Is windshield distortion truly an issue

Is windshield distortion truly an issue

Today I read the Consumer reports criticized the massive windshield for causing several types of visual distortion. Any observations from owners

rossRallen | April 19, 2016

100% BS. No distortion at all. None. This silly, fact-free article also cited problems with the "gulf-wing (sic) doors." Totally ridiculous. Forget it. The Model X windscreen is truly amazing: it's without a single visual flaw. I've had Lexus windshields with a "ripple" in the field of view. This one is perfect.

Now, I drove a Model S and there is a line of distortion length bottom of the windshield about 1" up.

jbdvm1988 | April 19, 2016

Any issues with sunshine, overhead street lights excessive heat from sunshine associated with the big windshield. My wife is sensitive to light and thought it might aggravate her eyes. Will need a test drive on a sunny day

rossRallen | April 19, 2016

Sunshine - the visors are undersized, so that's an issue driving into the sun. No heat load from sunshine - I read somewhere that the glass blocks most of the IR, and the windshield has a progressive tint that starts about ½ up into a deep sunblock. Overhead street lights - no issue.

I like it - a very pleasant driving experience, day or night.

elguapo | April 19, 2016

Agree with @rossRallen No issue at all with the windshield on my X and double vision. The CR article is BS, as is the new review from Seeking Alpha.

I actually think the visors are fine too. It's an amazing windshield.

Claudedohrn | April 19, 2016

The visors are a G-string, and don't work worth a damn when driving into the sun. The windshield is also too reflective of the car's interior.

Those are two of my very few complaints about the X. I have way more complaints about CR.

madodel | April 19, 2016

I have light blue eyes and have always been sensitive to direct sun and unless the sun is low I have not had a problem. Yes the visors could have been bigger, maybe another foldout, but I like that they are so maneuverable and I just position it to block where the sun is. The windshield is amazing for watching clouds and also at intersections where the traffic lights are blocked in normal cars.

wiredmeyer | April 19, 2016

I have the issue that was described, does not effect my driving ability though. Lights and bright objects have a noticeable halo effect. Going in for the 3rd row recall next week and it is on the list for them to look at.

Guibara | April 19, 2016

Agree with @wiredmeyer. I see a halo effect around all lights. Windshield also has a distortion in it right in he middle of the windshield. If I look through the bottom 12" of the windshield, halo effect goes away.

bengarlick | April 19, 2016

The issue is unfortunately very real. I first noticed the problem about a week after owning my X, before this issue became a broad concern. Unfortunately once you notice it, it is very difficult to un-notice it. There is a 'ghost' or double image that floats above everything. In most cases the ghosting is too faint to be an issue, but headlights in the evening and specular highlights reflecting off other cars during sunny days both cause distracting double images to appear above the light sources. All windshields have some amount of ghosting, but for the X, at least for my X and for my height (6'3") the effect is very strong and it is my number 1 biggest annoyance with my otherwise awesome car. If they come up with a solution (new windshield layering design?) I would love to have a windshield replacement (even though a replacement windshield can never be quite as clean of a fit and good install as the original)

rossRallen | April 19, 2016

Hmmmm. No halos or optical imperfections that I've noticed, and I would notice them.

Remnant | April 20, 2016

@ rossRallen (April 19, 2016)

<< No halos or optical imperfections that I've noticed, >>

It looks like windshields may have come from diverse suppliers.

Unless Tesla has in-house testers, it should probe the forums for windshield feedback.

carlk | April 20, 2016

Did consumer reports really said that. I just wonder how low that organization could go. Never had any issue with mine from day one or after I put PhotoSync tint film on the entire windshield.

tommcd1 | April 20, 2016

Don't shoot the messenger. CR is simply reporting on a real issue that has affected a number of cars. There is an extensive thread on TMC which includes photographic evidence of the problem. For sure there have been quite a few issues with the early X deliveries and that was the substance of the CR report but Tesla does seem to be making progress in resolving them. There are also quite a few who have received perfect cars.

alik.kassner | April 20, 2016

Guys, is this a driver size issue? Are somewhat smaller drivers, let's say below 6' 2'' also experiencing the halo effect?

eric.zucker | April 20, 2016

That's what bother me about the CR article. Just a few posts with issues blows into extraordinary proportions.

There are lots of happy MX owners, and while a few have reported legitimate issues, this is not a balanced, unbiased study. I would even argue that people who are happy with their X would not be as verbose on these forums, leaving the impression that there are more flaws than in fact.

