Tesla Model S Owners & Service Manuals

Tesla Model S: Braking Systems

WARNING: Properly functioning braking systems are critical to ensure safety. If you experience a problem with the brake pedal, brake calipers, or any component of a Model S braking system, contact Tesla immediately.

Model S has an anti-lock braking system (ABS) that prevents the wheels from locking when you apply maximum brake pressure. This improves steering control during heavy braking in most road conditions.

During emergency braking conditions, the ABS constantly monitors the speed of each wheel and varies the brake pressure according to the grip available.

The alteration of brake pressure can be felt as a pulsing sensation through the brake pedal. This demonstrates that the ABS is operating and is not a cause for concern. Keep firm and steady pressure on the brake pedal while experiencing the pulsing.

The ABS indicator briefly flashes yellow on the instrument panel when you first start Model S. If this indicator lights up at any other time, an ABS fault has occurred and the ABS is not operating. Contact Tesla. The braking system remains fully operational and is not affected by an ABS failure. However, braking distances may increase. Drive cautiously and avoid heavy braking.

If the instrument panel displays this red brake indicator at any time other than briefly when you first start Model S, a brake system fault is detected, or the level of the brake fluid is low. Contact Tesla immediately. Apply steady pressure and keep the brakes firm to bring the vehicle to a stop when safe to do so.

The instrument panel displays this yellow brake indicator if a brake booster fault is detected. Apply steady pressure and keep the brakes firm to stop the vehicle when safety permits. Hydraulic Boost Compensation will be active.

Emergency Braking

In an emergency, fully press the brake pedal and maintain firm pressure, even on low traction surfaces. The ABS varies the braking pressure to each wheel according to the amount of traction available. This prevents wheels from locking and ensures that you stop as safely as possible.

WARNING: Do not pump the brake pedal. Doing so interrupts operation of the ABS and can increase braking distance.

WARNING: Always maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you and be aware of hazardous driving conditions. While the ABS can improve stopping distance, it cannot overcome the laws of physics. It also does not prevent the danger of hydroplaning (where a layer of water prevents direct contact between the tires and the road).

CAUTION: Automatic Emergency Braking (see Automatic Emergency Braking) may intervene to automatically brake in situations where a collision is considered imminent. Automatic Emergency Braking is not designed to prevent a collision. At best, it can minimize the impact of a frontal collision by attempting to reduce your driving speed. Depending on Automatic Emergency Braking to avoid a collision can result in serious injury or death.

Dynamic Brake Lights (if equipped)

If you are driving over 30 mph (50 km/h) and brake forcefully (or if Automatic Emergency Braking engages), the brake lights flash quickly to warn other drivers that Model S is rapidly slowing down. If Model S stops completely, the hazard warning lights flash. Flashing continues until you press the accelerator or manually press the hazard lights button to turn them off (see Hazard Warning Flashers).

NOTE: When towing a trailer (if applicable), the brake lights on the trailer also operate as described above, even when the trailer is not equipped with a separate braking system.

WARNING: When towing a trailer (if applicable), always increase your following distance. Sudden braking may result in skidding, jack-knifing, and loss of control.

Brake Disc Wiping

To ensure brakes remain responsive in cold and wet weather, Model S is equipped with brake disc wiping. When cold and wet weather is detected, this feature repeatedly applies an imperceptible amount of brake force to remove water from the surface of the brake discs.

Hydraulic Fade Compensation

Model S is equipped with hydraulic fade compensation. This assists in monitoring brake system pressure and ABS activity for instances of reduced brake performance. If reduced brake performance is detected (for example, as a result of brake fade, or cold or wet conditions), you may hear a sound, feel the brake pedal pull away from your foot, and notice a strong increase in braking. Brake as you normally would and continue to press the brake pedal without releasing or pumping the brakes.

CAUTION: If brakes are not functioning properly, stop the vehicle when safety permits and contact Tesla Service.

WARNING: Always maintain a safe driving distance from the vehicle in front of you and exercise caution when driving conditions are hazardous. Brake disc wiping and hydraulic fade compensation is not a substitute for adequately applying the brakes.

Hydraulic Boost Compensation

Model S is equipped with a brake booster that activates the brakes when the brake pedal is pressed. Hydraulic boost compensation provides mechanical assistance if the brake booster fails. If a brake booster failure is detected, the brake pedal feels stiffer to press and you may hear a sound when you press the brake pedal. To stop Model S, apply steady force to the brake pedal without releasing or pumping. Drive cautiously and maintain a safe distance from other road users-brake pedal responsiveness and braking performance may be degraded.

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