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How to Reboot Your Tesla Model 3: A Definitive Guide

Phantom touch. Vampire draw. Matrix glitch. No, these are not the names of new rock bands. 

They’re the slang terms for a few, very common issues and bugs that Tesla Model 3 owners might have had to face. 

Whether it’s your vehicle never going to sleep or your screen having a mind of its own, read on to find out some simple solutions for fixing those pesky problems.

Matrix glitch is probably the most common. It might have some of you thinking that Tesla was unveiling the new ‘Disco Mode’ but sadly those crazy flickering lines on your screen are not meant to boogie down to. 

They’re actually a sign that your vehicle is probably in need of a restart or a reboot.

The Golden Rule for Electronics

It happens to the best of us.

We get frustrated when an app on our iPhone isn’t running well or our laptop is acting up. 

How to Reboot Tesla Model 3 before getting all raged up
Don’t kill it just yet!

After a few minutes of pure rage, you remember the golden rule — turning it off and on again.

Don’t really know why, but suddenly everything is working properly. 

It seems those IT guys from your office and all those internet memes were really onto something.

A restart more often than not fixes a ton of issues for your everyday electronics. Your Tesla Model 3 is no different.

Restarting vs. Power Off

There are a few different ways to reboot your Tesla Model 3.

Which one you choose will depend on the problem you’re experiencing — and how severe it is.

  • Restart: This is the easiest of the bunch and is really useful when your vehicle’s screen is acting up and not performing the way you’d expect. Examples are if the touchscreen is unresponsive or you’re seeing those flickering lines.
  • Powering Off: Now we’re restarting both the screen and the vehicle’s central processor. This is a good method to fix connectivity issues with other devices like backup cameras, GPS, or even pairing problems with your mobile phone.  
  • Hard Reset: Pop the hood and disconnect the 12V battery to get started on performing a hard reset on your Tesla Model 3. Sounds intense, right? That’s because this should only be performed when other troubleshooting methods failed. Be warned this might be an extreme method to take on yourself — and I won’t cover it in this article.

If there are underlying issues that a restart or power off aren’t fixing and you’re uncomfortable getting under the hood, it’s best to take your car into a Tesla service center for a real diagnosis.

How to Reboot Your Tesla Model 3 in 3 Easy Steps

Let’s walk through how to perform the restart (soft reboot) and the powering-off method as these will address the majority of issues you might encounter.

The soft reboot or restart is really simple, it’s actually as easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Hold down both scroll buttons on the steering wheel until the touchscreen turns black and the Tesla logo appears.
  2. Wait approximately 30 seconds for the touchscreen to restart.
Credit to TeslaOwnersUK
  1. That’s it!

Here’s a quick video from The Model 3 Guy who shows you how to reboot the screen while driving.

@0:48 witness Autopilot functioning while the screen is off. @2:50 see thee signal.

Despite some other driver’s concerns, both the Autopilot function and turn signals are still active even while the screen is restarting — so rebooting the screen while driving should be fine.

I’d personally recommend not driving while rebooting your screen if you haven’t done it before.

Consider trying it out in Park or during traffic first to limit distracted driving.

Get Rid of Bugs and Glitches — Here’s How

Powering off or performing a “full power cycle” is for those more stubborn technical issues that a soft reboot couldn’t fix.

Keep in mind that a hard reboot will power down both your touchscreen and the car’s Central Processing Unit (CPU) so it takes a bit longer than the quick restart.

Here are the official steps, taken from a Tesla service center representative:

1.       Sit in the driver’s seat while the vehicle isn’t charging, moving, and is in Park. All windows have to be up and doors locked — and you must keep your foot from the brake pedal or accelerator.

2.       Similar to a soft reboot, press down the scroll buttons on the steering wheel until the touchscreen turns black.

3.       Once the screen reboots, navigate to Controls and select Safety & Security > Power Off.

4.       Wait approximately 2-3 minutes and try to remain still so the vehicle doesn’t sense a driver is there.

5.       After the time is up either press the brake pedal, touch the touchscreen, or open/close the driver door to power on your car again.

The Tesla manual states that the Model 3 powers off automatically after being in Park for 15 minutes, even if you are sitting in the driver’s seat. 

It goes through the exact same motions and will require you to press the brake pedal, touch the screen or open your door to power back up.

You might have noticed this if you’re trying to access controls from your mobile device on the Tesla app after you’ve parked it and walked away.  The vehicle has to wake up before you can change any settings or controls.

The Model 3 Guy walks you through powering off or a full power cycle in this video as some of his camera functionalities were not working.

Feel free to check it out if you have some bugs and glitches the soft reboot never fixed.

How to Reboot Tesla Model 3: Final Thoughts

Tesla forums are filled with drivers experiencing all sorts of weird software bugs and issues with their vehicles, particularly with the touchscreen. 

The good news is that the majority are reporting that a quick reboot, a software update, or a full power cycle was enough to stop those bugs in their tracks.

There you have it!

The next time your screen flares up or you encounter some technical difficulties, you’ll know just how to fix those software bugs — and you’ll be able to do so in under 5 minutes!

By Nicki Schill

Nicki Schill is a writer and content marketer out of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. As the former Geotab Marketing Manager, she’s got loads of experience in electric vehicles and fleet electrification. She’s a tech blogger and marketing guru who enjoys all things Canadian like hockey and poutine.

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