You may be one of the many Tesla owners who has experienced Front Passenger Safety Restraint System Fault. This is a very ubiquitous problem that has affected multiple users. It could be a general error across all vehicle models indicated under either RCM_a697 code or others. You can look up other codes in Tesla documentation.
You may have seen this error in new and old cars. This annoying error starts off intermittently then becomes a constant flashing sign. It can occur randomly after driving for a long time or when driving vehicle for the first time.
The Front Passenger Safety Restraint System Fault is a recurring error that recommends you to visit a service center.
You may have seen complaints from several Tesla users who have had to go through multiple repairs at service centers. You should be prepared to endure several repairs to correct the Front Passenger Safety Restraint System Fault error including manipulation of seat connectors, replacement of ‘sensor kits, and entire seat replacements and/or harness replacements.
Replacement parts are in short supply and your car may be forced to stay in the shop as Tesla has ceased production of parts of older models. Tesla does however give you a loaner until your car is fixed.
There are many reasons as to why this Front Passenger Safety Restraint System Fault error keeps popping up.
Why Does It Say Front Passenger Safety Restraint System Fault?
1. Technical issues
The Front Passenger Safety Restraint System Fault error keeps recurring because your car has a software bug.
There is a problem with entire passenger safety restraint system as it conveys the wrong signals to the vehicle and misguides it into thinking that the driver is not wearing a seatbelt thereby disrupting the autopilot or cruise features.
You will see that many drivers have complained that they cannot access AP mode as a consequence of updated programming elements which seem to be affecting the operability of the vehicle.
Also, you could be experiencing this Front Passenger Safety Restraint System Fault error if you failed to install a software update or installed software update but it did not activate it properly. Ensure you have fully updated the software needed to run your Tesla smoothly.
Maybe you have installed the software update but you still get the Front Passenger Safety Restraint System Fault error and wonder why this is still happening.
Well, this is because the software you installed may have failed in compatibility and did not interact well with existing safety restraint systems.
For example you may have noticed many complaints from Tesla users who have received Front Passenger Safety Restraint System Fault – Service is required message after the 2023.2.12 software update online. This error popped up as soon as they started driving the car after effecting this upgrade.
The only fix for this type of error, is to for you to open a service request via mobile app or take the vehicle to a local service center.
2. Misaligned Seatbelt Sensor wire
If the Front Passenger Safety Restraint System Fault alert keeps blinking then you may be the victim of a misaligned sensor. To be more precise, the seatbelt sensor wire found under your seat is the component that may be out of order.
Different codes help to classify the seatbelt malfunction. Two common codes are the RCM2a_365 or RCMa_355.
The sensor wire malfunction has been seen across different Tesla Models. Tesla technicians have disclosed to consumers severally that the sensor wire had a factory defect and Tesla is aware of this.
You will notice that this defect worsens every time you use or adjust the seat. Eventually your seatbelt wire sensor will become more and more misaligned and eventually dislocate from its default position.
Be careful when you adjust seat especially during vacuuming or deep cleaning the car. The connections in the front seat are already misaligned. Any further movement disturbs the wires even further.
Not sure where the sensor wire is located? The seatbelt sensor wire is found below the seatbelt. It is very easy to check if your sensor wire has deviated from the correct placement. Just take a flashlight, scrutinize the rear seat footwell and inspect if the seatbelt wire is as it should be. If it looks out of order then you can try placing it back.
If you can’t fix the seatbelt sensor problem on your own you can put in a mobile service request via app. A sensor malfunction does require a service kit if it cannot resolve on its own or customer cannot fix it at home.
Use the following sequence to ask for a mobile ranger to come over and repair your error.
- Access your Tesla Mobile App
- Input your location
- Select “Alert Appeared” as reason for requesting service
It might take you anywhere from three days to three weeks to get a mobile ranger to examine your problem. When the mobile ranger appears, he should be able to fix the problem within half an hour barring any other issues. If you decide to take your car to the service center it will only be a five-minute fix. Tesla has received numerous service requests for this problem and it is not unique to you.
If your car is still under warranty, you should not pay for the service. Ensure you read your warranty conditions well as some part replacements are not covered.
You should be aware that the Front Passenger Safety Restraint System Fault is a design concern and your car should be covered under safety recall irrespective of warranty.
3. Harness and seat connectors Malfunction
The wiring harness is an intricate assembly of wire with plenty of nooks and crannies where wires can get stretched, pinched or cut and connectors can be pulled as the seat moves.
Every time you move the seat you put stress on the harness and this loosens the connectors. To identify this design flaw:
- move seat back
- Raise the front of the seat as high as possible
- Put your head on the carpet of front seat
- Look up under front seat
- You will see wires with two connectors pointing to the front; one of which is yellow and the other black
- One will probably be sticking out at least a half inch further than the other
- Push that connector in
- It might not snap or click in place but it will still function
You should always confirm that the connectors under the seat are fully connected. Any loose or broken connection will trigger the sensor to send an alert. Connections become loose over time due to vibrations, constant vehicle usage, seat movement and wear and tear.