I'm not saying that these should go unreported, definitely not. And some of these issues can be very crippling, if you cannot drive the car, open or close the doors, etc. At any price a new car should be exemplary, and a Tesla even more so if they aspire to top reliability figures.

Still CR is publishing a very partial report if they base their article on just a few forum posts.

elguapo | April 20, 2016

@tommcd1 I have no real issue with CR. I use it to buy refrigerators and other appliances, not cars.

The concern I have here is they're using a very small sample, which they do partially admit to, to call out the X for issues. Too early.

Here's my biggest concern here. They would have written the EXACT SAME report for the S if they were paying any attention in the early days of the S - but they weren't. My point is, they need to let it play out a bit before using their reach and subscriber base to potentially negatively impact X sales.

It is always possible to find some handful of people who aren't happy with a car.

Remnant | April 20, 2016

While it's possible people have different windshield experiences because of eyesight correction needs presence, we should also appreciate the possibility of hardware or QC problems.

Jordanfrank | April 20, 2016

What's common between people that have the windshield problem? Driver over a certain height was mentioned. Or maybe it's drivers with glasses, or a certain kind of glasses? Or is it a given outside temperature? Or a certain kind of light e.g. LED vs. Gas streetlights or headlights or any light?

speyerj | April 20, 2016

When my wife and I drive on the freeway at night we do notice double images of most lights on the road. I don't notice it at all with lights that are close we didn't notice it until we took our first long distance drive at night a month after our purchase.

It's a bit annoying, but I wouldn't call it dangerous or debilitating. If it turns out that it's a fault with the glass, we'll get it replaced. If it's not a fault with the glass, and it's an issue with light defraction caused by the angle, then it is what it is.

bengarlick | April 20, 2016

There are two explanations for people saying they do not see the ghosting:
1) There are different lots/manufacturers of the windshields and some windshields produce a lot less internal reflection than others
2) All windshields are about the same and some people have just not yet noticed the problem. Note that for the first week of ownership I was blissfully unaware of the problem. The problem was always there, but my brain was naturally ignoring the ghosting. Unfortunately once my brain noticed the ghosting I am having a real hard time re-training it to ignore the visual artifacts.

Some more info:

The ghost images appear a fixed angle above the real image. This means if a headlight is say 40 feet away the ghost headlight appears about 4 inches above the real headlight. If the headlight is say 400 feet away the ghost headlight appears about 40 inches (~3 feet) above the real headlight. Also, for close headlights the headlight appears larger and overlaps largely with the ghost image so the ghosting is less noticeable on close and large (view angle) light sources. Ghosting is most pronounced on distant, intense and point light sources.

Corrective lenses will have no effect on perception of ghosting.

polaroid glasses for me seemed to make the ghosting of distant white sun glints off car windows appear as intense green dots floating above cars that happened to be at the same height as green stoplights above the cars. This is the dramatic scenario that first caught my attention to this artifact. My brain was like "why does that distant intersection have a dozen green stop-light signals! :-) "

I don't think this is a QC issue. It is an artifact of the materials and manufacture of the composite layered glass and angle of the windshield.

I have compared against other cars and the problem in my X is an order of magnitude worse that in other cars. (all glass windshields will have some ghosting, but in most it is very very hard to see)

Even though I an 6'3", I tried stooping down in the seat and moving forward and backwards. This has very little effect on the perception of ghosting with one exception: If one is particularly short and just barely looking over the steering wheel the ghosting is very minor when viewing through the very bottom of the windshield.

It isn't clear to me if the artifact is dangerous, but it is annoying once your brain locks onto it.

elguapo | April 20, 2016

I don't think TM is using multiple sources for the windshields, but have no idea.

I do know that I don't have this issue at all with my car and I have had it for just under 4 weeks. I am about 5'10", I wear glasses and I wear polarized sunglasses during the day when I drive.

I have also driven quite a bit and not noticed any issue. Very strange.

aesculus | April 20, 2016

@bengarlick: Nice writeup. I suggest you send this to Tesla NA Sales email for their feedback/cataloging.

carlk | April 20, 2016


CR defenders always say whether they are right or not they always use standard testing methodology and unbiased criteria to get a conclusion. Is this report from any tests they have done or just from theme reading some forums or heard from one or two owners? That is no different from any articles we read on the Seeking Alpha isn't it? Alos do they usually read other car forums to find any issues and write an article about it? I really think for some reason CR have an agenda with Tesla now.

davediep | April 20, 2016

I have not noticed any ghosting or distortion on my model X's windshield at all. I works perfectly fine for me.

tommcd1 | April 20, 2016


I was not so much trying to defend CR as to recognize the reality of the problem. Responses to the original post seemed to be entirely dismissive of the problem and were turning into CR bashing. Whatever the cause, it is real for some number of vehicles. I suppose we can criticize CR for not having stastical evidence, but then how could they. Are they supposed to be silent?

elguapo | April 20, 2016

@tommcd1 I do think the should stay quiet until they have real tests they did. That's what they do for other products. I say this as a subscriber and big CR fan.

