Tesla Model S Owners & Service Manuals

Tesla Model S: Controlling the Passenger Front Airbag

Model S has an occupancy sensor in the front passenger seat that controls the status of the front airbag.

NOTE: The occupancy classification system (OCS) meets the regulatory requirement of FMVSS 208 and automatically detects when inflating the passenger front airbag would be unnecessary or potentially harmful.

WARNING: Seating an infant in a rear facing child safety seat on a seat equipped with an operational airbag can cause serious injury or death.


*If the passenger airbag status indicator does not match the situation, do not use the seat. The passenger must ride in a different seat. Contact Tesla Service.

NOTE: It takes approximately six seconds after you power on Model S for the occupant classification system (OCS) to report accurate status of the front passenger airbag. As a result, when you first power on Model S, even in situations when it should be OFF because the seat is occupied by a weight of 20 lbs (9 kg) or less, a delay of approximately six seconds can occur before the touchscreen displays the PASS AIRBAG OFF status. If it fails to do so, contact Tesla Service and do not seat a child in the front passenger seating position.

To make sure the sensing system can correctly detect occupancy status, eliminate the following:

  • Objects lodged under the seat.
  • Heavy objects sitting on the seat (briefcase, large purse).
  • Objects wedged between the seat back and seat cushion.
  • Cargo interfering with the seat.
  • Aftermarket items attached to, or sitting on or between, the seat and occupant including but not limited to covers, mats, blankets, etc.

These conditions can interfere with the occupancy sensor. If you have eliminated the above possibilities, and the airbag status is still incorrect, ask passengers to ride in the rear seats and contact Tesla to have the airbag system checked.

NOTE: The front passenger occupancy sensor affects the operation of the passenger front airbags only. The side airbags are not affected.

WARNING: If the front passenger airbag is not turning on or off as expected based on the weight thresholds previously described, contact Tesla immediately.

WARNING: Never seat a child in the front passenger seat. DEATH or SERIOUS INJURY to the child can occur. Per recommendations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, all occupants age 12 and under must ride in the rear seats.

WARNING: Do not use seat covers on Model S. Doing so could restrict deployment of the seat-mounted side air bags if a collision occurs. It can also reduce the accuracy of the occupant detection system and the noise- canceling microphones, if equipped.


     Ensuring Accurate Occupant Classification

    To help ensure an occupant in the front passenger seat can be accurately classified, the passenger must: Wear a seat belt. Sit upright on the center of the seat cushion, with shoulders resting a

     Examples of Correct and Incorrect Seating Positions

    Correct seating position: Incorrect seating position - the passenger's feet must be on the floor: Incorrect seating position - the passenger must not slide forward on the seat cushion: Incorrect s

     Airbag Warning Indicator

    The airbag indicator on the instrument cluster remains lit if the airbag system is malfunctioning. The only time this indicator should light up is briefly when Model S first powers up, in which c


     Fascia Assembly - Rear (Remove and Replace)

    Removal Remove the rear fascia for access (refer to procedure). Remove the bolts (x4) and plastic rivets (x2) that secure the diffuser tray to the rear fascia (torque 3 Nm). Release the clips (x15) that secure the rear fascia to the diffuser and applique.

     Cleaning the Exterior

    To prevent damage to the paint, immediately remove corrosive substances (bird droppings, tree resin, dead insects, tar spots, road salt, industrial fallout, etc.). Do not wait until Model S is due for a complete wash. If necessary, use denatured alcohol to remove tar spots and stubborn grease s

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