect there might be some other renewals including 2170s before too long. Raven would be a great upgrade, but I'm willing to wait a bit for even more. Gotta hit 300k, right?

jimglas | 31/12/2019

goodluck bighorn
and happy new year

akikiki | 31/12/2019

Yep, that's why I am looking at. Not before Jun 2020 I suspect. Yes, you gotta hit 300k, p-l-e-a-s-e. We are living through you since we can't drive far.

rxlawdude | 31/12/2019

@akikiki, sure you can. But the scenery (albeit beautiful) repeats. :-)

NKYTA | 31/12/2019

I need to hit 150k miles with more than a 50% BSI just to mess with the NA leader, and I’ll be happy. ;-)

Currently 112k.

The wife heard a rumor about a P100L 3 - anything to that? If it comes with FSCFL, that means I don’t have to go for Roadster II and retire early, and get back in the game!

Happy New Year Tesla travelers!! See you in May.

NKYTA | 31/12/2019

@akikiki, if you want some SCs in CA, I’m sure my wife would be happy on Oahu for a long weekend.

Fob on top left tire...location TBD. ;-)

saytoken | 31/01/2020

My 2015 model S got the blank screen just last week, failure error message from service center is MCU_w031_cidSquashfsError. Was quoted $3700 Canadian before tax.

I have created a spreadsheet hoping to track the issue, and provide the impacted number of users to Tesla. I hope this provides visibility to the issue.

The link is here:

Bighorn | 31/01/2020

Tax put a new MCU1 just over $2000 for me a couple weeks ago. Also got the LTE upgrade in the process and hopefully Canadian connectivity. No complaints.

Darthamerica | 01/02/2020

Automobiles are one of the toughest environments for electronics. Shock, vibration, moisture and large temp variation... Even ignoring that it takes great skill to design and build electronics capable of lasting a decade +. This will be Tesla’s Achilles heel until they develop the expertise. They are probably realizing this right about now. Hopefully in time for the “1 million mile” batteries otherwise this is going negate any benefits hurt NPS. This is another thing that will end up negating fuel cost saving for many customers.

jordanrichard | 01/02/2020

I have lost track of how many miles BH has covered in his MS, but I have gone 176,000 in 6 years. For the average driver that works out to about 12 years of driving. So in other words, my original MCU has been functioning for the equivalent of 12 years.

Bighorn | 01/02/2020

Mine failed at 283k miles with lots of temperature extreme exposure ranging from 26 below to 116F. The MCU failure is well known and related to eMMC longevity. It has a known lifetime of P/E cycles and it’s been programmed to write a tremendous amount of data. There is debate as to whether all data recording is necessary, but the failures have nothing to do with exposure to the weather. Some DIYers have been switching in higher capacity eMMCs, but it is not an easy task for physical desoldering and reprogramming reasons.

Darthamerica | 01/02/2020

I know why the eMMC failed. It’s one of many components that needed to go through better highly accelerated life testing otherwise known as HALT. A lot of times these test are application specific and it usually requires some expertise to develop the right test plan. Even more expertise to spec components in advance. It wasn’t a surprise to some of us when they started dying. There are a few other less than ideal components that are going to start showing up in the next year or so in the news. But if Tesla is paying proper attention they are going to improve the HW spec with the new Model S/X and Cybertruck. Hopefully Model Y as well. Model 3 is probably going to need revisions based on what I’ve seen in tear downs. But so far none of these cars is capable of 100K+ miles without unacceptably high major defects. In 2020 Tesla is beginning to move past the early adopters who are more forgiving than the mainstream customer. This is one of the reasons I’m so hard on them about materials, fit and finish. It’s also why I’m not confident about all of the startups with quickly thrown together BEVs. Most won’t have the capital or expense to survive the learning curve.

Bighorn | 01/02/2020

SV is eating everyone’s lunch. TSLA is a tech firm. That’s why all the German makers have significant recalls or parking lots full of non functional EVs despite their VAG cred. Out of their wheel house. They probably can’t make a 100k mile car, but my early-effort 2013 Model S almost cleared the 300k mike hurdle before a defect was revealed. I suspect they’ve improved in 7 years. Anybody else, not so much. Also why they can’t charge $200k for their first swing.

Bighorn | 01/02/2020