I think CR typically/always reports based on their testing, not a small sample from others. That's the only beef I have here. I do agree with @carlk - I don't see CR proactively looking for new Audi A4 buyers to see if there are creaks or other issues.

Bottom line for me - I have no issues with my windshield.

vperl | April 20, 2016

CR, may have to defend their rating downgrade.. Shoot some smoke, confuse, then move forward......

Many forget, or they wake up the bear. Always a chance.

Bw476 | April 20, 2016

Got an early model 10xx, have wind noise issue and also see the ghost above the light at night. Glad to see its not a problem with my eyes;) annoying but not life threatening... Still LOVE the car. Car going in to fix the wind noise issue this week.

Ankit Mishra | April 20, 2016

Yes, they should remain silent until they get the chance to review it. And what's with the stock analyst type analysis of Tesla? Are they a car reviewer or are they Bloomberg? Why are they constantly taking shots at Model 3? Who asked them about the feasibility of Tesla? Do they such "Jack of all trades" analysis for every company?

paradis | April 20, 2016

Just finished a 48 hour round trip - NJ to Orlando, much of it at night. The ghosting is there but I did not find it at all objectionable or distracting. On a positive note the MX is an unbelievable road trip car. Between the incredibly comfortable seats, the seating position and the amazing convenience of autopilot our 12 hour legs had me arriving with little or no fatigue. Not having to constantly pay attention to minor speed and steering corrections made the trip so much more enjoyable and less stressful. I'm over 70 and it put the joy of driving and road trips back for me.

Triggerplz | April 20, 2016

@paradis was there a wait to hook up at any of the charging stations doing your trip ?

vperl | April 20, 2016

No water at most stations ..... O




carlk | April 20, 2016

And the CR writer who wrote the MS reliability review tweeted the next day to brag about the drop of TSLA price because of his review. Very unprofessional if not unethical or illegal.

srgtfury | April 20, 2016

"Just finished a 48 hour round trip - NJ to Orlando, much of it at night. The ghosting is there but I did not find it at all objectionable or distracting...."

Interesting report. Cataracts can occur at varying ages of onset and rates of progression, of course. I have to wonder if there is an element of cataracts, in the observers, who report such visual phenomena, with this windshield. Should be fairly easy to take some comparative observation reports, albeit not scientific-then again, that sort of experimentqiaon could be done as well.

Thank you very much


elguapo | April 21, 2016

Okay. I stand corrected. I paid super close attention on a drive last night and the ghosting is present. It's like seeing a tiny headlight about half an inch above the real headlight. It is not annoying except that now I am looking for it. I then drove my Odyssey to make sure it wasn't me and there was no ghosting.

I don't think it's a safety thing, but it certainly begs the question "did they try testing the X at night"? Perhaps it IS a manufacturer thing. I don't know.

TM should provide replacements because there should be no issues here.

That said, the CR report is still crap. I've lost a lot of respect for them now. I feel like it's all a CYA issue since they originally gave he S such high marks.

ernie | April 21, 2016

Methinks I need to drive at night to see if I can conjure up the ghosts. After 34 days of ownership and no night driving ... it might be time. As @rossRallen has posted, the sun visors are inadequate and according to my wife...unacceptable. I have purchased two different visor extenders / shades and made two of my own prototypes for extending current visor both vertically and horizontally. We will test them on a road trip this weekend. Sure hope we don't see any ghosts or poltergeists.

SMinnihan | April 21, 2016

Yeah, CR got a lot of complaints on the S. First they said S was best car ever, then after litany of complaints from owners on drive train, etc, they had to fess up and admit the S had lower than average reliability. They are trying to get ahead of the reliability issues on the X.

elguapo | April 21, 2016

It's not just a night thing. Any car that has DRLs that is coming at you has the ghost. It's most pronounced with headlights and streetlights. Less so with traffic lights. Again, I don't think it's dangerous, per se, but it shouldn't be there. Now that I noticed, I can't stop seeing it and it makes me want to run my eyes each time.

