When Model S Gets a Yellow Screen Try This First

When Model S Gets a Yellow Screen Try This First

The Media Control Unit in your Tesla S is the epicenter of your universe. This is why it can be so troubling when the screen turns yellow. Thankfully, there is a fix for that. Understanding why it turns yellow is just part of the equation, but there is now a way to get rid of it and return the screen back to its normal pristine condition. 

If the screen on a Model S has turned yellow, first apply Tesla’s UV light fixture tool. Doing so is as simple as taking the Tesla down to a local service center. It is there that trained technicians can apply the tool, and the yellow will disappear. 

Being able to see the display on your Tesla Model S clearly is important. This is true not only from an aesthetic standpoint but from a practical one as well. Seeing that yellow appear no longer has to trouble you. Continue reading to learn what you can do at the first sign that your Media Control Unit screen is turning yellow.  

What Causes the Screen to Turn Yellow?

Before anyone can know how to fix the yellow screen issue in the Tesla Model S, it is first important to know what causes it in the first place. This is an expensive piece of technology with many components involved in its construction. The fact that the screen turns yellow has been troubling for not only the car owner but also for Tesla. 

While there is no definitive answer on this issue, it appears to have something to do with the adhesive that goes under the screen in order to protect the display unit. It requires a great deal of UV curing in order to set properly, and that appears not to have happened in the vast majority of Tesla Model S’s manufactured until just recently. 

Due to the popularity of the Model S in the early days, the cars seemed to be literally flying off the production line. The common theory is that Tesla sped up the manufacturing process. This ended in shortening the amount of time available to allow the display screen to receive its proper UV treatment.

Over time, the adhesive weakens as a result of this lack of UV treatment. That ends up causing the annoying yellow border on the screen that many Tesla owners have been complaining about for years. It makes the screen look dated and on the verge of failure, not to mention becoming an eyesore. 

How Much Would It Cost to Replace a Tesla Screen?

One of the concerns when you first see a yellow screen in your Model S is that the display unit itself is about to break. Since you depend on this piece of technology when driving your Tesla, that can be pretty troubling, and you will immediately begin to think how much this will cost you. 

If you were to replace your entire Media Control, you are looking at a replacement cost of $1,000 or more. This can take quite a chunk out of your budget. This problem is compounded by the finding that such display screens in the Model S were failing after only five to six years of use. 

What About a Free Replacement?

Since the car depends on that display screen, replacing it every half-decade or so seems to be a bit much. This is why the issue of the yellow screen so concerns so many people. At one point, Tesla actually issued a recall for the Media Control Units in all of its Model S vehicles. This went for cars sold in both the United States and in China.

Thanks to the recall, certain Model S owners were entitled to a completely free display screen replacement. Those replacements were meant to address many different issues associated with the units, with the yellow screen being primary among them. Of course, this ended up being the easiest fix. 

What Happens If You Do Not Qualify for the Recall?

Not all Model S owners qualify for the recall. For those individuals, they are looking at quite a major expense if the display unit were to fail. The reality is that the electronic components in a Tesla are complex and expensive. In many cases, Tesla is the sole manufacturer of the unit. This drives the price up quite a bit. 

Since the display screens seem to have a shorter than expected life expectancy, many owners are rightfully concerned about the cost of fixing the issues with a yellow screen. While Tesla has become quite adept at fixing issues with a simple software update, this is not a possibility with the yellow screen. A physical fix is necessary, which is Tesla thankfully provides quite easily. 

What is the Issue?

Drivers spend a lot of time looking at the display screen in their Model S. Over time, many of these screens end up with a yellow tint to the border. This becomes quite distracting. In some cases, it actually makes images and text difficult to read if they are located towards the edges of the screen. 

The yellow screen seems to appear without warning, and it will not go away. It is not an issue of sunlight, nor is it because the display’s brightness is set too high. In other words, there is nothing that the car owner can do to resolve the issue on their own. It requires some special tools and resources that only Tesla has at this time. 

A New Type of UV Fixture to the Rescue

To their credit, Tesla worked quickly to fix the problem with the display screen on its Model S. This involves a UV fixture tool that is deployed to service centers across the country. They also provided the training necessary to help technicians know how to fix the issue. 

According to various sources, the yellowing of the screen results from an adhesive that was not cured properly during the manufacturing process. Over time, this affects the integrity of the unit and causes a yellow background to appear. Until the fix is applied, the yellow will not go away. 

With this UV fixture, the problem appears to be taken care of. Once the fix is applied, the solution is permanent. There is no need to do anything else, and a software upgrade is not needed. 

That is why it is helpful that you are reading this post first. If you are the owner of a Tesla Model S and the display screen has turned yellow, you no longer have to worry about paying more than $1,000 to fix the unit. The screen itself is fine. It simply needs to have UV light applied to it, and the problem will be gone. 

Is the Solution Free?

This is a perfectly logical question to be asking. Since the issue has come about due to a problem during the manufacturing stage, Tesla is working to fix all display screens at no cost to the owners. If your Media Control Unit starts to turn yellow, you can currently take the screen into a Tesla Service Center, and they will apply the fix free of charge. 

There is no indication that this offer will last forever. It is best to go ahead and get the problem fixed before Tesla starts to charge for it. All indications are that Model S owners can go ahead and take their vehicle to a service center to have the fix applied even if the screen has not yet turned yellow. That is probably a wise course of action to take. 

