Air Suspension failure with very unpleasant results

Air Suspension failure with very unpleasant results

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.

slinstead | July 3, 2017

I came out this morning and found my Tesla Model S (2013) sitting as low as it could possible go from collapsed air suspension on the passenger rear side of the car. Fortunately the compressor pumped it back up to it's proper height when I got in and started the car. It had sat undriven for four days, but this is the first time this has ever happened.

I am concerned that this may go out while I am driving for some time on a trip, or not be able to pump up again.

tes-s | July 3, 2017

I have not experienced that, but others have reported parking over a curb and then having the car lower itself onto the curb while parked.

Could be an indication that you have a leak. Does the compressor seem to run when you are just sitting in the car?

See if it happens again - if so, I suggest a service visit to have it checked out. Otherwise, just mention it at your next service visit.

Silver2K | July 3, 2017

I find it interesting how these very old posts of issues come back to the first page at certain times of the year

lilbean | July 3, 2017

Yep, silver.

Tropopause | July 3, 2017

Let the games begin!

Tldickerson | July 3, 2017

My refresh 2016 P90D is having air suspension problems. It's been in twice already and I have another appointment on Thursday the 5th for them to look at it again. The right side drops about 1 to 2 inches after the car sits for a few hours. If they get it fixed I'll let you know what they did to fix it.

Anthony J. Parisio | July 4, 2017

Please do. I'd appreciate as much details as you can find out thank you.

murphyS90D | July 4, 2017


Thursday is the 6th, maybe your appointment is tomorrow.

Tldickerson | July 4, 2017

My bad, the appointment is for Wed. the 5th. I'm sure they will need to keep it for a few days like the last time.

rxlawdude | July 4, 2017

Coil suspension is sounding better and better. :-)

:-( (for air suspension owners, especially those out of warranty)

UnshodBob | July 4, 2017

@rxlawdude - your comment made me realize I have *never* seen a single complaint about the coil suspension. My car has it and I'm quite happy with the ride. It's a 2015 P90DL. :)

donaldmeacham1 | July 4, 2017

My experience: > 400,000 miles without a problem on 3 Lexus LSs, one Sequoia and 2 Model S but I'm sure there will be random failures but in the main very reliable.

Rocky_H | July 5, 2017

@rxlawdude & @UnshodBob +4 points to each of you, one for each trouble-free wheel.

Silver2K | July 5, 2017

Air suspension is for grown-ups

rxlawdude | July 5, 2017

@Silver, exactly why I still think I'm 18. :-)

Silver2K | July 5, 2017


Tropopause | July 5, 2017

That's why I find it interesting for Tesla to make the suspension choice for the customer based upon the model they select. I liked it better when we had the choice between coil or air.

Silver2K | July 5, 2017

I never did understand the removal of air. maybe there was a shortage?

Tldickerson | July 10, 2017

Tesla text me this morning telling me my car should be ready later today. They told me they ordered new air lines for the air suspension. After I get the car and test it for a day or so I'll let you know if their repair worked or not.

Tldickerson | July 10, 2017

Their still not happy with whatever they did today. It still looks like the car is losing air in the air suspension somewhere. Their to get back with me tomorrow. This is their 3rd attemp at fixing this situation. Some friends ask me if the 3 strikes lemon law would enable me to get a new Tesla. I love the car but maybe I could get a new one if they don't get this one fixed soon.

Solarfan | July 10, 2017

Submerge and locate the source of the bubbles?

Tldickerson | July 10, 2017

Solarfan, what do you want them to do? Submerge the car in somebody's swimming pool and look for bubbles?

EternalChampion | July 11, 2017
jkilch | July 11, 2017

Define the problem -Solve the problem -The 1st time

Get pre diluted 95% nitrogen 5%hydrogen gas at the welding supply shop (it's used as a shielding gas and non-flammable at 5%))
1)Bleed pressure down
2)Pressurize system with blended gas
3)Now call Tesla AC guy over and tell him to bring his sniffer tool.

Tldickerson | July 11, 2017

jkilch, you apparently didn't read any prior post I've made. My car has been at the Tesla SC since last Wednesday. With that being said how in the world do I attempt to do what you suggested?

jkilch | July 11, 2017

@Tldickerson Hey you misinterpreted my post...I was not suggesting you do these things. I was suggesting TESLA air suspension guy should incorporate this procedure to Solve their problem for you...and save some lemonade. :-)

Looks to me like they are using trial and error...not an effective approach.

