Tesla S Not Playing Music – Top 3 Reasons Why!

We all like to listen to some tunes when we’re driving, and it’s frustrating when it stops working.

The top three common reasons your Tesla Model S is not playing music include:

  1. Loss of connection
  2. Update Required
  3. 3G connection no longer supported

In this article, we’ll explain why your Tesla S won’t play music and what you can do to fix it right now!

Model S Tesla dashboard
Infographic - Tesla S Not Playing Music

1 Loss of Connection

Loss of connection is probably the reason your music is not playing. Your Tesla S is full of technology. A computer on wheels, you might say. And as we all know, computers are known to have connection problems. You can listen to music in your Tesla in three main ways:

  1. Radio
  2. Streaming music using Tesla’s built-in service
  3. Bluetooth on your phone

1 FM Radio

FM Radio was previously removed from all Teslas as it was considered outdated technology. However, customers asked for it to be reinstated, and so in 2020, Tesla began offering the radio to be retrofitted back into the car. This comes with a price tag of $500. And you can, after all, listen to radio stations through your phone.

If you have the luxury of FM Radio in your car, it is being transmitted through the antennae. Radio waves can transmit over long distances, but sometimes items or landmasses prevent full transmission, and your radio goes silent or crackly. This could be in a densely forested area, a mountainous region, or simply an underground car park.

2 Streaming Music through Tesla

Tesla offers two music streaming options – Tidal and Spotify. All Model S bought after July 2018 are eligible for a 1-year free Premium Connectivity (Trial) subscription.

After this trial period has ended, a paid subscription is required to access your music. This is $9.99 per month or $99 per year.

There is a possibility that your subscription has expired. You can check whether you are still connected through the Tesla app.

  • Tesla App
  • Software
  • Car Details

In this window, the ‘Upgrades’ will tell you whether you are subscribed to Premium. If you are not, then you can subscribe for Premium by clicking manage. Subscription usually drops off because of payment issues. This is likely due to your Credit Card or Debit Card expiring since your last payment (which is likely if you pay annually) or because you have had to replace a lost or stolen card.

3 Bluetooth on Your Phone

Connecting your phone to your Tesla s is very simple. Sometimes connectivity is lost because your phone has been connected somewhere else, you have specifically turned off Bluetooth on your phone, or you’ve recently had a phone software update.

No Bluetooth connection is a reason why your music won’t play.

I hear you! I just opened my car with my Bluetooth Phone! Well, believe it or believe it not, Tesla has two levels of Bluetooth. One will open and close your car. The second level works on items such as phone calls and audio. You do need connectivity on your phone for both.

We first need to check whether you are connected to Bluetooth on your Tesla Touchscreen. On the screen, you’re looking for the Bluetooth symbol. It’s a bit like a bowtie on its side.

  • Tap the icon
  • Add device or
  • View devices
  • On your phone – Turn Bluetooth on
  • It will now be listed on the touchscreen
  • Select your phone

Your Tesla will now be paired with your phone. Sometimes you have to do this in reverse, i.e., finding your Model S on your phone and connecting.

Like all technology, this doesn’t always automatically work. This is especially true if there are several devices on your car list. It’s best to have one or two. To delete unused devices:

  • Tap on the Bluetooth Icon
  • View devices
  • Tap any you’re no longer using
  • Select ‘Forget this Device’

Try pairing your phone now, and it should be more successful.

Once your phone is connected, you can select to play any music on your phone or play through any apps you might have, such as Spotify or Radio Stations.

2 Update required – Reset Your Tesla

There may be a music issue because of a software update. You can do either a ‘Hard’ or ‘Soft’ update.

Hard Update

  • 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 music will also be available

Soft Reset

  • 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 a hard and soft reboot is the holding of the Brake. Some think you can do a soft reboot while driving, but it is not recommended by Tesla. You are, after all, rebooting the screen and should not be distracted from the control of your car in any way while driving.

Software updates are sent all the time by Tesla wirelessly. Your music suddenly not working could be just because a reboot is required.

3 AT&T and 3G

In February 2022, AT&T disabled its 3G Network. Tesla cars have always used the AT&T network, and although disabling the 3G network is not a problem for any new Teslas, many older models still work perfectly. The Model S was first released in 2012, and Tesla has updated all the original cars since then.

Due to 3G being removed, it is possible that your car had 3G connectivity, and now, because of AT&T, it doesn’t. But I’ve been able to run updates, I hear you say. This may have been happening through a WiFi connection.

WiFi was previously turned off or disconnected once you shifted into drive or reverse. Still, Tesla has overwritten this, which means you can maintain a WiFi connection to your phone while driving. You now have no music in your car because the phone you normally have with you is not in the car. Or it has disconnected from the WiFi.

Tesla has offered to install a new modem to overcome the 3G problem. It costs $200. Ultimately this was an AT&T decision and not Tesla’s. Most car companies walk away after three years, and although Tesla has a standard warranty, they still offer all updates to older models.

Tesla also offers a completely new MCU upgrade which gives you more Touchscreen capabilities and is more user-friendly. The upgrade costs upwards of $2000, which might be a little spendy for a 10-year-old car.

Tesla Support

If you have tried all the above and are no further on with your beats, I suggest you log on to the available online chat that Tesla has.

  • Tesla App
  • Menu – Contact Us
  • Vehicle and App Features
  • Software & Firmware
  • Submit – YES
  • Type Issue – Start Chat

You can explain exactly what is happening and everything you have already tried. Hopefully, they will get to the bottom of it, as they can check your computers remotely. If not, they may need to Log a Service Center Appointment.

Tesla’s are very user-friendly, and usually, there’s a simple explanation for why an item is not working.

I’ve written a ton on common Tesla issues, which hopefully you won’t ever experience, but if you do, we have you covered with these posts:

Check out the Tesla troubleshooting page for problem Teslas.

Check out the Tesla charging page for common Tesla charging problems.

Check out the Tesla category page for a list of popular Tesla posts.

If you are curious about other EV models, check out the EV FAQ category.

John Cunningham

John Cunningham is a technical writer here at EVjuicedup.com. He's a Red Seal qualified Auto Service Technician with over twenty-five years experience working on Classic and Modern Cars. He's worked for GM, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo, Audi, and VW main dealers.

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