How To Fix Tesla Software Update Stuck at 50% - 99%

How To Fix Tesla Software Update Stuck at 50% – 99%

If a Tesla software update gets stuck between 50-99%, resetting the infotainment screen or changing the power mode may resolve it. If not, toggling WiFi, rebooting the vehicle, freeing storage space, or waiting longer could help. Contacting Tesla support is also an option if troubleshooting steps don’t work, as they may be able to access vehicle logs and resolve the issue remotely.

When I first brought my Tesla home, I was so excited to get all the latest updates and new features. However, my enthusiasm was dampened the first time a software update got stuck at 89%. As a new Tesla owner, I was unsure of what to do or how long I should wait before taking action. Software updates getting stuck, especially at the 50% and 99% marks, is one of the more common frustrations Tesla drivers like myself can experience. These updates are important for adding new functionality and improving the vehicle’s performance over time, so it’s disappointing when they don’t complete smoothly.

In this article, I will explore some common reasons why Tesla software updates may get stuck, as well as steps you can take to troubleshoot the issue. 

Common Causes for Tesla Software Update Getting Stuck

If an update shows it’s at 50% or 99% but doesn’t progress any further, this means the download has started but is not finishing as expected. I remember staring at my screen in disbelief as the progress bar stubbornly refused to budge past the halfway point, despite waiting over an hour. The download seemed frozen for ages, which kept me wondering if I should reset or try again later from scratch.

Through conversations with other Tesla owners, I’ve learned there can be several potential causes for a stalled update:

Network interruptions or insufficient data for completing the update

The most common reason an update gets hung up in the final stretches is insufficient data connectivity. Tesla updates are large downloads, and interrupting that stream of information halfway can leave the software in limbo. This often happens if your LTE signal weakens while downloading over a cellular connection. It may also occur if connecting to a public WiFi network with an unstable internet connection.

Software malfunctions

Software malfunctions within Tesla’s update process itself can sometimes cause a stall. Very rarely, a corrupted download or bug in the installation protocol leaves the vehicle stuck validating files. While uncommon, this was likely the culprit in my longest update hang, which took a service center visit to resolve.

Insufficient storage space or failed software downloads

Low storage space on the vehicle’s internal drive has caught me by surprise before too. Even with hundreds of gigabytes free, temporary caching of update files might exceed the available capacity. This leads to failed downloads and incomplete installations. Now I make sure to remove any unnecessary data before starting a major software update.

Power management settings

Rarely, inadequate charge levels during an update that requires the car to remain connected can cause issues. If the vehicle loses power partway through, it may not have enough juice to automatically resume where it left off. Making sure to fully charge or remain plugged in before any over-the-air software releases helps avoid this unlikely scenario.

Slow internet connection or low signal strength

Having a slow internet connection or low cellular signal can definitely cause an update to get stuck in the final stages. As the download approaches completion, the software may need to verify all files were received correctly before proceeding with installation. With an unstable or sluggish connection, this validation process could continuously timeout as it waits for the full dataset to arrive.

With any update hang, patience and avoiding any unnecessary vehicle use is usually the best approach. But understanding these potential points of failure can help manage expectations during the wait. With some troubleshooting, the update will eventually complete.

Steps to Troubleshooting Your Tesla Stuck at 50%-99%

Resetting the Screen

If an update gets stuck midway, the first thing I like to do is try resetting my car’s infotainment system.

  • Press and hold both scroll buttons on the left side of the steering wheel simultaneously
  • The screen will go blank after a few seconds, displaying only the Tesla logo  
  • Continue holding the buttons until the logo disappears and the screen turns on again, showing the backup camera by default

The reset essentially reboots the system like a computer or phone, which clears out any temporary files or caches that may be interfering.

In my experience, a reset has worked before to get an update rolling again about half the time. It only takes a minute to attempt and doesn’t cause any harm. The reboot gives the software a fresh start to try reconnecting to the update files.

Changing the Mode

When my friend’s Tesla update got stuck in the past, she considered changing her car’s power mode setting. By default, the Tesla will often be set to “energy saving” or “camping” mode to conserve battery life when parked. However, through trial and error, she learned that these low-power modes sometimes don’t provide enough juice for large software updates to complete reliably.

