Of course, you don’t need to worry about white smoke (also called steam) coming to your car while charging. It’s just a water vapor recondensing on cold air. However, if you notice blue or black smoke with a strange smell, that’s a serious issue that can cause greater problems. It’s best to stop charging your vehicle right away.
It’s normal for Tesla vehicles to release smoke while charging because the charging process makes the battery heats up, which can break down chemicals and produce smoke. But excessive smoke with a strange odor emitting from your car means something is wrong somewhere.
Definitely, you’re worried about this issue, and so you want to know the cause of this problem. This article explains common reasons why your car might produce smoke while charging and how you can address the matter.
Why Is Your Tesla Smoking While Charging?
Reason 1: Cold or wet weather
In some conditions, it’s normal for your car to produce smoke while charging. But there are other incidents when things are okay, and you need to take action.
Your Tesla producing smoke while charging is an acceptable and common occurrence, particularly, during cold or wet weather. You might see white vapor as the electrical system warms up during the charging process.
When charging in cold weather, your vehicle turns on its heat pump to warm up the battery. This helps prevent damage from charging a cold battery. The car then turns on its air conditioning system to maintain lower temperatures as its battery heats up. Such swings in temperature and functions can cause a release of some white smoke.
How to fix: Call Tesla technicians
It’s normal for your Tesla to produce white smoke (steam) while charging.
But take notice. If the smoke is blue or black and has a strange smell, you should stop charging immediately.
Gray or black smoke indicates that something is burning. It’s likely a plastic material around an electrical current. Blue smoke with a strong smell indicates an electrical fire, which could be coming from the battery.
If you notice blue, gray or black smoke, stop charging right away or stop using the car immediately. Also, excessively releasing white smoke poses a serious danger.
Also, if you notice a smell burning or actual fire, stop charging right away and call Tesla technicians or other emergency services.
Reason 2: The car is overheating
Another issue that can cause your Tesla to smoke while charging is overheating. As temperatures rise, hot weather can have a huge impact on electric vehicles, affecting both their range and battery health.
The brakes, electric motors, the battery pack, and climate control systems all generate heat and get hot, which explain the reason Tesla maker use several cooling systems to maintain their temperature.
During hot weather, electric cars like Tesla can get hot and overheat. The normal temperature for these vehicles is between 195 to 220 degrees Fahrenheit.
If your Tesla is experiencing a higher temperature than 220 degrees Fahrenheit, then know that it is overheating and needs attention. Under such circumstances, the heat your car’s battery produces can be too much for the cooling system to handle.
Furthermore, during hot weather, batteries in electric cars generally underperform because higher temperatures cause electrons inside the battery to move slower, thus decreasing the amount of power available.
Excessive heat is more prevalent in warmer regions or during the summer season. In hot environments, batteries in electric vehicles are prone to get hot. This happens because the charging process causes the battery to heat up. If the battery continues getting too hot, it can release smoke and even produce fire.
How to fix: Avoid car overheating
- Avoid traveling long distances during very high temperatures.
- Always ensure your Tesla has been charged adequately before driving in hot weather. When batteries are too low, they can heat up rapidly and are more prone to overheating.
- Always try to park your car in the shade. Prolonged sunlight exposure can mean that the battery lasts a shorter period of time than it should.
Reason 3: Overcharging
It could be that your battery is overcharged, causing your car to smoke while charging.
When your battery is overcharged, the unwanted voltage produces heat as its form of energy, eventually causing overheating and then smoke.
Overcharging your battery makes the excess voltage start to detach the bonds within the chemicals, leading to the release of energy in the form of heat.
If you allow this process to continue without addressing it, it can finally cause fire.
How to fix: User correct charger
Always use the recommended Tesla home and public chargers that control voltage and amperage.
Other chargers continue charging even if your battery has attained full charge. These chargers can cause your battery to flame.
Reason 4: Damaged battery
Another cause of smoking while your car charging could be a damaged battery.
If your battery is damaged and you plug the charger into your car, the battery can cause your vehicle to smoke while charging because it’s unable to dissipate heat properly. When this occurs, it will cause overheating and eventually smoking.
A Tesla battery with signs of overheating could be an indication that it has run out of performance life.
The battery’s lifetime is the first thing to know if you notice your Tesla battery that produces smoke.
How to fix: Well maintain your battery
The best approach to prevent a damaged battery is to make sure that your car is always in good condition.
Periodically assess your battery. If you notice any damage, ensure to take the vehicle to a Tesla service center as soon as possible.
If you think that your Tesla battery is damaged, take your car to the Tesla support center. Let the certified Tesla technicians test and inspect the car as soon as possible.
Reason 5: Faulty charger
Most chargers are extremely reliable, but just like other electrical equipment, they can develop faults. A fault in the chargers could be another cause for your Tesla car battery smoking while charging.
The charger (a supercharger or a home charger) is designed to offer power to your car’s battery. However, if the charger is not functioning properly, it can push power into the battery, instead of supplying it with power. As a result, this can cause overheating on the battery and smoking.
Whenever you notice a smoke or unpleasant odor coming out as you charge your Tesla, it’s best to pull out the charger from your car.
The good thing is that these chargers are designed to shut off automatically in case there is a problem with the charging process. But, sometimes, a defective charger may not shut off correctly and can cause overheating on your battery and even smoke.
How to fix: Contact Tesla support center
- If you’re experiencing any problem or damage, immediately unplug the charger and remove it safely from your car’s charging port.
- Whenever you are faced with a problem, don’t panic. Gently remove the charger from your car. If it’s stuck, don’t remove it with force. Use tools such as a butter knife or a small screwdriver to find the release button on the charger and push it off.
- Smoke or fire issue is a serious problem, which you must seek a professional to address the matter. Contact Tesla technicians to diagnose and repair your car.
Reason 6: Electrical short
When an accidental electric short circuit happens, it can cause your car to produce smoke while charging.
Every electrical system is designed to enable the current to follow a specific path at specific voltage and current levels. However, sometimes a short circuit can occur when the electrical current flowing through the wiring may exceed the safety limit for the insulation around the wires.
When this occurs, the insulation can overheat and blow out, causing smoke and damaging your vehicle.
Your car’s electrical and wiring system incorporate safety items and fuses. These safety devices stop electrical problems from getting out of control. If you notice incidents like, a burning smell, a blue or black smoke, or a blown fuse, these are instances of an electrical short.
How to fix: Periodically assess battery’s connections
- Although electric shorts are not a common problem, it’s essential to be aware of it.
- If you notice any smoke coming from your car while it is charging, take it to be inspected by Tesla technicians or a qualified mechanic.
- Every car’s batteries are prone to get damaged. Periodically assess the situation of your Tesla battery.
- Ensure that the battery’s connections are securely fastened and kept tight, according to the manufacturer.
My Final Thoughts
This article explained common causes for your Tesla car to develop smoking while charging. Now you can deal with such a situation, as you know the reasons and potential risks behind such unwanted incidents.
The issue about Tesla producing smoke while charging reminds you that you must be cautious with the new Tesla car charging technology.
You should always know the dangers caused by the new charging technology and take precautions to avoid any accidents. And the most important thing is to keep yourself away from a potential loss.