Unnerving swerving

Unnerving swerving

2013 model S 85P 3700 miles, just noticed this week that the car has started swerving, pulling to the right during normal driving. It is especially noticeable when letting off the accelerator at moderate speed, say above 50 mph. At first I thought to might be the road surface, but now it is very noticeable and definitely not the roads. My rock solid handling is gone! I have a call into service today , but as I live in far NorCal, it will require a car swap for a few days as driving 5 hours for service with no SC in between isn't practical. Anyone else have this problem? I checked the tires and they look fine.

Bipurv | October 12, 2013

I have the same mileage, same car, and same problem.

When accelerating and decelerating on the highway the rear end of the car would fishtail or swerve to right.

I just received my car back yesterday, they just had to retorque speed nuts n the suspension system.

Rides perfect, I was really concerned because the car was so new but I am sure you will get it repaired.

DTsea | October 12, 2013

alignment. take to service center.

nickjhowe | October 12, 2013

There have been reports of a problem with axel nuts on some cars - there is a service bulletin for it. Call service immediately and get it checked. Symptoms are pulling one way under acceleration, and the opposite under deceleration.

cfOH | October 12, 2013

Yep, it's either your alignment or, as Bipurv noted, it's possible something in the suspension has become lose. If you hit a bump or pothole somewhere, the front or rear alignment may have been knocked out of kilter, causing it to pull. Get it checked out.

AJMitch_85 | October 12, 2013

@jeffpoel I'm glad to see this post. I thought I was imagining the pull or was the road surface. My TMS85 has less than 1000 miles on it so, thanx for the timely post.

jeffpoel | October 12, 2013

Bipurv, thanks, I think your solution sounds most likely. It definitely isn't alignment or tires as the car would swerve when I let hands off the wheel or when braking, which it doesn't. Tesla is sending someone up on the 28th to get the car and trailer it back to SF. My concern is that it is a potential crash issue, so I'm wondering if I should stop driving it until it's fixed. The odd thing is that the guy on the phone seemed to have no clue! Given all the complaints about service and my experience with same, it comes as no surprise.

DC@Tesla | October 12, 2013

My P85 started pulling to right at 1500 miles. Alignment fixed partially by service center (still pulled slightly to right above 50 mph). Took it back at 3400 miles. Now its perfect! Very happy with Tesla: I do feel that they are fully committed to delivering great service and setting things right as promised by Elon Musk.

MacDaddyDude | October 12, 2013

@ nick - service bulletin? Understand that we ordered a few weeks ago and won't take delivery for another few weeks. Do we need to do anything special to get service bulletins?

AirForce462 | October 12, 2013

Had the same identical issue. I scheduled an appointment and they retorqued the suspension, performed an alignment, and now the car accelerates/decelerates in a linear Gassion. I had to wait three weeks from when I scheduled before my appointment. It was a real unnerving experience because as the suspension lowered to low on freeway the car would swerve right. Scared my wife, because it would make the car almost go off onto the shoulder. | October 12, 2013

@MacDaddyDude - All manufacturers have service bulletins - usually some correction that the engineering team created to fix either something that might happen or improve the vehicle's operation in some way. For example, a few owners had the rear window fall out of the track (never happened to me). They have a clip they designed and put in all older cars when they are in for service. Newer cars got the clip installed during production.

While I can't speak for Tesla, I'm sure they will have all the latest service bulletins implemented as part your car that's in production. I'm sure it costs them many times as much to fix something after production as it does to install it as part of the production process.

Bipurv | October 12, 2013

I posted the same problem a week ago and had similar responses, alignment, etc. Agree service is spotty. I unfortunately expected a couple of hiccups. I've had my car for about a month and am on my third service visit. One was to repaint the trunk because of a poor factory paint job. I wouldn't expect that but we are pretty early to the game here. Stuff is going to happen.

When you are trying to staff a company growing this fast, you are going to have issues. It is not the same as going to my BMW dealer but the service team knew based on my vin number other issues I didn’t even report. There were three other issues they fixed, all minor ones I never noticed.

Your situation sounds exactly like mine. When I drove my car it almost felt like I was driving on a sheet of ice. The car felt like it was all over the road at times. You really need to keep your speed in check. Avoid quick accelerations. I drove my car for over a week with this issue because they couldn’t schedule me earlier. I never felt unsafe but I didn’t push the car like I would like to also. The way it drove at times was a little unnerving.

I will bet anything, retorqueing the nuts on the suspension system is your fix.

lawsteve | October 13, 2013

+1 re get it to the service center for realignment. I had the same issue on my brand new P85. Thought it was just me not being used to the car's acceleration. After reading these threads, I took it in to the Tampa FL service center. They did a full alignment while I waited (60 minutes). The car now drives like a dream and feels much more grounded during acceleration.

