Air Conditioner Issues?

Air Conditioner Issues?

Hi -

I live in Arizona and am noticing a large whining from the compressor in the front left that is extremely loud and can even feel the vibrations inside the car - it lasts for ~2-4 minutes then settles down typically when first cooling down (and not even hot here yet :-)) . I am also seeing the A/C cut out while driving (typically 30 seconds or so?) then restarts, so asking if any other owners are seeing these issues? Appreciate the feedback!

Darkwax | 28 mai 2013

I just noticed this same issue yesterday. Would be interested on any insight from other Model S owners.

Darmok | 28 mai 2013

Same thing happening to mine.

JThompson | 28 mai 2013

Me, too...Virginia owner here. Don't know if it coincided with hotter weather or 4.4 upgrade....

Carefree | 28 mai 2013

It's normal. I worried about it the first time it happened - I could not believe how loud it was. Talked to the service folks in Arizona and they assured me it was normal. As you said - it goes away after a few minutes.

riceuguy | 28 mai 2013

Also took it to service and was told it is a third party A/C unit designed for hybrids and that although it protests mightily it works and that's normal. They are working on ways to reduce the vibration but no official fix yet. They suggested checking back with them periodically.

riceuguy | 28 mai 2013

FYI, pre-cooling the car using the app mostly avoids having to hear the clamor!

jmwalden1123 | 28 mai 2013

Yup - started pre-cooling and can hear it from 50 ft away... guess just start even longer time to pre-cool... Just concerned when we hit 110F here and then how long will it whine... we'll see...

Adam S | 28 mai 2013

I was wondering what that noise was! Today was the first time I've used the AC. Now I know. It was rather alarming, I'll admit. It sounded like a far-off jackhammer almost.

unclegeek | 28 mai 2013

That's a bit worrisome that they call this behavior "normal". Certainly not desirable.
I'm in AZ too and plan to place my order as soon as park distance sensors are available . I hope they improve on this issue soon.

nickjhowe | 28 mai 2013

Me too.

rallykeeper | 28 mai 2013

I think we've all concluded that the noise is annoying, but normal.

It's the drop-outs, however, that concern me a little more.

I'm also seeing the 30 sec to 1 min drop outs in air conditioning. I basically get warm air blowing at me for a bit until the compressor kicks back in.

It may have been happening all along, but I'm definitely starting to notice it on hotter Southern Californian days.

Anyone else seeing those?

riceuguy | 28 mai 2013

I haven't had the dropout (except when the center display randomly rebooted while driving yesterday!), but my Infiniti used to do that under heavy accleration or anytime power needed to be prioritized elsewhere (very annoying here in Austin where the car can get quite toasty in 30-60 seconds. The dropout is most likely not normal (maybe it's--ironically--overheating?); probably worth calling service to ask.

As for pre-cooling, it seems like about 5 minutes before you need to drive anywhere seems pretty adequate for the cabin to be cool and for the clamoring to be overwith! I seem to lose about a mile of range for every 30-60 minutes of running the A/C while not in the car.

Carefree | 28 mai 2013

I get the drop-outs of the AC - but they are only for seconds. Nevertheless you can feel them right away in Arizona 100F weather:-)

john | 1 juin 2013

Hi, I too live in az and have had the drop-outs. Service was nice enough to check it out and they seemed to fix it, it does not drop out anymore.


shop | 1 juin 2013

About the drop outs, are you on v4.4 or 4.5? There were one or more bugs in v4.4 that would cause AC to drop out in various cases.

negarholger | 1 juin 2013

I have my car in range mode all the time and that will limit the max setting the A/C will go.
After a day in the sun at work the initial A/C noise bothered me. With car in range mode I can range mode the A/C noise I am OK with that. Takes a little longer so I keep the windows down a little longe.

portia | 1 juin 2013

yeah, I noticed it too last week, very loud, but only heard it when I got out of the car, and then it stops within a few 10-15? seconds.

hpatelmd | 1 juin 2013

I just updated to v4.5 yesterday, and noticed the loud noise today. Never happened on v4.4, and weather has not changed significantly.

Lush1 | 1 juin 2013

It is getting hot in Philadelphia so I've been using the AC more. I typically pre-cool the car, but yesterday I went out to get something from my car at lunch time and I heard the compressor come on, and it was pretty loud. It quieted down after a minute or so. The HVAC cools the car very well and I haven't experienced any drop-outs. I have been on 4.4. 4.5 was scheduled to install last night. Haven't been near the car today so I can't say if there is any difference. I'll report back if I notice anything pertinent.

Lush1 | 1 juin 2013

Also, the absence of engine noise does tend to make other sounds more noticeable. Most ICE cars compressors make a fair amount of noise, but it is somewhat masked by the engine sound. Not saying the Model S compressor isn't loud, but it probably sounds extra loud compared to what we are used to.

nickjhowe | 1 juin 2013

Speaking to ownership this morning they've suspended the 4.5 roll out. Maybe to correct some of these A/C issues?