The fix is designed to be permanent. However, some Model S owners have already remarked that the yellow screen comes back in some situations. If that is the case, Tesla will not provide the fix for free once again. That would need to be paid for, which is indicative of the cost that comes with Tesla ownership. Maintaining this level of technology is not cheap. 

Why is the Media Control Unit so Important?

Since the yellow screen has become such an issue, it is important to understand why the Media Control Unit is so vital to the performance of the Tesla Model S. In terms of the vehicle lineup at Tesla, the Model S was the first car of its type that employed the use of a massive touchscreen display. Before that, physical controls and buttons were the norm. 

This one display unit controls just about everything about the car. This one touchscreen allows drivers and passengers to manipulate such items as:

  • Navigational features – This is where the yellow screen on the display unit can become particularly problematic. While the voice feature is great, drivers also depend on the map functionality of the navigation system. When the yellow border interferes with the text and picture capabilities, then the driver may be left without all of the information that they need to successfully navigate to their destination. 
  • Climate control – The model S has a powerful and interactive air conditioning and heating system that has consistently received rave reviews. However, the vehicle itself does not have any knobs that control the temperature. Instead, that is controlled right from the display unit itself. Absent the ability to manipulate these controls, it could get rather uncomfortable in the vehicle. 
  • Certain driver safety features – While not all of the autopilot features available on the Tesla Model S are dependent upon the display screen, many are. A prime example of this is the rearview camera. This safety feature gives the driver a full picture of what is happening behind them as they prepare to go in reverse. This only works with a functioning Media Control Unit.
  • Media and entertainment – The touchscreen display is where you control the volume of your music and phone calls. You can find the media that you want and direct it to the sound system in the manner that you choose. Again, there are no knobs available in the car to do this for you. 

Since there is no backup system, the driver would be unable to use any of these items absent the display screen. That is why it is so critical that the Media Control Unit in the Model S remains functional at all times. For example, many of the safety features that Tesla is known for would be inoperable if the touchscreen could not be accessed. 

What Can You Do with Your Touchscreen Display?

Since the Media Control Unit allows you to do so much, it can be said that it is the brain of your vehicle. This is where just about everything that you need to enjoy a safe and comfortable ride in your vehicle is controlled. This is why you will want to know how to get rid of the yellow screen when it appears.

Stay Connected with the Outside World

The Model S allows for the connectivity of numerous different mobile devices. Passengers and drivers alike can take advantage of this feature. While charging capabilities are located in several different places in the vehicle, the touchscreen display can also be used to control those devices. 

Passengers can tap into their phones, play their music through the sound system, and do so much more. Drivers can also have much of the information contained on their mobile devices pop up on the touchscreen display in their Model S so that they can make use of it in real-time. 

Control the Perfect Environment

You might already be aware of the newly redesigned climate control system that has been built into the design of the Model S. This provides everyone inside the vehicle with clean and filtered throughout their journey. While this capability exists independently of the Media Control Unit, it is largely controlled by the touchscreen display. 

Being without access to this display screen for even one trip would be almost unbearable during much of the year. It is essential to be able to use the unit to direct and control airflow and temperature throughout the entire vehicle. There are separate controls for both the rear and front of the Model S. 

Navigate to Where You Want to Go

If you drive outside of your local area with any regularity, this is probably the feature that you will rely on the most. You can input your destination into the Media Control Unit and allow the Model S to map out the most efficient route possible for you. This will also display a map on the screen that you can see as you go. 

The frustrating aspect of the yellow screen is that your ability to visualize this information becomes compromised. You need to know what route you are taking, particularly when traveling in an area that you are unfamiliar with. You will want a fully functioning display screen in order to make sure that this happens. 

Play Games from the Front or Rear

Road trips today are much different than they were a mere decade ago. The Media Control Unit provides so many options for passengers that adults and children alike will never lack for something to do. The display screen makes this all possible, including the small one included in the rear for back seat passengers. 

This display screen allows you to play your favorite games just like you would if you were on your home computer. The speed and graphics are incredible. This is why you will want to make sure that you have received the UV treatment in order to prevent the yellow screen from creeping in when you least expect it. 

Check Vehicle Information

This is another critical function of the Media Control Unit in the Tesla Model S. Since there is no dash instrument panel to look at, the touchscreen display is where the driver learns critical information about the vehicle’s performance. 

It is important to be able to see items such as:

  • Speed
  • Tire pressure
  • Battery charging indicators
  • Other important safety information

Without the display screen, this information would not be accessible. That would be equated with driving blind, so it is important to keep everything functioning properly. 

Stay Safe No Matter Where You Are Driving

Finally, the Media Control Unit is where you will access many of the safety features on the Model S. We have already touched on the rearview camera. Still, other features are accessible on the display screen as well.

If a hazard outside the vehicle could cause an accident, it will show up on the display screen. Certain features of the Autopilot system are also only accessible from the unit, so you will want to make sure that you can use these at all times. 


Part of taking care of your Tesla Model S involves knowing what to do when something goes wrong. Given the advanced level of technology on this car, that has become increasingly important. Now that you know what to do when your screen starts to turn yellow, you will be able to take care of the problem in relatively short order. 


The articles here on ThatTeslaChannel.com are created by Greg, a Tesla vehicle and Tesla solar expert with nearly half a decade of hands-on experience. The information on this site is fact-checked and tested in-person to ensure the best possible level of accuracy.

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