Model X Owner Claims Tesla Service Center Messed Up His Car To Sell Him Expensive Upgrades

The owner of a 2014 Tesla Model X claims that the Service Center updated his car software without consulting him first, which messed up the car. After that, it tried to sell him a costly computer and screens upgrade to solve the issue.
Model X owner claims Tesla service center messed up his car 6 photos
Photo: Tesla | Edited
Tesla MCU1 infotainment computer2016 Tesla Model X2016 Tesla Model X2016 Tesla Model X2016 Tesla Model X
Service Center experience is probably the worst part of Tesla ownership, although your mileage may vary. Some people reported favorable experiences and were satisfied overall, while others had lasting memories they wished they could forget. These include late appointments that leave owners with a non-functional car for months, lack of repair parts that immobilize vehicles for long periods, bad repairs, or refusal to honor the warranty in some cases. Service Centers are also few and far between in most areas, complicating things further.

Al Smizzle, a 2016 Tesla Model X owner, had one of those bad experiences after going to a service center to fix a small problem with the passenger side window. Smizzle doesn’t say what the problem was, so we’ll have to guess that maybe the window would not open/close as it should. The service technicians decided to update the software, which may or may not have helped with the problem. At that point, the update reset all the saved settings and caused the computer running the HUD and mid-dash screens obsolete.

Al Smizzle claims that the update crippled an otherwise fully-functional car, making it run like a laggy computer using 100% of the GPU and 95% of the RAM. The car took 60 seconds to start on Batt wakeup, and all apps, including navigation and streaming, took a long time to open. Al brought the vehicle back in service to address these issues and was told that the computer running both screens needed to be replaced because of the firmware update. Although he did not request the update, he was told to pay between $2,500 and $3,500 to upgrade the computer.

Now, Smizzle thinks the service rep performed the update with the intention of selling him the new equipment. He believes this is the same as Apple did when it pushed iPhone updates that made them sluggish, forcing people to upgrade. It’s not just Smizzle who noticed this problem after updating the software, as other people with MCU1 computers encountered similar problems after updating to more recent software versions.

Tesla is not the first time under fire for mismatching software and hardware. In 2021, the EV maker promised a free upgrade to HW 3.0 Autopilot computer, but then charged customers $1,000 for a replacement. In December last year, a Tesla customer named Jordan won a lawsuit after the judge called Tesla’s move “false advertising.” Encouraged by this win, the same customer made a separate claim against Tesla over lost functionality in his other Tesla equipped with the MCU1 media unit. Tesla lost again and had to upgrade the computer for free.

Considering that Jordan’s car was under warranty and Smizzle’s isn’t, we’re not sure what his chances are to have the computer replaced for free. We’re interested to hear your opinion on this case. Do you think Tesla should install the computer upgrade or just revert the software to the previous working version?

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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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