Tesla owner issues warning after accidentally locking herself in with no AC, no way out

@brianna__janel/TikTok Kittyfly/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘It’s 103 degrees’: Tesla owner issues warning after accidentally locking herself in with no AC, no way out

'Sounds like a HUGE safety issue!!'


Jack Alban


Posted on Apr 12, 2024   Updated on Apr 11, 2024, 12:09 pm CDT

Anyone who’s ever updated a Tesla’s software has probably figured out the hard way that it’s best if they aren’t in the car while that process takes place.

The estimated time for the update, per the brand, is 30 minutes, but anyone who’s owned one of the vehicles will tell you that sometimes it takes much longer. While the vehicle’s software is getting a refresh, it’s also recommended that you do not activate any of the car’s features because you run the risk of ruining something in the update process. Basically, your Tesla should be treated as a massive brick during the update procedure.

Unfortunately for TikTok user and Tesla driver Brianna Janel (@brianna__janel), she decided to stay seated inside of her electric vehicle after hitting the software update option.

She did so while the sun was shining outside and bearing down through all of the windows of her whip, including its glass roof, creating a hot chamber that became more and more unbearable to sit in as time progressed. On top of that, the update took longer than its projected 24-minute completion time.

Janel, who called herself a “moron” for not getting out of the car sooner, was stuck in the vehicle and was afraid to use any of its features, like its air conditioner, for fear of ruining the way it operates by interfering with the update in any way. So there was nothing left for her to do but sit, wait, and watch the progress bar slowly inch closer and closer to its end goal as she dripped sweat the entire time.

“Guys I’m literally a moron. I’m a moron. Updating my car,” she says before flipping her camera around to show the Tesla software update screen on the brand’s trademark large center touchscreen. “By the way it’s been updating for the past thirty minutes. It’s only supposed to…update for 24 minutes, and when your car’s updating you are stuck in your car if you activate it when you’re in here.”

Janel then reveals the primary problem: the heat. “So, I did that, and now I’m stuck in my car, literally dripping sweat, and inside my car, it’s 103 degrees,” she says. “So, I am slightly freaking out, I hope I don’t run out of air. I can’t open up the doors or the windows otherwise I can potentially damage my car, so I’m just stuck in here roasting like a freaking chicken and dripping sweat.”

On top of being trapped in her car, Janel notes that she placed a Chick-fil-A order that’s fresh and ready. She just can’t get out of the car to pick it up.

“And my Chick-fil-A order has been done for 30 minutes I’m literally sitting outside,” she says, panning her camera over to show the Chick-fil-A restaurant behind her where her completed meal order is just waiting there and getting cold.

Janel, on the other hand, is heating up in what is essentially a greenhouse vehicle. “So yeah I will be stuck in my car until further notice,” she adds at the end of the clip.

@brianna__janel Note to self don’t update your car when you’re in it. #teslatok #tesla ♬ original sound – brianna | 2025 BRIDE

In a follow-up video, Janel responded to another TikToker user’s concern about her safety, noting that she made it out after 40 minutes.

“Guys I made it out,” she says before laughing into the camera. “I literally made it out of my car.”

The Tesla’s air conditioning system can be heard blowing in the background of the video, strands of her hair sway as she speaks to her viewers.

“Look, I’m sweating,” Janel remarks before showing off her arms. “I’m literally I’m dripping sweat. You can see it on my face. I literally have sweat because I just got stuck in my car as it was updating for 40 minutes and the interior is 115 degrees, the AC has never felt so good. And I’ve never felt better. I feel like I just took a bath.”

Commenters who saw her video sympathized with her plight, with one user writing, “I’d literally start crying! I CANNOT deal with heat. Id have a mental breakdown as well I’m glad you’re okay.”

Another person remarked that she should be careful to ensure she didn’t suffer from heat exhaustion. “This is so scary i hope youre ok! watch for heat exhaustion,” they said.

Some thought that this design choice from Tesla, such as allowing the vehicle to be updated with people inside of it, wasn’t a very good idea.

“That seems like a very dangerous design flaw. I’m not familiar with Tesla software, but can you not abort the process and reinstall later? It seems absurd to have it where you cannot exit the vehicle,” one user wrote.

@brianna__janel Replying to @mm I’M FREE. Thank you for your concerns. Some of you were telling me there was a way I could’ve gotten out but I was afraid to mess up my car. Thats why i said i was stuck lol #tesla #teslatok ♬ original sound – brianna | 2025 BRIDE

Tesla writes on its website that opening and closing the doors of its vehicles during a software update is not recommended and may ultimately damage the car. The brand also states software updates can often take up to 2 hours to be completed, so users should pick a time their vehicle will be idle and parked to allow for the update to take place.

“Do not attempt to use the vehicle while the software is being installed,” the site reads. “Vehicle functions, including some safety systems and opening or closing the doors or windows, may be limited or disabled when installation is in progress and you could damage the vehicle.”

One Redditor said that they learned the hard way how opening the door to their Tesla while it was updating was a bad idea, and left them unable to close their car door again until the update was completed: “So yeah, wasn’t thinking and opened driver door in the middle of a SW update and big surprise, window didn’t go down, just dragged along the door seal. No damage, just couldn’t close the door again. Luckily it wasn’t raining or snowing. Lesson learned.”

Other Tesla users have expressed other frustrations with software updates, and not because they were stuck in their cars, but because the updates themselves seemed to have rendered their vehicles un-driveable.

This Redditor’s post suggested that an error during the updating process broke their vehicle by disabling its driving capabilities. This has been a problem reported by other Tesla drivers as well.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Tesla via email and Janel via TikTok comment for further information.

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*First Published: Apr 12, 2024, 5:00 pm CDT