Model S

Percolating Sound from the Dash

edited November -1 in Model S
2014 Model S - 60K Miles

When the car start turns on and when I am driving there is an continual clicking or almost percolating sound coming from the dash. This problem has been frustrating because any research I do results in a flood of results about the AC fan. I show in the video that the AC is completely off. It does not sound mechanical like something is hitting something else becuase there is not a consistent pattern to the noise. It does not seem to be impacting the performance of the car but I do find it to be very annoying. I still have the CPO warranty on the car but the sound does not always happen, it comes and goes, and has not coincided with any previous service center visit. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Video with sound -


  • edited May 2019
    I too have a 2104 Model S that emits a "percolating" sound. I only notice it when the car is parked and quiet, like when I'm reading the latest release notes, and I'm not playing any music because I want to concentrate on what I'm reading. To me, it's a gurgling sound like the kind your stomach makes when it's hungry or is processing a meal. It's definitely liquid in nature and not, as you say, mechanical. I just chalked it up to the cooling system doing its thing.
  • edited November -1
    Gomaxsports Flagged^^^^^
  • edited November -1
    There are a number of fans in the car's cabin beyond the HVAC fan. There are two inside the MCU. There are two more in the AP2 hardware (if your car has it). My guess is one of these fans is entering the end of life and the bearing is going bad. Hard to say which one without pulling the dash apart. While the fan part isn't costly (maybe $3), if in the MCU, the entire MCU is replaced. If in the AP processor, the entire processor is replaced. I'm fairly sure Tesla service will not pull apart those modules to just replace the fan :(

    If you're out of warranty and can't live with it, and you're handy, I'd pull apart the dash and find the bad fan and replace it. I'd replace both fans, even if one is ok in the related module. The AP processor is easier to get to, so you might start there. Good luck!
  • edited May 2019
    There is an air intake actuator that can go bad that sounds kind of like a flapping sound. It might be related.
  • edited November -1
    Percolating probably means a pump is circulating coolant.
  • edited May 2019
    I’ve had a similar sound from time to time, and my best theory is similar to teslatap.

    I think it’s caused by one of the cooling fans for the circuit boards behind the display.

    The period and character of the sound leads me to suspect that it may be a cable harness that sometimes inertially shifts near the blades of one of the fans. You get a periodic sound that to my ear matches a low rpm PCB cooling fan. Sort of like holding a nylon tie-wrap against a box fan to hear periodic soft flapping.

    Many possible reasons. In my case, I don’t think the fan bearings are the culprit because those would tend to get progressively worse with time. My fan sound comes and goes, likely with spirited acceleration events that shift the cable harness.

    Notwithstanding the occasional fan sounds, I do find those acceleration events joyful, so I keep doing them :)
  • edited May 2019
    "Percolating probably means a pump is circulating coolant." ...possibly with a little air in the line.

    I'm asusming you didn't get the optional coffee maker.
  • edited November -1
    Sounds to me like the left or right servo motor that powers to air intake/cooling louvres adjacent to the fog lights has gone bad. Set a camera to that area and see if one side stays open or closed.
  • edited May 2019
    I had that noise on 2013 S and thought it sounded like the AC unit (even when off) settling after shutdown. Not sure of the mechanics involved.
  • edited May 2019
    A month ago I got weird random frequency electronic drum sounds when I was using my OLD paired AT&T LG470 flip phone, Called Cust/Serv about weird noise [boom/boom/click/clicks] & TT a S/ware (?) person. Was told that a s/ware chg happened due to old/corruptible s/ware associated w/flip-phone. Back to AT&T store and got a $50 Android o/s phone plugged it in (charging via console USB) and phone-comm back to normal. Any info/advice on leaving the phone [1yr AT&T pre-paid plan] plugged into my '18-S Tesla??
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