Instructions for Transporters

DO NOT TRANSPORT WITH WHEELS ON THE GROUND

The front and rear motors in Model S generate power when the wheels spin. Always transport Model S with all four tires off the ground. Ensure that the tires are unable to spin at any time during transport.

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Warning
NEVER TRANSPORT YOUR VEHICLE WITH THE TIRES IN A POSITION WHERE THEY CAN SPIN. DOING SO CAN LEAD TO SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE AND OVERHEATING. IN RARE CASES EXTREME OVERHEATING MAY CAUSE THE SURROUNDING COMPONENTS TO IGNITE.
Model S being towed with rear wheels on ground and front wheels lifted by a tow truck and a red "X" to indicate this should not be performed.
Model S being towed with front wheels on ground and rear wheels lifted by a tow truck and a red "X" to indicate this should not be performed.
Model S being transported with all four wheels on ground behind an RV and a red "X" to indicate this should not be performed.

Do not transport Model S using any method that is not specified by Tesla. Adhere to the instructions provided in the following sections and observe all warnings and cautions provided. Damage caused by improper transporting of your vehicle is not covered by the warranty.

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Note
Tesla is not liable or responsible for reimbursing services not dispatched through Tesla Roadside Assistance.

Approved Methods for Transporting

A flatbed truck or comparable transport vehicle is the recommended method of transporting Model S. The vehicle can face either direction when using a flatbed.

Model S on a flatbed truck.

If Model S must be transported without a flatbed truck, then wheel lifts and dollies must be used to ensure that all four wheels are off of the ground. This method may only be used for a maximum of 35 miles (55 km), and must not exceed the manufacturer speed rating of the dollies. With this method, Tesla recommends the vehicle faces forward so that the front wheels are lifted and the rear wheels are on dollies.

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Note
Transporting Model S with the front wheels on dollies is not recommended, but may be done if an external steering yoke lock is applied and care is taken to prevent the front wheels from spinning.
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CAUTION
DO NOT TRANSPORT YOUR VEHICLE IF THERE IS ANY CHANCE OF ANY OF THE WHEELS SPINNING.
Model S being towed with front wheels lifted by a tow truck and rear wheels on dollies.
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CAUTION
Enable Transport Mode (see Activate Transport Mode) before winching Model S onto a flatbed truck. If Transport Mode is not available or the touchscreen is not accessible, self-loading dollies or tire skates must be used to load the vehicle into the approved transportation position. Tesla is not responsible for any damage caused by or during the transport of Model S, including personal property damage or damage caused by using self-loading dollies or tire skates.
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Note
Transport Mode is only intended to allow for winching Model S onto a flatbed truck or repositioning the vehicle out of a parking space. While in Transport Mode, the tires are allowed to rotate slowly (under 3 mph or 5 km/h) and for a very short distance (less than 30 feet or 10 meters). See Activate Transport Mode. Exceeding these boundaries can lead to significant damage and overheating that is not covered by the warranty.
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Warning
Model S is equipped with high voltage components that may be compromised as a result of a collision (see High Voltage Components). Before transporting Model S, it is important to assume these components are energized. Always follow high voltage safety precautions (wearing personal protection equipment, etc.) until emergency response professionals have evaluated the vehicle and can accurately confirm that all high voltage systems are no longer energized. Failure to do so may result in serious injury.

Disable the Self-Leveling Air Suspension System

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Note
If Model S has no low voltage power, you need an external low voltage power supply to use the touchscreen. See If Vehicle Has No Power.

Your Model S is equipped with an air suspension system that automatically self-levels the vehicle, even when power is off. To prevent damage, you must activate Jack mode to disable self-leveling:

  1. Touch Controls > Suspension on the touchscreen.
  2. Press the brake pedal, and then touch Very High to maximize height.
  3. Touch Controls > Service > Jack Mode.
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Note
Jack mode cancels when driving speed exceeds 4 mph (7 km/h).

Activate Transport Mode

Transport Mode keeps the parking brake disengaged while winching Model S onto a flatbed truck. When active, Transport Mode displays a message indicating that the vehicle will remain free-rolling. The following are required to enable Transport Mode:

  • Low voltage power. You are unable to use the touchscreen to activate Transport Mode if Model S has no power.
  • Model S must detect a key. Transport Mode is available only when a key is detected.

To activate Transport Mode:

  1. Ensure the vehicle is in Park.
  2. Chock the tires and make sure Model S is secure.
  3. Press and hold the brake pedal, and then on the touchscreen, touch Controls > Service > Towing. The touchscreen displays a message reminding you how to properly transport Model S.
  4. Press and hold the Transport Mode button until it turns blue. Model S is now free-rolling and can slowly be rolled (no faster than walking speed) for short distances or winched.

To cancel Transport Mode, shift Model S into Park.

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Note
If the electrical system is not working, and you therefore cannot use the touchscreen to activate Transport Mode, use self-loading dollies or tire skates. Before doing so, always check the manufacturer's specifications and recommended loading capacity.

Pull Onto Flatbed Truck From Front (Using Tow Eye)

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Note
If Model S has no low voltage power, you need an external low voltage power supply to open the hood or use the touchscreen. See If Vehicle Has No Power.
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CAUTION
To avoid damage, only pull the vehicle onto a flatbed truck using a properly-installed tow eye. Using the chassis, frame, or suspension components to pull the vehicle can result in damage.
  1. Locate the tow eye. The tow eye is located in the front trunk.
    Arrow pointing to the tow eye in the front trunk.
  2. Release the front tow eye cover by pressing firmly on its top right perimeter until it pivots inward, then gently pulling the raised section toward you.
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    Note
    The front tow eye cover is connected to the vehicle's black negative (-) terminal.
    Front of vehicle with a zoombox and arrows indicating to press the top right corner of the tow eye cover to release it.
  3. Fully insert the tow eye into the opening, then turn it counter-clockwise until securely fastened.
    Front of vehicle with a zoombox and arrow indicating to turn the tow eye counter-clockwise to secure it.
  4. Attach the winch cable to the tow eye.
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    CAUTION
    Before pulling, make sure the tow eye is securely tightened.
  5. Activate Transport Mode.
  6. Pull Model S slowly onto the flatbed truck.