Lush1 | 1 juin 2013

Guess I got lucky, assuming 4.5 works ok for me. I set it to install at 11p.m. Friday night but apparently I forgot to OK the deferred install. Today I went down to check on the install and found the dialog box still on my screen waiting for the OK. I hit install now and it began. Checked a few hours later and had 4.5 and I like the new features it has.

When we get the notice that a new update is ready to install, is the file already cached in the car waiting for us to tell it when to do the update? That's what I'm assuming since I installed 4.5 at about 5-6p.m. on Saturday 6/1. If the car had to get it from the mothership and the rollout has been stopped, it wouldn't be available to install. It would also seem to me safer if the car downloaded the full package before installing it so that a 3G service interruption or slowdown wouldn't cause an update to fail or take an inordinately long time. Just guessing here really, but I am curious if anybody knows how it's done?

Dr. Bob Reinke | 1 juin 2013

We also have had a startling noise in the left front fender; however, ours was caused by the tires rubbing on a bulge in the inside grill in the front fender liner. Removing the fender liner we found about a quart accumulation of road sand and salt packed and hardened around the AC electric condenser fan. The accumulation was sufficient to prevent the rotation of the fan. Not sure if Arazona owners would have the same problem, however, in states like Wisconsin where millions of tons of salt are dumped on the winter roadways this is going to be a persistant problem. Other than frquently pulling out the fenderliner to clear the road sand and salt, I have no solution. The Chicago service center is aware of the problem so hopefully Tesla is working on a solution.

eisnerw | 2 juin 2013

I, too, have experienced the loud A/C noise. I normally deal with that by lowering all of the windows to release trapped warm air and then I regulate the temperature until the noise is more tolerable. If the outside temperature is not excessive, normal driving will cool things down, so after a while, I lower the setting, which improves cooling but, this time, without as much noise.

I wish TM would have a setting that would cap the fan/compressor speed. I'd like that for heating, as well. The setting would just change how aggressively the car tried to reach the desired temperature. I prefer a little more temp discomfort over noise discomfort.

gbouchard_iprospect | 2 juin 2013

I have contacted them about the bug.

the one thing I can tell you to quickly fix it in the meantime:

turn it on/off. It stops 10/10 and the noise is gone.


Docszc1 | 2 juin 2013

I too have the noise. Hope it is fixed

jeremys | 3 juin 2013

Just noticed the same issue yesterday on a hot and humid day in NY after updating to 4.5.
It had never happened before the update.

fluxemag | 3 juin 2013

Yeah, it's loud at first. I don't really care though since it's so cold. I don't have any noticeable dropout on the AC. I pre-cool the car just about every time before I get in. The interior temp read over 130 the other day and was a nice 78 before I got down there. So awesome, and only ate a few miles of range.

jmwalden1123 | 9 juin 2013

Josh got 4.5 so will check it out. Yesterday 109F and it dropped for up to 30sec and I'd say every 10min driving. Clearly the front left compressor kicks in the to cool it down then works for a while. Honestly at this point would be less worried about noise than A/C not working when it gets *truly* hot at 115F... I sold my last car due to A/C not able to cope with lovely AZ summers...

AmpedRealtor | 9 juin 2013

@ jmwalden1123 - I live in the Phoenix west valley area, I'll be following your adventures to see how this issue plays out. I am waiting until after the 6/20 announcement to place my order, but I also need to know that the AC isn't going to drop out when it's hot outside. I hope the issue gets resolved for you!

awaite | 9 juin 2013

@rallykeeper yes, I had this exact experience yesterday:

"I'm also seeing the 30 sec to 1 min drop outs in air conditioning. I basically get warm air blowing at me for a bit until the compressor kicks back in."

The temps got into the mid 90's here and I felt warm air through the AC multiple times during fairly short trips (less than 20 mins).

riceuguy | 9 juin 2013

For me the A/C dropout seems related to a very brief resfresh of the right side of the dash...a mini reboot if you will. Very infrequent though with temps in the mid 90s here, and never a comfort issue yet...

davecolene0606 | 9 juin 2013

We have an awesome digital scroll compressor in our cars that runs as much or as little as it needs to depending on how much heat needs to be removed from the car. So, hot day, car sitting in sun will result in full speed on the compressor and fan until the heat load drops. You should hear it slow down after a relatively short time (115 degrees maybe longer :) ) .

As to cutting out, I have seen it related to heavy CPU activity like redrawing a full satellite map when zooming in while loading a new song on slacker radio. Only for a moment, perhaps 1 - 2 minutes never enough to get hot.

I did a reboot once and really have only seen happen a couple of times in 7 months and 13k miles of driving in Florida.


