As our cars are getting more advanced and much like computers on wheels, we have the issue of dealing with error messages. But we also have the advantage of knowing what the issue is straight away. Old cars are much like babies crying that cannot tell you why they are crying. So, what can you do when getting the Tesla service required error message?
The “Unable to Charge – Service Required” error message usually pops up when there’s an onboard charger or charge port issue. It might also be caused by a problem with the electrical system, such as a blown fuse. In a worst-case scenario, the error might indicate a more severe problem, such as a fault with the battery pack.
Luckily, in most cases, the “Unable to Charge – Service Required” error can be easily fixed with a few simple steps. You won’t even need to call Tesla service most of the time. By just taking a quick glance at your user’s manual, you should be able to troubleshoot and resolve the issue on your own ASAP. Read on to find the full solution.
- Common Causes of the "Unable to Charge – Service Required" Error Message
- Fun Fact For Tesla Owners
- What To Do When You Get the "Tesla Unable To Charge, Service Required" Error
- Did You Know?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- I got the error message "Tesla Unable To Charge, Service Required," but my car is still able to charge, is this normal?
- Why can't I fully charge my Tesla?
- Why Is My Tesla Taking Longer Than Usual To Charge?
- Why Does My Tesla's Charging Speed Fluctuate During a Charging Session?
- What Could be Causing My Tesla's Charging Port To Overheat?
- Why Does My Tesla's Charging Cable Feel Hot During Charging?
Common Causes of the “Unable to Charge – Service Required” Error Message
Before we get to the solutions, let’s first look at the most common causes of the “Unable to Charge – Service Required” error message. After all, it’s always better to understand the problem before fixing it.
Why Won’t My Tesla Charge? 5 Possible Problems
Here are the five common causes why you might see the dreaded error message:
1. Faulty Onboard Charger
A primary culprit behind the “Unable to Charge – Service Required” error message is a faulty onboard charger or supercharger. Your Tesla relies on the onboard charger to convert AC power from the charging station into DC power that can be stored in the car’s battery.
If your onboard charger isn’t working properly, it’ll prevent your car from being able to charge. In some cases, you might tell that the onboard charger is the problem if you see error messages or lights different from the usual charging process.
For example, you might see “Charging Stopped – Charger Fault” instead of the usual “Charging Complete” message. Alternatively, the charging port light might be blinking red instead of solid green.
2. Loose Connection
Your Tesla needs a solid connection to charge appropriately like any other electronic device. Any loose connection between the charging station and your car can disrupt the charging process and cause the “Unable to Charge – Service Required” error message to appear.
Several things can cause a loose connection. Damaged equipment such as a damaged charging cable or port might be at fault. The problem might also be caused by debris or dirt built up in the charging port.
For efficient and safe charging, always ensure the charger is properly plugged in, and the charging port is clean before starting the charging process.
3. Damaged Battery Pack
In rare cases, the “Unable to Charge – Service Required” error message might be caused by a damaged battery pack. Although this is uncommon, it’s still something you should be aware of. For one, a damaged battery pack loses its capacity to store energy, resulting in a sudden drop in driving range by more than 20%.
If this article doesn’t answer your question fully you can also check out this related article that I wrote called: My Tesla Won’t Charge – Here’s What To Do.
Also, it can cause the car to take longer to charge or not charge at all. You’ll also receive notifications and error messages from your Tesla about the damaged battery pack.
If you suspect that a damaged battery pack causes the error message, the best course of action is to contact Tesla service technical support and have them look at the problem. Attempting to fix a damaged battery pack on your own can be dangerous and isn’t recommended.
You may also risk voiding your warranty if your attempt to fix your vehicle makes the issue worse.
4. Outdated Charging Software
Sometimes, the error message might be caused by outdated charging software. This is usually not a problem with the hardware. Instead, it’s an issue with the software that controls the charging process — which is where Tesla updates come in.
