Tesla Model 3 quickly became the go-to electric car of the generation by taking the markets by storm since its inauguration in the second half of 2017. Although offering one of the best-in-class price/range ratios, the best-selling EV in history doesn’t come without problems of its own. Aside from issues related to questionable build quality, owners have reported numerous Tesla Model 3 charging problems.
Charging Problems of a Tesla Model 3 can typically be associated either with a faulty charger or a software error. There’s also a possibility of a human error, which can occur in more ways than one. Lastly, it might be down to damage to the car or the battery itself, but that’s a long shot.
With many possible problems come a plethora of different solutions. This article will try to list all the most common Tesla Model 3 charging issues and their solutions, whether they’re caused by inadequate charging networks, software glitches, human error, or car damage.
How Does the EV Charging Work?
Before we move on to the Tesla Model 3 charging troubleshooting, let’s take a look at how its charging actually works.
Instead of relying on a conventional trio of the internal combustion engine, battery, and alternator to power the car and its electrical system, electric vehicles rely on large battery packs and electricity stored within them to power the electric motor(s), which, in turn, move the car itself.
The power comes from a charging station, whether at home or outside. The charging station pulls the electric current from the grid into your car via the car’s onboard charger. The electricity is then stored in the large battery cells and used to move the vehicle and power its electrical systems.
Tesla Model 3 Charging Problems
Depending on the source of the problem, issues with Tesla Model 3 charging can be separated into four groups:
- problems due to human error
- software problems
- problems due to a faulty charging station
- problems due to a faulty car or battery
Tesla Model 3 charging problems due to human error
If your Tesla Model 3 isn’t charging, the best course of action is to first troubleshoot it against any potential human errors or omissions. Various battery-protection features which you might have missed can impose limitations on your car’s charging. It’s also possible to make another kind of error. Here are the most common human errors regarding Tesla Model 3 charging.
Scheduled charging is a great feature that can help you save money and your Model 3’s battery integrity. However, it can also be a reason for a headache if you’re not careful. With the scheduled charging feature, charging starts immediately if the Model 3 is plugged in within a six-hour time span of the scheduled start time. However, plugging the Model 3 after that period might leave you with an empty or partially filled battery, at best, since charging may not begin until the scheduled time on the following day.
The plug isn’t connected properly
Although it might sound rudimentary, an improperly connected charging plug can often be the only charging problem. Maybe it’s due to an imperfect connection between the charging plug and your car’s charging port, or maybe you simply didn’t plug the charger all the way. Regardless, such an omission always leads to Tesla Model 3 charging problems.
Battery charge limiter
Much like the scheduled charging, a battery charge limiter feature is here to safeguard the battery’s long-term health. However, things can get confusing with the introduction of the new Lithium Iron Phosphate or LFP batteries. Unlike the more conventional Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide or NCA battery packs that should be kept at 80 percent charge, the LFP batteries require frequent full charges for optimal operation.
When you open the charging screen on your car display or inside your mobile app, you’ll either get the battery image displaying 50% and 100% or the one displaying “Daily” and “Trip.” The former is associated with new LFP batteries, while the NCA batteries use the latter. The battery charge limit should be set at 100% and under 90% respectively, according to the type of battery of your Tesla Model 3.
Needless to say, if you’ve already set the limiter, your car won’t charge beyond the selected point.
Tesla Model 3 charging problems due to software issues
No matter how sophisticated the Tesla Model 3 software is, there’s always a potential for problems related to charging, given its complexity. Here are the most common charging-related software problems of a Tesla Model 3.
Sometimes, software glitches impact the Tesla Model 3 charging; especially after the latest update. A car reboot should fix the problem here, but if the issue persists, it’s best to get in touch with Tesla support. To conduct a soft reboot, you only have to press and hold the scroll buttons on your steering wheel and wait until the screens turn off.
You can also try to perform a full vehicle soft reset if the reboot doesn’t work. To do so, you either have to press the brake pedal and two scroll buttons until the car resets or go into the “Safety and Security” settings and use the “Power off” command. For the latter, you’d need t make sure that your Tesla Model 3 is in “park” with the doors closed and not touch any commands for at least two minutes.
Scheduled departure bug
Scheduled departure time is one of many neat features in the Tesla charging software. It allows you to charge your car during off-peak hours overnight when the electricity is the cheapest. However, there are a few prerequisites that have to be met, one of which can cause the car to remain in sleep mode and never even begin the charging process. The vehicle needs to determine the charging time depending on the current state of the battery and the other parameters you’ve set. If it doesn’t have access to the grid at the moment you plug in the charger (i.e. if you’re using an overnight rate and you’ve plugged it in the afternoon), then your Model 3 will never even wake up and start charging, to begin with.
