Model X front suspension failure

Model X front suspension failure

Yesterday, I was parking my Model X90D in the parking garage at work, I was making a sharp turn as I was backing into a parking spot (in manual mode, not autopark), when I heard a bang and my steering became stiff. When I tried moving the car, it felt like it wouldn't want to move. When I moved forward, the car front part felt like it was lifted up an inch or so. I stopped, got out, got onto my knees and crawled under the front suspension to see what was going on. It was obvious to me that there was a front suspension failure (I used to design suspension systems for cars in Detroit 20 years ago). The wheel appeared to contact the wheel well. I refrained from making any further movement as the wheel well was acting as a giant brake on the tire.

I called Tesla roadside service. They were extremely responsive. They immediately dispatched a tow truck. Since it was in a low height parking garage, they actually had to send two trucks - a flatbed truck for transportation to the shop and a pickup truck with a tow hook to pull the car on dollies out of the garage into the open to be loaded onto the flatbed truck. Since I lived close to the shop, they requested the tow truck driver to even drop me at home. It was after hours so there was no one in the shop when we reached.

This morning, got a call from the service center, they confirmed that the driver side control arm had cracked and was broken. They had the parts in the shop and were immediately replacing it. As a precaution they are replacing the control arm on the passenger side too. They said they will deliver the repaired car at my home later this afternoon. The wheel well was deformed a bit and will also be replaced at a later date when those parts arrive.

Tesla service was very responsive and I am delighted by them. My concern is however about the part design. My Model X was delivered only 4 months ago and I have driven it along only city streets and expressways in Texas and never ran over any road debris or was involved in any collisions. Not a scratch on my car. I have not drag raced or off-roaded. It has never been driven off cement/asphalt pavement. It has never been in a flood and has not experienced road salt as the car hasnt lived a winter besides there is no snow in Houston.

I am surprised that the control arm cracked as the fatigue cycles on the part would have been low. I think when one is making an extreme turn, the control arm will be most stressed and it appears the stress analysis done may not have fully captured the loads during the extreme turn. I was driving at less than 5 mph while reverse parking when it failed. I shudder to think what could have happened if this failure occurred as I was on an expressway at speed, taking a turn/on a curved exit ramp, possibly made worse if I was on autopilot.

There is an interesting article in Fortune magazine: which I am sure Tesla/Elon may not fully agree with.

I hope Tesla gets to the bottom of this issue and comes up with a fix. The fixes could be simply restricting the wheel turn radius (that would be a bummer as I enjoy the tight turn radius), deploying a redesigned control arm that could handle greater loads, etc. (better), or other modifications.

The Model X is a delight to drive. A very high tech car that makes driving and parking easy. I am counting on Tesla to come up with a good solution before anyone gets hurt - owners or the company.

sreddy642 | 15. September 2016

In the mean time, I would suggest that Model X owners not make extremely sharp turns. The car tends to do a lot of such turns during autopark so that may limit using the wonderful feature.

davediep | 15. September 2016

Thanks for the useful information!

eddiemoy | 15. September 2016

SHIT! WTF! The service center had the parts available?!?!? That really worries me! It is like they had this issue before and had the part in the service center to repair it. I doubt they share the same control arm as the Model S!

I'll have a quick look tonight at both cars to see what the control arm looks like for both cars.

eddiemoy | 15. September 2016

I wonder if they have a bulletin out for this issue! Your Model X is earlier than mine, I only got mine 3 months ago. What is your VIN? Mine is 4K

eric.zucker | 15. September 2016

I'd not be surprised if the S and X shared very similar skateboards.

lilbean | 15. September 2016

Thanks for your post, @sreddy!

carlk | 15. September 2016

Knowing Tesla it would have issued a voluntary recall if there is an issue. They have issued recall of third row seats when only one were broken among a dozen of crash test they have perforned.

cmd_keen | 15. September 2016

Sorry to hear about what happened to your control arm! Hopefully this is a lone manufacturing defect and not a design issue. FYI, on my last service visit, the did have a TSB to inspect the Front Half Shaft for replacement. My X was fine, VIN 34xx, but this TSB only came out recently because it was not out when I first went in for service back in mid-August.

sreddy642 | 16. September 2016

Tesla delivered the vehicle to my home. Test drove it. Drives like new.

The control arm broke completely at the joint with the spindle. The control arm wraps around a central cylindrical feature and bushing at this joint. I suspect one of the following issues could have happened. 1) an air bubble/flaw/defect in the casting at the spindle hinge may have lead to crack growth and failure. 2) poor loads/stress analysis.

