Tesla screen black while driving causes symptoms and fixes are necessary pieces of information for any Tesla owner. The Tesla’s touchscreen houses many of the car’s functions like climate control settings, live traffic updates, and even streaming services.
Since some of these features are essential on most drives, it can be problematic when the screen suddenly goes off. In this article, our team will reveal various causes and fixes for a black Tesla touchscreen.
- 1 Why Does Your Tesla Screen Go Black While Driving?
- 2 What To Do if Your Tesla Screen Goes Black While Driving?
- 3 Conclusion
Why Does Your Tesla Screen Go Black While Driving?
Your Tesla screen goes black (or blank) while driving because of a problem with the car system. The problem can be an outdated or malfunctioning system or a failed electronic multi-media card (eMMC). Overloading your car system with too many apps can also make the screen go black.
Take note that it is possible to drive a Tesla without the touchscreen display. However, doing so is somewhat risky because you won’t have access to all the functionalities and controls the screen provides. For instance, rear-view camera displays, indicators, and windshield controls won’t be accessible.
– Failed/Outdated eMMC
eMMC failure or malfunction is one of the major reasons for the black/blank screens Tesla owners experience. According to Tesla, as your car gets older, the screen may become unresponsive over time and take longer to load. In addition, users may experience screen glitches and blackouts from time to time. All these are signs of a failing eMMC.
If not changed, the memory card may break down completely, leaving you unable to access your screen. Some Tesla models, like the Model S, are known to have embedded faults in the eMMC card. This is why the screen of these models can unexpectedly go blank while driving. These faults are mostly present in Tesla models produced before 2018, since the technology wasn’t so advanced at the time.
If your car model is one of the early ones produced before 2018, you may be eligible for an extended warranty from Tesla to get your screen replaced. The conditions are that your vehicle is less than eight years old and has been driven less than 100,000 miles. However, even in recent Tesla models, eMMC faults still occur.
– System Overloaded With Apps
Overloading your Tesla CPU with too many apps is another major cause of Tesla car screens going black. Tesla’s digital system allows users to run apps like Apple Music and Spotify, but running too many apps at once weighs down on the CPU, causing the screen to shut down. Most Tesla owners who stream music with their cars frequently report this issue.
– System Is Malfunctioning
A malfunctioning car system can cause black/blank screens. If you’re using an outdated system software like the MCU1, you will experience black or frozen Tesla screens from time to time. This is because the MCU1 is heavy software that easily lags and overloads itself, resulting in an overall system malfunction. MCU means Media Control Unit.
It is a computer that powers your vehicle’s main display and its UX and multimedia features. Model X and Model S Teslas shipped before March 2018 had the first version of the control unit, MCU1. Later cars built and shipped post-April 2018 have been updated with the latest version, MCU2. All Model 3 cars are also equipped with the MCU2.
What To Do if Your Tesla Screen Goes Black While Driving?
If your Tesla controls screen goes black while driving, you can use a reboot to bring it back on. You can reboot your vehicle in several ways: through a soft or hard reset, a CPU and GPU reset, or a factory reset.
– Reset the Touchscreen
Resetting the touchscreen can restore the black screen on your vehicle. To perform this reset, press and hold down both scroll buttons simultaneously, for about 10 seconds. This will cause your screen to restart and start functioning as normal again.
A touchscreen reset is a kind of soft reset, so it can be done while driving. However, it’s still advisable to park before beginning the reboot so you don’t get distracted. Take note that you can technically carry out a screen reset while driving your Tesla, but it is recommended that you park your car before doing any resets. Trying to reset your car screen while driving might distract you from focusing on the road.
– GPU and CPU Reboot
A GPU and CPU reboot can also restore a blank screen on your Tesla car. This method especially works for Tesla Model 3 vehicles. It can also be the solution to a malfunctioning screen/system.
To carry out this reset, first park your vehicle (remember to keep the doors closed). Next, press your foot down on the brake pedal and press and hold the two scroll buttons on your steering wheel. Note that you must press them at the same time, or else the reboot will not work.
Hold for a few seconds, and you’ll see a Tesla logo on your screen. The aim of this method is to refresh your car’s GPU and CPU only, in order to remove all bugs or lags. It’s quite different from a power cycle, where your entire car system gets rebooted.
