Tesla Model 3 Owners & Service Manuals

Tesla Model 3: Ensuring Accurate Occupant Classification

Tesla Model 3 2017-2022 Owner's Manual / Seating and Safety Restraints / Airbags / Ensuring Accurate Occupant Classification

To help ensure an occupant in the front passenger seat can be accurately classified, the passenger must:

  • Wear a seat belt.
  •  Sit upright on the center of the seat cushion, with shoulders resting against the seat back and legs extended comfortably in front with feet on the floor.
  • Remain positioned on the seat cushion and not lift their weight off the seat (for example, by pushing their feet against the floor or pressing on the center console or armrest to lift up).
  • Never wear thick, wet, or bulky clothing (such as ski wear or padded clothing).

In addition to the items listed above, the following situations can interfere with the accuracy of the occupant classification system:

  • Placing a radio transmitter (for example, a hunting radio or walkie-talkie) on the front passenger seat.
  •  Placing an AC/DC inverter, or a device that is being powered by the inverter (for example, a cell phone, tablet, or computer) on the front passenger seat cushion.
  •  Placing liquid (such as a bottled drink) or food containers on a car seat when a child seat is present.
  • Incorrectly placing a child safety seat so that the entire lower section is not positioned against the seat cushion.
  •  Objects lodged under the seat or wedged between the seat back and cushion.
  •  Heavy objects sitting on the seat (briefcase, large purse).
  • Cargo interfering with the seat.
  • Aftermarket items attached to or placed between the seat and the occupant, such as covers, mats, blankets, etc.

These conditions can interfere with the occupancy sensor. If you have eliminated the above possibilities, and the airbag status is still incorrect, instruct passengers to ride in the rear seats and contact Tesla to have the airbag system checked.

Note: Tesla follows NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) recommendations that all occupants age 12 and under must ride in a rear seating position.

Note: The front passenger occupancy sensor affects the operation of the passenger front airbags only. The side airbags are not affected.

Warning: Failure to follow the above instructions can adversely affect the Occupant Classification System (OCS) which can cause serious injury or death.

Warning: If the front passenger airbag is not turning on or off as expected, do not seat a passenger in the front passenger seat. Contact Tesla Service.

Warning: To ensure accuracy of the occupant detection system, do not make any modifications to the front passenger seat.

Warning: Do not use seat covers on Model 3. Doing so could restrict deployment of the seat-mounted side air bags if a collision occurs. It can also reduce the accuracy of the occupant classification system.

Examples of Correct and Incorrect Seating Positions

Correct seating position:

Examples of Correct and Incorrect Seating Positions


Incorrect seating position - the passenger's feet must be on the floor:

Examples of Correct and Incorrect Seating Positions


Incorrect seating position - the passenger must not slide forward on the seat cushion:

Examples of Correct and Incorrect Seating Positions


Incorrect seating position - the passenger must not recline the backrest to a laying down position when the vehicle is moving:

Examples of Correct and Incorrect Seating Positions


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