Model S–My first service visit


A couple of weeks ago I had a problem with Autopilot that was remotely diagnosed as a failure of the front camera. I scheduled today’s service visit to get it replaced.

I woke up early and decided to go ahead and leave for my 90-mile trip to the Charlotte, North Carolina, Tesla Service Center. I thought I might be delayed in the Charlotte rush-hour traffic, but I was wrong. There were no delays and I arrived 45 minutes early, before the service center opened. I pulled up to the service entrance, parked and listened to the streaming audio.

While I was waiting for the service center to open, a white pick-up truck pulled into the parking lot, a fellow got out and started walking around looking at cars. I decided to walk over and greet him, wearing my Tesla ball cap. I told him I wasn’t an employee, but just an owner waiting for them to open. He had questions and I invited him to come sit in the car. We had a nice conversation about the usual questions one has about a Tesla, about models and features and the ownership experience. (He had first seen a Model X at the Nordstrom store in Charlotte where Tesla has a small display area.) A little later a service employee arrived to let me in.

Charlotte Showroom and Service Center

In my planning article, I talked about charging, and whether I would need to charge in Charlotte to get home. I did a little better than rated miles, and arrived with about 53% charge left. I was pleasantly surprised when one of the first questions they asked me was how much charge I needed. How thoughtful! I said to add 20 miles. I also asked them to rotate the tires (which are approaching 6,000 miles), which they were glad to do.

I read on the Internet that you are supposed to take your Universal Mobile Connector (UMC) with you on a service visit, just in case it requires a firmware update, and that you should make sure when you leave that it’s still there, so I was also pleased that when they did the initial walk-around they asked me if I had brought charging equipment and noted the UMC on the service intake form. (I noticed on the service invoice they emailed me that they tested the UMC.)

They have a spacious waiting area with a big-screen TV that was, thankfully, off. I had a nice place to sit and a place to plug in my tablet. I remembered the charging cable for the car, but forgot the one for the tablet. Oops!

While I was waiting, I went into the showroom to look at the Model X on display. The sales associate and I tried to get the awesome Model X Christmas light show to work, but for some reason the falcon wing doors wouldn’t open, so the effect was not so awesome. He thought that the problem might be that the demo car was in service mode. Here it is for you:

Several folks came in to look at cars, and there were at least a couple of test drives. It also looked like a car was ready to be delivered. Others were marked sold. I was told that the service would take about half an hour longer than planned because they had to reinstall the firmware to support the camera, which they said was a newer model.

While waiting for the car to finish, I walked to the nearby Cracker Barrel restaurant for lunch. When I checked out, the checker commented on my Tesla hat, and when I said that I drove a Tesla, he became visibly excited and said that he hoped to be able buy a Model 3.

I knew that when your car is in for service, remote access is disabled. This is what the mobile app showed during lunch:


After lunch, the car was ready. I learned that the service center has their own internal supercharger, so my car was juiced up more than I needed and ready to go. They went through the service visit with me, and I had a nice conversation with Vito, the manager. My tires were wearing evenly, even though I have a rear-wheel drive model. When they brought the car around, not only was the service completed, the car was washed beautifully. I was ready to go home.


Everyone was friendly and accommodating. Everything was accomplished. It was a five-star service visit.

About Kevin

Just an old guy with opinions that I like to bounce off other people.
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4 Responses to Model S–My first service visit

  1. Kevin says:

    That’s right. If you look to the right you can see a dent in the right fender. After I had a paintless dent repair done, the light lines up properly.

  2. Kevin says:

    As you might have seen at the Tesla Motors Forum, there are complaints over how long it takes to schedule a service visit, and to get parts. One week of the wait for my service visit was to accommodate my own schedule. I suppose that some service centers may be overtaxed or not well-managed, but this is outside of my experience.

  3. Robert says:

    your tail lights don’t line up with the trunk lid part of the tail light

  4. Peggy says:

    That is very encouraging! thanks for the report

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