Tesla Upgrades Service Unavailable


Tesla are constantly chopping and changing the features, capabilities, and configurations that they make available to their customers. And if you are starting to feel overwhelmed by this, then you are not alone.

In this article, I will be talking about the error message that you may see displayed on your Tesla touchscreen which says Service Unavailable in the upgrades section.

What does it mean when your Tesla says upgrade service unavailable? And what do you need to do to resolve the issue? Or, is it even an issue in the first place?

Read on to find out all you need to know about this strange error message on Tesla vehicles of all models.

Why Is Tesla Upgrades Service Unavailable?

In 2021, Tesla introduced the Upgrades section on the touchscreens of all Tesla vehicles. The feature was introduced gradually for different models and in different market regions. This made subscribing to upgrades like Premium Connectivity, Cold Weather, and Enhanced Autopilot a lot easier, rather than having to go through the mobile app or website to do an upgrade.

However, in 2022, some users started to report that the upgrade service is no longer available on their vehicle touchscreen.

To understand this error message better, it is important to first explain what is meant by Upgrades Service.

Upgrades service should not be mistaken for software updates. As a matter of fact, Upgrades is a section below the Software section on the Tesla touchscreen. Upgrades means subscribing to get advanced features that are not currently available to your Tesla vehicle such as Premium Connectivity, Cold Weather and Enhanced Autopilot, for example.

  • Show, why does it say that the service is unavailable?

Well, it appears that in keeping with Tesla’s culture of constant change, the feature to upgrade right on the Tesla touchscreen was removed in 2022. Unfortunately, there was no public information to let Tesla customers know about this change.

Customers only suddenly started to see the Service Unavailable error message when they tried to upgrade on the touchscreen. According to Tesla, upgrades are now only available through the mobile app. Github users are suggesting that this is a security measure to eliminate vulnerabilities that were discovered in the Tesla touchscreen upgrade module.

You may already be aware that there are now ways to jailbreak Tesla vehicles and get advanced features and capabilities for free. If you need more details on this, check out the article I did earlier on how to jailbreak a Tesla.

So, the bottom line is that you can no longer subscribe to software feature upgrades on your Tesla touch screen. The feature is now only available on the Tesla mobile app. This provides a safe and secure way of accessing your Tesla account and making payments for subscriptions such as Premium Connectivity and Enhanced Autopilot.

According to Tesla, “Over-the-air upgrades improve your vehicle with the touch of a button. Offering additional features and functionality that help customize your Tesla vehicle to your needs, these upgrades are available for purchase from the Tesla app.

Depending on your configuration, different upgrades will be available for your vehicle and will automatically appear in the Tesla app. These upgrades do not require a service visit and you can simply purchase with a payment method on file…

Open the Tesla app to learn more about the upgrades available to you.”

For a specific feature like Enhanced Autopilot, this is what Tesla also have to say, ‘You can purchase Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot or Full Self-Driving Capability at any time through the Tesla app – and the Autopilot software required will be added to your car.”

From the above, it is clear to see that upgrades are only available via the Tesla mobile app, as at the time of writing this article. It would be unwise to rule out the possibility that this may change sometime in the future, but given the concerns that Tesla have about jailbreaking, then it makes sense that you can only perform software upgrades over the mobile app.

How To Upgrade Your Tesla Vehicle

As we have already established, you can only subscribe for Tesla software feature upgrades via the Tesla mobile app. Upgrades can be purchased via credit card from the Tesla app. You can adjust the selected card prior to check out by editing your payment method.

When you have subscribed, your Tesla vehicle will list any installed or available upgrades from the ‘Software’ tab in your car controls.

That is:

  • To perform an upgrade, you need to use the Tesla mobile app
  • After successfully subscribing for the upgrade, you can view your current upgrade status on the Software tab on your Tesla vehicle touchscreen

Yes, it may not be the best user experience, but it currently the best Tesla can offer given their security concerns.

So, how do you perform the upgrade on your Tesla mobile app? Follow the simple steps below:

  1. Open the Tesla app.
  2. Select your vehicle.
  3. Tap ‘Upgrades.’
  4. Tap ‘Software Upgrades.’
  5. At the top of your screen, tap ‘Subscribe.’
  6. Tap ‘Add’ next to the upgrade that you want to purchase, for example, Premium Connectivity.
  7. Select the billing option. Then, tap ‘Next.’
  8. Tap ‘Checkout.’ Then, confirm your payment details and complete the payment process.

Is Premum Connectivity Upgrade Still Available On The Touchscreen?

Well, according to Tesla, you may still be able to subscribe for Premium Connectivity on the vehicle’s touch screen, as long as your Tesla vehicle is on software update 2021.40.5 or later. So, if your vehicle has the latest updates, you could check and see if you can subscribe for Premium Connectivity only, using the touchscreen.

To subscribe to Premium Connectivity from your vehicle touchscreen:

  1. On your vehicle touchscreen, tap ‘Controls.’
  2. Tap ‘Upgrades.’
  3. If your vehicle is eligible, you will see an option to subscribe to Premium Connectivity.
  4. To subscribe, select ‘Swipe to Purchase.’ Your Premium Connectivity features will be available once your vehicle is parked and has completed the necessary software update.
  5. If you do not have a billing address or credit card on file, complete your subscription purchase in the Tesla app.

But if you still see Service Unavailabe on the touchscreen, then know that subscription for Premium Connectivity has also been removed for you. In that case, just head over to the mobile app and subscribe. Again, remember that you will only be able to see and pay for upgrades that you are eligible for.

Are Upgrade Purchases Refundable?

Yes, upgrade purchases are refundable, but subject to strict terms and conditions as detailed below:

If the upgrade was purchased via the Tesla mobile app, then you can request for a refund within 48 hours of the purchase, and only from within the app

If the upgrade was purchased in a Servie Center, you would have to contact your local service center for a refund, if available

You cannot receive a refund if the upgrade includes Premium Connectivity. To learn more about this, check out this article I did on whether Premium Connectivity is worth it.

My Final Thoughts

If you see Service Unavailable in the Upgrades section of your Tesla vehicle touchscreen, then know that it is not an error message or glitch on your Tesla.

It simply means that you can no longer subscribe for a software feature upgrade such as Premium Connectivity, using the touchscreen. You simply need to use the Tesla mobile app to pay for upgrades on your Tesla.

Brady Klinger-Meyers is an experienced writer and marketer with who currently writes for Teslord as well as other popular sites like MakeUseOf and Techzillo. At Teslords, he focuses on general Tesla advice with his interest being accessories and gadgets. Read our Editorial Guidelines and Fact Checking process.


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