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Where is the 12 Volt Battery in a Tesla and How Do I Replace It?

Where is the 12 Volt Battery in a Tesla and How Do I Replace It?
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We discussed the different types of batteries found in all-electric vehicles (EVs) here and here. We discovered that  all EVs have two batteries: a powerful lithium-ion battery that makes the car go, and a smaller 12 volt battery that powers the electrical components in the car. Being a true EV, Tesla’s line of cars are no exception to this rule. In an effort to assist our readers with their questions involving all things Tesla, here is where you can ind the 12 volt battery in a Tesla and how to replace it.

Calm Down, Nervous Nellie

A nervous poster by the name of “VK859” recently posted the following to the official Telsa Motors forum:

“So my Model S P100D is giving me an error message “12V Battery Needs Service – Replace 12V Battery Soon”. Its winter here in the mid-Atlantic, but the car sits in a garage and is plugged into a wall charger when its not being driven. I called the local Tesla sales/service and scheduled a replacement.  I am really worried about Tesla, this is poor service and its poor design. I have other vehicles that can sit for months without being plugged in and start right up from their 12V.” 

Fellow participants on the forum sought to assuage his fears:

“That message appears 2-3 weeks before failure and if you called customer support that’s the exact bit of information given to you. Calm down, you’ll be fine,” writes “Silver2K.”

So first and foremost, don’t worry. When you see the warning light reminding you to replace your 12 volt battery, you have some time to take care of the problem. Secondly, DO NOT under any circumstances go to an outside mechanic or try to replace the battery yourself if your car is still under warranty. Doing so will void the warranty and potentially cost you big time on any future problems.

Out of Warranty

If your car’s warranty is expired, it is still recommended that you have your 12 volt battery replaced by a technician at the Tesla service center or by a reputable mechanic who has a great deal of experience with working on Teslas.

Most Tesla models (excluding the original Roadster which does not utilize a 12 volt battery) have their 12 volt batteries located under the hood. The 12 volt battery on older Model S rear wheel drive versions are located on the passenger’s side in front of the firewall. These batteries are extremely difficult to get to and replacement should only be attempted by a trained technician.

With the introduction of the all wheel drive Model S, the 12 volt battery was relocated within the hood to be easier to access. This location remains constant for all newer S, X, and 3 Models.

For you brave souls who want to try the replacement yourself, check out this thorough video and give it a go!

Any of our readers out there have experience with changing the 12 volt battery in their Tesla? What recommendations would you make for performing this service. Please leave us a comment below and let us know.

Source | Image: Tesla Motors

Source | Video:  Ohmmu Energy via Youtube.com

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Neil Brooks
Neil Brooks is an electric vehicle owner and lover currently based in the greater Washington D.C. area. Neil is a fan of all things electric and may be the only person in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States to own both an electric leaf blower and an electric chainsaw. When he's not busy blogging about the latest on electric technology he enjoys grilling, rock climbing, and taking naps in his hammock.