J.D. Power is listening. Join our advisor community. Get an Amazon e-Gift Card!

Tesla Model S Touchscreen Failures Prompt Federal Investigation

Christian Wardlaw | Jun 24, 2020

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating infotainment system failures in 2012 to 2015 model-year Tesla Model S vehicles. An estimated 63,000 Teslas could be at risk of system failure due to “memory wear-out,” according to Automotive News.

Tesla Model S Touchscreen Failures

A preliminary investigation sparked by 11 complaints from Model S owners, the NHTSA probe will examine premature failure of the technology. In a Model S, the touchscreen and infotainment system control numerous functions ranging from traditional music and navigation features to climate control and reversing camera operation. The NHTSA says that when the technology fails it does not affect vehicle control systems.

Nvidia Corporation provides the Tegra 3 processor and 8GB flash memory device for the 2012-15 Model S’s infotainment system. The NHTSA says flash memory devices do not last forever, with performance degradation and ultimately system failure an inevitability. According to the NHTSA, this is likely to occur “after periods of progressively degraded performance (e.g., longer power-up times, more frequent touchscreen resets, intermittent loss of cellular connectivity, loss of navigation)."

Tesla Model S owners cited loss of charging ability, disabled safety and driving assistance systems, and an inability to operate climate functions. Owners must pay the replacement cost for the system when the vehicle is out of warranty. According to InsideEVs, the cost to replace the components could run $1,800 plus tax and labor.

Earlier in 2020, Tesla began offering Model S owners an invitation-only infotainment system upgrade. For $2,500 (plus tax) the company would replace the aging technology that powers the touchscreen, updating the cars with the modern features offered to Model 3 and Model Y customers.

In the J.D. Power 2020 Initial Quality Study (IQS), Tesla unofficially ranked last among brands for quality during the first 90 days of ownership. J.D. Power cannot officially rank Tesla models because the automaker will not allow it to survey owners in 15 states.

The information in this article came from the NHTSA, J.D. Power, and several automotive publications.

Explore new car previews
2020 Subaru Outback Preview
2020 Subaru Outback Preview
Introduced at the 2019 New York International Auto Show, the 2020 Subaru Outback has been optimized to offer better fuel efficiency, a quieter and safer ride, boosted technology, and turbocharged power, which is something Subaru hasn’t given its Outback in over ten years.
Read the full review
2020 Mazda CX-30 Preview
2020 Mazda CX-30 Preview
Based on the redesigned Mazda 3 platform, the new 2020 Mazda CX-30 is larger and more sophisticated than a Mazda CX-3, but smaller and sportier than a Mazda CX-5.
Read the full review
What's New For 2020 Honda Pilot
What's New For 2020 Honda Pilot
Fresh off of last year’s redesign, the 2020 Honda Pilot adds three new trim levels to its 2019 fleet of five. And while there are no significant changes for 2020, find out on what they are.
Read the full review
Read all articles
Scroll to the top
New Car Preview
2021 Ford Bronco Preview
Most Dependable
2019 Vehicle Dependability: Most Dependable Coupes and Convertibles
Most Popular
10 Most Popular Compact SUVs and Crossovers
New Model Update
New for 2019: Genesis
New Car Preview
2021 BMW 4 Series Preview
More related