Tesla has started disabling radar sensors from some vehicles during routine appointments at Service Centers. So far the disabling is limited to the 2021-2022 Model S running software 2022.20.9 or later, with employees explaining it is being done because they are no longer needed after the switch to Tesla Vision.
The topic of radar has popped up on the Tesla Motors Club forum, where user ‘black night 3’ said last month the automaker had issued a new Service Bulletin for his 2022 Model S to disable the front radar. Along with being disconnected the car’s software is updated to trick it as if there is no radar there.
When inquiring further about the bulletin with an employee, it was explained that is a proactive fix from Tesla and that while the bulletin doesn’t exactly outline why but one reason given was that they still consume energy and the vehicle’s range might be increased without it connected. And with Tesla Vision now handling all of Autopilot and active safety features, there is no need to keep it connected.
Other reason provided was that the units are susceptible to water ingress and can become damaged, but if they aren’t being actively used anyway why go to the effort (it requires removal of the front bumper) and expense of removing it in the first place.
Since the service bulletin was issued numerous other refresh Model S owners have replied saying their radar units were also disabled during service visits for other reasons, with some saying their Homelink was mistakenly disconnected at the same time.
What makes the disabling of these radar units strange, other than the explanation that it is to increase range, is that Tesla is now shipping Model S (and Model X) cars with an upgraded high-definition radar unit that forms part of Hardware 4.0 (HW4). From what we have been told these Model S and Model X cars have the upgraded hardware, but the software to take advantage of it has not been developed and are therefore not using the new radar units.
It appears the only way to keep the radar connected in your 2021-2022 Model S is to be running 2022.20.8 or earlier as the 2022.20.9 version was the one that disabled radar. Or don’t take your car in for a service visit.
Has your Model S radar been disabled? Let us know in the comments below.
Editor’s note: this article has been a updated to clarify the radar is only being disconnected, not removed entirely.