Tesla Side Camera Not Working: Top Troubleshooting Tips

If you’re a Tesla owner, issues with your side cameras may have brought on some stress. Notably, malfunctioning side cameras are a common concern among 2021 Model 3 drivers. This article will provide effective troubleshooting tips to help you identify and resolve these hitches before they escalate.

Ready to restore perfect vision to your Tesla? Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Tesla side cameras can stop working due to dust, dirt or broken parts. Regular cleaning helps prevent issues.
  • If a camera is not working well, it might need a repair or replacement. Experts can handle this.
  • Try a system reboot if your car’s side camera has problems. This may fix many issues fast!
  • Keep side cameras on while driving and parking for safety and clear views.
tesla camera unavailable

Possible Causes of Non-Functioning Tesla Side Camera

Certain factors can cause a Tesla side camera to stop working, such as physical damage, dust and debris accumulation inside the camera compartment, or issues with the PCB boards.

Broken side cameras

Broken side cameras can cause big problems. They might not work or show a black screen. Sometimes, the side cameras become loose. This can make them not work right. Tesla Model 3 cars had this issue too.

Some got called back for camera fixes. Side repeater cameras on the left or right may also have faults. Tesla will let some owners replace these broken side cameras with new ones for free.

Dust and debris in camera compartment

Dirt and small bits can make a mess in the camera space of your car. This stuff gets stuck on the lens. It blocks what the camera sees. A side camera that can’t see well does not work right.

You should clean your Tesla’s side cameras often. This helps keep dust and dirt from building up too much. Make sure to do a good job cleaning so you don’t miss any spots! You need clear pictures for your side cameras to work best.

Faulty PCB boards

Bad PCB boards can cause problems with Tesla side cameras. They are a part of the car’s autopilot system. The circuit board has a design flaw that causes glare in the side repeaters.

This hurts how well the camera works. To fix this, Tesla is changing out bad autopilot cameras in some cars.

Troubleshooting Tips for Tesla Side Camera

If your Tesla side camera is not working properly, consider these troubleshooting tips: repair damaged cameras, clean off accumulated dirt and dust, replace faulty cameras entirely or reboot the entire Tesla system.

You can also try reactivating your side cameras if they’ve stopped functioning unexpectedly. Regular maintenance can prevent many issues with malfunctioning repeater cameras in the future.

Repairing broken cameras

Tesla cars have great side cameras. But sometimes, they can break. Here are some tips to repair a broken camera.

  1. First, spot the problem. It could be a slight pop out due to windy conditions or a car wash. Check your camera closely.
  2. Next, see if your cabin camera is broken too. Tesla may fix this for free under warranty.
  3. Then, look at the printed circuit boards or PCBs in your Tesla. Some Tesla cars like the 2021 Model 3 have faulty PCBs causing camera problems.
  4. If all else fails, take your Tesla to an expert. They can replace your entire unit if there’s a loose connection on the camera board.
  5. Keep your car safe from dust and debris exposure as part of regular maintenance.
  6. Lastly, try rebooting or activating your side cameras again after repairs.

Cleaning cameras

Cleaning Tesla side cameras is a key task. Here are the steps to do it:

  1. First, make sure the camera is cool. Heat can harm the lens.
  2. Use water to start the cleaning process. It helps get rid of dirt or debris build – up.
  3. Next, use a soft cloth or a cleaning tool made for lenses. Gently wipe the lens.
  4. Avoid using harsh cleaners. They could scratch or hurt your camera.
  5. Keep camera clean always to have clear pictures and no road blockages.
  6. Do this before each ride as needed so no issues arise during your drive.
Interior of electric vehicle Tesla, steering wheel, Tesla logo

Replacing cameras

There are times when you need to replace Tesla side cameras. Here are steps to follow:

  1. Look for a camera unit that fits your Tesla model. There are different units for Model S, X and 3.
  2. Buy the replacement from a trusted store to avoid faulty units.
  3. Be sure of your car’s make and year before buying the unit.
  4. You can try to replace it yourself if you know cars well.
  5. If not, take your car and new camera to a skilled person.

Rebooting Tesla

To fix a side camera, you can reboot your Tesla car. This is an easy and common fix for many car troubles. You have two choices to do this: a hard reset or a soft reboot.

For a full soft reboot on your Model S/X, you just need to press and hold both scroll wheels on either side of the steering wheel for about 10 seconds. The screen will go black. After it lights up again, the system has restarted.

A hard reset works in much the same way as the soft version but goes deeper into the system fixing more issues that might be hidden away. To perform one, make sure your vehicle is safely parked and not charging.

After doing these steps, check your side camera again to see if it’s working now.