Tesla regularly releases software updates for their cars. These updates can include new features, bug fixes, and performance improvements. In some cases, the updates might also be necessary to ensure compatibility with new charging stations or hardware.
If you see the “Unable to Charge – Service Required” error message, you should first check for any available software updates. You can do this by going to the Settings menu in your Tesla and selecting the “Software” option. If there’s a software update available, follow the prompts to install it.
5. A Blocked Charging Port
Dirt, debris, or snow can sometimes block the charging port and prevent the car from charging correctly. You might see the error message “Unable to Charge – Service Required” if this happens.
When dirt clogs the charging port, it can cause a poor connection between the car and the charger. This can result in slower charging times or the car not charging.
In some cases, the problem might also cause the vehicle to lose power while driving.
I also wrote an article called: “8 Reasons Why Your Tesla Stops Charging“. Check it out if you didn’t find your answer in this article.
To clean the charging port, remove any dirt or debris you can see. A can of compressed air can be helpful for this. If any snow is blocking the port, melt it with a hair dryer or heat gun. Be careful not to damage the charging port while doing this.
If you want to be even more eco-friendly, I recommend the ATEngeus 3 in 1 Compressed Air Duster & Vacuum (available on Amazon.com). Since it can be recharged and reused, it’s a bit easier on the environment than standard compressed air cans. You can also use it for computers, making it a versatile cleaning tool to have at your disposal.
Here’s a YouTube video about several reasons why your Tesla won’t charge:
Fun Fact For Tesla Owners
Teslas have a dedicated dog mode that allows you to set an ideal cabin temperature to keep your furry friend comfortable while you’re away. The mode also displays a message on the screen to let passersby know there’s a dog in the car and it’s being taken care of. How cool is that?
What To Do When You Get the “Tesla Unable To Charge, Service Required” Error
Before you call for a tow truck or give up hope regarding the “Tesla Unable To Charge, Service Required” error, there are a few things you can try that might get your car charging again. Some are easy fixes, but others will require a trip to the Tesla service center.
Check for Software Updates
After getting the “Tesla Unable to Charge, Service Required” error message, the first thing you should do is check for any software updates. Tesla releases updates periodically, and they can be downloaded and installed wirelessly.
You can also check for updates on the app on your mobile device.
When Tesla releases a new software update, a pop-up notification will appear at the center of your touchscreen display with an option to install it. You can also check for new software updates by clicking the “Software” tab on the “Control” tab on your Tesla’s display.
To set automatic notifications about new software updates, click “Controls”> “Software”> “Software Update Preference,” then select “ADVANCED.” If there’s an update, follow the prompts to install it. After installation is complete, restart your car and try charging again. If the problem persists, you can try a few other things.
Check for Any Loose Connections
The charging process relies on a tight connection between the car and the charger. If there’s a loose connection, it can cause the car to fail to charge or charge very slowly. This is a relatively easy problem to fix and only requires a quick inspection of the charging port and charging cable.
To check for any loose connections:
- Check the connection between the charger and the wall outlet. Ensure the charger is firmly plugged in, and there are no loose connections.
- Check the connection between the charger and your car.
- Unplug the charger and plug it back in, ensuring it’s firmly connected. You can try shaking the charger cable a bit to see if there is any give.
Doing the above should fix the problem, and you can start charging your car again.
Also double check that your wall connector is working.
Check the Onboard Charger or Your Supercharger for Any Damage
A faulty onboard charger or supercharger is one of the major causes of the “Unable to Charge, Service Required” error message. The onboard charger is the component in your car that converts AC power from the wall outlet into DC power to charge the battery.
The supercharger is a high-speed charger found at some Tesla locations and can charge your car much faster than a standard charger. Any damage to these components like cracks, corrosion, or loose connections can cause your car to fail to charge.
If you suspect that the onboard charger is damaged, you need to take your vehicle to a Tesla service center for thorough inspection and repairs.
