Tesla cars are packed to the brim with cool and useful features, such as a rear camera, which is controlled through the vehicle’s computer software. But as anyone who has used a computer before knows, they are often prone to glitching, and unfortunately, Teslas are no different.
How do you troubleshoot a Tesla rear camera? Once you’ve diagnosed your issue with the screen, there are several common fixes to troubleshoot the problem:
- Scroll Wheel Reboot
- Top Button Reboot
- Steering Wheel and Brake Pedal Reboot
- Complete Power Off and Restart
- Clear Trip Information and Previous Destinations
- Remove USB Devices
- Disconnect Bluetooth Devices
- Full Factory Reset
One of the most commonly reported issues is a nonfunctional rear camera, but thankfully, unless the camera has been smashed, there are some simple troubleshooting steps you can take to fix it. We’ll go through each one in detail here.
Diagnosing a Tesla Rear Camera Issue
The first step in fixing a Tesla rear camera should be to identify what the issue is and what model car you have.
There are multiple ways for the camera to fail and cease functioning, and it is important to know exactly what type of problem you are dealing with. Here is a list of potential symptoms your Tesla camera may be exhibiting:
- Black Screen: Those who have reported this issue claim that the display for the rear camera goes completely black when it is activated and remains permanently unresponsive every time the camera is turned on.
- White Screen: Similar to the black screen issue, the display for the car’s rear camera becomes white and displays no information. Some who have experienced this also describe the screen as occasionally turning black and then back to white.
- Screen Flickering: Another problem that some report is a purple flickering rear camera display. When reverse is activated, the rear camera will flicker purple, sometimes with green stripes, and will either return to normal functionality after a short period of time or will turn black and unresponsive. This issue is usually caused by the cameras attempting to re-adjust in difficult lighting scenarios and will fix itself upon restarting the car unless the problem proves more serious.
- Intermittent Blackout: Like the black screen issue, the rear camera display on the Tesla will show a completely or partially black screen with only the reversing lines displayed. This occurs randomly when the car is put into reverse or when the rear camera is activated. Full functionality returns when the issue is not present.
While these issues can occur in any model of Tesla car, the majority of all rear camera problems seem to be primarily restricted to the Tesla Model 3, with the Model S suffering similar failures but in far fewer numbers. If you own a Model X or a discontinued Roadster variant of the car, your problem may not be solvable by the troubleshooting process.
8 Common Fixes for Tesla Rear Camera Issues
Once you have diagnosed which specific issue your camera is suffering from, you can begin the process of troubleshooting your problem. While there is no guaranteed quick fix, all of the rear camera problems described above should be solvable by one of the methods listed in this article.
If your camera issues seem to be short-lived and infrequent, take these 3 actions to see if any of them provide a quick fix:
- Put your car in-and-out of reverse multiple times
- Turn your car off and back on again
- Check for a new Tesla software update and install
If your issue persists, head onto our list of various methods of resetting, rebooting, and clearing common software glitches on a Tesla. It is highly recommended that you remain parked in a safe location while performing any of the troubleshooting techniques.
1. Scroll Wheel Reboot
This will soft-reboot your Tesla, and typically is enough to fix the issue. This can be done while driving if necessary. The screen will go black but the car will drive normally.
To perform a scroll wheel reboot, press and hold the scroll wheel buttons for 10 seconds, after 10 seconds, release them. The touchscreen will go black for about 1 minute as the system is rebooting.
2. Top Button Reboot
The top button reboot is only an option for owners of a Tesla Model S or Model X. To activate the top button reboot, press and hold the two buttons which are located above the scroll wheels on the face of the steering wheel for 10 seconds. Doing so will reset the car’s dash.
3. Steering Wheel and Brake Pedal Reboot
This is similar to the soft-reboot, but while also pressing the brake pedal.
To perform this reboot, the car must be parked and all doors must remain closed for the full duration of the process.
- Press on the brake pedal and continue depressing the pedal for the entirety of the process.
- If you own a Model 3, hold down the scroll wheels. If you own a Model S or Model X, press and hold the two buttons above the scroll wheels, as well as the scroll wheels themselves.
- Continue holding the buttons for at least 10 seconds, and the touchscreen will go black for about 1 minute as the system reboots.
- Once the screen go black, continue holding the buttons and pedal until the screen powers back on.
4. Complete Power Off and Restart
Before attempting, a Steering Wheel and Brake Reboot should be tried first. All doors should remain closed unless otherwise instructed. It is also recommended that you perform the restart in a quiet area so as to better hear the audio indicators activated during the rebooting process.
- Take your foot off the brake if you are pressing it.
- Navigate to the main screen and click the Service Menu, then click the option titled “Power Off.”
- After a moment, all screens will turn off as well as all interior lights.
- If you can still hear the car running, wait until all engine noises have ceased.
- If you are unable to hear the car due to surrounding noises, wait a full 3 minutes until the car is completely shut down.
- After you are certain the car is completely powered down, press the brake pedal to reactivate the vehicle.
5. Clear Trip Information and Previous Destinations
Clear the trip data from your Tesla’s computer to boost the stability and reliability of the car’s computer systems. While it may not solve your problem, it may potentially prevent future issues from appearing.
You can clear the satellite navigation information from frequently traveled locations by swiping them off of the list. This will help improve system stability.
6. Remove USB Devices
By removing USB devices, you will prevent interference by any outside source which may be causing your problem. Large amounts of data, such as music files being read from a thumb drive, can cause undue stress on the car’s computers. Reducing the amount of data will allow for more system stability.
7. Disconnect Bluetooth Devices
Similar to the reasoning for USB devices, Bluetooth devices connected to the car, such as your phone, will often upload contacts and other information to the car’s computers. Too much extra data will make the computer systems less stable.
8. Full Factory Reset
Although it is not advised by Tesla, if you are stuck and unable to be helped by a Tesla technician, you may attempt a factory reset. To perform a factory reset, follow the same process as described in “ Complete Power Down and Reset.” Instead of choosing the “Power Off” option, choose “Factory Reset” and then complete the rest of the steps.
Be advised, a factory reset will reset all of your personal settings. We don’t recommend doing this unless all else fails.
If These Fixes Don’t Resolve Your Tesla’s Rear Camera Issue
If one or more of these methods doesn’t fix your problem, they can help rule out variables, improve reliability, and prevent future issues.
In the event you are unable to resolve your issue via any of the methods provided, you will need to seek out a Tesla mechanic, or simply wait for a new software update to potentially fix your problem.