AmpedRealtor | 9 juin 2013

@ jmwalden1123, I apologize if this has already been asked but did you notice this behavior all along or just since a recent software update. Based on what others here are saying, it sounds like this might be addressable via software.

riceuguy | 10 juin 2013

It depends on how you define "addressable." For example, if you put the car in range mode, it will prevent the initial roar, but it won't cool down as fast. The cut out is not an a/c thing, it is a mini reboot of the system...for me it is most often after a series of voice commands while using navigation. So some of it can and will be addressed by software, but if you want rapid cooling, well, that will require a service visit, though the "proper" fix has not yet been established.

mvannah | 18 juin 2013

I hope there is a fix soon. I just received my car and this annoying and somewhat alarming noise overwhelms people as I first show them my beautiful new car in a parking lot or my garage. It leaves a bad impression of the car's reliability and kills its reputation as a stealthy and quiet car. Here in Las Vegas, it is warm enough to cause commotion most of the spring and all summer. I will try to remember pre-cooling when I go out to the car. I am also wondering if there is a GPS solution to auto lock working in my own garage, where I would like to quickly get something out of the car without having to get my key out, and also not triggering the air compressor to start whining every time I go out to the car to put something there or retrieve something? I love the autolock otherwise. Other than the clearly fixable compressor issue (my Leaf air compressor works great), this vehicle has confirmed my resolve to never buy another ICE vehicle again!

bostoncde | 18 juin 2013

I think unfortunately it is just a loud compressor, I turn on AC from my phone and hear it 20 feet away, sometimes i will shut it off if i am in traffic as my quiet electric car is not so quiet. It does stop the noise after it gets going a bit, but was told compressor is just loud and you dont notice it as much on a gas car.

2-Star | 18 juin 2013

I wonder if Tesla has considered using a rotary compressor; they are much quieter. Does anyone know if that would still provide enough cooling?

BillPlanoTexas | 18 juin 2013

you can't address the noise with a software fix, that's just the sound of the compressor running at full tilt. you can moderate it by turning "up" the ac targeted temp so the compressor isn't chasing such a big differential. no different than other cars except you don't have engine noise drowning it out. I pre-cool with the app a couple minutes in advance because I live in texas and want a cool car when I get in. once the car is cooled, the compressor isn't hammering away to bring the temp down and you won't hear it. i'm 6000 miles in with no service calls

jmwalden1123 | 21 juin 2013

So updated to 4.5 and same issue with A/C cut out. Had this with 4.4 as well and tried both range and exteneded range modes -same. Will call service center since on 25 mile commute will happen 2-3x and still 'a cool' 108F here. If it continues I would honestly not recommend the Tesla here in AZ and i have several colleagues who are interested (one was test driving it yesterday when the A/C cut out). I really love this car but this is unacceptable. Will let you all know how things turn out.

okie | 27 juin 2013

Mine also makes a loud whine on a hot day for a few minutes. Did have the a/c drop out several times with 4.4 but not any since 4.5
It will go several minutes(5-10) with it just blowing hot air. It happened a month ago and rangers were about to pick it up for repair but the next morning a/c was working fine again so I cancelled the ranger. Today it was blowing warm air again even after waiting several minutes. Compressor bad? Both times the a/c has blown hot air, it has been very hot outside. 98 degrees right now. 135 degrees in the car.They had me shut things down by holding both dial knobs in steering wheel down to see if it would re-boot with no luck.

jmwalden1123 | 28 juin 2013


So called service and they remotely accessed the error logs/diagnostics and saw errors. It looks like there is a line that has an expansion valve that they are replacing today - they have seen some failures like this. Should get the car back today or Monday so will let folks know. I have timed the dropouts anywhere from 30seconds to up to a 1:30 (it was getting worse). So hopefully good news/will let folks know. Again, my service manager (Nicholas) is absolutely fantastic and assured me what I have been seeing not normal.

AmpedRealtor | 28 juin 2013

@ jmwalden1123, I'm glad to see your update. I passed the point of no return yesterday, my reservation went to production and I'd hate to think I was buying a car that would not cool properly here in Arizona.

Mireille '&... | 28 juin 2013

The AC worked beautifully today (it was around 118, I think) so no worries if it's working correctly. You won't be able to sneak up on anyone while it's running though :)

bioengr | 7 juillet 2013

I'll add my list to those that think the AC whine seems too loud/strange. And, I've had a few dropouts. I have an appointment with the Costa Mesa service center in a couple of weeks but it sounds like this is "normal". I'll post if I hear anything of interest from them.

AmpedRealtor | 7 juillet 2013

The noise is probably normal, the drop-outs should not be considered normal under any circumstances. I've never had any vehicle A/C drop out except older cars and under heavy load. My Prius A/C can be heard across the parking lot, the Tesla in the showroom did not sound nearly as loud.

bp | 7 juillet 2013

I had several A/C drop outs, which have not re-appeared after getting my car back from the Service Center - where they checked the problem and upgraded me to the 4.5 software - so I'm not sure if it was the software update or something the service center did that resolved the problem.

harvin | 28 mai 2014

There is apparently now a fix for this issue - I've been complaining about it politely for the year I've owned the car and when I asked this week at the service center, they said the fix is in and they're waiting for the parts. I find the noise very annoying and it has gotten worse in the year I've owned the car. It's the only thing I don't like about the car, so you can bet I'm looking forward to the fix!