Tesla Air Conditioning Not Working: Troubleshooting Guide

Tesla air conditioning not working may be due to hardware or software problems, rarely both. Thus, you have to inspect the mechanical components, electronics, and user settings in your Tesla to detect the actual cause for you to choose the appropriate troubleshooting process. 

Your Tesla air conditioning might not working due to low refrigerant, failing compressor, broken electric motor, or damaged coolant pipe require a professional inspection. However, you can reset your Tesla and change a few settings to solve the common firmware issues.

You cannot troubleshoot hardware failures without repairing or replacing the broken parts. Read on to fix your Tesla’s air conditioning.

Why Is My Tesla Air Conditioning Not Working?

Your Tesla air conditioning may stop working in distinct circumstances. Every scenario can be different and require varying solutions. Here are a few instances of Tesla air conditioning not working or underperforming based on your settings:

  • Your Tesla air conditioning doesn’t turn on.
  • The compressor is making loud noises.
  • The air conditioner shuts down abruptly. 
  • You have warm or hot air blowing in the car.
  • The air is not as cold as the set temperature.
  • The AC isn’t working after a software update.

A few typical problems are easier to remedy than others, such as air filters. However, hardware problems call for a technician’s assistance, as the air conditioning refrigerant system is sealed. Also, don’t add any aftermarket refrigerants to top up or refill the one in your Tesla.

Your Tesla air conditioning may stop working if the compressor or motor fails. Also, dirty air filters, refrigerant leaks, and damaged coolant pipes may impair the system’s efficiency. Other causes are firmware issues, malfunctioning temperature sensors, and settings. 

This is the horrible sound of a broken compressor inside a Tesla Model S. If you hear this sound when turning on the AC, you’d better make an appointment with Tesla Service ASAP!

How To Troubleshoot Tesla Air Conditioning That Is Not Working

Here are 5 ways to troubleshoot a faulty Tesla air conditioning:

  1. Perform a soft reset to reboot the Tesla.
  2. Try a hard reset after a firmware update.
  3. Replace the cabin air filters if due.
  4. Change the climate control settings.
  5. Contact Tesla support for inspection.

Prioritize the troubleshooting steps based on your assessment of the problem. Observe the symptoms when your Tesla air conditioning isn’t working and note the conditions, especially the ambient temperature, remaining battery charge, and other evident signs of inefficiency. 

You can troubleshoot Tesla’s air conditioning not working due to firmware issues by resetting the system using the two methods shared in this guide. Replacing dirty and clogged cabin air filters will enhance the efficiency of the AC, thus solving warm air and underperformance issues.

If your Tesla air conditioning stopped working after the latest firmware update, a soft reboot or hard reset should solve the problem. However, if your AC doesn’t turn on, a mechanical failure may be the main cause. Also, inefficient performance has several potential causes and solutions. 

An air conditioning system performing poorly on a very hot day is not unusual. Also, Tesla has several climate control settings that may interfere with your selected temperature. Dirty cabin air filters can impair the efficiency of Tesla’s AC, so you should replace them periodically. 

Tesla’s electric vehicles don’t have as many moving parts as traditional cars with internal combustion engines. Tesla’s AC is more like the system in your refrigerator than the units in conventional cars. Thus, hardware or mechanical failures are rare, so you’re probably looking at an electronic or software-related issue when your Tesla air conditioning isn’t working. 

Also check this one out about What Kind of Coolant Tesla Uses.

Tesla Air Conditioning Not Working: Troubleshooting Guide 1

How Do You Reset the AC on a Tesla?

There are two ways to reset a Tesla AC. The first option is essentially a reboot, the system powering off and restarting. The second method is a hard or deep soft reset that also reboots the system, but you cannot do it through the MCU touchscreen using the power option. Both these options disconnect the power supply to the electronics and mechanical components. 

You may try a soft reboot to reset the AC on a Tesla that’s not working or performing inefficiently. Alternatively, perform a hard restart that disconnects many of the onboard systems for a thorough reboot to solve firmware issues or malfunctioning electronics. 

For safety, I’m excluding the hardware reset involving disconnecting the battery physically. Also, the two reset options in this troubleshooting guide are not the same as holding the scroll wheels for a while to restart the touchscreen, as it doesn’t reboot the electronics or onboard systems. 

I also explored Tesla Air Conditioning Power Consumption and researched exactly how long Tesla Aircons last. Check it out!

Here are the steps to reset your Tesla AC:

  1. Go to Controls on the MCU touchscreen.
  2. Tap on the Safety and Security option.
  3. Find the Power Off option and tap on it. 
  4. Tesla’s system and apps will shut down.
  5. Wait for 3~5 minutes, seated in, and parked.
  6. Meanwhile, don’t interact with your Tesla.
  7. Press the brake and restart the system.

