Braking and Stopping
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Whenever Model S is moving and your foot is off the accelerator, regenerative braking slows down the vehicle and feeds any surplus power back to the Battery. By anticipating your stops and reducing or removing pressure from the accelerator pedal to slow down, you can take advantage of regenerative braking to increase driving range.
Vehicle deceleration due to regenerative braking may vary depending on the current state of the Battery. For example, regenerative braking may be limited if the Battery is cold or is already fully charged.
The power meter (a thin horizontal line centered at the bottom of the instrument panel) displays real-time power usage:
- The left side of the power meter represents power generated from regenerative braking, or power that is used to slow down the vehicle. Power being fed back to the Battery displays in green whereas power used by the regular braking system displays in gray.
- The right side of the power meter shows power that is used to accelerate the vehicle. During acceleration, the power meter fills to the right with gray to represent the amount of power being used.
To engage the parking brake, touch. Follow the onscreen instructions.
Use the touchscreen to manually release the parking brake (which also shifts Model S into Neutral):
- Touch .
- Press the brake pedal, then touch Parking Brake. If Model S was previously in Park, it shifts into Neutral.
Model S brake pads are equipped with wear indicators. A wear indicator is a thin metal strip attached to the brake pad that squeals as it rubs against the rotor when the pad wears down. This squealing sound indicates that the brake pads have reached the end of their service life and require replacement. To replace the brake pads, contact Tesla Service.
Brakes must be periodically inspected visually by removing the tire and wheel. For detailed specifications and service limits for rotors and brake pads, see Subsystems. Additionally, Tesla recommends cleaning and lubricating the brake calipers every year or 12,500 miles (20,000 km) if in an area where roads are salted during winter months.