Rattle-trap? Early delivery Production 85kw Quality Problems - Loaded, but loaded with problems.

Rattle-trap? Early delivery Production 85kw Quality Problems - Loaded, but loaded with problems.

VIN 1605 - Delivered early Dec, Now has over 4000 miles.
Creaks and rattles driving me nuts, but I still love the car.

My car was delivered a full month before expected, without warning I got the "your car is Ready" email, out of the blue. My response "what?. Would have waited another couple of months for a tighter build.

I love the EV concept so much that I just bought my spouse a Ford Focus Electric for commuting to work. It's hard to deal with the fact that the build quality on the Ford is better than my Tesla S. Tail between legs.

Anyone else suffer the following problems?

1)Creaking sunroof - (still creaking, Tesla tried to fix, not better)
2)Glove Box retainer broken - stuck in open position - (fixed by Tesla)
3)Rear seat belt not Latching - (fixed, I used tweezers to remove left over plastic that was stuck in mechanism)
4)Initial attempt at software update aborted and caused software problems - (new update complete all problems resolved)
5)New rattle at rearview mirror bracket.
6)New rattle at driver's side seat belt mount.
In addition to these problems I also suffered damage caused by service personnel:
When I picked up my care from the service center in Los Angeles after the first attempt to fix the sunroof I noticed a large scuff on the side of steering wheel - (I'm reminded of it every time I drive the car.) The plastic/rubber gasket that is exposed on the roof of the car was also gouged and damaged when the tech tried the stop the creaks and rattles.

Electron | 6 March 2013

Keep on them. This is not my experience with the rattle level (I have none except what sounds like
temperature expansion in the sun in the rear hatch) There is no reason that service cannot
tighten things up for you.

I will say this: service is slammed. I dropped my car at Menlo Park today and there were
at least 20 and probably 25-30 cars there + 5 roadsters. (Some may have been deliveries,
but most were in the bay or had evidence of being older cars). Service still needs time to
get used to this car, the common problems and solutions. This is gonna go on for
a while. It may take some time for you to get satisfaction, but I think if you are persistent,
they will make it right.

My communication with service thus far has been great. I've made sure to provide them with
a punch list in writing and email that we can check things off of. Makes it a lot easier to see
what has and hasn't been addressed and keep from arguing over verbal commitments and

Best of luck to you.

jat | 6 March 2013

My car was finished in the end-of-year rush, yet I have had no problems. I have no sunroof, but no problems with the glove box or seat belts, and no rattles. I haven't had the car services, so no opportunity for them to scratch up the car working on it.

It seems like others who have had issues have been able to get them addressed by being persistent.

sancann | 6 March 2013

I am a little curious as to why you would like to know others have had problems with 2, 3, and 4. Your statement says the issue has been resolved for you and does not show that it is a current problem.

Electron | 6 March 2013

sancann. Yup, solved problem is solved.

Electron | 6 March 2013

Also, I'll be the first to admit that Tesla has problems structurally (communications,
policies, etc.), but is every list of, to me, somewhat minor problems worth of
sturm and drang and long forum posts? The damage is obviously a serious issue and
if they don't take care of it proactively, shame on Tesla.

Leaving that aside, maybe I've been unlucky, but every car I've ever owned has had
similar sets of minor issues. And let me tell you, service from those manufacturer's
was NOT responsive. Yes, Tesla is supposed to be a different kind of company, but
let's face it. Cars are cars, collections of lots of parts put together still by a bunch
of people. There will be lemons, there will be rattles, there will be all kinds of issues.
Tesla can't break the laws of combinatorics and physics by producing cars that
are perfect.

jinglehyme | 6 March 2013

Thanks to all -

I think that there is nothing wrong with talking about the entire history and experience with delivery and ownership of my long awaited S. Again, I love it. But a rattle is a rattle. I've had a new car every two years for the past 10 years. 5 cars, 1 major rattle. With my Tesla I've got a major rattle and two emerging ones in three months of ownership. Don't jump on me for telling the truth.

I just feel that if I take it back to where the damage was done - there might be retribution and an awful Chevy loaner car for a week.

I really don't know how to elevate my concerns - Who should I contact?

Electron | 6 March 2013

Start with the ownership folks. They can talk to service for you and are easier to get to
than the service centers sometimes. Just call Tesla's main number, I believe. Express your
concerns to them.

tvntesla | 6 March 2013

I am about few dozen of cars behind you. Got mine end of November 2012 and don't have any hardware problem to complain about yet, just few software glitches such as "12Volt battery needs replacement" and "charge port door is open". Service made remote diagnostics and let software update fix the problems. Almost 6000 miles driven now and no squeaking or rattling noise. I think thread like this should be private so that other owners can response with their experience and not the public. I wouldn't feel comfortable posting my VIN in a public thread for example.

kickgas | 6 March 2013

I also have the rattle issue coming from the pano roof mechanism. First attempt to fix it was unsuccessful Will try again. I live on a dirt road and this unfortunately accentuates the noise. A known issue with Tesla, but no permanent fix worked out yet, I'm told.

