14 Common Reasons Why a Tesla Stops Charging

Tesla Model 3 matte grey charging up at an EV charging station

Nothing is more frustrating than having an electric vehicle that stops charging. The overnight charge is the only way for you to get to work in the morning, and your EV is just a massive paperweight if the battery is dead.

The only three culprits are your Tesla, the charger, and the source of electricity. Start by making sure your home and the circuit have power. Then, troubleshoot the charger — it should have a green light, be properly plugged into the wall, and connected to your Tesla. From there, it’s a matter of going through a checklist to see what’s wrong with your Tesla, and getting support involved.

To help fix some problems, I put together this guide. This is all about the 14 most common reasons why your Tesla stops charging overnight or doesn’t charge at all. I also have some fixes at the bottom of this guide.

How EV Charging Works

An electric vehicle doesn’t need any gas to go from point A to point B, but you already knew that. It actually uses a battery that’s a lot like your phone’s battery.

As your car gets used, the battery starts to drain. After enough use, you’re left with a dead battery. Hopefully, before this happens you can get it charged in. That’s when the magic happens.

Your Tesla’s battery is a two-way highway. When it’s being used, electricity is flowing out of the battery and powering things like your car’s HVAC system, radio, touchscreen, and motor. As it does this, your battery’s juice diminishes.

Electric car charger illustration

Since there’s no alternator, how does power go back into the battery? By plugging it in.

Once plugged in, electricity will flow from your home and go into your battery. This gives your battery the life that it needs to power everything again.

When your car is recharging, the electricity is coming from your home’s grid or the electrical source of the public charger you’re using. It goes through a charger that’s hanging on your wall and goes into the charging port of your Tesla (which is connected to the battery).

By looking at this setup, you’ll notice three potential culprits:

  • Your home’s electrical source
  • The car charger
  • The Tesla itself

This will come in handy later. You’ll quickly notice that all 14 of the common reasons I’m about to talk about can be traced back to one of these three categories.

14 Common Reasons Why a Tesla Stops Charging

Without further ado, let’s figure out why your Tesla stopped charging. Just a forewarning, some of these reasons might seem simple to you. I’m not insulting your intelligence; I’m just pointing out everything that could be wrong. I’m guilty of overlooking things, too (like when my toaster “broke” but it wasn’t fully plugged into the wall).

1. It Could Be a Fuse

Whenever something electronic isn’t working on your car, a great place to start is at the fuse box. A fuse is a sacrificial little piece that’s built into the wiring of your vehicle. They’ve on gas-powered cars too, so this technology isn’t new.

The idea is simple. If a surge or spike in power starts coming through your car, the fuse will sacrifice itself. When it breaks, you just have to replace a fuse instead of replacing the whole motor, for example.

Find out more about fuses in this guide.

2. Battery Might Be Damaged

The next thing that comes to mind is the battery that operates your Tesla. This is the battery that’s accepting the charge from your charger, allowing you to drive your car again.

Tesla EV electric vehicle chassis on display

If the battery is damaged, then it might not accept the charge in the first place. This could refer to any physical damage that’s been done to your battery.

Limited charging is just one of many symptoms you’ll see if this is the case. Other things include how far you can drive the car, the overall performance, and other glitches across your Tesla.

3. Your Power Went Out

It’s possible that your home’s electricity went out. Obviously, your car won’t charge if the grid it’s hooked into is dead. Do a quick check to make sure your house has power before trying to troubleshoot your car.

4. The Circuit Tripped

It’s also possible that just your charger’s circuit tripped and turned off. If you have a Level 1 charger on your car, then check which circuit the outlet is fed from.

If the charger is hardwired to your grid, then it’s a little trickier to track it down. I’d suggest reaching out to the electrician who ran the wire in the first place. They’ll know what happened.

Alternatively, check the circuit breaker and see if there’s a label for your garage charger.

5. Public Charger Might Be Defective

If you’re at a public charger when your car stopped charging, you might be able to blame the charger. These are often not maintained as well as they should be, just like a lot of other public services.

Tesla Model S in red at a public supercharging charger station for EVs

If this is the case, the best option is to try charging on a separate charger. If it’s your workplace’s charger that isn’t working, you might want to reach out to an admin onsite to get it fixed.

If the charger looks distraught, this could be a clear sign that the charger is to blame.

6. Did You Forget to Pay for the Supercharger?

If you’re using a Tesla Supercharger, you have to pay for the service. People wrongly assume these are complimentary, but there’s a fee associated.