Pull Onto Flatbed Truck From Rear (Using Tow Eye)

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Note
If Model S has no low voltage power, you need an external low voltage power supply to open the hood or use the touchscreen. See If Vehicle Has No Power.
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Note
Vehicles equipped with a hitch receiver cannot be pulled from the rear tow eye. Use the tow bar or hitch receiver only to pull the vehicle to a safe location, such as onto a flatbed truck. Do not transport the vehicle with wheels on the ground.
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CAUTION
To avoid damage, only pull the vehicle onto a flatbed truck using a properly-installed tow eye. Using the chassis, frame, or suspension components to pull the vehicle can result in damage.
  1. Locate the tow eye. The tow eye is located in the front trunk.
    Arrow pointing to the tow eye in the front trunk.
  2. Release the rear tow eye cover by pressing firmly on its bottom perimeter until it pivots inward, then gently pulling the raised section toward you.
    Rear of vehicle with arrow pointing to the location of the rear tow eye.
  3. Fully insert the tow eye into the opening, then turn it counter-clockwise until securely fastened.
    Rear of vehicle with arrow indicating to turn the tow eye counter-clockwise to secure it.
  4. Attach the winch cable to the tow eye.
    Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
    CAUTION
    Before pulling, make sure the tow eye is securely tightened.
  5. Activate Transport Mode.
  6. Pull Model S slowly onto the flatbed truck.

Pull onto the Flatbed Truck From Front (Without Tow Eye)

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CAUTION
To avoid damage, only pull the vehicle onto a flatbed truck using a properly-installed tow eye. Using the chassis, frame, or suspension components to pull the vehicle can result in damage.
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Warning
If the vehicle is pulled onto the flatbed truck using this method, all suspension fasteners should be checked for proper torque and all components should be visually inspected for damage prior to driving the vehicle again. If a fastener is loose, or if any damage is found, the affected component(s) should be replaced.

It is strongly recommended that you connect the winch to your vehicle's tow eye, as described previously. However, if a situation arises in which the tow eye is not available (lost, misplaced, etc.), the following instructions describe how to attach tow straps.

  1. Attach the tow straps to each of the lower suspension arms underneath the front of the vehicle.
    View of the front underside of the vehicle with the lower suspension arms highlighted in blue.
  2. To protect the underbody from damage, place a protective barrier (such as a piece of wood) between the tow strap and underbody.
  3. Activate Transport Mode.
  4. Pull Model S slowly onto the flatbed truck.

Secure the Tires

The vehicle's tires must be secured onto the truck using the eight-point tie-down method.

  • Ensure any metal parts on the tie-down straps do not contact painted surfaces or the face of the wheels.
  • Do not place tie-down straps over body panels or through the wheels.
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CAUTION
Attaching the tie-down straps to the chassis, suspension or other parts of the vehicle's body may cause damage.
View of the rear wheel with tie-down straps installed.

If Vehicle Has No Power

If Model S has no low voltage power, perform the following steps to open the hood or jump start the auxiliary low voltage battery.

Jump Starting the Low Voltage Battery

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CAUTION
Model S cannot be used to jump start another vehicle. Doing so can result in damage.
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Note
If jump starting Model S using another vehicle, refer to that vehicle manufacturer's instructions. The following instructions assume an external low voltage power supply (such as a portable jump starter) is used.
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CAUTION
Avoid short circuits when jump starting Model S. Connecting cables to the wrong jump post, touching leads together, etc., can result in damage to Model S.
  1. Open the hood (see Opening Hood with No Power).
  2. Remove the maintenance panel by pulling it upwards to release the trim clips that hold it in place.
    Front hood open and the maintenance panel highlighted with an arrow pointing upwards.
  3. On top of the low voltage battery, lift the locking tab that attaches the electrical connector to the connector housing.
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    Note
    The appearance of the electrical connector and connector housing may vary, but the procedure remains the same.
    Locking tab on top of low voltage battery with an arrow pointing upwards.
  4. On top of the low voltage battery, pull the connector housing to the left. The electrical connector releases from the low voltage battery.
    Connector housing above low voltage battery with arrow pointing away from the electrical connector.
  5. Release the cover from the red positive (+) jump post, and then connect the low voltage power supply's red positive (+) cable to the red positive (+) jump post.
    Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
    CAUTION
    To avoid damaging Model S, do not allow the positive cable to contact other metal components.
    low voltage power supply positive cable connecting to positive jump post.
  6. Connect the low voltage power supply's black negative (-) cable to the vehicle in the location shown.
    Ground location in front of the low voltage battery.
  7. Turn on the external power supply (refer to the manufacturer’s instructions). Touch the touchscreen to wake it up.
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    Note
    It may take several minutes to receive enough power to wake up the touchscreen.
  8. When external low voltage power is no longer required, disconnect both cables, beginning with the black negative (-) cable.
  9. On top of the low voltage battery, push the connector housing towards the electrical connector so that the electrical connector engages the low voltage battery.
  10. On top of the low voltage battery, push down the locking tab that attaches the electrical connector to the connector housing.
  11. Replace the maintenance panel by placing it back in its original location and pressing down until it is secure.
  12. Close the hood.