EVTripPlanner | 6 March 2013

My P85 delivered 12/19 - no rattles, major problems. The issued I did have are described in review at

Stay on them and have them make it right. You should be happy :-)

bradslee | 6 March 2013

My 85 S was one of those last year end rush deliveries and I received it on Dec. 29. Since I have had my MS, I have NOT encountered any problems (oh, perhaps the water in the rear back up light is a minor problem but it does not bother me at all) including ones mentioned by jinglehyme. Personally I am very pleased with my MS and have to admit it is a really awesome automobile! Also, my experience of communicating with Tesla is satisfactory. I can send email to my assigned Tesla Client Advisor asking whom I should talk to regarding the issue like checking on the shipping schedule on HPWC. Thus, I would suggest that you send email to your assigned Tesla Client Advisor, or if you do not have one, send email to

tvntesla | 6 March 2013

There are cars made on Wednesday and there are cars made on other days

c.bussert67 | 6 March 2013

I too have the piano rattle/creak. My car was delivered in oct of '12. Figured it was just a teething thing, but I guess they still have issues with pano noises. I'm taking my car in for service on it in April. I hope it goes well. I have been reluctant for the very reasons you state. My previous vehicle history has made me leery of dealership work. I'm hoping Tesla changes my views. Its the only nagging issue I have with the car. If they fix it, it will be perfect.

olanmills | 7 March 2013

I'm at over 3,000 miles with my Model S. I use it as a daily for ~50 mile round trip at varying speeds on varying roads.

So far I have not noticed any rattling-type problems.

In fact, I finally drove my old car a long distance to sell it, and I was struck by the contrast. There were plenty of creaking and rattling noises, though they weren't really that bad I would say, but definitely a big difference from the Model S. Of course, my old car has 68,000 miles on it, so oviously, it's been through a little more wear and tear (including getting rear ended, my poor baby).

Brian H | 7 March 2013

You have a piano in your car? Are the creaks musical?

GeirT | 7 March 2013

Nick-that-is-not-Nick is back!

Brian H | 7 March 2013

Briefly, here and there, on a short leash.

lajollan | 7 March 2013


If you are unhappy, I have a '93 Del Sol for sale!

JoeFee | 7 March 2013

Given what Tesla has achieved in such a short time … it is truly remarkable! I am reminded of this countless times when I explain to non Tesla onlookers what the car can do…which is EVERY time I take the car out. As very early adaptors, we have to have patience through the companies (fast) growing pains. They will make any legitimate problems right in time. I know, I suffer from Tesla Derangement Syndrome (TDS). It is a hard pill to swallow given the over six figure price tag we (Sig’s) paid for the car. Nonetheless, any difficulties fade away as quickly as 1-2-3-4 60 MPH and the Tesla Grin appears once again! | 7 March 2013

No rattles, squeeks or other issues. I took delivery on 12/29/12 so I was in the big production burst. I remain amazed with the engineering & customer service.

eltonf | 7 March 2013

My car was shipped Dec. 31 and delivered Jan. 9. I haven't had any major issues like the OP listed.

rloehler | 7 March 2013

With the Pano Roof issues, I wonder if those of us who opted to settle for a solid roof may ultimately be spared some of these extra creeks and groans. I have had no problems with rattles from my solid roof or car thus far. (Manufactured 1/13 Delivered 2/5/13) | 7 March 2013

No issues with the Pano roof for me.

Brian H | 7 March 2013

Yes, it's very messy having a creek run through your car. Even though you get free trout.

David Trushin | 7 March 2013

One of the reasons I decided not to get the Pano roof. They all creak. And if you leave them open in a midwestern thunderstorm, you will wind up with a creek running through your car.

Brian H | 7 March 2013

I you're dumb enough to leave it open in a gully washer, you needed a good flushing anyway.

jat | 8 March 2013

@rloehler - yes, that was one of the reasons I didn't want the pano roof even if it didn't cost extra. Every car I have ever had that had a sunroof of any sort had extra noise around it, and eventually the rubber seals leaked as they aged and became less flexible. You would also expect better torsional rigidity with a solid metal roof.

David Trushin | 8 March 2013

I was just speculating on how one might get creeks from a sun roof. Although if you think about it, if you were supposed to leave in open in the rain it would be called a rain roof, right?