If you don’t pay for the charger, you won’t be able to start charging. Keep this in mind moving forward.

The highest tier for charging is $1.35 per minute, but it’s also the fastest charging option available. The prices should be posted on or around the charging station, so take a look before plugging in.

7. Charging Port Could Be Corroded

Take a close look at the charging port in your Tesla. Are there white spots in or around the port? This is a sign of corrosion.

Tesla EV electric vehicle with a charger plugged in up-close at a charging station

If your Tesla sits around for too long or it’s parked outside, the charging port can start to corrode. Once this happens, charging will be intermittent. It might start charging but then randomly conk out throughout the night and leave you with a partially charged Tesla.

In addition, check the charging cable and see if the plug is corroded at all. The same problem will arise if this is the case.

8. You Have a Battery Charge Limiter

There’s a phenomenon that could be killing your Tesla’s battery. It’s all about charging your battery too much.

It might seem like a strange idea, but it’s one of the key ways to keep your electric battery healthy in the long term.

Batteries don’t like to be charged too much or overheat. When you fill your Tesla to 100% capacity every day, this slowly wears down the life of your battery. The result is a duller performance, fewer miles on a charge, and longer charging time.

To combat this, there are electric limits that you can put on your battery. For example, your charger could stop charging after you hit 75% which is the ideal maximum value that you should charge your car to.

There’s no setting on Tesla for this, but there could be one if you have a smart EV charger.

9. The Plug Isn’t Pushed in Far Enough

One of the simplest solutions is checking to see if the plug is pushed far enough into your Tesla. Sometimes it takes a little bit of force to get the plug pushed all the way into the connection port.

Tesla Model S at a public charginger charge port station on the side of a road

A buddy of mine had a problem where he would let his daughter plug in his Tesla, then he would wake up to a half-charged car.

If the plug is partially plugged in, the car will get charged off and on. You might notice that the charge starts, but then randomly stops. This is all thanks to an imperfect connection between the charging plug and your car’s port.

You should hear and feel a click when the plug is pushed far enough in.

10. Outlet Connection Isn’t Secure

On the other hand, the charger itself might not be properly connected to the wall. Take a look at the outlet on the wall and ensure the charger plug is pushed all the way in.

To be sure, completely unplug it from the wall then plug it back in. If the outlet has any signs of damage on it, remove the plug and call your electrician as soon as you can. If you know how to, you should also turn off the breaker that feeds that outlet. This is a potential cause for a fire, so you don’t want to take any chances.

If you see sparks or smell smoke when you plug into the outlet, you should do the same thing and call an electrician.

If your Tesla stopped charging, it could be due to a wiring malfunction in the outlet which is super dangerous. Don’t take any chances, here.

11. Your Tesla Is Glitching

There’s a well-known glitch where a Tesla will stop charging before 100%, but pretty close. Something like 95-99% and then your car just refuses to accept any more charge.

The interior dashboard of a Tesla Model X

I’ve found posts that date back years that complain about this same situation. The solution is always the same: just drive your car like normal and eventually, it will charge back up to 100%.

Since there is so much code that goes into the Tesla, it makes sense that little glitches like this exist.

12. The Car Is Protecting its Battery

Teslas have a secret feature to protect their battery. If your car goes through too many Supercharges, then there’s software in your Tesla to prevent charging until a tech looks at the vehicle.

This is a known issue that goes back to when Superchargers first were introduced.

It’s all a matter of how EV batteries react to high-current, high-voltage charging. The battery quickly wears down, so the team at Tesla put this feature into the software.

As far as I can tell, this problem can be fixed by a Tesla tech pretty quickly, but they’ll need to have your car in person to fix it.

13. You Scheduled a Starting Time

There’s an option on a lot of chargers to schedule a start time. If you accidentally set this up, you could be waking up to a car that isn’t fully charged.

This happens when the set starting time comes later than when you plug in your car. For example, you might plug your car in at 4 P.M. but it doesn’t start charging until 2 A.M. When you wake up, it looks like your car stopped charging, but the reality is that it didn’t get a full night of charging in.

Tesla EV electric vehicle at a charging station and smartphone indicating power reserve levels illustration

Since this largely depends on your charger, take a closer look at the instructions that came with the charging station.

If the delay is coming from your Tesla, the fix is pretty easy. Bring up the charging menu and take a look at “Schedule Charging”. This will give you the answer you’re looking for. If you see any time set here, then just reset it and you’ll be good as new.