– Do a Hard Reset
A hard/total reset can restore the blank screen of your vehicle. This method involves disconnecting the battery and allowing everything in your car to discharge. It is similar to how you’d reset your phone by removing the battery and putting it back. A total reboot removes power from every system in your car, so everything (including your screens) has a chance to function properly afterward.
It’s a delicate process and should be done carefully since you’re dealing with a high-voltage electric car. To do this type of reboot, you need to turn off settings (such as climate controls), open the car trunk, and disconnect both the battery and the first responder loop. Then wait for 5 to 10 minutes before reconnecting the battery and first responder loop. Finally, close the trunk and start your car.
Remember that different Tesla models have variations in settings and battery customizations, so follow your manual to know how to disconnect the battery properly. After reconnecting and starting your car, everything should work just fine. Note that a hard reboot should only be used as a last resort.
It can be very dangerous if you don’t know how to handle high-voltage systems. Also, any damages done during the process may ruin your warranty. This is why it is advisable that you contact a technician or go to a Tesla service care for this car service.
– Restore Factory Settings
A factory reboot/reset is one of the best solutions to restore your screen. However, this method wipes off all your data (location history, videos, navigation data, user information, etc.). To restore factory settings, open your Tesla App on your phone and go to the “Services” section.
The app may request you to sign in to your account. After signing in, click on factory reset and wait for about four minutes for all your data to be cleared.
If you wish to restore factory settings with your car, tap the car symbol at the bottom corner of the screen. Then, click on “service” and choose the factory reboot option.
– Do a Power Cycle
Power cycling your Tesla can help restore a black screen. To do this reboot, first close all the doors of your vehicle, then park at a suitable spot. Next, firmly press down on your brake while holding down all four buttons on your steering at the same time. You may have to hold for about 30 seconds before releasing.
A prompt will then appear asking if you want to power off your car. Click “Power off.” Doing this shuts down your car entirely. Press and hold all four buttons and the brake pedal again to restart your car.
However, do not touch anything in your car, at least for the first five to 10 minutes after reboot. After 10 minutes, activate your car by pressing the brake. Your screen should come on.
If the power cycling doesn’t work the first time, remove all devices connected to your car’s USB ports (including the USB connection in the glove box) and try again. If your screen remains blank, try another reset/reboot method.
– Update the MCU
Updating the MCU of your car can solve the black/blank screen problem. The screen of your Tesla will blackout when the system is malfunctioning. Upgrading your software from MCU1 to MCU2 can eliminate system issues and solve your blank screen problem.
A software upgrade can also solve other common problems like glitching and connectivity issues. To upgrade your MCU, you’ll have to schedule an appointment with the Tesla service center via the Tesla app. Upgrades can cost anywhere between $1,500 and $2,000.
The MCU2 offers a smoother UI than the MCU1 and has new or updated features, so it might be worth the price tag. To find out if you already have the MCU2, try this short test.Try to reboot your display using only the controls on the steering wheel. If both displays reboot, then you already have the MCU2.
– Wait a Few Days
Waiting for a few days can help your screen come back online. Sometimes, your screen may be blank due to constant usage. Allowing it to rest for a few days may give it sufficient time to cool down and function properly.
If you can’t drive without using your screen, you’ll have to park your car in a safe spot. Try to use the screen again after a few days and see if it works. Waiting a few days can also give sufficient time for Tesla to release a software update for your car.
Now you know the various things that can cause a Tesla black screen and how to fix the issue.
Let’s go over the major points of this article.
- The most likely cause of the screen blackout is due to a failed/outdated eMMC or malfunctioning MCU1 system. Another likely cause is if the onboard computer is overloaded with apps.
- Fixing a black Tesla touchscreen can be as simple as rebooting the touchscreen. You can either do a hard or soft reboot to get your screen working again.
- You can also try upgrading the computer from MCU1 to MCU2 or waiting a few days to see if the problem disappears.
- Restoring factory settings should only be used as a last resort.
- Disconnecting your Tesla battery can be risky, so follow the manual instructions carefully.
If you don’t succeed in getting your black/blank screen to work again, you can contact Tesla service to fix the car or try to get an upgrade.
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