The vehicle in question is fitted with a third-party tow hitch.
A Tesla driver in the United Kingdom has been left frustrated after not being able to purchase the company's Trailer Mode towing software. The reason? His vehicle is fitted with an aftermarket tow hitch. Scott Helme took to Twitter after finding out that his Model Y, equipped with an aftermarket tow hitch, isn't eligible for "Trailer Mode" as Tesla did not install the component.
Helme told The Drive that he bought the car and had a reputable company install the certified tow hitch to his electric vehicle. But that wasn't good enough for Tesla, which deemed the tow hitch a "liability" as it wasn't an official accessory. Essentially, Helme's Model Y is unable to tow (according to the automaker).
"It doesn't say anything about their tow bar being required anywhere I can see," Helme told the publication. "How was anyone supposed to know this? Not that it justifies their behavior in any way, this is an awful way to treat consumers still."
Helme emailed Tesla Support for assistance and was told that the Tesla tow hitch is unavailable due to "a microprocessor supply shortage." This makes no sense at all, as the component is a fairly simple item fashioned out of stainless steel.
What's more, The Drive reports that the Tesla tow package has been out of stock in the UK, and for quite some time. This leaves owners of both the Model X (which has proven itself to be a remarkable tow car) and Model Y stuck with no solution, as Tesla won't authorize the Trailer Mode software for vehicles fitted with third-party tow hitches.
We can understand if Helme had fitted a warranty-voiding accessory, or fitted a poor-quality component but, as mentioned, it's a certified part. Surely Tesla cannot dictate what customers do with their respective vehicles?
Interestingly, this isn't the first time an owner has had to deal with this issue.
One Model X owner on the Tesla Motors Club said he was aware of other Tesla drivers who had managed to attain the Trailer Mode software while using an aftermarket hitch. However, when he enquired about it, Tesla said it wasn't possible.
"Tesla is now giving me the round-a-around claiming they can't due to warranty complications," wrote the forum user. But there's hope after all. Another owner claimed they use their Tesla to tow without the software and are yet to find any problems.
The Trailer Mode software does, however, make for a safer towing experience, and adjusts various driver assists when the mode is being utilized. The adaptive cruise control keeps a greater following distance, for example, and Autosteer is disabled.
We've reached out to Tesla for comment and will update this story accordingly once the company replies.