Tesla Model 3 charging problems due to a faulty charging station
A broken-down or otherwise faulty charging station, whether a Tesla supercharger or your home outlet, is another common reason for Tesla Model 3 charging problems. Here are the most common issues with charging stations.
Defective public charger
If you’ve plugged your Model 3 into a Tesla supercharger or another public charger and nothing’s happening, there’s a high chance the charger itself is broken down or otherwise defective. Public chargers accommodate plenty of customers every day, and sometimes it’s impossible to properly maintain them. The best course of action would be to try a different charger and see if the problem persists. If it does, then the problem lies elsewhere.
Malfunctioning or improperly connected outlet
Your home charger might not be properly connected to the wall outlet. In such a case, your car will either have trouble charging or won’t be able to recharge at all. Check the lights on your charger before moving on to more radical measures. If there’s no light at all, then it’s a power supply issue and the charging is unavailable. You’ll likely need the assistance of a qualified electrician.
Meanwhile, a red light can indicate a multitude of different problems. A Gen 3 Tesla wall charger comes with detailed instructions on each light combination’s meaning.
- Solid red – internal fault. The problem might be sorted by turning the circuit breaker off for five seconds and then turning it back on. If it persists, it’s best to contact Tesla directly.
- One red blink – ground fault circuit interruption due to the unsafe current path. There might be internal damage to the wall connector, cable, or vehicle charging port. You can inspect them for signs of wear or water ingress, but you might need an electrician to inspect the grounding.
- Two red blinks – ground assurance fault, high ground resistance detected. You’ll need to verify that the wall connector is properly grounded. A qualified electrician’s help is advisable.
- Three red blinks – high temperature detected. Charging will be limited or disabled until the charger cools down. A firmware update can typically sort the issue. However, if the problem persists, you might need to utilize the help of an expert.
- Three red blinks, with green streaming – high temperature detected. Charging is limited due to reduced amperage. The charger is protecting itself from high temperatures.
- Four red blinks – internet connection lost. Aside from the typical loss of signal, it might be due to a recently changed Wi-Fi password. You’ll need to update your Wi-Fi settings.
- Five red blinks – power-sharing communication issue. You’ll need to update your settings so that the wall connector is re-linked for power-sharing.
- Six red blinks – overvoltage or poor grid quality detected. The charger is protecting itself and the car’s battery from excessive voltage. You’ll need to employ the services of a qualified electrician.
- Seven red blinks – vehicle overcurrent detected. Try reducing the charge current to optimal settings. If the problem persists, contact Tesla.
Even a seemingly functional charger with green lighting might not charge your car. If a reset doesn’t fix the issue, contact Tesla customer service for a replacement unit.
Bad installation and wiring
Poor wiring in your house might lead to excessive voltages. A failsafe feature of the Tesla charger won’t allow the charging process to commence in such instances in order to protect the car. A qualified electrician should inspect the wiring and find a solution.
Tesla Model 3 charging problems due to problems with the car
The worst-case scenario of Tesla charging problems is an issue with the car itself. Wear and tear will have an impact on the battery over time, but there’s also the possibility of a breakdown. Here are the most common Tesla Model 3 charging issues related to the car and its battery.
Before assuming it’s something more serious, check the fusebox for a possible blown fuse. If you’re lucky, your car’s fuse has sacrificed itself instead of letting the current spike damage the battery.
Damaged or corroded charging port
The charging port on your Tesla Model 3 might get damaged over time. Charging pins inside it can break off if you insert a charger at an awkward angle or if you wiggle it during the coupling/decoupling. Also, if your car sits idle for prolonged periods or it’s parked outside, the charging port can develop corrosion. White spots around the charging port are an indicator of corrosion. In both instances, the charging process may get interrupted completely or for extended periods, leaving your car empty or partially charged in the process. A charging port replacement might be the only course of action here.
A damaged or worn-out battery
Finally, the reason your Tesla Model 3 is not charging might be due to the battery itself. Battery deterioration over time will limit your range and charging efficiency, but sudden physical damage might cause all kinds of problems, including charging interruptions, glitches across the car’s systems, and even the inability to charge the car. Sadly, this is an extremely expensive repair that could set you back thousands of dollars if a replacement unit turns out to be the only recourse. Needless to say, visible physical damage to the battery is not covered by the warranty. However, some types of damage are, and the scenario that requires a battery replacement is rare.
There are plenty of different Tesla Model 3 charging problems, but most of them can be avoided with software updates and careful planning. Luckily, not many Tesla vehicles suffer from them and even if they do, it’s temporary. The most severe charging issues are related to physical damage to the car or battery, but these are also the rarest. Paying attention to the guidelines, keeping up with the software updates, and proper maintenance are guarantees for a problem-free Tesla Model 3 experience.
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