2020 Tesla Model S Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Powertrain & electrical system issues are among the top complaints from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

In terms of EVs, everyone knows about the 2020 Tesla Model S. The newest lineup is supposedly “designed for efficiency,” but customers are only encountering problem after problem. In fact, the 2020 Model S seems to struggle with a defective electrical system, a bad powertrain, a shoddy structure and a malfunctioning suspension.

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2021   2022

Electrical System Problems

As a Tesla vehicle, there are no excuses for a defective electrical system, but that’s exactly what customers are dealing with.

One Edmunds review states, “The web browser that works 1% of the time, the programmable garage door opener function that seems to get amnesia…at this point I haven’t reprogrammed it cuz, whats the point, I’m going to have to do it again in a month!!”

Right now, the NHTSA is investigating multiple electrical system issues. Action Number PE21023 talks about how the gameplay functionality is enabled while driving, which is a road hazard. Additionally, Action Number PE21020 discusses how 11 vehicles have come up on first responder scenes and hit one of the vehicles on the side of the road while using Autopilot or Traffic Aware Cruise Control.

There are also recalls to discuss, including NHTSA Campaign Number 22V06300 that talks about how the Pedestrian Warning Sound might not go off because of an external speaker defect. This problem could lead to a pedestrian being hit because they don’t hear the Tesla coming. Additionally, NHTSA Campaign Number 22V037000 says that affected vehicles have the rolling stop functionality that isn’t working, leading to an increased chance of a crash. While the Tesla might be efficient, the electrical problems are causing massive issues on the road, all of which outweigh any small benefits that might be offered.

2020 Tesla Model S Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Unknown Or Other
Vehicle Speed Control
Service Brakes
Power Train
Electrical System

Powertrain Issues

Additionally, there are serious powertrain issues that must be addressed.

Another Edmunds review states, “The total mileage is not as high as they advertised. Autopilot mal-functions often. The navigation system is not intelligent. Speed is slow, does not remember history, and is not versatile in searching. And it gives often less desirable routes. In addition, the side mirrors block driver’s front view. And the seats are awkward and the seat backs are uncomfortable for necks.”

Tesla isn’t hiding any powertrain problems. The company even released Service Bulletin #SB-20-39-002 that talks about how the front drive unit was sent out with an inverter that never made it through internal reliability testing. How is this even legal? The EV automaker is telling the world that reliability testing wasn’t done and this is somehow okay. The only way to make a statement against Tesla at this point is to rise up and choose another brand.

Don’t be stuck with a lemon. You have legal rights to cash, return or buyback.

The law makes Tesla pay legal fees.

We've fixed thousands of lemon problems. Message or call 877-795-3666 today.

Structural Problems

For the cost of the Model S, one would expect that it is well-built and reliable, but that’s not the case either.

One final Edmunds review states, “The quality of my model is is the worst of any car I have owned. The battery failed and had to be replaced as CRS. All the door handles failed and had to be replaced. The steering box failed and had to be replaced. The hood latches seize up when it’s cold. It’s deeply disappointing for me to have to write this as I was so excited about the car. The service department is virtually impossible to reach by phone. Don’t make the same mistake I did by buying a Tesla. It really is a lemon.”

There’s another recall that might surprise you. NHTSA Campaign Number 21V00B000 talks about how the affected models have a front hood latch assembly that was misaligned, causing it to open while driving, obstructing the view and causing a possible accident. It’s as bad as what is shown in the cartoons where the hood flies up, but significantly less humorous when actually happening on a busy road with unsuspecting families all around. At this point, one must wonder if Tesla is trying to wipe out its clientele, which would be a poor business practice.

Problems with the Suspension

A final look at the suspension on the Model S reveals even more severe issues.

An NHTSA complaint shows, “Strut on 7-month-old car was cracked in several places, in a way that’s extremely concerning. The metal of the strut looks very brittle (see pictures attached to this complaint). Never hit anything more than a small pothole with car.. Expected warranty replacement. When I questioned Tesla’s refusal to cover under warranty, I told Tesla to keep the old parts and send pictures. When I went to pickup the car, they said they accidentally threw the defective part away, despite my requests to keep it!!!!! Their actions are very suspicious. Tesla is clearly trying to cover something up. Even worse, they’re denying warranty coverage for the defect and profiting greatly from it.”

Of course, Tesla once again flaunts the issues in customers’ faces by posting Service Bulletin #SB-20-31-001. This communication shows that front stabilizer bars have the wrong bushings in place, leading to a squeaking noise when going over bumps. However, there’s no talk about how these defective bushings affect the car’s safety. Soon, all drivers of the 2020 Model S will find out for themselves.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Tesla pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

Leave a Reply or Comment

Write a comment below to share online. Or, instead you can to our legal team.

Please select your star rating.

Briefly describe your experience Briefly describe your experience

What’s your name? What’s your name?

What’s your phone number? Please enter a valid phone number

Want to know if you could sue? Get a free legal evaluation from Lemberg Law?

Get Your No-Obligation
Case Evaluation

Send a secure message to our legal team.

What’s your name? What’s your name?
What’s your email address? What’s your email address?
What’s your phone number? What’s your phone number?
Briefly describe the problem Briefly describe the problem
Confidentiality Guarantee: We keep your information completely confidential and will not send you spam or sell your information.
By submitting above, I agree to the privacy policy and terms and consent to be contacted by an agent via phone call or text message at the phone number(s) listed above, including wireless number(s).