Activating cameras

Turn on your Tesla’s side cameras if they are not running. This might be a quick fix to some camera issues. One way to do this is through the car settings menu. Look for the ‘Safety & Security’ tab and give it a tap.

Then, hit ‘Activate Cameras.’ If that does not work, you may have to try a hard reset on your Model 3 as it can troubleshoot many problems with cameras not working or GPS malfunctioning.

Remember safety first; only try these steps when your car is parked in a safe place.

Detailed Guide on What to Do When Your Tesla Side Camera is Not Working

First, check for a loose connection on your Tesla’s camera board. This could be why the side camera is not working. If this is the cause, you will need to replace the whole unit. Next, try doing a full reboot of your car.

Tesla Service often suggests this step when dealing with side camera issues.

You can also try fixing the cameras yourself. Find them on the front fender area of your car and use a pry tool to remove them carefully. But remember, always handle electronic parts with care! You don’t want to make things worse.

If these steps don’t help, there might be an issue with faulty printed circuit boards in your car’s Autopilot system. Some Teslas have had their cameras replaced because of this problem.

But what if you are still having trouble after trying all these fixes? Well, it may be time to call in some professional help from Tesla Service Center or qualified mechanics who specialize in electric vehicles will evaluate and solve it for you.

Finally remember; Always keep alert on various alerts that display related messages about any potential issue that could arise with regards to camera function or usage capabilities within vehicle driving conditions while viewing roadways ahead during active drive sequences since they offer insightful information about current status along probable causes as well solutions thereof subsequently leading towards enhanced performance respectively thereby offering smooth drives without causing interruption due prolonged periods thereby fulfilling principal requirements aptly amidst ensuring safety standards completely.

Do Tesla Side Cameras Record All the Time?

Tesla side cameras do not record all the time. They work in two useful modes: Sentry Mode and Dash Cam mode. In Dash Cam mode, the cameras record while you are driving. When you park your car, lock it and leave, Sentry Mode takes over.

If someone comes too close to your Tesla or tries to break in, this smart system starts recording with its cameras and sensors. It watches for any odd goings-on around your car.

But remember! The side cameras don’t catch sounds; they only record videos. Make sure your Tesla’s systems are turned on so that everything works right when needed.

Tips for Preventing Tesla Side Camera Issues

To prevent Tesla side camera issues, regularly clean and maintain your cameras, keep them shielded from dust and debris exposure, and seek professional help for any needed repairs.

Regular cleaning and maintenance

You can keep your Tesla side camera in top shape with regular cleaning and maintenance. Dust off the lens often to prevent any build-up. Be careful not to scratch it! If you see any grime, clean it gently using a soft damp cloth.

For heavy dirt, rinse the exterior of your Model 3 well before washing. This step keeps grit from scratching your camera lens. Regular check-ups also help spot issues early on. A well-kept camera is less likely to give you trouble down the road.

Avoiding dust and debris exposure

Dirt can harm your Tesla’s side cameras. Keep these lenses clean to stop this problem. One way is using a water spray on the camera lens. This gets rid of any dust or dirt there.

Reduce features that are not needed in your car. Some of these might cause dust or dirt on the cameras. A clean lens can help fix a side camera that does not work right.

Seeking professional help for repairs

Tesla side cameras are vital safety features. If yours stops working, don’t risk a DIY repair that could make things worse. Let the pros handle it.

  1. Ease of mind: Pro mechanics have training and tools you don’t. They know how to fix your Tesla camera.
  2. Time-saving: It might take you all day to find and tackle the issue. A pro can finish in hours.
  3. Less Risky: A small mistake can cause big problems with car parts like the PCB board. Pros avoid these errors.
  4. Better Results: Your Tesla deserves quality care for best performance. Pros ensure this happens.


Finding and fixing Tesla side camera issues is not too hard. Using the tips in this guide, you can sort out most problems yourself. If things get tough, don’t hesitate to call a pro.

Keep your Tesla running smooth by knowing how to take care of its tech parts!


1. What are the signs of a non-functioning Tesla side camera?

The Tesla screen will show an error message or no image if there is a problem with the side camera.

2. Can I troubleshoot a faulty Tesla side camera myself?

It is not safe to fix a Tesla side camera on your own because it needs specific tools and knowledge.

3. How can I prevent my Tesla side camera from failing?

To keep your Tesla’s side cameras working well, make sure they are clean and free of dirt or dust always.

4. Should I drive my car when the side camera isn’t working?

If your vehicle’s side cameras aren’t functioning, don’t drive unless necessary as it may be unsafe without proper visibility.

5. Where should I take my car for repair if the tesla’s sideway camrea doesn’t work?

If your Tesla’s sideways-facing cameras stop working, take your vehicle to an authorized service center for proper diagnosis and repair.

Jonathan Rice

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