For a damaged supercharger, you can call the Tesla customer service number for assistance or move to a different supercharger location.
Clean the Charge Port of Any Debris
A tight connection between the charger and the charge port is essential for proper charging. If there’s any debris blocking the connection, it can cause your car to fail to charge. The charge port is located on the rear of your vehicle and is typically covered when not in use.
To clean it, open the charge port cover and remove any dirt, dust, or leaves that may be blocking the connection. You can use a can of compressed air to blow out any debris that may be stuck in the charge port.
A soft brush can also be used to remove any debris gently. Be careful not to damage the charge port while cleaning it. Once the charge port is clean, close the door and try charging your car again.
Perform a Hard Reset
If your car still won’t charge after trying the above fixes, the next step is to try a hard reset. A hard reset will clear any temporary glitches that may be causing the charging issue.
To perform a hard reset:
- Make sure your car is in Park, and the charger is unplugged.
- Go to Controls > Safety & Security through the touchscreen, then select the “Power Off” button. The car will start rebooting all its systems.
- Wait for two minutes and avoid interacting with the vehicle during this time. Don’t touch the brake pedal, open the door, or turn on any lights. Doing this can interfere with the reset process.
After two minutes have passed, the car will fully reboot, and you can start charging your vehicle again.
Visit a Tesla Service Center for Further Diagnosis and Technical Support
If all the above fails, the charging issue could be caused by a more severe problem requiring professional diagnosis and repairs. The best way to get your car charging properly again is to schedule an appointment at your local Tesla service center.
The technicians there will be able to diagnose and fix the problem quickly so you can get back on the road. They will check for any battery pack, charging system, or electrical system issues. Ensure you book in advance as Tesla service centers are often busy and have long wait times.
It might be an inconvenience, but you’ll feel better knowing that your Tesla is receiving professional technical support from trained staff.
Did You Know?
Did you know there are over 30,000 Tesla superchargers around the world? This high-speed charger can charge your car much faster than a standard charger. The supercharger network is constantly expanding, so there’s always a charger nearby when you need it.
Frequently Asked Questions
I got the error message “Tesla Unable To Charge, Service Required,” but my car is still able to charge, is this normal?
Why can’t I fully charge my Tesla?
Here are a few more questions you might have about your Tesla charging, and answers.
Why Is My Tesla Taking Longer Than Usual To Charge?
Sometimes even Teslas need a little extra “me time” at the charging station. Ambient temperatures can also affect the charging rate.
But if it’s consistently taking longer, it could be due to factors like a lower power source or a software glitch. Double-check your charging settings and try a different outlet, just to rule out any “energy vampires” lurking around.
Why Does My Tesla’s Charging Speed Fluctuate During a Charging Session?
Ah, it’s the charging tango—two steps forward, one step back. It’s quite normal for the charging speed to vary during a session.
It depends on factors like battery temperature, state of charge, and even the alignment of celestial bodies (just kidding about the last one!).
But if the speed dips drastically or stalls for too long, it might be worth checking if there’s a charging gremlin playing tricks on your car.
What Could be Causing My Tesla’s Charging Port To Overheat?
It seems your Tesla is getting a little hot under the charging collar. Overheating in the charging port can be caused by a few things, like a loose connection, high ambient temperatures, or an outdated software version.
Check for any loose connections and make sure your charging setup is well-ventilated. And don’t worry, your Tesla won’t turn into a sauna—it just needs a little TLC (Tesla Love and Care).
Why Does My Tesla’s Charging Cable Feel Hot During Charging?
Hot cables? That’s not the kind of hot Tesla is famous for. While a warm cable is normal during charging, if it feels too hot to handle, it might be a sign of a problem. Make sure your cable is properly plugged in and not coiled up like a disco dancer.
If the heat persists, it’s time to call in the Tesla cavalry—they’ll know how to keep things cool and breezy.
Check out these 20 great gift ideas for yourself or a Tesla fanboy.
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