Re-boot your Tesla

Re-boot your Tesla

Recently when I went to start my 2 month old Tesla Model S, my screen was dark (off) and consequently I could not control any of my cars functions. When I called Tesla I was told all I had to do was re-boot the cars computer. This involved stepping on the brake pedal while holding down the two scroll wheels on the steering wheel. Voila, all functions were restored. I have looked in the owners manual and all other documents I got when I took ownership and I have never found this mentioned anywhere. So, I am passing this on to all in case it happens to you.

GHammer | 18/07/2017

One of the first things to get posted here so many years ago. | 18/07/2017

Your'e correct it's not in the manual. It is available here in the troubleshooting section: under Operations and Troubleshooting.

mac_slvr60 | 18/07/2017

@larrynathan, thanks for the post. I've only had my MS for about two months as well and (fortunately) I have not experienced a situation where a re-boot was necessary. However, having read the forums daily for several months, I have seen it mentioned frequently, and always wondered how to do it...will file this away for that "someday."

inconel | 18/07/2017

Is stepping on the brake pedal necessary?

sentabo | 18/07/2017

I've done it while driving, so no, brake pedal is not necessary.

Bighorn | 18/07/2017

Brake pedal gives a more robust reboot.

conman | 18/07/2017

Reboot without the foot on the brake pedal is a soft reboot while the brake pedal is a hard reboot and reboots all of the computers which is why you can't do it while driving.

sentabo | 18/07/2017

So far (at least a dozen times) the soft reboot has done the trick for me, and I've done that during acceleration. If that ever fails I would try the hard reboot.

jordanrichard | 18/07/2017

Are we serious about this "foot on brake" bit, means a hard reboot? I have been on here for 3 1/2 years and owned my car since Mar 2014 and this is the first I have heard about pressing the brake to hard reboot......

conman | 18/07/2017
Bighorn | 18/07/2017

Absolutely serious and a different process.

MilesMD88 | 19/07/2017

Might want to add this to the new owners. After any software update, do a hard reboot. And if you use a USB for your music, remove it before a software download & reboot. Then plug it back in..

inconel | 19/07/2017

Hard reboot with brake pedal is also new to me. Thanks | 19/07/2017

You can reboot just the instrument panel by holding down the two buttons above the scroll wheels.

croman | 19/07/2017

I've had to hard reboot while driving. Just do it at a stop sign or red light. You can drive without the IC/MCU. Really, the car's driving functions are not affected and speed is just relative (don't drive recklessly, in less than one minute you'll have your speedometer back and the rest of the car's functions will come online thereafter). You won't have turn signal noises or other things routed through the speakers.

Bill_75D | 19/07/2017

Does the brake pedal hard reboot also reboot the instrument panel, or does that have to be done separately?

croman | 19/07/2017

Separately. Top scroll buttons reset IC. Middles do MCU. I do MCU first then IC. You've gotta release everything and start from scratch.

Bill_75D | 19/07/2017

croman, thanks. That is what I thought and I have been doing them separately in that order.

carlk | 19/07/2017

You will not be able to do hard reboot while driving since you need to press the brake to do it. That makes sense to me.

SomeJoe7777 | 19/07/2017

I do soft reboots while driving all the time (usually to reset that steaming pile of junk code called the web browser). Just don't do it while AP is engaged. :-)

I have typically never done hard reboots, but I might make it a point to do one after a software upgrade.

Tom M.us_az | 19/07/2017

You can do a soft reboot from the scroll button (the 17' screen goes dark) or if continue to hold the scroll buttons down (usually taking 45 seconds+) until the Tesla 'T' appears - this is a hard re-boot of the system too.

marika.appell | 19/07/2017

Why remove the USB drive?

NKYTA | 19/07/2017

@marika, two reasons. One, some USB drives are improperly formatted such that they are bootable (big no-no). Second, it is one less variable for Teslas software to have to deal with, which has caused hard to determine minor issues during reboots in the past.

AIA304 | 19/07/2017

ok, so whats the button/s input boot sequence for verbose mode boot ups ?

nvjx | 19/07/2017

I have had my 2012 Model S for nearly 41/2 years and didn't know about the brake pedal hard reboot. Agree about removing the USB drive because once I had a problem rebooting (soft reboot) and a senior service tech told me to remove the USB drive.

UnshodBob | 19/07/2017

@AIA304 - I think you have to hold down the f12 key. :)

kevin | 19/07/2017

There are four different reboots:

1) Hold down both scroll wheels - reboots the touchscreen, This corrects problems with navigation, backup camera, and the infotainment system. This can be done while driving.

2) Hold down both buttons over the scroll wheel. This reboots the instrument cluster. It corrects some problems with the IC, but I don't recall which ones. This CAN be done while driving but it is not recommended as you lose the instrument cluster that might have important safety information.

3) Hold down both buttons over the scroll wheel WHILE hard-pressing the brake pedal. This is a deeper reboot than the previous one. Obviously, you can't do this while driving.

4) Power down the car and turn it back on. This is done with the e-Brake power off setting from the touch screen. Wait two minutes and then press the brake pedal to turn the car back on. This procedure actually removes power from parts of the car and can correct hardware glitches, for example a non-functioning Autopilot camera. Tesla service had me do this once. Also use this power-off technique when changing fuses.