So, she tried switching out of energy saving mode the next time an update hung. To do so, she followed these steps:

  • Press the car icon button on the touchscreen to open the main vehicle menu 
  • Select “Controls”
  • Choose “Power”
  • Select “Normal” from the power mode options

Switching to normal mode allows more robust power draw from the battery that a standard or heavy update may demand. Sure enough, after making the change, she noticed the stalled download suddenly started moving again within minutes. The extra power seemed to do the trick.

Rebooting Your Tesla

Before I discovered changing power modes and resetting the screen to be great solutions to my tesla update getting stuck, I’d been rebooting the entire system. And, from my experience, rebooting often clears up software glitches similar to restarting a computer. 

To reboot my Model 3, I follow these simple steps:

  • Press and hold both scroll wheels on the steering wheel simultaneously. 
  • After a few seconds, the touchscreen will go black, indicating the car is shutting down.
  • Release the scroll wheels once the screen is off.
  • Within 30 seconds, the Tesla logo will reappear on the screen as the vehicle reboots.

Full Vehicle Reset or Power Cycling

Power cycling involves fully shutting down and restarting the vehicle’s systems. As the owner of a Tesla, I’ve had to power cycle on a few occasions when an update got stuck. Here are the simple steps:

  • Put the car in Park and engage the parking brake if applicable. 
  • Press and hold both scroll wheels on the steering wheel down simultaneously for 10 seconds. This will shut down the touchscreen.
  • Wait at least five minutes with the vehicle completely powered down and all interior lights off. 
  • Get back in the car and press the brake pedal to restart the vehicle.

The goal of this reset is to clear any temporary glitches and have the software essentially “start over” in installing the update. In my experience, a power cycle like this has resolved a stuck update more times than not. 

Freeing Up Storage Space 

Tesla updates require a certain amount of free space to fully download and install new software. In fact, the update process itself will display a warning if your Tesla does not meet the minimum storage requirements. However, it’s easy to accumulate unnecessary files, photos, or cache data over time that can slowly eat up gigabytes of storage without even realizing.

To check storage capacity:

  • Open the vehicle diagnostic menu and review the storage report
  • Take note of how much free space remains

If free space is low, say under 1GB, it’s time to purge unnecessary files to create more room:

  • Go to Media Player and delete any unused audio, video or image files
  • Remove old software logs and cache files from the dashboard storage section
  • Offload saved Sentry Mode or Dashcam clips that are no longer needed
  • Uninstall any unneeded apps to recover storage

It’s worth checking how full the drive is and purging unnecessary data to rule out a potential storage capacity issue. A few extra gigabytes of free space could be the difference between a successful installation or remaining stuck in update purgatory.

Turn Wi-Fi Off and On

Dealing with a stubborn software update stuck in the 50-99% range can test your patience. From my own frustrating experience – getting an update hung up at 89%, and other Tesla owners in various forums, I’ve learned that Wi-Fi is something to troubleshoot as well.

To turn Wi-Fi off and on:

  • Open the vehicle settings menu 
  • Select the “Wi-Fi” option
  • Toggle the Wi-Fi switch to the “off” position
  • Wait at least 1 minute for all Wi-Fi signals to fully disconnect
  • Toggle the Wi-Fi switch back to the “on” position to restart connectivity

When my update refused to progress, I decided to try disabling then re-enabling Wi-Fi on a whim. Much to my surprise, it allowed the installation to finally continue past 89% and complete. 

If your update gets stuck, don’t forget to power cycle the Wi-Fi as a potential simple fix. You never know which small factor may be preventing your Tesla from fully installing that new software version.

Contact Support as a Last Resort

If all the troubleshooting steps mentioned so far have failed to resolve a stubborn software update stuck between 50-99%, it may be time to contact Tesla’s support team for assistance. 

From my own experiences seeking help for persistent issues, I’ve found their technicians to be extremely knowledgeable and helpful. However, having the proper information readily available makes the process much smoother.

