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Got into an accident today..Anyone experienced brakes failure ?

Hi Everyone,

I got into an accident today. I am replayed the scenario several times in my head.
I somehow feel the brakes failed on me. I hit the brakes in time and the car had enough room to stop.

Before heading out of home when I sat in my car.. I did get some smoky/burnt smell.
I checked with my kids. They did not smell anything.. so headed out.
I am wondering if its some brake issue.

Anyone else had any such experience ?

Mine is May 2013 Model S P++.


Sorry to hear about your accident. Hope no injuries.

There was discussion in TMC thread about perceived loss of braking in wet conditions. Go to the following thread --

The Model S is a heavy car. Lots of forward momentum.

Sorry to hear about the accident. I hope no person was hurt. Cars can be repaired.

Yeah... Luckily no one got injured.

Thanks for sharing the link.

I did drive in lot of rain last night. Today morning there was no rain. I think the brakes failed the first time I used them.

Was there any recall on this ?

About a week ago, I was driving in the rain on the highway. The car in front of me slowed down very suddenly so I had to brake hard. I thought that the brakes had failed because they did not slow down the car very much at all. I avoided an accident, but OMG it scared the bejesus out of me when I discovered the brakes weren't doing their job.

I've driven in the rain plenty of times in many different cars, but these brakes are surprisingly dangerous when wet. I'm convinced we need better brakes due to the weight of this car. Or maybe better brake pads?

Will Tesla investigate/help with this ? The car is at the body shop now. All the front of my vehicle is gone.

My car should have sent some diagnostics last night or today before teh accident?

The car did alert the roadside assistance after the accident.

This is downright scary. Recalls anyone? Perhaps larger diameter rotors, calipers and pads? Hope Tesla investigates and takes action soon. This could be detrimental to company appeal not to mention stock value if neglected and results in bad publicity.


Brake's behaviors change after it got some water.

It might be a good idea to brake a few times at a start a trip.

I got a standard 85 kWh and the brake has worked flawlessly in dry weather (Of course, after a car wash, or in rain, it behaves differently, so I just have to take that into account.)

My car's regenerative braking would take care to make sure I have a safe distance in front of my car in most of situations and when it's still not enough, I would need to apply my foot to the brake.

Chenglo, Not scary at all. The car has a massive braking system from Brembo. Top of the line stuff. SV, you would not smell a burnt smell from the brakes when the car is in your drive. They are hydraulic brakes with an electrical power assist. Same system as in a conventional car, except instead of a vacuum assist to the brake from engine vacuum, it's an electrical assist pump. If that pump goes out, you'll still have brakes, just like you would in a car if the engine stalled. What's the chance you had your foot on the brake and "gas" pedal at the same time? Do you remember hearing a warning chime? Braking distance on this car is impressive, even for a sports car.

I'd imagine this has to do with the fact that we use the brakes a lot less than you would in a conventional ICE vehicle. Normally, when it is wet, the brakes are frequently dried each time you apply the brakes to do normal slowing; in the electric car, you let off the gas and use regen to slow down, and the brakes stay wet.

The best thing I can think of at the moment is to just keep a conservative following distance & use the brakes early instead of totally depending on regen during wet weather. (Hopefully going to take my own advice tonight out in rainy LA)

Don't blame the brakes for nor keeping enough distance and not paying attention.

Brembo is perhaps the best manufacturer there is, thir disc brakes have proven their effectiveness millions and millions of times in dozens of different cars. The chances that there was something wrong with the driver rather than something wrong with the brakes are about 10.000.000 to 1.

Everyne knows that brakes take a little longer to respond when wet, also that they should be used from time to time to keep them clean and fully effective.

Agreed on the Brembo comments...these are amazingly powerful brakes that stop the car in an absurdly short distance for its weight (even for a lighter car). There is nothing special about the car that would make to more prone to brake failure (the brakes are not, for example, some sort of drive by wire brakes. If there was a fault, Tesla can find it in the logs if you request it, but most likely you either hit the gas rather than the brake (much more common than you might think in a panic) or the gas and the brake together (foot placement error).

Hitting the brake and the gas together is not possible in a Tesla, as soon as the brake pedal is activated all power to the motor is cut, no matter how hard you step on the power pedal.

Disc brakes where wet and maybe slightly rusty from driving in the rain the night before, driver was not paying attention and not keeping enough distance. Happens thousands of times a day.

It is possible for the brake pads to be pushed away from the rotors if you hit a large puddle at speed - it's happened to me once in my Porsche (also Brembo brakes). This is not a failure, but is disconcerting as you have to pump the pedal to get feel back again. I've been driving for over 30 years and experienced it only once.

Model S P ++?

I'm not usually the one to say this but POIDH.

Use of the word "recall".
A response in agreement by "Nick-r"?

I think the burning smell was from under the collar of the people with a short position.
And I do hope they get hurt.

