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Tesla ends "Check Engine light anxiety"

Who hasn't experienced that sinking feeling caused by seeing the dreaded "Check Engine" light suddenly illuminates on the dashboard of an ICE? The brain reels as one contemplates the likely consequences. Oh, damn, now I have to make a service appointment at the dealership, take the car in, deal with the layers of inconvenience involved in leaving the car, getting on with the days errands, waiting for the diagnosis, hoping it's minor but knowing from experience it's likely a bad O2 sensor and hoping the answer is honest, not a $300 scam when the actual cause was something like a gas cap that wasn't fully tightened or some other insignificant problem. I wager most car owners have been down that road a time or two.

Today, a Sunday, around 3 in the afternoon, my Tesla's touchscreen displayed this message; "Car needs service. Contact Tesla." The car seemed fine, but I felt it would be unwise to ignore the error message. Before I called, I rebooted the main screen and the message cleared. Naturally, I called Tesla service anyway. Within about a minute I was speaking with a service rep. He asked for the last 6 digits of my VIN which I already had displayed on the screen. He looked at my car's data and told me he saw no indication of any malfunctions. I sighed with relief and proceeded to wash my car in the driveway. I found that experience far preferable to the hassles I've endured following the illumination of Check Engine lights on ICE vehicles I've owned.

So, Check Engine lights are a thing of the past in a Tesla, which technically doesn't have an engine, it has a motor with only 1 moving part. O.K., maybe that's splitting hairs and just a semantic difference. However, this event was another example of the superiority of a Tesla EV over every ICE I've driven. A short phone call on a Sunday afternoon was the extent of it. No trip to a dealer or other service facility on a weekday was required. The car was cleared and I was delighted. Sure, there could have been an issue that required a trip to a Tesla service or a visit from the Tesla Rangers. I'm sure things can go wrong with a Tesla, but so far, other than a brief errant error message which was investigated immediately, over the airwaves, with negligible disruption to my life, my Model S has performed flawlessly and I experienced only a very brief moment of concern which did not rise to the level of anxiety. I found it very reassuring.

My Audi's check engine light came on yesterday and my Tesla should be delivered this week! Anxiously awaiting it and not sure what to do with the Audi.

I had an OBD II reader which I would use to get the error code and then reset the check engine light. It would give me a day or two of "out of sight, out of mind" before the light came on again. I need to find that thing and put it on ebay :)

The ICE vehicles I have driven over the years have been remarkably reliable. A true testament to modern engineering and manufacturing however, none of my previous cars ever inspired so much confidence as the Model S. It is true peace of mind when you don't have to wait to turn the ignition. Without a starter motor, selectable transmission, an ICE to worry about, yeah that service engine light anxiety is a thing of the past.

@Lush1

Whom do you call on a Sunday for that kind of thing? Ownership usually give me a choice of emergency roadside assistance or connect to my local service center, which will be closed.

My understanding is that the check engine soon or check engine now light is just a general indicator that a sensor has reported an issue with the car. Most of the times I've seen that light it haa been the sensor not the car. I think that the MS has as many if not more sensors than a typical ICE, so you may not see those particular words, but if the car has a problem or a sensor has a problem, you will see something. ONSTAR has the capability to run diagnostics on my cars remotely. So this has been less of an anxiety problem than an annoyance at having to get the problem resolved. The MS has direct diagnostic access as well, so I would expect the same kind of service, hopefully better.

The dreaded light can come on for so many reasons. Once I had it come on while I was on my way to get my state inspection and some places, that light is an automatic fail, even if it's a false signal which you have to pay to find out in any event. The source can be an ECU glitch, a bad indicator sensor, a gas cap that wasn't turned to the fully tight position, an O2 sensor in the anti-pollution systems (won't get the last 2 in a Tesla and the O2 will cost ya), a stray neutrino, a banana in your tailpipe, the list goes on and on. I've had several CE light incidents over the years, and most required a trip to the dealer or other service facility, sometimes with a significant cost. I don't think anybody believes that a Tesla is immune from faulty sensors, equipment failure, or expects an eternity of trouble free service. However, an electric car with ZTE, no gas cap, no smog controls, no catalytic converter and a motor with 1 moving part seems a lot less likely to need to have parts replaced than one with an engine with hundreds of moving parts, powered by combustion, the byproducts of which are partially filtered by a complex and expensive pollution control system. Even if it is true that a Model S is equally likely to generate warning messages, I've never owned a car from which I was able to make a phone call on a Sunday afternoon and have my car diagnosed in a few seconds. DOH. I've wasted my money on stupid Mercedes, Infinitis and Nissans. They didn't have that. Guess it's old hat to ONSTAR folks. Good to know that ONSTAR can tell the owners of GM cars equipped with it who can afford the monthly fee, that their cars are making extra pollution and need to have some components replaced. I'm breathing a lot easier after getting that news. I didn't realize how green GM had gotten. If only I had known this before I bought my Tesla. This changes everything! What have I done? I feel so stoopid now. I coulda bought an Escalade or a Hummer with ONSTAR. Obviously much better than a Tesla. Everybody, warn your friends, alert the media.

