Unusual Odor from Driver's Rear Wheel Well

Unusual Odor from Driver's Rear Wheel Well

I've had my Model S 60 kWH for about 10 days now and have driven it about 500 miles. Friday evening, after driving home, I noticed an unusual strong odor eminating from the driver's side rear wheel well. The odor was strong enough to notice from a few feet away. It smelled sort of like the air that comes out of an inflated tire inner tube. I checked the wheel well for debris and any obvious mechanical or visible issues and found none. I checked the tire pressure in that tire and it was normal at 45 PSI. The car charged normally. I talked with Tesla through their hotline and their telemetry showed no issues. They suggested I take it in for inspection and promised to have a service advisor contact me soon. I drove the car after talking to them for a 13 mile loop and the car drove flawlessly. The air suspension and the brakes appear to be functioning normally when tested. After the test drive, I continue to detect that odor from the left rear wheel well.

Has anyone else experienced this?

akikiki | February 15, 2013

You mentioned it smelled like air from an inflated tire? Is there any chance that you ran over a NY Times reporter? I hear they are full of hot air. | February 15, 2013

Have not experienced this..

petero | February 15, 2013

aklklkl. Very funny.

David Trushin | February 15, 2013

I experienced this with my Caddy.
Turned out it was a plastic bag that melted on the catalytic converter. Doubt this is the same.

nickjhowe | February 15, 2013

Does the wheel or tire feel any hotter than the others? Per @David, maybe something in the brake caliper?

Brian H | February 15, 2013

A tiny piece of debris jammed against the rotor?

Robert22 | February 15, 2013

I'd also make sure you don't have a small furry woodland creature plastered inside your wheel well.

Perhaps a carwash to exclude the possibility of any extrinsic residue on the car itself.

Superliner | February 16, 2013

@ akikiki

Now THAT'S a good one !! MwaHahahaha!! BaaHahahahah!!

NYT Reporter ..... LMAO!!

Brian H | February 16, 2013

Lost in Space? ;)

sergiyz | February 16, 2013

Probably just brakes getting warm for the first time.

olanmills | February 16, 2013

Just because it feels like you're floating on air, it doesn't mean you can stop paying attention for possums and the neighbor's cat.

Robert22 | February 16, 2013

Indeed....for some the neighbors cat may be considered a high value target.

Brian H | February 17, 2013

Roll up slowly, gently. Stop. Mash it. Done.

L8MDL | February 17, 2013

Ball joints for the REAR wheels? Didn't know the "S" has 4-wheel steering!

blurry_eyed | February 17, 2013

Maybe it's related to the air suspension? I believe the bellows are made out of rubber, so if the air suspension released air after you parked to level the car it might have an odor.

Brian H | February 19, 2013

Yes, but here's the scenario that came together for me late last nite. (Subconscious solver sez:)
There's a slow leak in the valve for that corner. Since self-levelling is more or less continuous when the car is in use, it would not show up as a distinct signal on the compressor motor's draw, but would just be a small "excess", which might be missed unless looked for. Try replacing that specific pressure relief valve.
Or adjusting it, if applicable.

Anyhoo, that's my theory until incompatible facts are in evidence.

aa012a | February 19, 2013

Do you have the parcel shelf installed?

I received the parcel shelf this last weekend... I HAD TO KEEP IT OUTSIDE OF THE CAR!! The smell was so bad! It is now a bit less but I am not putting it back inside of the car until it becomes manageable. | February 19, 2013

@aa012a- off thread topic-- any changes/new features on the parcel shelf? Still waiting on mine.

Brian H | February 19, 2013


Spray with 3% peroxide and let sit. Test a rear patch for color fastness (a couple of hours) first tho'!

Robert22 | February 19, 2013 aromatic polymer. When the car heats up in the summer, then what?

dstiavnicky | February 21, 2013

It's called burning rubber baby! Just ease off the accelerator a bit... ;)