Shimmy - 2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test
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2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: Shimmy

December 18, 2013

2013 Tesla Model S

During my road trip, I drove over some coarse pavement. At the time, I thought what I was feeling through the seat of my pants and the steering wheel rim was simply road texture.

But many, many miles later it occurred to me that it might not be the pavement that was causing what I was feeling. It was, in fact, the car.

Here's what it was doing. Every ten seconds or so while traveling at about 70 mph, I'd notice a vibration (if you can call it that) that would increase in amplitude and then fade away to nothing. About ten seconds later, it'd be back. This shimmy continued, never worsening or improving, irrespective of pavement. It was most noticeable on smooth tarmac, almost certainly because rougher pavement would mask it.

Mind you, this is a subtle shimmy. Very subtle. More like a faint zizz that comes and goes. My passenger didn't notice it until I pointed it out. Then, it couldn't be un-felt.

I'm not sure what's causing it. Could be something as simple as an out-of-balance tire, though the periodic nature of this shimmy is unlike any tire balance-related shake I've ever experienced.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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