If your car has a loose connector to the seat belt harness or the passenger side bags and you may need to replace the harness.
Before embarking on this dear option, try snapping /putting connector back in space and if any wire breaks, replace the whole assembly rather than the harness or whole seat..
You can also rectify the fault by installing a seat harness extension and adding ferrite fillers or replacing harness
The Nilight – 10017W 16AWG DT Connector Wiring Harness Kit (view on Amazon) has a two years warranty period.
Nilight also has a black plug (view on Amazon) and play ten feet wiring harness extension with two years warranty.
Your harness could also be affected by electromagnetic interference from phones, audio or laptops occasioning the Front Passenger Safety Restraint System Fault.
HUAREW (view on Amazon) offers twenty pieces of black clip-on ferrite ring Cores which reduce Radio Frequency Interference and Electromagnetic interference as well as Noise Suppressor Cable Clip for 3.5mm 5mm 7mm 9mm 13mm Diameter Cable that retail at $13.99. The product can be found here on Amazon:
Tesla knows there are aberrations in the wiring system. These loose connectors and wiring harness problems indicated by the sensor are a known hardware issue. The wires which are not seated correctly tend to make sporadic contact with the controller triggering a sensor alert which is shown as a Front Passenger Safety Restraint System Fault.
To remedy this bad connection unplug the controller(black box under seat) disconnect all connectors then re-plug the controller and reconnect each connector and recommence service.
For cut wires hold up the harness and inspect which particular wires are slit, splice them, tug the connectors together. You may have to replace harness is severe cases. This involves removing the seat, changing harness and reinstalling the seat.
Technicians have revealed that Tesla may have produced a bad batch of harnesses which you can only discover after using the vehicle over a certain period of time. These harnesses tend to loosen connectors pins due to wear and tear, vibrations and Easy Entry movement. This ends up displaying the Front Passenger Safety Restraint System Fault.
Thus, technicians are willing and ready to replace harnesses linked to the Safety Restraint System for free but only if the car is still under warranty.
4. Seat Track position error
The seat track wire cable could be pinched, torn or cut. This alert will show up as “Seat Track Position Error” on your screen. You can rectify this by changing the cable back yourself. Make sure you review Tesla Documentation on how to replace it. The sequence of steps to follow are:
- Seat Track seat
- 1st Row Seat
- LH(Remove and Replace
- Water damage
There is a high likelihood of receiving a Front Passenger Safety Restraint System Fault if your car seat has suffered spills, wetness and leaks from rain, flood damage. Do not take water juice or soda in the car to prevent spillage, ensure windows are closed to stop rain leaks or flood damage.
This error which displays is RCM_d0114_vdsChannelSigMonPerm./contact Tesla Safety restraint System Fault/contact Tesla Service [customer service_fix] and cannot be fixed in a DIY manner.
If your RCM Module is damaged or destroyed you may need to replace the whole module including the flash at a service center.
If you get caught up in a downpour or flood and your windows are not working well rendering the seat wet, or if you spill a drink, the dampness will flow down to the harness.
The inline connectors in the harness under the plastic covering on the door opening will go damp and spread this moisture to the yellow connector occasioning the error of Front Passenger Safety Restraint System Fault.
To fix this error resulting from wet surfaces you can use the heat seater util the whole unit is dried. If this does not work you may need to visit a service center or request mobile ranger services.
If the seat or harness is too wet, you may have to go in for a replacement seat which is also covered for those still in warranty period.
5. Occupant Classification System (OCS) malfunction
The OCS is brains behind the Restraint Control Module. It instructs RCM on the best seat placement, and the strength of airbag deployment. It senses when you sit, reads your weight and then uses this information to determine the speed and power of airbag deployment including factoring in use of airbag vents for people who are lighter.
Three sensors in OCS work together for safe airbag firing namely:
- Occupancy Switch system
- Capacitive pad switch
- Capacitive pad for seat bag
If any or a combination of these sensors is not working as expected the passenger airbag will go off unnecessarily, fail to go of when needed, go off at the wrong speed and power, or fail to detect seated passenger.
This is a safety issue that raises the Front Passenger Safety Restraint System Fault alert. It can be corrected by replacing the RCM and attendant sensors.
6. Your passenger seat may be defective and needs replacing
If all the above remedies fail you may be forced to replace the seat at a Tesla service center, a very expensive option but should be free if your warranty is still in effect. A seat costs upwards of $1500 without warranty. Cheaper options are available in other options but compatibility could be an issue as it’s hard to find the right fit especially with the scarcity of Tesla spare parts.
7. Your car is a lemon
If you keep getting persistent Front Passenger Safety Restraint System Fault errors despite numerous repairs your car may have a serious safety issue. You can ask Tesla to buy the vehicle back as a lemon or request a new vehicle replacement of the same model.
In summary, it seems that the majority of the Tesla Front Passenger Safety Restraint System Fault errors are caused by poor software and hardware designs stemming from the manufacturer and only a few cases stem from users.