Teslas & Software Updates: Common Questions (Solved)

Tesla manufactures electric vehicles, solar roof tiles, solar panels, and other related services. 

The company’s vehicles have a proprietary computer system that controls everything from navigation, onboard entertainment features, and performance.

The software in the Tesla vehicle needs to be updated frequently to function correctly. 

Tesla offers over-the-air software updates that provide new features to their vehicles. This is to ensure the car is safer and functional over time. 

Most Tesla vehicles receive new software updates through a connection to the Wi-Fi internet. Each car from Tesla receives an over-the-air update every 30 to 60 days approximately. 

In this article, we discuss Tesla and software updates.

Do Teslas Need Software Updates?

Tesla cars need software updates to perform their duties efficiently. Tesla updates your vehicle’s software through a wireless connection and delivers new features.

Most Tesla drivers receive notifications about software updates on their Tesla app and their vehicle’s onboard touch screen. Tesla drivers can check for software updates by opening the Software tab on their Controls touch screen.

When there is a new update, there will be a notification on the vehicle touch screen display with an option to schedule for later or install the update immediately.

Tesla drivers are advised to maintain a solid connection to Wi-Fi to ensure swift delivery of software updates. This is to ensure that there is no interruption during the update download.

Once there is a notification from the mobile app to update Software, Tesla drivers can download immediately or schedule it for a later day. 

According to Tesla’s recommendation, installing software updates is crucial. Wi-Fi connectivity is required to install new software updates.

How Do I Know If There’s a New Software Update Available?

A yellow clock icon will appear at the top of the Controls screen when there is a software update. These are the three ways you can utilize to install software updates: 

  1. When you receive a software update, touch the yellow clock icon to display the scheduling screen, which prompts you to choose a time to install the update or schedule later. 
  2. If you schedule your software update for a later date, the yellow clock icon will change to the white clock icon. Check the Touch Controls tab and Software to see if your car has a software update. 
  3. Once an update is available, touch the Software Update Available option to navigate the scheduling screen. You can also start the update using the Tesla mobile app. 

Can You Force a Software Update?

You can follow these steps if you want to force a software update to get the trendy release without further delay. 

Forcing a software update can only be done on Tesla vehicles connected to the internet. 

Let us address the steps to force a software update on your Tesla vehicle: 

  • Tap on the Software tab, and change your preferences for software updates. 
  • You will receive a message if your vehicle software is not updated correctly. 
  • Ensure you hold the two scroll wheel buttons on the steering wheel for 20 seconds until the Tesla T icon shows on the touch screen. You can reset the Cluster by pressing the two upper buttons on the steering wheel for 20 seconds.

Do Tesla Software Updates Cost Money?

Software updates on Tesla are free. As a Tesla owner, you are given eight years powertrain warranty, and software controls the car. 

You are assured of free updates for eight years if the future systems are compatible with your Tesla vehicle. 

However, Tesla drivers are required to pay for other extra features not included in the free package. 

For instance, you need to pay a fee if you want to increase the battery capacity of your Tesla. Other features, such as auto-pilot, can be added to the package if you did not buy it initially. 

Can You Take Your Tesla to a Dealer to Update the Software?

Tesla sells its cars directly to customers over the internet. The company doesn’t have dealerships, but you can take your car to its service centers for software updates.

It is important to note that all Tesla cars have access to over-the-air software updates. You can receive notifications via your mobile app and the onboard touch screen in your Tesla. 

So, you don’t really need to go to Tesla service centers for software updates, since the company can send the latest versions of their software remotely.

Can You Cancel or Reset a Software Update?

Once you have started the installation, you cannot cancel a software update. 

How Long Does It Take to Run a Software Update?

It can take three hours to complete the software update on some Tesla vehicles. If you own a Model 3, it must be in Park mode while your software is being updated. 

Ensure your Wi-Fi is turned on and connected when you want to update the software on your Tesla. 

Do All Teslas Get the Same Software Updates?

Software updates are specific to each Tesla vehicle. While the company sends regular updates to add new features to the programme, it uses some updates to fix serious flaws in the vehicles.