Either way, I hope they conduct a detailed investigation. They did take the passenger side control arm part also and replaced it with a new one. I hope this would help in their forensic investigation - comparing the driver side (broken) and the passenger side (unbroken) parts should reveal some good information. This should lead to detailed inspections on other vehicles having control arms from the same batch and a possible redesign/recall.

I took delivery of this vehicle in May 2016. Had 9947 miles on it at failure. VIN 40xx.

sreddy642 | 16. September 2016

I would expect Tesla to have extensively durability tested the vehicle - that would typically unearth such problems. But, I don't think making sharp turns is part of the standard durability test profile. I used to do this kind of work at Chrysler, Ford, GM and BMW in the 1990s.

eddiemoy | 16. September 2016


which part are you talking about. is the part on the top of the wheel well? the black one that looks like a wishbone that goes around the air suspension or the the one that rides on top of the wheel that is silver that the black wishbone part is connected to?

the only one that fits the description you provided is the one that looks like a wishbone and wraps around the air suspension, the "cylindrical feature".

carlk | 16. September 2016

"I used to do this kind of work at Chrysler, Ford, GM and BMW in the 1990s."


eddiemoy | 18. September 2016

@sreaddy, any update?

sreddy642 | 19. September 2016


sreddy642 | 19. September 2016

eddiemoy: How did you upload your picture to this forum? I can upload the picture that I had taken that clearly shows the failure.
I can't seem to simply drag and drop it in this box. Nor cut and paste it in here.

sreddy642 | 19. September 2016
eddiemoy | 19. September 2016

you need to do drop box or some other thing then link it via html code. it isn't easy. lol

which one of these components are it? A, B, C, D, or E?

MicTheCat | 19. September 2016

Just got my X back from a number of issues. When I got the report, one of the Job Numbers was a Service Bulletin to "Inspect Front Halfshafts". Wonder if this is it..? They found no trouble with mine ~6.000 miles and 3 month

loojia | 19. September 2016

My 4.5 days old Model X suspension failed this morning. The right side will not lower and the car is slant to one side.
Activating the smart suspension resulted in an error message that says suspension failure. What a disappointment.
I drove it to the nearest service center and had to wait for over 1.5 hours to speak to a service advisor. Car is now at the service center and may take a few days to diagnose and repair!

loojia | 19. September 2016

My 4.5 days old Model X suspension failed this morning. The right side will not lower and the car is slant to one side.
Activating the smart suspension resulted in an error message that says suspension failure. What a disappointment.
I drove it to the nearest service center and had to wait for over 1.5 hours to speak to a service advisor. Car is now at the service center and may take a few days to diagnose and repair!

Big T | 20. September 2016

wfloo, that sounds like the air suspension has a leak or a compressor problem. I've experienced this with other cars with air suspension.

davediep | 20. September 2016

Tesla has replaced my left & right "Front Halfshafts" due to manufacturing defect. The defect caused an early failure that you can hear as a rumbling noise around the front wheel under hard acceleration which got worse and more often overtime.
I believe the Service Bulletin to "Inspect Front Halfshafts" is for that.

rockyouever | 20. September 2016

Last week I had my MX in for minor fixes, ie. charge port can't be open by the UMC handle. The final service report showed "inspect front halfshafts" and it was reported no issues. This failure definitely has Tesla attention.

By the way, the charge port issue was due to the antenna was not connected.

eddiemoy | 21. September 2016

BTW, I called my service manager since I have my car going in for a few issues. I mention to him this issue and the TSB, he looked up my car and there is no TSB for this. So it seems to be a LIE.

Yes, I did find it suspicious that he would post then run away for days...

lilbean | 21. September 2016


aesculus | 21. September 2016

Technical Service Bulletin

lilbean | 21. September 2016

Ah! Thanks, @aesculus. What about LIE? J/k

carlk | 22. September 2016

Op posted the same at TMC. Someone asked him to post paperwork to prove it's real right away. Nope he's gone. Sounded too fishy from the begining.

rhartson | 22. September 2016

agree with Carl...been following this thread on TMC...this guy's has he's so concerned then what's up???....not buying it.......

