You’re all set to go somewhere, but your car hasn’t charged. This is a real problem. I’ve been a mechanic for 25 years, and I’ll show you why your Model 3 won’t charge.
The most common reasons your Tesla Model 3 won’t charge include:
- Power problems at home
- Problems with your Tesla
- Supercharger problems
In this article, we’ll look at the reasons why your Model 3 won’t charge, how to diagnose the problem, and get you back charging.
Model 3 Power Problems at Home
The number one reason your Model 3 won’t charge is that it’s not receiving any power. This is what we need to check first.
At the Car Port
When your car is charging, there are several light visuals to indicate what is going on, and here they are:
|All Green||Charging||No Problems|
|Top Light Green||Power but not charging||Check car connection|
|No Green – Red Light Flashing||Unsafe Electrics||Press Reset Button|
|No Green – 2 Red Lights Flashing||Self Check Failed||Reset Required|
|No Green – 3 Red Lights Flashing||Contact Failed||Unplug and Replug|
|No Green – 4 Red Lights Flashing||Loss of Ground||Contact Electrician|
|No Green – 5 Red Lights Flashing||Circuit Break||Check Outlet|
|No Green – 6 Red Lights Flashing||Heat Fault||Move Charging to a Cooler Place|
|More than 6 Red Lights Flashing||Faulty Connector||Contact Tesla|
|No Lights||No Power||Check Power|
As I mentioned earlier, your mobile connector has a series of lights on it, and depending on what they show should give you an indication as to what’s going on.
If there is no light at the charger port, then there is no power going to the car from the wall charger. If there is a light on the wall, there could be a problem with the connection to your car. This can be caused by debris in your cable port. Bugs, fluff, leaves.
Have a look into your cable, and if necessary, shine your phone light into it. Unplug from the wall before you attempt to clear anything from the cable. Do not use any liquid to clean the cable. If needs be, use a cotton bud or a small soft brush.
If there is a light, then you could be having onboard computer problems (skip to the Tesla problem section)
At the Wall Charger
If there’s no power in the car, then we have to check a few things to determine why there is no power.
If there is currently an outage at your house I think you probably would have realized before you get to the garage. No coffee. No hot shower.
But there may have been an outage during the night. My go-to check is the clock on my oven. If it’s flashing, then there has been an outage.
So why are there no lights on at the charge port if the power is back? Typically, this is caused by a Scheduled Charge Set in your App. This window was when the power was down, so no charging is now happening.
Hopefully, you have enough residual power to get to a Supercharger or to work where there is a Destination Charger.
If not, you’ll have to reset your charge function and either work from home or find additional transport.
If there hasn’t been an outage, the other possibility is the circuit has tripped in your charging area. This can be caused by an overload. Check your circuit board to see if any switches are tripped. Have a look around and see if there is anything unusual plugged in. If there is, unplug them and reset your circuit. If there is still a problem, it will trip again immediately.
This means it is more likely to be your Wall Charger. Unplug the charger and move it to another socket (unless it’s hard-wired). If this works, then there is a problem with your socket. If it doesn’t, then the problem is within your Charger Plug. Either way, you will need an electrician to look into your problem. You should not try and repair anything electrical unless you are qualified to do so.
If you have checked all your power possibilities and they are all good, your Tesla may be the problem.
If your Tesla was charging and stopped, then you will receive a notification through your Tesla App. This may indicate what has caused the problem.
It could be a simple matter of your car not being plugged in on time for your Scheduled Charge, as we mentioned earlier. Someone else that drives the car may have had it away from home at the allocated time.
The other reason is that there has been an update, and it hasn’t been fully installed in your car. This happens when your car doesn’t have access to WiFi (this can be several reasons.)
- WiFi at home not working
- Antenna in-car failing (older models)
- Car not connecting to WiFi
- Hard or Soft Rest Needed
WiFi at home not working
Wifi at home not working means that when your car tried to connect to complete a software update, it couldn’t. This can happen if your WiFi is down due to bad weather or it’s simply not working because of an external fault.
WiFi Antenna in Car failing
The antenna in your car could be failing. This is more likely if your car has some age. This can only be fixed by Tesla. You will need to log a service call to discuss your WiFi connection.
Car Not Connecting to WiFi
The car not connecting to WiFi could be because your car is pre-2015. If it is, then your car is operating with AT&T 3G Network. (unless you have updated). In February 2022, AT&T shut down its 3G Network as it was too old, and technology has moved on considerably since the launch of 3G. If you schedule a service with Tesla, they will upgrade your modem for you. The cost is $200, which allows all updates to complete and access to other onboard features.
Hard or Soft Reset Needed
Tesla glitches occur if a reset is needed. This will update your software and reboot your computer.
- Put your Tesla in Park
- Remove any auxiliary items that are plugged in i.e., phones, USB drives
- Press and hold the Brake
- Hold both scroll wheels on your steering wheel for 10-15 seconds
- The touchscreen will go black
- Tesla Logo will appear
- When everything is back fully, your car should be locking without issue
- Shift into Park
- Remove any devices
- Hold both scroll wheels on the steering wheel for 10-15 seconds
- The touchscreen turns black
- Tesla Logo reappears
- Everything will once again be available
The difference between hard and soft reboots is the holding of the Brake. It is not advisable to do a soft reboot while driving. You are, after all, rebooting the screen and should not be distracted from the control of your car in any way while driving.
Although nearly all charging of Teslas happens at home, which is recommended by Tesla, there are times when you may need to charge at a Supercharger.
Plugging into a Supercharger will show up the same lights at your car port as you see at home. We immediately jump to the conclusion that it’s our car that has a problem. In reality, it’s more likely to be the fault of the Supercharger.
The Tesla Supercharger network is immense, and it’s understandable that from time to time, they give trouble. People tampering with them or just general wear and tear. It’s worth trying another charger at the station to rule this out. If this has the same outcome, look around and see if any of the other chargers are in use. It’s worth waiting for this one to become available to try and charge your car.
If you find that the charger is working and your Tesla is still not charging, you have a problem with your Tesla. If you have enough range to get home, I recommend you do this.
If you don’t have enough range, then I recommend you call Roadside Assist. It’s better to be at a Charging Station where Roadside Assist can easily locate you rather than stranded on the highway, which leads to bigger problems.
Roadside Assist is a free service offered by Tesla as long as you’re under warranty. They will tow you home or to a Service Center. In my opinion, it’s advisable to go home. Here you can talk to Tesla from the comfort of your home. And you can also retry charging your car using your familiar charging setup.
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