For example, Tesla uses software updates to rectify many of the issues that required recalling its vehicles. For such updates, only affected vehicles will receive them.

Do Older Teslas Get Updates?

New Tesla owners get frequent software updates, and all Tesla cars are eligible for software updates. 

All Tesla vehicles come with internet connectivity regardless of year, range, specifications, and model. The internet enables Tesla drivers to receive over-the-air updates on time. 

Tesla updates are crucial features, and older Tesla cars also get updates. 

Can You Drive a Tesla While the Software Is Updating?

You cannot drive your Tesla vehicle while updating the software as a safety measure.

However, you can move during the download phase, but the download procedure may be paused if your car is disconnected from the internet, especially Wi-Fi.  

How Do You Update Tesla Software Without Wi-Fi?

If you can’t access Wi-Fi, the other way to update your Tesla EV’s software is to use the mobile data for connection with a tethering connection and update with the mobile app.

According to Tesla, installing software updates over a strong Wi-Fi is the ideal option. 

It would be best to leave your Wi-Fi connection on to download software updates. 

Why Is My Software Update Not Updating?

If your software update isn’t showing any progress, you probably have an interrupted internet connection. System glitches can also cause your software not to update.

Make sure you have a strong and fast Wi-Fi connection before you start the update. 

However, if the internet connection is fast and robust, you may need to reboot the main screen using the scroll wheels on the Tesla steering wheel. 

What to Do If the Update Gets Stuck During Download?

Put a call through to the Tesla customer support team, and the team will reset the download for your Tesla vehicle.

You will get a message to install within 30 minutes. 

If your update gets stuck at 50%, it will stay about ten minutes. 

Related: Is Tesla’s Autopilot Safer Than Human Drivers? (We Checked)

Will My Car Charge While Installing New Software?

While you are installing an over-the-air update, your car will not charge.

Once you establish a software update while charging your car, your vehicle will resume charging automatically once the update is completed. 

How Do You Connect Tesla to Wi-Fi?

Follow these steps to connect your Tesla to a Wi-Fi:

  • Press Touch Controls, and click on the Wi-Fi icon at the top of the Controls screen. The car will scan and display detected Wi-Fi networks within range. 
  • Choose your preferred Wi-Fi network, enter the password, and press Confirm. 
  • If the network is within range, your car will connect automatically. 

How Much Do Different Software Options for Tesla Cost? Are There Charges for Updates?

The Full Self-Driving Capability feature is the current software option for Tesla. The price is $10,000 and is also available for a monthly fee of $199. 

Tesla also has features such as the Tech package, Enhanced Autopilot, and the Autopilot convenience features. Tesla does not charge for software updates, and this includes navigation maps.

You can also purchase the premium connectivity option, cellular service for streaming entertainment, including Caraoke, internet browser, Video Streaming, Satellite-View Maps, and Live Traffic Visualization. 

It is important to note that streaming is free when you have a Wi-Fi connection. However, premium connectivity costs $9.99 per month. 

Related: Why Are Teslas Cheaper Than Other Supercars? (Explained)

How Does Tesla Transmit Updates to Their Vehicles?

Tesla transmits updates to their vehicles via the internet.

The Tesla vehicle is connected to the internet through the internal cellular data connection.

However, if there is a Wi-Fi connection within range and you have access, you can use the connection. 

Why Don’t All Tesla Owners Receive Their Software Updates Simultaneously?

Different Tesla vehicles have different hardware, and the software update must cover all those variations.

There is no single update for all Tesla cars, as vehicles have specific hardware and software configurations based on their production batch. 

Do Tesla Software Updates Make a Difference?

Tesla software updates add new capabilities to its vehicles. These software updates provide newer features and functions, such as FSD and autopilot, to Tesla vehicles.

For instance, drivers of the Model S receive updates that enhance the battery preconditioning, improve navigation, and change the user interface.

Tesla drivers with FSD or AP receive several changes in a software update.  

Related: Can Tesla Park Themselves (9 Common Question Answered)?

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