Tesla Service Valet Disables Mobile Access for One New Owner

Tesla Service Center

I went in for my first Tesla Service the other week after having reported on a few software glitches. Although I had resolved the issues on my own by rebooting the touchscreen, Tesla service still wanted me to bring the car in just for good measure to make sure everything was ok.

The appointment was booked three weeks out due to the lack of loaner availability. They wanted me to bring the car in early in the day, but getting there from where I live during peak traffic would be a nightmare. Hearing this, Tesla quickly suggested their new valet service which would send their driver to come pick up my car from my location during the day of service. Needless to say I took them up on the offer.

Tesla Valet Pick Up

The Tesla valet appeared at my office promptly at the 8:30am scheduled time and provided me with some basic paperwork to review. My main reason for the service was to investigate the reboots, but I figured I’d have them check the suspension too while they’re at it. My Model S felt a bit tight when turning into parking lots and I wasn’t sure if it was normal or something unusual. I asked the valet if he works on the vehicles that he picks up to which he clearly stated that he’s only responsible for the pick-up an deliveries.

We moved forward with the ceremony of him handing me the FOB for the Model S 60 loaner and me handing over the FOB to my precious and that was it. He took off and left me with the loaner. The loaner was “just in case” I needed to run somewhere during the day (I did) and in case they couldn’t get mine back to me before the end of the day.

Tesla Valet Disables Mobile Access

As the Tesla valet drove away with my Model S, I quickly brought up my Tesla iPhone app to check on his progress while he made his way through the heavy Boston traffic and back to the service center. I wondered if he’d obey the speed limits, but I couldn’t connect to the car.

It seems that the first thing the valet did on entering my car was to disable the app access. After I got the car back I confirmed that it was the only thing that had been changed (and not re-enabled either). I thought this behavior was a bit odd. I poked around on the forums and spoke to a few people and it appears that there’s no “standard” practice, but most service centers leave the tracking enabled except when the car is actually being serviced. Evidently some joker owners have honked the horn and flashed the lights and done other silly things while the mechanics are working on their cars — thats not safe or funny.

I wondered how other people thought about this behavior and started a poll on the Tesla Motors Club forums with these results:

Service & Mobile Poll

As you can see from the results, 88% of owners agree that Tesla should not be changing the mobile access settings except when actually servicing the car.

Tesla Service Repair

I got a 4 page summary of the service that I hadn’t really needed. They basically checked all the issues I reported  (seat heaters, screen reboot etc) and confirmed that everything was in good shape. Tesla did a software update from 5.9 build 1.51.94 to build 1.51.96 which is something you can only get from Tesla service center. Most of the line items/fixes read “updated software and rebooted.”

Tesla had a service bulletin related to a clicking steering wheel (not a complaint of mine) that they applied as part of my service. Those service bulletins are not well documented for owners and you only find out about them by word of mouth. It would be great if they published these bulletins for owners somewhere.

Since I didn’t really need anything to be fixed and Tesla made an effort to poke at/update/service a bunch of things, it’s hard to say anything bad about the entire event except for the part where they disabled the mobile app. The entire service was free too so I can’t complain. I haven’t had any issues on my Model S since the service.

Tesla Service Completion

Official Fob PocketNear the end of the day Tesla service contacted me to let me know they were getting ready to bring my car back. I was ready to leave work and the traffic didn’t seem that bad going to the service center so I offered to go pick up the car myself.

Tesla gave me an official Tesla FOB pocket when I picked up the car – something you can’t buy anywhere. It was a nice touch which I really appreciated. I’ve been using it everyday since receiving it even though I never really thought I needed one.

ALSO SEE: Deluxe FobPocket Review: Tesla Model S Key Fob Cover

Other than the remote app incident the service event was friendly, easy and Tesla lived up to my high expectations of service for a luxury car. Afterall, most luxury car makers don’t even have a remote app that can be complained about!

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