Tldickerson | July 11, 2017

Here's what they did. Now I'll see if it worked.
Corrections: Air Suspension - Air Line LF
Verified air suspension was sagging on both right and left rear. Performed visual
inspection on rear air line and found no leak. Due to repeat concern recommend replacing
rear air lines and valve block.
Part Quantity
AIR SUSP VALVE BLOCK (1027919-00-B) 1
Parts Replaced or Added
Corrections: Air Line - Air Suspension - Compressor to Valve Block
Removed and replaced Valve block and verified proper operation.
Corrections: Air Suspension - Primary Air Lines Assy
Removed and replaced air lines and verified proper operation.
Part Quantity

Stiction | July 11, 2017

Visual inspection? Hmm.
I agree with jkilch...get a leak detector.

Tldickerson | July 11, 2017

What if it's already fixed?

lagomorph | July 11, 2017

@Tdickerson - I had the same issue on my P90D. The right, rear suspension would drop until the wheel well was touching the tire. It took 2-3 days of park time for it to fully sag to this level, but it was reliably reproducible.

Tesla Service ended up replacing the rear air spring module, after noting the pressure leak tests were inconclusive.


This fixed my issue.

Tldickerson | July 11, 2017

@lagomorph, thank you for your post. If my problem reappears I will tell them about your situation.

Solarfan | July 12, 2017


I attempted to make what I believed was an obvious joke. Guess I was wrong.

@jkilch was attempting to let you know that the SC approach was what used to be known as the shotgun approach. That is not a professional troubleshooting and repair process. He also suggested a practical method to find and fix the true problem.

I hope the problem is quickly found and fixed.

Tldickerson | July 12, 2017

It appears that the new air lines fixed the leak problem.

tes-s | July 12, 2017

Are you suggesting Tesla was able to fix the air suspension without needing to follow some ridiculous procedures posted on the internet by people who have probably never fixed an air suspension?

Tldickerson | July 12, 2017

Funny isn't it that the service center was really able to do the job their hired to do. Just amazing tes-s

dkelly | December 17, 2018

Sorry to resurrect a sleeping thread.

Think I have noticed this before but when I got my 2013 home from annual service mid-November noticed the rear was lower than usual. Standard 19" tires, top of left rear is higher than the fender wheel opening. Measured to the ground the left rear is 3/4" to 1" lower than right rear. And right front is way higher. Viewed from the rear the rear tires have visible camber, top tilted in.

Ran the suspension through all its heights and measured. LR barely rises from next-to highest to highest.

Emailed the service center with pictures and have not heard a peep.

Scheduled service. Next available was December 26. But I subscribed tot he Ranger Pickup service and want them to come get it. Guess I'm going to have to wait on hold on the phone for 20 minutes to talk to a human.

Earlier this year a Ranger changed airbags in my driveway. Gave me his phone number. I texted a request that he stop by and look to tell me if I am insane or not as he lives about 15 miles away and the Service Center is 92 miles. That was Sunday so it has only been 24 hours.

Doesn't seem to be a leak failure, I don't hear the pump unless I am changing ride height. Seems more of a right height sensor problem. Is this software tunable?

ArieP85+ | May 6, 2019

The air compressor on my 2013 P85+ broke down last week. 90.000 km+ and just over 5 years old.

Shouldn't this be a warranty repair? It doesn't feel like a quality product if it brakes down this fast? Especially when you hear the service guys who take in your car talking about "ah, another one".... | May 6, 2019

@ArieP85+ How many years after the warranty expires do other automakers cover failures? I've always found it's zero, but perhaps you've found that rare automaker that covers failures years after the warranty expires, which would be nice.

Things break down on every brand car over time. At least Tesla offers an extended warranty if you are concerned about items, although it sounds like you didn't buy that. Personally, I don't think extended warranties are worth it for any items, and save money by just paying for items out of warranty should they go bad.

Silver2K | May 6, 2019

Depends on the roads you drive during the life of the vehicle. I know an x owner that had this issue in Ithaca. The roads in Ithaca are insanely awful! The repair was only $250 American.

Bighorn | May 6, 2019

You mean six year old car? I’m guessing you didn’t buy it new.

stevencsimpson | May 24, 2019

Consumer Reports said that the 2017 Model S had air suspension problems. Ours was manufactured in December 2017. I have not read any reports on the 2017 other than Consumer Reports; if so I wonder if the fixed the problem by 12/2017?