Tesla Roadster What to Do When Your Roadster Gets Bricked

January 7, 2019

If your Roadster does not get charged for 2-3 months, it can drain the battery sufficiently to where the charge port will no longer allow you to charge, and a condition known as a “bricked” battery occurs.

The dreaded “Critical Brick UnderVoltage fault” or “BSM: Sheet Alarm” messages are a dead giveaway your battery pack is beyond the point where it will accept a charge from the Tesla charge port.

Tesla has a replacement ESS Battery Pack in the works that is not yet released. Some Tesla Service Centers have recovery chargers, and are able to resolve a bricked Roadster. Gruber Motor Company also offers Roadster Battery Recovery including sheet repair, isolating resistive cells, internal electronic repairs, all of which, if caught in time, results in a Roadster back on the road. Here is what you do, should your Roadster battery brick:

Put your car in Tow Mode

If your 12 volt system has not yet shut down, push the Gear Wrench Button on the screen. Find the Left Arrow Button which takes you to a screen which will allow you to push the Tow Mode button.

This will unlock the parking pawl to make the Roadster free rolling.  It can now be winched onto and unloaded from a transporter vehicle for a trip to our Phoenix Arizona Service Center for battery pack repair and recovery.

Transport costs increase with a locked car, and dragging a car can flat spot tires.



Pull a Log File

The car stores information which can be vital to the diagnosis and recovery process. Again, assuming the 12 volt system has not shut down yet If you are unfamiliar with the log file retrieval procedure, contact us for a newsletter that describes the steps in great detail.

To extract the log file, you’ll need a USB thumb drive. It has to be 50MB to 4 GB, and formatted to FAT32. In the root, there must be a directory named VehicleLogs.

Insert the USB thumb drive into the USB port while the key is off. After a few seconds to a minute, the car should beep and the touchscreen will display a message letting you know it’s copying the log file to the drive.

If neither of the previous options are available because the 12 volt system has shut down, call us and we can walk you through a process which reactivates the 12 volt system to go into tow mode and pull logs.


Pull the ESS Pack Service Disconnect

This plug shuts down the battery and its sub-systems and stops any further voltage drain.

This plug is visible from the trunk. It is mounted on the side of the battery pack, hidden inside the passenger quarter panel, and requires a contortionist to unplug, or a skinny teenager with long arms.

As second method for pulling this service disconnect plug is to remove the driver side rear wheel arch to expose the plug and socket.


Swing the latch on the plug up before attempting to remove it. Remove the plug in one quick outward motion!

Our battery recovery process can take a couple of months and include surgery if a Level 2 recovery is necessary to pull the battery pack and repair or replace any of the 11 sheets.  If caught in time, and the string voltage has not dipped below 35VDC, recovery options are good and may only require a Level 1 effort without a battery pack removal.

We can handle the transport coordination to our Service Center. Feel free to contact us for support or advice.

Storage Mode

Roadsters can be placed into storage mode charging. With this feature, the battery gradually trickles down to and maintains a 20% state of charge, the advantage being prolonged battery life.

The disadvantage is that if an interruption to charging occurs, the trip from 20% to 0% can be very brief and if not caught in time, a bricked Roadster is the result. We have seen Roadsters brick from this scenario.