UnshodBob | 22. September 2016

@lilbean - I believe LIE is Long Island expressway. :) :)

lilbean | 22. September 2016

Ah! Cool :-)

sreddy642 | 22. September 2016

Eddiemoy, the part that broke is part B. You can see the busted end right above the letter C. You see scratch marks on part C due to this part coming out of its mount and hitting part C.

eddiemoy | 22. September 2016

@sreaddy, don't know what you did to break it, but don't think there is anything bad since there isn't any TSB out on it yet. usually if something like this happen to one person, they issue TSB for it. Just like that seatbelt thing with the Model S. since my service manager looked up my car and said there isn't any TSB i'm thinking you might have did something drastic to break that part off because it looks pretty tough to me.

good one though, you got me looking at my shiny wheel parts.

my driver side:

my passenger side:

David N | 22. September 2016

Have you gotten your X back yet?
Any more news?

george.ixxapiga... | 22. September 2016

Have you reported this to NHTSA?
Do you intend to?
Lives are at risk.

rockyouever | 22. September 2016

When I brought in my MX, the SC told me only ONE TSB to perform for my car, updating the firmware of my keyfobs. Even Your car does not have inpending TSB for inspecting the suspension doesn't mean anything.

rockyouever | 22. September 2016

and it turned out that the SC did the suspension inspection in the final report.

george.ixxapiga... | 22. September 2016

Here's another Model X with a collollopsed front suspender.

Why are these Punamis prone to prolapse?

george.ixxapiga... | 22. September 2016

Never mind the key fobs..the WHEELS ARE ABOUT TO FALL OFF!

And then you die!

rockyouever | 22. September 2016

Read my earlier post and others about No TSB and considered the OP's case is LIE. What a joke!

george.ixxapiga... | 23. September 2016

Do you really think Tesla would issue a TSB that admits the suspension is as weak as pizz and all the wheels are liable to snap off at any minute?

rhartson | 23. September 2016

those are pictures of accident vehicles...WTF???...are you alleging suspension issues caused this rather than being the result of an accident????PROOF?????.....looks like BS......

lilbean | 23. September 2016

I was thinking the same thing!

carlk | 23. September 2016


Tesla will not just issue TSB it will issue a recall if this kind of things has really happened. For heaven's sake Tesla issued a recall right after 3rd row seat anchor broke in just one car. And that's in their own crash test car that no one else knows.

Oh another first time poster comes out to support the liar, sorry I mean op. Give me a break!

george.ixxapiga... | 23. September 2016

"Tesla issued a recall right after 3rd row seat anchor broke in just one car"

Window dressing.
the arrangement of an attractive display in a shop window.
an adroit but superficial or misleading presentation of something, designed to create a favourable impression.

george.ixxapiga... | 24. September 2016

Over on the TMC forum someone has posted 6 photos of cars with whompy or sliced wheels from random makes of cars that he has found in the salage yards.
His conclusion......... other car have the same problem!
Yea but...
There are 250 Million cars on American roads.
There are about 50,000 Teslas on American roads.
Since I can easily find hundreds of 3 wheeled Teslas it shows that the wheels are falling off thousands of times more often.
Better check your life insurance.
Make sure it covers suicide because if you crash into a truck or over a cliff you will be judged to be a suicidal idiot.

carlgo2 | 24. September 2016

This could be a case where the car was towed by hooking onto the front lower control arm and the ball joint was ripped apart. It could also have been used as a tie-down point and after hours of lurching around on a transporter it was damaged and later failed.

The lower control arm is often the easiest place to attach to and so drivers and loaders get lazy...The other possibility is that it was not torqued down properly upon assembly.

Of the thousands of cars towed into the shop I never saw a control arm that broke or ball joint that came apart without cause.

george.ixxapiga... | 25. September 2016

Reeler, Yesterday at 7:07 PM
sreddy642 said: ↑
I posted this article originally and uploaded these pictures of my car when it failed in our parking lot where my car is the only Tesla. I do have the Tesla invoice with $0.0 charged that clearly acknowledges this failure and shows which parts were replaced.
I think the same thing happened to our early production Model X. This arm was on the driver's side toward the front of the car. Tesla fixed it for free too.

2016-09-02 16.44.54.jpg 2016-09-02 16.45.07.jpg
Informative x 1

That suspension arm was not broken bt being pulled forwar by a tow-truck.
The end has torn out because the walls of the eye are ridiculously thin.
Drive carefully.

PXChanel | 22. März 2017

I also asked my local ranger in September when I first read this post to see if there was a TSB on from suspension issues, but he didn't find one. Guess what happened to me today? Almost identical story to original poster. As I was backing out of a parking space 1-2 mph and turning my steering wheel, I heard a loud pop under my front tires as if something broke and felt the car jerking everytime I turned the whee. When I press on the brake I hear a super loud scraping sound. I see nothing wrong under the car by the front tires, but perhaps I don't know what to look for. I am currently waiting for ranger to take a look to confirm it needs to be towed since there is no local Tesla Service Center here. I think the suspension broke and is obstructing the tire, which is why I feel vibration when I brake or turn the steering wheel. Model X Vin 5xxx, took delivery June 2016. 6,500 miles.

lilbean | 22. März 2017

I must have looked under my car four times after hearing a scraping sound. I expected to see something every time but nothing.