Ominous Noise - 2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: Ominous Noise

October 21, 2013

2013 Tesla Model S

Our 2013 Tesla Model S is making an ominous noise under acceleration and deceleration. It originates from the rear of the car and seems to be getting worse. Listen to the two videos to see what I mean. One version is at low speed and the other at higher speed. We have an appointment scheduled to see the dealer today. We'll let you know what we learn.

The low-speed version

The higher-speed version

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 10,770 miles


  • gslippy gslippy Posts:

    The flux capacitor is going bad.

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    Sounds like the diff on a 1962 Land Rover.

  • kirkhilles_ kirkhilles_ Posts:

    Looks like you need a "tune up". Maybe you need to change your oil and spark plugs. Oh wait...

  • bayoubaer bayoubaer Posts:

    I hear a 2 hour burnout while plugged in will fix it!

  • hybris hybris Posts:

    It is the sound of evil. But seriously considering that the rear end alignment was off lord knows what could be going on under the hood.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    There is just volumes they don't know about powering a 4,700-lb. car with a very high-torque electric motor. I suspect all EVs are going to have to come to grips with the instantaneous loads placed upon their transmissions (even one-speed transmissions) by a 100%-of-torque-at-0-RPM powerplant. I don't care how beefy the gearset is...getting hit with that when the gears are completely immobile is going to cause issues. No clutch slip, no torque converter, just...wham.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    @fordson1: They DO use controllers to control off the line torque and to build a smooth horsepower curve. Otherwise EVs would be almost undriveable!

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Thanks, duck87 - but I still bet the answer here is the tranny. Or the diff.

  • gtiguy3 gtiguy3 Posts:

    I'm completely with fordson1 here; sounds like the diff, and I'm even more convinced because of the exact same reason he just gave.

  • gslippy gslippy Posts:

    @fordson1: Umm, engineers know how to design gearsets that can accept instantaneous torque. Trains and elevators do this every day. That said, even though the S may be suffering from a gear problem, it isn't necessarily due to it being an EV.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Yeah - they know how to do it in weight-and-size-is-no-object applications. This is an application where the battery (the fuel tank) is huge and heavy and everything else has to be flyweight to compensate.

  • andyr2 andyr2 Posts:

    Well maybe the video didn't do it justice (and I don't have a model S so I may not be qualified to give an opinion) but is the sound really that bad or is it just a minor annoyance? Perhaps this is comparable to how an internal combustion engine develops a bit more noise as it gets older? Though I understand it's certainly it's not something you'd be happy with with such an expensive car at only 10,000 miles.

  • ryster ryster Posts:

    Sounds like the gearbox in an electric R/C car as it ages and starts to loosen up.

  • gslippy gslippy Posts:

    It's been 4 days - where's the update?

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    +1 - they said they were getting it in on the 21st. So now there is an update about putting it into park and it makes the driver's door come unlatched - ?

  • temoore_ temoore_ Posts:

    Wonder if it's related to the alignment issue?

  • gslippy gslippy Posts:

    Mustn't have been too ominous; it's been a week now with no update.

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