All credit goes to Tesla for making giant center touchscreens a trend in high-end vehicles. When in 2012, Tesla launched the first Model S, the large vertical center display might have looked odd, but slowly, legacy automakers are adopting the idea.
With the introduction of the Model 3 back in 2017, Tesla even removed the instrument cluster behind the steering wheel. This way, all the information, navigation, software updates, and entertainment options were packed into the single center-touchscreen display. Later on, Tesla Model Y followed the same pattern because it shared the platform and many parts from the Model 3.
However, Tesla did not remove the instrument cluster from its flagship Model S sedan and Model X SUV. The 2021 design refresh S & X interior has 3 screens in total (1 for the rear passengers even). So a lot of information like speed, driving visualization, and Autopilot visuals are displayed on the instrument cluster for Model S/X.
As the importance of the center infotainment is clear to us now, how does it sound like driving a Tesla Model 3 or Y without this screen? Tesla Model 3 owner and YouTuber Mike Krueger (Frugal Tesla Guy) showed us how to drive a Tesla if the center display is not present or goes blank in case of a malfunction (a very rare scenario though).
It is clear that a Tesla is definitely drivable even if the center touchscreen is not working for any reason. The Model 3 owner was able to engage Autopilot and FSD Beta in the absence of the screen as well.
To perform some basic functions, using navigation maps and voice commands, the driver took advantage of the Tesla mobile app and other phone apps on his iPhone.
Because the Model 3 owner, in this case, was on an out-of-town road trip and the center screen of his car went blank, he had no choice but to reach home before the screen was able to be fixed or replaced.
After some brainstorming and experimenting, he found out that his iPhone 13 Pro Max was enough to use as a speedometer, for Tesla’s mobile app, and navigation maps.
Mike mounted his iPhone 13 Pro Max on the top of the blank screen and used the maps app for most of the trip. He used Tesla voice commands to maintain the climate inside the car. Climate controls can be accessed via the Tesla mobile app as well. But during driving, voice commands are the best.
When a Tesla screen goes blank, the Tesla phone app comes in handy for confirming the vehicle’s speed and checking the battery state-of-charge (SoC). In this type of situation, the Tesla mobile app is also helpful in checking the charging status of the car at a Supercharger station.
To locate the Superchargers on the route, Frugal Tesla Guy used an app called Supercharged. There is another app and website named A Better Route Planner that Tesla owners use to plan their trips and locate Supercharger stations along the route. But Frugal Tesla Guy did not find this app much helpful in this specific scenario from his personal point of view.
Let’s listen to the story of this trip from himself and watch how he drove his Tesla Model 3 with a blank center screen and in one instance even with the screen unplugged from his car.