Here are the steps to perform a hard or deep soft reset on your Tesla:

  1. Park your Tesla at a convenient and safe place.
  2. Stay put in the driver’s seat for the entire process.
  3. Disable climate control and cabin overheat protection.
  4. Press the scroll wheels and buttons simultaneously. 
  5. The touchscreen will shut down, and the system will restart.
  6. Hold all the pressed components until the system reboots.
  7. Release the buttons and wheels only after the reboot.
  8. Don’t interact with your Tesla’s systems or electronics.
  9. Don’t open the doors or windows, nor access the Tesla app.

Both methods to reset your Tesla AC require you to be parked at a comfortable place so that the cabin doesn’t get overheated under the scorching sun. Also, the actual time your Tesla takes for either method varies between a couple to several minutes. 

You may choose to wait for around 10 to 15 minutes when resetting your Tesla using the power-off function on the touchscreen. This delay ensures that the system is totally powered off, and any error message on your Tesla or other glitches may go away after the restart. 

Also, resetting a Tesla AC using the scroll wheels and buttons calls for a bit of patience. The MCU touchscreen may turn off swiftly, but it may take a while to come back on. You must wait till you see the Tesla logo on the screen before letting go of the scroll wheels and buttons. 

Furthermore, disable the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on your phone to effectively disconnect and make it unavailable for your Tesla. Any paired device, including USBs, interacting with the system may interfere with the reboot process and thus affect your troubleshooting.

Pro Tip: Can you split Tesla cabin airflow into two separate air flows?

You have the ability on the screen to drag the airflow to your desired location. If you choose one side of the car (for airflow) and zoom in with two fingers it will split that specific airflow into two separate air flows on one side of the car as well. That way the airflow can pass on both sides of you if you so desire.

How Do You Change Tesla Cabin Air Filters?

You should change Tesla’s cabin air filters every 2~3 years. Some variants may last longer without imparting any weird odor and impairing the efficiency of your Tesla AC, especially if you use premium-quality HEPA filters.


It might also interest you to read about the Tesla Model 3 and if it will also get a HEPA Filter in the future. Check it out!

However, inspect the filters to be sure that they’re relatively clean and functioning optimally, thus not causing or facilitating your air conditioning problems. 

Tesla ModelLocation of Cabin Air Filter
S (before facelift)Under the central panel of the frunk.
S (after facelift)Behind the passenger side glove box.
XBehind the passenger side glove box.
3Under the dash, behind the kick plate/panel.
YUnder the dash, behind the kick plate/panel.
This table shows the locations of cabin air filters in Tesla models.

You need to access the evaporator chamber to replace or change Tesla cabin air filters. Also, you may want to clean the evaporator chamber to eliminate odor and dust, or residual traces before installing the new filters. 

Before changing the cabin air filters, get a pair of new air filters and evaporator cleaner. You also need trim removal tools and a Torx screwdriver.

I wrote a detailed article called Do Electric Cars Lose Charge in Cold Weather? Detailed Info. This is also weather and cabin temperature related so check this one out, it’s very informative!

Here are the steps to change Tesla cabin air filters:

  • Remove the plastic panel under the passenger glove box.
  • Unclip the adjoining trim to access the cabin air filter panel.
  • Unscrew the panel and pull the old cabin air filters out.
  • Use the optional evaporator cleaner to tidy up the chamber.
  • Slide in the two cabin air filters, one after another. 

Watch this video to replace cabin air filters in Tesla Models 3 and Y:

Change the Climate Control Settings To Test Tesla’s Air Conditioning

In some cases, Tesla’s climate control auto mode may interfere with the air conditioning. Also, the low and high-temperature settings may inadvertently turn the air conditioning off before you have a desirably cool cabin. Review all such settings and check if the AC works as expected. 

Here are a few ways to test Tesla’s climate control settings:

  • Turn off the auto mode of climate control.
  • Disable other modes: park, dog, and camp.
  • Reduce the temperature to a preferred degree.
  • Assess if the air conditioning is working. 
  • Sync the temperatures for driver and passenger.
  • Change the fan speed and sense the difference.
  • Toggle the airflows and assess the coolness.
  • Check the cabin temperature on the MCU.

These tests will show if Tesla’s onboard electronics, firmware, and temperature sensors work flawlessly. If the MCU displays a temperature considerably cooler than how you feel inside the cabin, the sensor is probably not working perfectly, or something is wrong. 

Unfortunately, you can’t do much about the temperature sensor, compressor, motor, and other hardware components without Tesla’s assistance. Contact Tesla support to inspect the relevant electronics and mechanical parts.

EV Speedy’s Take

Toggling different climate control settings can test the temperature sensor’s efficacy.

However, you need to contact Tesla support to troubleshoot hardware components, including the sensor, motor, compressor, refrigerant leakage, and other mechanical, electronic, or system failures.

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Tesla Air Conditioning Not Working: Troubleshooting Guide 2
Tesla Air Conditioning Not Working: Troubleshooting Guide 3
Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

Thanks for visiting evspeedy.com. The goal of this site is to be a helpful resource for Tesla and EV owners as this is where my passion lies. I was a TSLA shareholder before the hype and still am. I also believe in Tesla’s speedy mission to accelerate the world to a sustainable future.