There is something to the question “have you rebooted your machine?” despite it being the butt of every joke about an IT help desk. Computers are complex machines. A simple reboot may be just the ticket to correct unusual behavior. If you have been wondering how to reboot your Tesla Model S, look no further.

First, let’s consider some reasons why you may want to reboot your Tesla Model S and what exactly that means. According to the Model S owner’s manual, rebooting the touch screen is appropriate if your touchscreen becomes unresponsive. Similarly, this is a good option if your touchscreen is exhibiting unusual behavior. Many owners refer to this action unofficially as a “soft reboot” or “soft reset” as it is intended to restart the touch screen. A “hard” reset or reboot, alternatively, is not something that I’ve seen mentioned in the owner’s manual officially. This version is said to restart the main computer unit (“MCU”) and should be reserved for instances where the soft reboot is not correcting your issue.

Hold down both scroll wheels

Performing a soft reboot (restarting the touchscreen)

  • In a safe location, shift your car into Park
  • Remove any USB drives that are plugged into your vehicle, including any used for music or the dash camera/sentry mode features
  • Hold down both scroll wheel buttons for about 10 seconds or until the touch screen turns black and returns the Tesla logo
  • Wait until the screen powers up and confirm operation as expected

Note: you can technically perform a soft reboot while driving. It is not recommended in case it takes away important functions such as climate control, warning sounds, GPS directions, etc. The owner’s manual warns that this action does not actually turns the vehicle off and on.

Tesla logo reappears

Performing a hard reboot

  • In a safe location, shift your car into Park
  • Remove any USB drives that are plugged into your vehicle, including any used for music or the dash camera/sentry mode features
  • Press and hold down the brake pedal
  • Hold down both scroll wheel buttons for about 10 seconds or until the touch screen turns black and returns the Tesla logo
  • Wait until the screen powers up and confirm operation as expected, which may take longer than with a soft reboot

Software Updates

Tesla is known for providing over the air software updates to enhance or add functionality to their cars. These updates can be a blast! It can be a good idea to do a soft reboot after a software update. Think about your iPhone automatically restarting after an iOS update. These cars are computers, and therefore should be treated accordingly.

 

A reboot can solve many minor issues without the need to visit a Tesla Service Center. If, however, you still experience problem, give Tesla a call. Or better yet, use your Tesla App to schedule service.