Model S

Air Suspension failure with very unpleasant results

24

Comments

  • edited November -1
    When ever I saw the "skateboard" in a Tesla store it is fitted with the air shocks and they say Bilstein on them.

    I chose to not get the air ride because I am thinking about beyond warranty repairs. Air suspensions add more complexity and at some point will leak.

    I have driven an air ride car and it does indeed ride real smooth and a bit quieter than my coils. However, my car handles turn better.
  • edited November -1
    Glad I got my coils. ;):)

    The car rides like a dream… on the highway and everywhere.
  • edited November -1
    I don't have air and I'm generally fine without it. Whenever I get a loaner, they have air and I like it better. That's especially true in my neighborhood, which has speed bumps. But I don't feel a loss when I pick up my car and drive home. If I had to do it over again, I think I'd get air. But threads like this could shift the balance back to ambivalence.
  • edited November -1
    Wouldn't this air-suspension failure be a very high risk safety issue when driving at 70 mph?
  • prpprp
    edited November -1
    I've had a coil failure at highway speed (not in a tesla), and that was incredibly dangerous. But I knew it was a rare event so no need to redesign every car over it.
  • edited November -1
    My p85D air suspension failed completely on the entire drivers side. I was backing out of my driveway, felt an odd shift in the car as I was reversing. Then the wheel got real stiff and could not turn. As the car continued to back out the driveway i heard a really large grinding noise...all of this took place in about 3-4 seconds....Now my car was in the middle of the road, so I had no choice but to drive it back up the driveway and since I could not turn the steering it clipped the edge of my 21' rim (a good 8 inches of rash, fortunately cosmetic). As I drove it up the driveway the grinding noise continued and wheel was locked.

    I called local service center...they advised me to call roadside ASAP. I called Roadside and they were awesome, except they insinuated i must of done something wrong...anyways

    Tow service had a difficult time getting the p85D onto the bed of the tow because the wheels were rubbing against the wheel well ...as the they reversed the car onto the tow bed, the entire ball joint on front driver wheel dropped to the pavement. NOT GOOD!!!! I've only had the car for 3 weeks!!!!!


    I will keep you all posted, but it sounds like a failure of the air suspension. I too am glad this happened while driving out of my driveway but I am extremely concerned about this scenario happening while driving above 40mpH.

    I have tons of pictures...wish i could post them
  • edited November -1
    I picked coil two years ago due to this concern plus I don't find the air ride to feel much different at all in the test drive and subsequent loaners I have had. Not worth the extra money upfront or down the road for me.
  • edited November -1
    I got air suspension and love it. Have had the car for 10 months and no issue yet. I do wonder though if I should minimize raising/lowering the car to reduce likelihood of bugs. For instance, automatically raising the suspension at certain locations like my slanted driveway. How much does daily use of air suspension in those situations folks think increases wear and tear?
  • PD:+1 I've had two coils fail, Mercedes A class and VW polo. Tesla with air is worth it for the ride quality in my opinion.
  • edited November -1
    Each spring damper unit has a one way check valve in the air spring just before the connection to the air line that feeds it. I really should disconnect the air line to one of the damper units (to simulate a supply line failure) and see how much spring rate is left when the damper bleeds down to the check valve level. I wonder if it will bleed down far enough to allow the damper unit to come to rest on its bump stops.
  • edited November -1
    I got the air suspension, and have been very happy with it. Prior to buying, I was digging back through air suspension across models, in admittedly a very unscientific way (i.e. looking for user reports on forums etc, and not having consistent data on which systems might be more affected), but my gestalt was that the number of issues appears to have dropped over the years as the technology has improved. Doesn't mean a suspension can't have problems, air or otherwise.

    @lola makes a very good point. One would think clearance should be high enough to provide some limited mobility of the car, but perhaps not.

    @drpatel - sorry this happened. Will be interested to see what they tell you. Had you recently encountered significant road debris prior to the failure? Curious if maybe debris had damaged the system.
  • edited November -1
    In subzero temperatures I can hear my coils slightly, works well and comfortable when not subzero. Sort of squishy sound. Normally comfortable, but when subzero or single digits the ride feels slightly harsh.
  • edited November -1
    I've had a lot of air suspension cars. The Tesla I have on order I will have for quite a long time and I decided on steel spring suspension. For longevity, always go with steel spring.
  • edited March 2016
    This just happened to our MS 90D. Backing out of the garage, I suddenly heard a hissing sound. Didn't know what it meant at the time. Drove to the end of the driveway and something was not feeling right. At the end of the driveway, front of the car hit the street, which does not normally happen. When I tried to turn the wheel, it was more difficult than usual. I thought a flat tire. When I got out, both front tired were recessed into the wells and front of the car was almost on the ground.

    Tow truck is taking it to the service center now. Will post again with more details when I have them.
  • edited March 2016
    No looking back for MX. Air suspension is standard.
  • edited March 2016
    I've had air suspension issues for sometime now. It's not a real big issue, but head over to teslatap.com and listen to our issue with air suspension. It's been in a number of times for service, but still occurs randomly.
    To briefly recap our issue. The air suspension pump runs for 30 secs without adjusting any height the stops running pump, and is followed by a pressure release sound.

    This typically repeats 3-4 times then stops. Have many videos of this happening, submitted to two service centers, both stated this was a first hearing this sound come from MS. I have read from Continental we and been told from Tesla air suspension is a closed air pneumatic system. This sound is not really easily heard, but it happens on ours.

    How a closed system can vent to outside air is worth hearing more about, all ears.....

    In closing, do love ride of air suspension.
  • edited March 2016
    Springs have clear advantages over air. :-)
  • edited March 2016
    @georgehawley, Quote: "No looking back for MX. Air suspension is standard."

    Are you serious?! What a terrible idea!
  • edited March 2016
    I would have paid extra to NOT have the air suspension just to avoid these kinds of reliability/maintenance/breakdown problems with it.
  • edited March 2016
    Follow-up:

    Left front air strut needs replacement due to internal seal failing and not maintaining air pressure. Replacement part will come in tomorrow and they expect I will have the car back late afternoon.

    I've had the car just over 2 months. Very disappointing that such a new car can have these problems. Seems like Continental's air suspension system is to blame. Tesla has been great to deal with as I have heard on these boards.
  • edited March 2016
    I have active air suspension. Not a single problem or issue with it in 179 thousand miles.
  • edited March 2016
    I picked air suspension because 21" rims plus coils=noise in the cabin. And that seemed dumb when one of the attractions of the car is it's low nvh.
  • edited March 2016
    I picked air suspension because 21" rims plus coils=noise in the cabin. And that seemed dumb when one of the attractions of the car is it's low nvh.
  • edited September 2016
    Keep in mind most air spring failures happen as a matter of age not mileage per se'. As the actual bladders or air bags "if you will" age they like most materials begin to dry out and lose elasticity and develop cracks much like a tire sidewall on an aging tire which eventually will leak or fail in a spectacular manner (Bang!)
    There can also be compressor and related height sensor issues along with check valves, air dryers, etc. Most air spring failures I've seen are about 8 to 10 years out. Electrical or control system issues are hit and miss as far as occurrence frequency or timeframe from delivery.
  • edited November -1
    Another good thing to come out of this, is there's maybe hope someday we can come up with a lower low setting on the air suspension, as the current low still looks to me like a monster truck compared to every other fast car you see on the road around here.
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