I still love driving my X though and wouldn't trade it for anything. Even my S! Unless someone offered me $50,000 more than I paid. :-)

carlk | April 21, 2016


You are right. My take on the CR action is also they are doing a CYA and overdid it. They got a lot of ridicules when they gave P85D a score of 103 from ICE or anti-Tesla folks which still constitute the majority of their subscribers. So they did an about face later with the S downgrade and now the X pre-warning. They always boast that they don't take advertisement but people forget they still need somehow to put food on the table and feed their family. Their utmost goal is to get the most subscribers and clicks on their website. That is just as bad as advertisement in creating conflict of objectivity and it showed in this instance.

eric.zucker | April 21, 2016

Would some glass treatment or film eliminate the ghosting?

Seems a lot cheaper than swapping out the windshield, especially if the new one has the same issue. How can one windshield exhibit such an issue and not another, if it's the refraction in the glass? Is it a mismatch between the type of glass and the type of safety film in the middle?

carlk | April 21, 2016

By law windshield has to use laminated safety glass so that could create diffraction. All cars would have that but degree of it probably largely depends on angle of the windshield. That's why some see it and some don't because everyone's sitting position is different.

Mark Z | April 21, 2016

I checked this on 4/20 to verify. While driving at night on the freeway, I looked at the oncoming traffic headlights. There is a bit of light above each headlight created by the reflective quality of the windshield.

A fun effect of this is to look at the road lane reflectors as you zoom down the freeway at night. The extra "halo" of light above the reflector will lower down as the reflector gets closer. The angle change while viewing the reflector creates the merging of the reflection with the actual reflector.

aesculus | April 21, 2016

Great. Now we are going to have to take people out for psychedelic driving trips at night just like Ludicrous launches. :-)

jeffpoel | April 21, 2016

I put mine on autopilot and look at the sky. Works fine.

bengarlick | April 21, 2016

Follow-up: I purchased a new pair of polaroid sunglasses. ($40 IronMan brand, but that is probably irrelevant). This new pair of polaroid sunglasses significantly reduces the ghosting during the day from bright sun glints off other cars as well as ghosting in the evening from headlights and stoplights. Unfortunately this does not solve the night driving problem since wearing sunglasses at night has obvious drawbacks. :-)

I confirmed that the light from ghost reflections is indeed at least somewhat polarized. While wearing the sunglasses if I tilt my head sideways 90 degrees the ghosting is indeed stronger as one would expect if the ghosting light is polarized and viewed through polaroid sunglasses.

Basically these polaroid sunglasses make the real image about half as bright, but the ghost image about 1/4 as bright. This reduced ratio of ghost image to real image largely mitigates the perceived ghosting effect. These new sunglasses greatly increase my enjoyment of my X (but if there is a real fix for the windshield, I will probably still want it for night driving and driving without sunglasses. Also, even with these polaroid sunglasses there is still more ghosting that I see with any other windshield.)

P.S. Today my X is in the SC for a broken driver side wiper blade motor so I got a loaner Model S. No ghosting at all on this Model S 90D. The SC technician also said that the Model X has a special 3 layer (instead of 2 layer) windshield which likely explains the extra internal reflection/ghosting.

Dwgagen | April 21, 2016

Is Tesla replacing the windshields if you ask?

vperl | April 21, 2016

Sure, ask

Remnant | April 21, 2016

@ rossRallen (April 19, 2016)

<< 100% BS. No distortion at all. None. >>

No, it's not BS.

The car manufacturers receive the windshields in batches identified by codes, and specified for the optical distortion distribution and extent, within certain ranges required by regulation and/or contract. The car manufacturers spot check for compliance and are entitled to reject the uncompliant batches or singles.

Tesla has most of the responsibility for the out-of spec windshields that wind up in the hands of the Tesla owners and should replace them. Proof can be obtained by photography. This clearly a safety issue.


carlk | April 21, 2016


People are not talking about distortion here. Distortion means straight line becomes curvature when looked through the glass. There is no optical distortion reported in an X.

elguapo | April 21, 2016

Thread subject is not really accurate.

I am not an expert, but it isn't distortion, it's like mild double vision in certain circumstances. I don't understand why, but when I wear my polarized sunglasses during the day, it isn't noticeable, as @bengarlick noted.

Whatever the cause/definition, it would be nice to know if it is systemic or just a bad batch. What are the VIN ranges for people with issues? Mine us upper 400s...