I have read this a few times and it appears it is a result of using the brakes so little. Maybe the sensor for the wipers could let the car know to use brakes in connection with regen braking for the next 5-10 miles after it senses rain. I'm sure Tesla could find a way to to make it feel like there is no difference between the two.

I do not know who SV is so I'll hold off on any comment on the OP.

What I can say without reservation is that MS has some of the best brakes on the planet. It is a 4500+ lb car that out stops my Maranello. Tesla did a fantastic job of leveraging the low Center of Gravity (CoG) such that the rear rotors are larger than the front and the rears contribute significantly to overall stopping power.

Tesla was serious about safety and the brakes are but one example of this commitment.

My old employer had a check box for "Group 7, Equipment not at fault". Perhaps this is an operating condition not recognized by the driver (Rust on Rotors, Pad Knock Back, etc.).

This problem has been discussed on the Norwegian forum and is real. Pumping the brakes should not be necessary. No need to dismiss every negative comment as a lie or shorter.
Other car manufacturers have systems to take care of this by drying the brakes, and it does not only cover luxury cars.

The OP has posted before but at that time he was driving an 85P.

Of course, I might be just picking nits and I don't want to minimize the alarm caused by brakes that don't brake, but I would dearly love to see this post made private.

@Skjervesbu I am not a troll hunter and I am not dismissing the incident but details matter and when a poster cannot accurately report what model of car he is driving it kind of puts a cloud over everything else. It's not my fault for recognizing the inaccuracies.

These are important matters which we all pay close attention to. Detailed, accurate information is essential to remove any reason for doubt.

'Will Tesla investigate/help with this ? '

Maybe you should ask Tesla and not us for the answer.

After you do finally contact Tesla, be sure to let us know the result and which SC you may be dealing with.

Also, I wasn't aware that the car contacts Roadside Assistance - nice feature.

I've driven my car in lots of wet conditions and never experienced any brake issues...I would like to say I have accidentally stepped on both the brake pedal and accelerator pedal at the same time a couple of times over the year I've had it and I suspect that may be what happened here with this accident.

When driving in rain/snow it's always important to be extra cautious no matter what car you drive...don't expect the same break performance in adverse weather conditions as you get on a dry sunny day....keep a little extra space between you and the car in front of you for example.

No - never experienced any brake failure, or noticed any type of diminished braking in wet conditions or the day after wet conditions.

Perhaps there was some rust build up on the rotors from lack of use and they were wet. Perhaps as preventative measure, for the first few miles one could set the regen to low and there for requiring the use of the brakes for the first few "slow downs". One can easily see through the rims, if there is any rust.

If in fact there was a brake assist failure, it would certainly require more brake effort. However, as others mentioned there would be a fault code.

The only time I have ever smelled the brakes on any car, is either after doing a lot of hard braking (Auto Crossing my 911) or one of the brake calipers locked up. You mentioned smelling burnt when first getting into the car with your kids. Had you just returned from a drive?

Not defending the OP but this does seem to be a real issue. I have read the TMC thread and lot of owners seem to have noticed this behavior in wet conditions. I was reading that thread two days ago and thought to myself that wow this is concerning and it is just matter of time before someone doesn't realize this break behavior and gets into an accident!

I am concerned about it because my wife will occationally drive MS too and she is not much of a car person. She won't know about deliberately breaking few time after driving in rain to make sure that breaks work. Our current car has never shown this behavior in wet or rainy condition. Those who do not believe the OP, please do read the TMC thread.

Agree about making the thread private.

A) The brakes are fantastic
B) In wet conditions, you MUST "prime" them a bit before they grip (common sense)
C) Make critical posts such as this one, which question the car's essential safety mechanisms, private!!! Again, that's just common sense given the overblown reaction the the battery fires of the past. Too many powerful Tesla haters out there. If you like your car and believe in the concept - try to help, not hurt! We want to hear about potential problems, but lets first determine if they really are problems before doing damage!

I don't pump, prime, or do anything to the brakes and have not noticed any issues wet or dry. I press on the brake, and the car stops.

@tes: I don't pump either, but ANY wet brake will have a bit of a lag over a dry brake before max efficiency. Common sense.

A) The brakes are fantastic
B) In wet conditions, you MUST "prime" them a bit before they grip (common sense)
C) Make critical posts such as this one, which question the car's essential safety mechanisms, private!!! Again, that's just common sense given the overblown reaction the the battery fires of the past. Too many powerful Tesla haters out there. If you like your car and believe in the concept - try to help, not hurt! We want to hear about potential problems, but lets first determine if they really are problems before doing damage!

It's like riding a bike--water delays initial grip of brakes on wet rim/rotor.

I have a P85 and I use creep so am used to using the brakes at every stop. It has been pouring rain here in SoCal and I've had the car out often.

No issues with the brakes. 60 to 0 just like the pavement was completely dry.

The only reason I hate taking the car out in rain is how dirty it gets. The super aerodynamics destroy the side skirts and rear of the car with dirty spray and requires a car was every single time.