I was very fortunate to have watch Bjorn Nyland's Road Trip #1 video prior to getting my car. In this video he has to reboot the touch screen.

SUN 2 DRV | 19/07/2017

Croman: "I've had to hard reboot while driving. Just do it at a stop sign or red light."

Curious... What were the symptoms that required this?

Bighorn | 19/07/2017

I did it once on the side of the road when my cruise control went out--it was kind of my fault when I was hypermiling through FL one night before Tallahassee came online.

inconel | 19/07/2017

Two weeks ago my car started to continuously reboot in an endless loop: reboot, screen comes back, reboot again...
I was on a long trip and this resulted in no GPS, no A/C (or about 2 sec of A/C every 10 sec before the next reboot), no music!
Brought it to SC and they had to work with Tesla engineers to diagnose the issue. It was finally determined to be a corrupted file (I guess newly downloaded). They had to factory reset the MCU and re-install the software. Of course all my settings were erased but the car is back to normal now.

Solarfan | 19/07/2017

"Of course all my settings were erased but the car is back to normal now."
It would be nice if all settings could be backed up to a USB drive. That way if settings are deleted or inadvertently changed, they could be restored to a previous, known-good state. Routers, NASs, and other computer hardware generally provide this type of option.

SUN 2 DRV | 19/07/2017

BH Thanks!

Solarfan: Sometimes that helps, other times it just preserves and perpetuates the corruption/problem...

"Saving state" is often a curse... eg MS Registry... Don't Configure what should be there, just Discover what actually IS there..

Solarfan | 19/07/2017


I was not proposing automatic restoration. What I had in mind was thoughtful selection from settings saved before a problem started. It may not be practical because previous settings may not be compatible with a current firmware release. Nevertheless, it might save vehicle damage where settings like very high suspension are required for clearance.

NKYTA | 19/07/2017


I love the idea, but wonder if my 2012 has the memory/flash.

Y'all have more with the newer models...

inconel | 20/07/2017

The backup to USB can also be useful when we trade in our old car for a new one

JAD | 20/07/2017

Backup to our Tesla account would be safer and more reliable than a USB. Link your settings to a car through the My Tesla login.

Especially once we start ride sharing. Hail a Tesla Uber and it already knows what temp you like, your preferred radio station, etc for whatever car you climb into.

sentabo | 20/07/2017

I'm curious why these reboot options aren't in the manual.

sentabo | 20/07/2017

To try to answer my own question: Maybe it's a safety issue, i.e. turning off the instrument panel while driving could be dangerous.

NKYTA | 20/07/2017

@sentabo, it really isn't a big deal to reboot while driving, either Dash nor LCD/ MCU. The only real odd thing to me is that the turn signals work, but there isn't the audible cue.

It could be safety, liability or marketing prudence on Teslas part if it isn't in the manual (I haven't checked in awhile).

SVCs, RA, and Rangers all suggest doing it as the first option in debugging a problem, so I find that a bit weird that it isn't in the Owners Manual...

Bill_75D | 20/07/2017

It's marketing. They don't want to make it sound like you are driving a temperamental bug-ridden computer on wheels.

croman | 20/07/2017

@NKYTA -- the turn signal sounds are generated by the sound system (run through the MCU). Turn signals, however, are run over the CAN BUS, so they are operational as long as the 12V system and HV system are operational (which is unaffected by any reboot short of powering off the car).

NKYTA | 20/07/2017

@croman, not in my experience.

Perhaps things have changed in newer model esses.


Bighorn | 20/07/2017

I think he's just expounding on your observation about the silent turn signals.

hsuru4u | 20/07/2017

so is a hard reboot a good idea 1x a week to clear out stuff or start with a new slate? like with a pc? | 20/07/2017

@hsuru4u - it is not necessary to reboot on a scheduled. Reboot after an OTA update and if the car exhibits an anomaly.

croman | 20/07/2017

I just reboot very rarely when the system is clearly unstable. I have only had two episodes of issues in 8 months.

@Bighorn yes, I even mentioned it earlier I just wanted to clarify the signals themselves work even though they are silent.

NKYTA | 20/07/2017

Ah, sorry. I parsed your statement incorrectly. I didn't -hear- you. ;-)

johnstollenwerk | 24/08/2017

Great! Thank you for your advice. I just went into the garage and stepped hard
on the brake while holding down the two scroll wheels and.....there is light and
information on the touch screen. Nothing in the manual about this. Again, thank

himx | 04/01/2018

Yes You have to remove your own USB - Flashdrive from USB port. I tried with USB drive connected and soft/hard reset did not work.

I had main screen dark, no communication with the Tesla APP on iPhone. USB port was connected with my personal USB (music). Model X is 5 days old.

Following steps worked for me!!

1. Nothing should be connected to USB drive
2. Hold brake down and hold down two scroll wheels on the steering wheel (I held them until I saw "T" on the main screen. "T" stayed for 40-50 seconds and then normal screen displayed.
and it worked. I could see my Tesla APP on iPhone can communicate with the X.

jo | 02/02/2019

I had to do this when the Display Clean Screen would not close.
Press and HOLD did nothing.