Pungoteague_Dave | October 13, 2013

The axle nut problem was only on very early production cars (sub 4,000). The alignment issues are more widespread and still crop up on new cars. Service bulletins are internal to TM only, but I have a long list that have been applied to my car. Some were done proactively during service visits, while others are done only on owner request (such as the rear footwell cover upgrade and the rear seatbelt redesign).

markopenguin | October 13, 2013

I've got the same issue as well. The Marietta service center mentioned something about the drive unit as the potential source of the issue, but it sure feels like it is more suspension related.


Brian H | October 14, 2013

service bulletins are issued to the service staff, not owners.

jeffpoel | October 20, 2013

I've figured out what makes it swerve. The go pedal, either coming on or going off of it. Bipurv's description is exactly what I'm seeing. Like being on black ice one early winter morning near Portland, Oregon in my Toyota truck. The shitty thing is that tesla won't be here for another 1.5 weeks and the problem simply ruins the tesla driving experience. I'm sure it's not good for the tires, either. I asked Teslas rep about safety issue and they were noncommittal. I feel safe enough as long as I drive it like a normal car.

Of course I know the price of living behind the redwood curtain and owning an exotic car is slow repair service. Only two other model s in Humboldt county. Saw one yesterday. One forgets how truly striking and beautiful this car is. I think I got a Tesla chubby for a moment! ;)

GDH | October 20, 2013

I did my first test drive last Dec. the car we drive did the same thing. It felt like the tires were low, very wobbly. It was very unsettling. I was told it was the winter tires. It was pretty obvious it was not.

riceuguy | October 20, 2013

Pungo-Dave, the service bulletin definitely extended way past 4000s...I am in the 83XX range and there was a service bulletin for me (though mine were not loose).

jeffpoel | November 9, 2013

Update: the week before last, Tesla picked up my car via trailer and delivered a P85 loaner. I drove the car 3 days and my P85 was back, having had the suspension problem corrected (worn out bushings) and all relevant fixes and updates applied. They even had a guy come to the SC and refinish three of my 21 inch wheels, which had curb scrapes. That was at my expense, but they look as good as new and I am very happy with the service. I got to experience the P85 without air suspension and it made me grateful that I got the air. Although it's odd that the bushings would be shot after <4,000 miles, one expects such things with a radical, new invention like the Model S. As an inventor myself, one knows and appreciates the incremental changes needed to make a great product better. I love my car and wouldn't trade it for another machine on this planet. Except, of course the upcoming Model X, which I have on order and expect to be driving by this time in 2014. The only reason for the change is that I actually need AWD and real ground clearance to surf my favorite spot in NorCal. I love the S so much that I was considering keeping both cars, but given the fact that it is difficult now to open the doors with my Subaru in the garage at the same time, I'm thinking with 2 cars the width of the S, it will be too tight. I think I may cry when I say goodbye to this amazing vehicle. Oh, the sacrifice!

dborn | November 9, 2013

Actually, suspensions are not radical and new tech and should not be the issues we see on this forum. No, I would not expect your bushings to go within 4000 miles. I would not expect retorqueing of suspension to be required as often as even those who report in this thread. Let alone those who have not reported! This is a qa issue or poor design.
By the way, I am a Tesla fanboy. Don't have the car yet, because I am in Australia, but this type of issue, and for that matter routine vehicle fires are not significant issues here.
Great service experience does not make up for poor design or poor implementation.

C-NRG-GO | November 12, 2013

My P85 was swaying left and right (mostly the rear) when I punched the accelerator and also when lifting all the way off after punching it. My SC performed a rear alignment and the problem is now gone. The overall handling has improved as well.

mzincali | November 21, 2013

At 6400 miles, we just had this issue fixed. I wish I knew about this page so that I could have checked to see just how loose the bolt was. Unfortunately, the first post I saw was very similar but the car owner believed that his problem had to do with over-inflated tires.

According to Tesla, the issue was:

Cause: Found leading toe link loose on rear suspesnion
Correction: Inspect Knuckle/Ball Joint Surfaces & Re-Torque Lower Control Arm Ball Joint Bolts

What's really odd is that we started to notice this swaying upon acceleration/deceleration, right after our first service. Now why would that happen? There is no reason for the Tesla service to have loosened these bolts.

Gizmotoy | November 21, 2013

@ mzincali: Could be that the bolt was never torqued correctly because the arm wasn't seated properly. When they put the car up on the lift for service, the link moved into its correct position, which freed up some room between it and the bolt. Then you had a loose suspension to match your loose bolt.

Speculation, but possible.

Brian H | November 22, 2013

4th copy of that post. Please don't.