The most important piece of details to have on hand is your vehicle’s identification number, or VIN. As a Tesla owner, this long string of numbers and letters is like your car’s fingerprint. The support team will certainly need it to pull up your specific vehicle details and logs from their system.

Some of the options for reaching out include:

  • Scheduling a service appointment via the Tesla mobile app (remember to have your VIN)
  • Filling out an online support request with your VIN on the Tesla website 
  • Calling the support phone line during business hours Monday through Friday from 9am to 6pm Pacific Time (be prepared to verify your identity with VIN). Tesla’s phone number is 1-877-79TESLA (1-877-798-3752). 
  • Email: You may also be able to reach Tesla by email at support@tesla.com.

In my experience, providing the VIN upfront when initially explaining the issue can help expedite the troubleshooting process if remote support is needed. So don’t forget this crucial piece of identification.

Simply Wait It Out

Software installations, especially large updates, can often take an unpredictable amount of time to complete. The progress bar may appear stuck, but the update process could still be chugging along in the background. 

So if your update seems hung, consider giving it some more time before troubleshooting. Go about your day and check back later. You’d be surprised how often just leaving the car to work undisturbed does the trick. 

Of course, if waiting an extended period like multiple hours produces no change, then it’s reasonable to start testing some of the other solutions discussed earlier. But patience can solve a lot of problems that at first may seem more complex. So don’t forget to try simply waiting it out as a first step when faced with a stalled Tesla software update.

Best Practices to Avoid Update Issues

After doing some research, I’ve learned about some preventive measures and best practices that can help avoid update issues.

  • Ensure a stable WiFi connection. Network interruptions can cause updates to fail or get stuck. I’ve learned this the hard way when my update got interrupted by my home WiFi dropping out.
  • Check storage space. Insufficient storage leaves no room for the update to fully install. This was part of why my update got stuck – I had too many unused files taking up space. 
  • Adjust power management settings. Putting the car in “normal” mode instead of “energy saving” helps ensure it has enough power for the lengthy update process.
  • Schedule updates appropriately. Kicking off an update right before you need to take a trip doesn’t allow it to finish without interruption. Plan updates for times when you don’t need to use your car for a while.
  • Be aware of traffic conditions if using Autopilot or FSD. Congested areas put more strain on the system during an update.

Can I drive my Tesla while it’s updating?

No, I do not recommend driving your Tesla while an update is in progress. Software updates can potentially limit or disable important vehicle functions and safety systems. As the update installs new code, there is a risk that driving could cause issues or even malfunctions. 

It’s always best to park your Tesla in a safe place until the update fully finishes installing. That way you avoid any potential problems from driving during this process. Your safety and the safety of others on the road should be the top priority here.

While some owners have reported being able to drive small distances with no apparent problems, updates explicitly state not to drive during installation. Unless absolutely necessary, I would avoid this risk and wait until the update shows as fully complete before resuming driving.

How long does a Tesla software update usually take?:

In my experience, Tesla updates can range significantly in length depending on a few key factors. The size and scope of the changes in each update vary, so completion times will too.

Some minor bug fix updates have taken me as little as 10-15 minutes to finish. However, larger feature-packed updates resembling new versions of the software can take over an hour or more on average. While most updates install within 25-45 minutes in my experience, Tesla states it’s possible for some updates to require up to 3 hours on certain vehicle configurations.

Factors like network interruptions and connection strengths can further slow things down or cause failures and need to be restarted.

Conclusion

Keeping a Tesla up to date with the latest software is important for performance improvements, new features and security patches. However, software updates do not always go smoothly, as my own experience with an update getting stuck at 89% showed. 

Troubleshooting steps like resetting the infotainment screen, changing power modes, rebooting the vehicle and deleting unnecessary files can help resolve a stalled download. But if issues persist, the Tesla community provides valuable insights from other owners facing similar problems. I’ve found discussions there about toggling WiFi or power cycling providing solutions in some cases. 

While update hiccups can be frustrating, taking advantage of online resources and the support team helps resolve most cases without a service visit. And despite occasional hiccups, keeping my Tesla current has delivered many improvements over time that enhance both performance and ownership experience. By addressing problems systematically, you can continue enjoying all your vehicle has to offer through regular software updates.

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