Tesla often takes advantage of the connected nature of their cars for good. They have warned owners of potential problems with their cars, or notified them to limit charging to help ease pressure on the grid during times of excessive demand.
They have also used it for other purposes some might consider “not good,” like tracking the number of times the passenger lumbar controls were adjusted, resulting in the removal of the feature altogether.
Now Tesla has taken a new approach that could fall into the “not good” category by monitoring how many times you adjust your seat.
Based on a review of the source code by hacker @greentheonly, the automaker recently added “seat abuse” metrics.
According to green, if you move the seat too much messages will pop up on the display like “Excessive use of seat track motor detected,” and “Seat track motor unavailable due to excessive use.”
Green did not say what the thresholds were to receive these messages, but it looks like if you ignore them, Tesla will even go so far as to disable the controls and put you seat adjustment jail with the message “Wait 5 minutes to adjust the seat position again.”
UPDATE Jan 31 10:31am PST: With the high amount of interest in this story, green dug a little further to discover the thresholds – 90 seconds of use in 5 minutes will trigger the warning message, while 120 seconds of use in 5 minutes will disable the motor. Given those high thresholds, the vast majority of owners won’t have to worry about having their seat controls disabled.
You are probably wondering why Tesla would implement a seemingly trivial thing like seat abuse metrics.
While we don’t know for sure, we do know Tesla collects a lot of data about their cars. They have likely seen an increasing trend in damage or failure of seat motors, and in an attempt to keep warranty costs down, decided it was a good idea to add this feature.
Along with the new code, green also noticed that Tesla appears to have a new front seat vendor for the Model 3 and Model Y – Brose, an automotive supplier based in Coburg, Germany.
ha, they are also introducing "seat abuse" metrics complete with disabling of seat moving for busers with helpful messages like "Excessive use of seat track motor detected""Seat track motor unavailable due to excessive use" and "Wait 5 minutes to adjust seat track position again"
— green (@greentheonly) January 27, 2022
Editor’s note: The article headline has been corrected based on the discovery of the actual thresholds involved.