Car lowers onto parking curb

Car lowers onto parking curb

Noticed my car lowered itself on to curb after parking when backing out. Happened twice now after 8 months of ownership. Scratched plastic bottom a bit. Called service and they told me this will be addressed with next firmware update. Has this happened to others recently? Saw posts about this previously after volkerize search. Be careful out there. Has not happened before to me. Rebooted system with thumb controls in hope that this temporarily resolves issue.

nickjhowe | 7 luglio 2014

Happened to me yesterday. Hadn't happened to me in a very long time (many, many months)

SCCRENDO | 7 luglio 2014

Never happened to me.

loefvinc | 7 luglio 2014

Not in any way to make light of this, but even cars without air suspension have this issue some times. We once hand an Acura Legend that was just high enough to park with the nose over those parking stops. After sitting for a while the suspension would settle and when you backed up it would scrape loudly. At least with the MS (until the update) you can raise it up if you catch it.


wmgasfree | 7 luglio 2014

Happened to me twice in the last 30 days. I've owned my S for 16 months and had never happened prior. Seems to have started after the last software update. Called service and was told that this was normal, but I didn't buy the response. 15 months without an issue and now it happens twice.

skymaster | 7 luglio 2014

It happened to me a couple times as well.

Now, when I pull into a lot, I raise the car to "Very High". As soon as I hit "park", I also put the car in "Jack Mode".

When you leave, the "Jack Mode" will automatically disengage. Problem solved.

RedShift | 7 luglio 2014

Me too. Once this made the chin grind on the curb. The other time, my mom in law was stepping out of the car for after the first ride and exclaimed "wow, look how sophisticated this car is!". I didn't tell her that the behavior of the car was a bit strange...

richdi | 7 luglio 2014

Happened to me last week. Now being very careful to park just before any curb or bumper.


kwoo4424 | 8 luglio 2014

Just happened to me last night. I use l Standard mode and parked front nose over a cement parking block with easy clearance. Came back 3 hours later and backed out with a raucous scraping and thunk. Got out of the MS and MS had self lowered itself to Low setting. I raised it up to look underneath and thankfully only bottom scrape of the underbelly plastic facade. What's with the phantom lowering, never did it before ....
I plan to use Jack mode when parking as previously mentioned until v6 fix!

DC@Tesla | 8 luglio 2014

In what circumstances does this happen? It has never happened to me in 18 months and makes no sense why car should lower itself, but certainly would like to avoid an expensive and painful scrape..

Jonathan D | 8 luglio 2014

Back in :)

Captain_Zap | 8 luglio 2014

Maybe it started this habit with the custom lowering options. Bug?

Anthony J. Parisio | 8 luglio 2014

My 2006 Audi A6 (with the same suspension) did this every time. They never addressed the issue. I was told not to park over curbs. Some A6 owners had serious damage. Audi was eventually sued. I opted out of any air suspensions since. That means 4 cars without air suspension.

In all fairness though, I just like the feel of the metal spring suspension better.

nickjhowe | 8 luglio 2014

DC@Tesla - good question. Hadn't happened to me in months, then suddenly out of the blue it did. Strange.

johncrab | 8 luglio 2014

It's probably a good idea then to raise the car before backing out. I had this happen in my 2006 Prius with conventional suspension. Not only did it settle onto the concrete curb section at a hotel but that concrete was not affixed to the floor and my car dragged it out. I had to get hotel maintenance to help lift the front of my car while I backed off of the thing.

chort67 | 8 luglio 2014

This is happened to me quite frequently in the past few months as well. Has anyone reported this to their service center?

jstrach3 | 8 luglio 2014

I'm curious, do folks find the Model S is more likely to scrape over speed bumps? Scraping under front section is mostly innocuous (cosmetic). Scraping the battery pack - while most likely little risk - would be something to best avoid if possible.

I recognize the car self-lowers after being parked - probably due to a software bug related to initialization when you return to a parked vehicle and prepare to drive away OR related to car being put in Reverse and suspension adjusting unintentionally. Just sounds like a bug.

Webcrawler | 8 luglio 2014

My car has never done that. It always stays at the height were I left it.... | 8 luglio 2014

Same for me - it's never happened in 16,000 miles (although I have no idea how many times I've parked overhanging a curb).

What I suspect is happening is the auto-leveling is working. People are in the car and park. Everyone gets out of the car and the springs make the car go higher. Auto-leveling lowers the car to be at the same height as when you first parked (still should be fine). Now you come back later and pile in. All that extra weight lowers the car. It likely takes 30 seconds or so for everything to turn on and the auto-leveling to raise the car back to normal height. If you pull out quickly, it hasn't had enough time to auto-level. Leveling is not super quick and never will be.

This is unrelated to the control panel height adjustments and assumes they remain at the same state (i.e. normal).

In a prior thread the consistent issue when this occurs is when the occupants were rather weighty (I'm trying to put this politely). Those that didn't see a problem (like me) are fairly lightweight, and may be why some people never see the problem. From that very informal poll, it seemed to be more likely to occur with 180-200 lbs or more people weight. Those under 180 lbs didn't see this occur.

Tesla might be able to deal with this. The software would have to detect when people get out and leave the leveling as-is. Not sure what other problems concerns this will cause, but there could be a future solution/improvement.

SCCRENDO | 8 luglio 2014

I usually go into very high manually before parking next to a curb and when I return it is still very high. Have never seen it self lower. