Touchscreen Problems Persist For Tesla's Model 3

Mar. 27, 2018 3:06 PM ETTesla, Inc. (TSLA)552 Comments
Montana Skeptic profile picture
Montana Skeptic


  • Eight days ago, I wrote about the “phantom touch” and “vampire drain” problems experienced by some Model 3 owners.
  • With expert input, I offered the theory that the problems are caused by the design of the touchscreen pedestal.
  • The problems persist. And, a recent poster has tied the problem directly to the car being left in the sun on a hot day.
  • I explain why I believe Tesla needs to address this issue with owners, potential owners, and investors.
  • Meanwhile, Tesla has new “take-it-or-leave-it” policy for Model 3 paint swirl and panel misalignment problems.

Earlier this month, I wrote about the so-called “phantom touch” and “vampire drain” problems for some Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model 3 cars (Why Are Phantoms & Vampires Plaguing Tesla’s Model 3?).

I discussed how Tesla’s over-the-air software updates had not fixed the problem, and speculated the cause might be the design of the touchscreen’s pedestal.

With input from two sources with technical and engineering backgrounds, I suggested the pedestal is a large, chunky, solid piece that acts as a heat reservoir. Its design results in heat differentials across the touchscreen, warping the screen and producing the problems we have seen.

I invited commenters to offer competing theories, and invited Tesla itself to respond if it has any different view.

No reader came forward with any alternate theory. And, I received no communication from Tesla, and read nothing where it has addressed this issue in any public forum.

'It is worse on hot days.'

Meanwhile, the problems persist. Here are screenshots posted today (I'm writing this on March 27) showing the touchscreen anomalies, visible on the right-hand side of the screen.

You can see the photos at post no. 20 here.

The posts elicited a quick "me, too."

What does the poster of the touchscreen photos report? This:

Here a few captures of my phantom touch. It only happens in the afternoon when the car has been in the sun all day. It is worse on hot days.

DrLegoHair from Orlando

Meanwhile, the sad saga of DrLegoHair continues. Less than a week after taking delivery, his drive unit failed. The technicians addressed an issue with the drive train and brakes, and replaced the 12-volt battery. Despite noting CAN (controller are network) fault alerts in the car’s log, the technicians were unable to find any bad connections or identify the root cause of the problem.

This article was written by

Montana Skeptic profile picture
I have a J.D. degree from Yale Law School, practiced for 30 years as a trial lawyer in commercial cases, and in the decade that followed managed a $1B+ portfolio for a family office. I have recently retired and am free to write about whatever I want. And so I will.The fellow in my icon is Galileo Galilei, who famously said: Eppur si muove.I say, less famously: Time is the only reliable solvent of folly.

Disclosure: I am/we are short TSLA. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: I am short TSLA via long-dated options.

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