Like with any car, an alert message or maintenance light that will not go away, despite clearing the code or getting a tune-up, turns from worrisome to bothersome to then incredibly upsetting when it doesn’t turn off. Tesla cars, despite the technological advantages they have over traditional gas-fueled vehicles, still put owners through the same experience.
A common alert in Tesla cars that users see is the left front safety restraint system fault. The problem first popped up a few years ago, and has been reported left and right by drivers just weeks after purchasing their Teslas. Take your car to the Tesla Service Center to address the issue. In fact, any alert message should warrant a trip to a service center because something may genuinely be wrong with your car. However, you should understand what these alerts mean so you can be sure that you are targeting the correct problem and rule out any false alarms or quick fixes.
What Does This Error Mean?
When the Tesla detects a safety restraint fault, the car thinks you are not wearing your seatbelt. This prevents you, the user, from using cruise or autopilot.
Bringing it In For Service
When you do have a serious problem with the driver side restraint system, you may not need it serviced. This should be fairly obvious when it happens. Why aren’t you wearing your seatbelt? Click it before the cops give you a ticket.
However, just receiving the alert alone — even if you’re a responsible driver — is a bit more involved to fix when basic troubleshooting doesn’t do the trick. The problem is that the harness technology underneath the seat is very complex, and wires can get snagged, crunched, disconnected squished, what have you. So if you can’t troubleshoot the system, don’t try to attempt to fix the hardware yourself. Make a repair appointment.
You may find that the entire circuitry needs to be replaced or the entire chair. The process does not take overnight; you can expect to be without your Tesla for up to two weeks.
Troubleshooting Method One: Move the Driver’s Seat
Try moving the left seat backward or forwards. If the message goes away, a connector underneath the seat wasn’t installed properly. Because of rushed manufacturing, problems like this will keep happening until Tesla’s production numbers plateau. This isn’t very reassuring when it comes to the quality of the car. The good news is there is no safety concern with this issue — it is just a bug due to a manufacturing oversight.
Turn off your car, wait three minutes, and then turn it on again to perform a software reset.
Despite this problem, Tesla has done a pretty good job of keeping manufacturing oversights to a minimum, pre-COVID-19. It’ll be interesting to see how quickly Tesla recovers from this mistake, and we are confident that they will.
Troubleshooting Method Two: Be Careful with the Seat
Treat the left front seat with care. Gone are the days of the analog car, which just “worked.” With all the electronics and software integral to the Tesla’s operation, any wrong move can throw it out of whack. In a way, the software is king, and we are the servants who drive it around.
This being written, if you sit down on seat too hard, you can accidentally trigger the message. You can also trigger it by accidentally spilling water on the seat. This one is more common in the Tesla Model 3. Just take a hairdryer to the seat to make sure it is thoroughly dried out. As with the manufacturer oversight, this doesn’t mean there’s a serious problem, and it won’t affect your ability to drive the car.
When you invest in a Tesla Model 3, you expect a quality car without any problems. So to have this alert message appear soon after your purchase can be a major let down. A bug in the system shouldn’t be your sole reason to give up on one of the best cars in North America, though. Tesla continues to improve its support network and production quality; this is a growing pain for the company. Just check your underneath your seat when you purchase your Tesla to make sure everything is in order.