Older Tesla Model 3s without heat pumps also experiencing heater failures

Tesla owners around the world have been facing issues with their heat pumps in recent weeks, where the units have been failing in dangerously cold temperatures as low as -40°C.

Tesla has been attempting to correct the issue through software fixes. Unfortunately, none of them have completely solved the problem.

Making matters worse, the problem doesn’t appear to be limited to cars with heat pumps, as the resistive heating system in older Model 3s has also been failing.

Drive Tesla has been tracking the issue since January 3, when we were first contacted by an owner with no heat in his 2018 Model 3.

A subsequent scan of the Tesla Model 3 Canadian Facebook group reveals the issue is not isolated.

Multiple owners reported their heating systems failed just after receiving the Holiday Software Update (2021.44.25.2) in late December.

More have reported the same as recently as this morning with the latest 2021.44.30.7 update.

Since that initial report on January 3 we have received more than a half dozen emails from owners facing the same issue.

According to Patrick, one of our readers who had his heat fail in his 2018 Model 3, a Tesla Service technician admitted the problem is directly due to a software update.

The cause behind the heat pumps failing is believed to be the front air intake flap freezing in the open position. This results in a rush of cold air blowing past a sensor, which in turns makes the heat pump think it is failing, thereby sending an error message and telling the heat pump to stop.

Tesla has attempted to correct the issue by telling the heat pump to bypass the error message and continue working, but this doesn’t seem to have corrected the issue.

Many of these cars with resistive heaters are out of warranty, either due to mileage or age. This means the fix, which is a complete replacement of the heating unit, ends up being an out of pocket expense of more than $1,200.

These two issues could be completely unrelated, but it seems more than coincidental that we are seeing heating failures in PTC heaters and heat pumps at the same time, and that they are happening almost immediately after a software update.

We will be keeping a close eye on this issue as it develops, and keep you updated as we learn more.

Have you experienced a heating problem in your pre-heat pump Model 3? Let us know in the comments below, or reach out to us at tips@driveteslacanada.ca.

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