Tesla offers a more in-depth service menu for the DIY mechanic. You can use this to get more details about issues, assist with diagnostics, do calibrations, and perform other tasks without additional software such as Toolbox 3. Service mode is intended for those that understand what they are doing. Service mode is available in all Tesla vehicles including the Model S, Model X, Model 3, and Model Y, but options available depend on the model, features, and vintage. (Apr-2023 update)
Accessing Service Mode
To access the secondary service menu, select Controls -> Software. Press and hold the larger text “Model” for 5 seconds and then release.
A dialog “Please enter access code” will appear.
Type service (all lowercase) and press OK. A Service Mode warning dialog appears.
Select Enable. After a couple of seconds, Service Mode is activated.
Use the icons on the left of the Service mode screen to select different options. Some icons have multiple sub-options, which appear when you tap on one of the icons. You can swipe down from the top to hide the service menu. Tap the red wrench icon to bring back the service menu.
Exiting Service Mode
At the bottom of the center navigation bar, tap the red “Exit Service Mode”, followed by press and hold for about 5 seconds.
Vehicle Info mode shows some basic details of your car with six function buttons on the right, and a list of areas below the Vehicle Info tab.
Tap Service Alerts to view service alerts and when they occurred. There are two categories, Service-Fix and Customer. Service-Fix can include important issues along with non-issues. It is common to see a few issues here that are unimportant. Customer alerts are those that are shown on the display in normal vehicle operation. Click on an alert for additional details as we did in our Model Y example below.
Some of the common unimportant error messages you may see in older vehicles:
Toolbox can be used to resync the aero shutters, but we understand it is not necessary and Tesla service will not do it normally.
Use this function to reinstall the software. It will not install a newer or older version than the current one. This is used when some ECUs are replaced. It is not to be used for car computer replacements.
When brake pads or rotors are replaced, it is necessary to smooth the brake pads to the rotors. This service menu guides you through the process and disables regen to perform the brake burnishing.
Burnishing the Brakes (Summary)
- Drive the vehicle at approximately 50 mph – 55 mph (80 km/h – 90 km/h) on a straight road.
- Apply moderate, consistent pressure to the brake pedal to slowly decelerate the vehicle, releasing at 10 mph (15 km/h).
- Repeat this procedure 6 times, waiting at least 30 seconds between applications.
This is a long list of various settings that are normally limited or disabled while in service mode. You can override these settings if you are working on one specific area that is needed. The list can be scrolled to see additional settings.
This is used if the touch panel is damaged and creating fake touch events. Such events will be shown on the display.
Just a text dialog on getting additional service and technical information from Tesla.
There are two sections for Driver Assist. You can check the Cameras status for the DAS (Driver Assist System). A green dots indicates the camera is functioning normally.
The Sensors selection shows radar, ultrasonic sensors, ECU and the GPS status and number of satellites in use. You can calibrate the ultrasonic sensors as well.
The Wireless section shows the state of WiFi and Cellular. Oddly, our 2022 Model S did not have this option, but our 2022 Y did.
The High Voltage Status shows all items that are functioning properly. You can also view the Isolation resistance, normally above 2000 kΩ. Low resistance indicates a leakage path, which could be caused by a fluid leak in the battery or drive unit.
On newer cars (2021+?) there is a battery health test option. It requires the car to have a SOC below 50% to start and be connected to a Level 2 charger. The test takes a little under 24 hours to run.
The Low Voltage selection offers two choices. First is Power Distribution to view status and options to reset some of the vehicles computers.
The second option HomeLink is used to test HomeLink.
The Thermal section has three choices. The first is Actions. Do not use this section unless you know what you are doing!
The second section is for Sensors and Valves. Note that the default in Service Mode is to have the HVAC system off. Go into Service Settings if you need the heat pump operating to check the status and operation.
The third section is Refrigerant System. It shows an animated flow of refrigerant with options used to fill the refrigerant system.
The Chassis section has two sections. Suspension shows the height of each corner and provides a number of service options for vehicles equipped with the air suspension.
Alignment and Tires allows you to calibrate the steering wheel’s center point. The steering wheel center point is the position where on a flat road without holding the steering wheel, the car drives straight. It does not adjust for physical alignment, which should be done prior to this adjustment. It’s reported but unconfirmed, that this offset is self-learning and will change on it’s own.
On the right, you can view the raw tire pressures in PSI. The tire pressures shown are the last reading sent by the sensors. Tire sensors only send values when pressures change or when the vehicle is moving.
The Closures section shows each windows switch and window state.
Tests and screenshots were taken in March 2023 using:
- 2022 Model S, Software 2022.44.30.10
- 2022 Model Y, Software 2022.44.30.10