Model S

Air Suspension failure with very unpleasant results

edited July 2015 in Model S
First the good part: Tesla 1-800 roadside folks were very good, the tow-truck driver was very good, and the service center was very good in repairing my Tesla in one day and then delivering it back in the evening. All very good, and I am enjoying the car again.

Now for the bad part: The right front air strut failed due to a leak which caused the whole front of the car to drop so much that the wheels were rubbing against the inside of the wheel well, and the front of the car was rubbing on the ground. The car became absolutely not drivable. Luckily I was parked when this happened. The tow truck driver could only do inch-by-inch turns to orient the car to face the tow truck, and then had to move it up again inch-by-inch using wooden blocks just so the wheel well and the bottom would not get damaged.

Why doesn’t Tesla air-suspension design incorporate some sort of a stopper to stop the car from going lower than the lowest functional air-suspension setting? The service center tech had the same idea!!!! At least it would be drivable when the system failed. I am very concerned how the car would handle if this air suspension failure occurred while driving 70 mph.

I hope a retrofit kit comes out soon for all of us with air suspension. Given my experience, I can't recommend getting the air suspension feature to anyone buying the car until there is some sort of a mechanism to allow for a controlled safe system degradation when it fails.
«13456710

Comments

  • edited November -1
    Why didn't the tow truck driver use speed dollies or wheel dollies instead of a wood block hack job?
  • edited November -1
    This is a common issue with air suspension design. We had a similar unpleasant experience with an Audi A8... 3 times in 1 year. This was both very expensive out of warranty and disabling when on the road. I vowed never to get air again after that.
  • edited November -1
    After reading this, I'll stop whining about not having my car. I'll be happy the factory is fixing it before I pick it up.
  • edited November -1
    Air Suspension works really well and this is no reason to not get one but the OP is absolutely correct in that the system should have a fail safe that prevents the suspension from going any lower than the lowest setting.

    We've had Airmatic fail once on a Mercedes and it got very low but not so low that the front of the car touched the ground.

    I'd never get a car without Airmatic but the system should not be designed so that if you have a strut failure it does not destroy the front of the car,
  • edited November -1
    They cannot put in stop bumpers at the lowest suspension setting because that would eliminate all suspension compliance - the wheel does go up further than the lowest suspension setting while in motion. This is the first reported suspension service issue on this forum, so it does not indicate a trend as far as we can tell. Sorry for your experience, but it is likely a one time thing.
  • edited November -1
    This has been a known problem with air suspensions for decades with all car makes. (after all they come from the same suppliers) It is not common place for them to fail but when they do the car is not drive-able. However it is easy to fix.
  • edited November -1
    Could they do something to put a stop somewhere between the lowest setting for the suspension and when the front end of the car would hit the ground?
  • edited November -1
    Maybe not a stop but a stiff spring that starts to engage at the lowest point. Yes, if you're on the lowest setting, there will be some air and spring overlap but if you lose a bag, the car can deflate all the other bags and your riding on coils at the lowest setting, but not low enough to rub.
  • edited November -1
    So Tesla air suspension components are the same as other cars? I've heard absolute horror stories related to cost and reliability of air suspension systems. On one of my test drives, my friend went off on their Audi's air suspension system reliability (terrible) and repair cost (even more terrible), asking if Tesla would be any better than an Audi.

    I'm watching this thread closely...
  • edited November -1
    I would wager the horror stories about the cost of air suspension repair is mostly because the cars mentioned are German. Exorbitant repair costs is not information that salesmen for German cars would ever volunteer.
Sign In or Register to comment.