14. The Chip Burnt Out

There are a number of chips scattered around your Tesla. One, in particular, is responsible for allowing your Tesla to accept the incoming charge. It’s the flash storage chip, their embedded MultiMediaCard (eMMC).

There is a soft recall on the eMMC due to some reliability concerns. Basically, the chip burns out because it gets overworked. Once burnt out, the car is confused and will randomly stop charging or not allow the charging to start in the first place.

The good news? Since this is a known issue, a Tesla service tech can quickly fix the problem for you. The only downside is that this isn’t a repair you can do on your own.

How to Make Your Tesla Charge Again

Once you find out why your car might not be charging, it’s time to fix it. Just a fair warning, troubleshooting and fixing your Tesla’s charging problem isn’t going to be easy. You might get lucky and find the problem immediately, but a lot of people have issues that only a Tesla tech can help with.

Check the Charger

The charger is the other piece of the puzzle. Make sure it’s undamaged, has no corrosion, and has a green light before plugging it into your car.

By making sure your charger is fine, you can start blaming your car instead. If you’re using a public charger and notice there’s damage, call the number posted on the charger. Tesla will send a team out to fix the charger pretty quickly.

If it’s a charger in your home that you haven’t used before, double-check that everything was installed correctly. As long as a certified electrician installed it, you shouldn’t have any problem. Still, accidents happen, so it helps to make sure the charger is all good before plugging it in.

Reach Out to Tesla’s Technical Support

This is the number one suggestion that I can make: reach out to Tesla’s technical support and see what they have to say.

More often than not, there’s a software or electrical issue with your Tesla that’s stopping the charging process. When this is the case, then the only option is to have a Tesla tech fix your issue.

Tesla homepage website online URL

They’re surprisingly really helpful over the phone. I always assume phone technical support is going to be awful, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Tesla so far.

The number for their technical support is 1-888-518-3752. Give them a call and talk to one of their people.

They’ll walk you through a few different troubleshooting steps. If the problem can’t be fixed over the phone, then they’ll help you arrange a support visit and have your car taken to the local Tesla shop.

Try a Reset

Tesla has a secret reset button that is typically very helpful. A lot of life’s problems can be solved by just turning off and on the product.

All of these steps should be done with your Tesla in “Park” and not moving at all.

Get in your Tesla and start by holding down the brake pedal. Press and hold the buttons above the scroll wheel as well as both scroll wheels. Keep everything pushed in until the screen goes black then turns back on.

Tesla Model S info screen dashboard display showing the battery reserve estimated driving range

For Model 3 owners, resetting is a little easier. Close all your doors and go to Controls > Safety and Security > Power Off.

Sit there and don’t touch anything for at least 5 minutes. After waiting, open the door and see if your car starts charging now.

If you’re comfortable working with high voltage, then there’s another reset you can attempt. Open the frunk (front trunk), remove the battery access panels, find the 12V battery, and disconnect the ground and first responder loop.

Wait a few minutes, then reconnect everything and hop in your Tesla.

Conclusion

With these 14 reasons explained, you should have a better idea of what’s going on inside of your Tesla’s battery. If you ever get lost or confused during the troubleshooting process, I would highly suggest calling the Tesla support number and getting a pro on the phone. For other car guides and explanations, check out the rest of my site. I also have a list of products that you might like for your car.

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Ernest Martynyuk

An automotive enthusiast who's been tinkering with vehicles since I was 15-years old. Repairing automotive electronics has been my main job for over a decade now and have a passion for everything technical regarding cars.

4 thoughts on “14 Common Reasons Why a Tesla Stops Charging”

  1. I have a 2013 Tesla that I recently purchased about two weeks ago. At this point I am unable to charge my vehicle. Can you provide some type of support please?

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    • 2013 Tesla Model S is one of the earlier models. Which Tesla Gen wall charger are you using and is the Tesla not charging at all at any port including the public supercharger stations or just at home?

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  2. We bought a 2017 used model S and we cannot charge it. We tried at our parents house as well as ours and the light shows green but turns red and will not charge. What should we do? we hear it lock and then nothing. our charge is now at 60% if not
    less and we need to drive it in the morning. Please help

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    • Hi Deborah, are you using a wall charger from home? It’s possible that the wall charger itself has gone bad. The 1st Gen Tesla wall chargers are known to fail and can actually be rebuilt. Were any of the troubleshooting steps in the article helpful? It really does come down to a process of elimination. Check the wall charger, or charging cable itself that has failed.

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