alignment quandary

alignment quandary

I got my P85+ on 6/28 and have about 950 miles on it. I noticed that if I hold the steering so that I think the T is perfectly straight, the car veers to the left. If I let the wheel find its preferred position, the T appears slightly misaligned clockwise, about a couple of degrees to me, and the car runs straight. This has kind of bugged me, and fortunately Tesla service in Norristown, PA is only 10 miles away. I took it there 2 weeks into ownership, and their excellent manager agreed on a test drive that it should be looked into. Unfortunately they don’t have an alignment rack yet – so I agreed to wait till Sept. Last week I happened to call the 24hr support number for an unrelated matter, and I mentioned it to the agent. He suggested that Tesla could trailer my car to either Rockville MD or Queens NY for analysis. – so I would not have to wait for the alignment rack locally. I was highly impressed!! So I dropped my car off yesterday and now have a loaner. To my surprise – the loaner (P85) behaves exactly the same way!! I then began to think maybe my problem is that I am looking at the horizontal outline of the dash-console, which is probably meant to be slightly curved/bowed, and I’m deliberately trying to align the top to the T to that curve due to the illusion of what appears horizontal. What do you fellow Tesla lovers think?

cloroxbb | July 27, 2013

I think you should take a "level" and test how horizontal aligned your T is :)

rdalcanto | July 27, 2013

Mine is the same way. Steering wheel turned a little to the right when car goes straight. No change after alignment.

cfOH | July 27, 2013

This reminds me of a story that I seem to remember hearing once. It was about a man who bought an amazing new car, very expensive. He was driving it and enjoying its perfection when he noticed a rattling sound. He drove a little while trying to pinpoint the sound. He got home and removed everything not bolted down from the car and took it out again. Still the rattle was just faintly audible. So he then started removing everything that wasn't essential to driving the car: the passenger seats, carpeting, glovebox, radio, etc. Drove it and could STILL hear the faintest rattle. So he went back and totally disassembled the car, determined to figure out what was rattling. When he was down to pulling apart the engine, he realized the source of the rattle: a diamond in his ring was just slightly loose in its setting.

bijlee | July 27, 2013

Excellent comment cfOH: call me if you need spare parts; not my wife's diamond - I checked and it's tight.

avanti | July 27, 2013

The symptom you describe suggests a mis-installed steering wheel, not a wheel alignment problem. I don't know about the Tesla in particular, but generally speaking this is corrected by pulling the steering wheel and reinstalling it one spline over. It is a cosmetic issue, and it doesn't matter whether it is "really" slanted. Unless this is built in a very different way than other cars, they should be able to adjust it any way you like, and a wheel alignment machine is not part of the process.

bijlee | July 27, 2013

Avanti: I thought the same, especially since the car was otherwise OK, but service said they could not separately address the steering wheel only. They said it is linked to alignment. In any case, it is now gone for alignment, and I will report back next week when I receive it.

froggytown | July 27, 2013

I had the same thing on my S85. Both the steering wheel and alignment were off to the right. I brought it in to Chicago service and the fixed both.

However,the real concern is that the two day old loaner I had was exactly the same. Also,a colleague just received his new S85 and it too is not aligned and is off to the right. This indicates a problem at the factory that hasn't been corrected.

My car is back and everything is aligned as it should be, although they did a tire rotation and balanced the wheels, and the car shakes at high speeds. Grr. One problem fixed, but they created another.

bijlee | August 1, 2013

WOW!!! I finally have my Tesla grin - previously it was just a tenuous smile. I got my P85+ car back yesterday after the alignment was done and steering was straightened. It's now awesome!! It absolutely drives very differently - very solid, very sure-footed - like it is on rails. It turns out the alignment was off and steering wheel was mis-aligned. It had to be trailered from PA to NY to get it done - left Monday and came back Wednesday. The service was outstanding. The car was so beautifully detailed too!!! As an aside - I was given a loaner P85, which had only 600 or so miles (less than mine) - and it's alignment and steering was just like mine before my car was serviced. I was beginning to think I was just imagining the problem till I got my car back. There is obviously an issue @ factory.
Additionally, I had not driven a P85 since my test drive at the store 2 months ago. And I had not driven a P85+ till I mine was delivered. After driving my own car for a month, it was remarkable to me the difference in handling between the P85 and P85+. The + is considerably more solid with cornering and accelerating. It was gratifying to see the extra cost for + was worth it!

Brian H | August 1, 2013

Your suggestion about the factory should (we hope) be followed up urgently by TM!

Tâm | August 1, 2013

I drive a standard 85kWh for the past 7 months and over 18,000 miles.

I had annual check up with a printout of 4 wheel alignment that showed negligible adjustments.

I don't know whether it's a proper way to test or not, but I would take my hands off the steering wheel while it's on the move and see whether it turns uncontrollably by itself or not.

In my case, it goes straight then slowly drift toward the right after a while.

That's fine for me.

create | August 2, 2013

I had the same problem. Took it in and they said it was an alignment issue. The steering wheel is now straight.

JPPTM | August 2, 2013

I had the same off-center steering wheel issue--car did not pull. Fremont SC did a re-align and recentered the wheel. Fine now.