I think ONSTAR should be illegal.

They report your driving habits to insurance companies, track your travel and report your habits.

No way I'd go for that!

Do you have to sign up to get reported to your insurance company, as you do when you elect to have the Progressive "Snapshop" discount spy device hooked to your data port? People elect that in the hopes of lower premiums. That's their choice. Is it a choice with ONSTAR? a REAL choice, as in, not some language buried deep in the EULA that everybody just accepts without reading, but an informed consent where you know they are doing it and want them to do it for some reason, for instance, the promise of lower premiums if you drive really slow?

They only report that stuff if you authorize it. And yeah, I authorize it so I can get lower rates.

lush1 I never said my GM car was green. I only said that they can do remote diagnostics to tell me not to worry about the CE light and alleviate my anxiety. Chill out.

4 days ago, I went to get my 8 year old low mileage BMW smogged. Smog passed, and I was pleased and thinking that this will be the last smog for the car, since my Tesla is expected in 10 days time, replacing the BMW. To my horror, the car would not start from the smog station parking lot. The auto transmission showed stuck in S (sport mode) even though I shifted it to park, neutral and drive. My heart sank as the jump did not work either. So the two tows, and one incompetent shop (no way to read the falt codes, even tough highly rated on yelp) and a better one, plus 750$ total (two tows, and 650$ for bad thermal oil level sensor which blew a fuse to my main computer ) I am now ready to sell it, finally.

So we're not just saying goodbye to dirty exhausts, but a whole lotta baggage. Sure, I expect the Tesla to have a lot of niggles. Mainly resolved by software, hopefully.

"Car needs service. Call Tesla" is likely the EV equivalent of the old "Check Engine" light. My introduction to it was not only painless, it was edifying, highly satisfactory, and given the outcome, I regard it as positive. However, no fault was detected so at this point it remains an anomalous glitch. Warnings and error messages are a fact of life in our computer filled world. They rarely leave us feeling good so I hope my first such experience in my Tesla will also be my last. I got off easy and learned something new.
Every Check Engine light experience I've had, from the first to the last has been bad, some merely inconvenient, others expensive and extremely disruptive, but never has a restart, reboot, power cycle or anything I could do, extinguished the evil yellow light. The Tesla continues to impress, every day in every way.
Being an early adopter of new, cutting edge technology always has potential risk. I remain awed by Tesla's superb first foray into mass production. They seem to be doing far better with this brand new car than most auto makers do with established platforms, engines with billions of rolling miles and a century or more of experience. They have also outclassed the big boy's new offerings as well as products from other newcomers. If Tesla had so much as one battery related fire, major recall, even a lemon or two, that would be all the public would hear about. There hasn't been, so some have made stuff up. There are a lot of haters and vested interests praying for a misstep, but Tesla has defied the odds and performed brilliantly. That's not to say that every car has been flawless. Nothing can be perfect but so far they have a remarkable record. I am so glad I jumped in 3 years ago. The fact that a customer can be impressed after getting an error message speaks volumes, as do I. Sorry if I am being tedious but I want to tell everybody everything about the Tesla experience. I have never been moved like this, even by the many beloved Apple products I have been wowed by since 1987. The comparison is unavoidable, but a car! The scale of an achievement that fills a garage rather than a pocket is a jump of many levels in one fell swoop. Bravo Tesla.

Yes, Elon's perfectionism failed to achieve perfection, in the event, but he's come a H of a lot closer than many believed he could!

I'll ask again: whom do you call on Sunday (e.g., for a remote diagnostic) when it is not an emergency breakdown? In my experience, both Ownership and the local service center are closed weekends. Will the 24-hour emergency assistance do a remote diagnostic?


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