Schlermie | 8 March 2013

My car was built during the end of year rush (received December 22), but I've had no problems at all, EXCEPT after about a month of driving a subtle noise started to develop behind the dashboard. It would be a bit of a stretch to call it a creak or a rattle, but when driving over rough pavement, I can hear a subtle noise that sounds like sheet metal that's not bolted down tight enough. It's not dramatic, but it's a bit irritating, because the car used to be absolutely silent. I've added it to my short list of items to have addressed by service when I have the spoiler installed.

Jinglehyme, your comments are valuable because I'm concerned about sending Tesla service on teardown to hunt for this little sound. The car is in such good shape, I'm worried they may never get Humpty Dumpty back together again as good as it is now.

Epley | 8 March 2013

Two words: early adopter.

Can't expect perfection from a brand new company with such a technical product.

The early Ford cars suffered many, many problems as well (my son is doing a National History Day report on Henry Ford).

Ford has now been building cars for 100+ years, so they better know how to get it right. Just imaging how amazing a Tesla is going to be in 100 years...spaceflight, perhaps?

Electron | 8 March 2013

Epley, just asking, is Ford well known for superior build quality? Never had one. Scratch that,
I had a 1984 Topaz for a year. It had a certain East German quality.

c.bussert67 | 8 March 2013

Schlermie, totally agree with your last phrase. I want to take my car in, but its really no big deal to me. My wife is more annoyed than I am. I drive a 67 mustang normally, so my perspective of a 'perfect driver' is slightly skewed. 'course my wife won't ride in my mustang either, LOL!
But the S is just so quiet, you expect it be even more quiet. Almost impossibly quiet. Almost want to ask, if they have a known fix, then take care of the roof. If not, I'll wait.
Sure gonna miss that piano tho. It wasn't easy getting that thing to fit in the roof... but it must go:-)

lajollan | 12 March 2013

jinglehyme, I will offer you $4500 for your Model S if you don't want to buy my Del Sol.

jinglehyme | 13 March 2013

lajollan - your Del Sol is worth about $2000. So it's an even trade. Not!

jinglehyme | 13 March 2013

It's hot and dry in SoCal today. The sunroof is extra rattly and chatty. The other two rattles (seat belt mount and rear-view mirrior)have quieted down. Must have to do with moisture.

jinglehyme | 13 March 2013


jinglehyme | 16 March 2013

Sent an email through the Tesla website early this week. Got an auto-response to expect a personal response within 48 hours. Still no contact from Tesla - Might just have to take my chances and see if Santa Monica can try to again - without causing additional damage.

Hills | 16 March 2013

My car is 300 earlier than yours. 4000 miles. No rattle. The most rattle free car I've owned in my life. I have had other problems and have documented them in detail on the forum, mainly bluetooth and AC noise, both fixed. Takes persistance to get things fixed.

Oh, the least reliable car I owned in my life was a Mercedes high end E class. It was a money pit.

Russell1 | 17 March 2013

The creak in the pano roof seems to be a common problem. My creak appeared maybe two months into ownership. It comes and goes depending on the weather.

I took a drive to the LA service center without an appointment to ask about a couple of items including the creak. The service manager spent time with me on the other items and was totally accommodating.

On the creak, he said he wanted the car a whole day. He's had situations where he fixes the noise, the owner calls later that evening and the noise is back. He says it must be addressed at different temperatures etc. Smart!

One other item that I figured out myself with another owner. If you are sitting in the car waiting for some reason, there is an occasional "thump". After trying to figure it out it finally became apparent that it was the AC compressor kicking on and off. Once I knew what it was, it doesn't bother me now.

By the way, the drive on the 405 in the Diamond Lane was sweet. That will sell a ton of cars in congested areas. Passing Mercs, Bentleys etc. sitting bumper to bumper has to get some of them thinking.

jinglehyme | 19 March 2013

Still no response from Tesla to the e-mail I sent. I guess I'll have to pick up the phone. Old School.

jinglehyme | 19 March 2013

Light at the end of the tunnel -

So I called the LA service center and talked to Vince. He was very respectful and informative. He has promised to make everything right. He did let me know that Tesla is working on a sun shade or visor for the panoramic roof that will hold everything in place. In the meantime he said that they would tighten everything up. Once the permanent fix is ready, he'll install that.

stevent | 21 March 2013

Got my S P85 in early November. The pano roof started rattling about around the 2nd week. Does seem to be weather related - it doesn't rattle much in cold weather but rattles a lot during the hot day. Talked to Vince at the West L.A. service center and he said he'd need a day with the car so I'm waiting for my 12,000 service to bring it back which should be in a couple of weeks.

Also have had creeks on the left wheel base when turning at very low speeds. Hopefully they can fix this too.

The rattles and creeks are only problem with car but is annoying from a $105 K plus vehicle.

Brian H | 21 March 2013

The water from the creeks may be causing the rattles. Unless they're dry creaks. ;)

jinglehyme | 28 March 2013

Oh that rattle! So annoying.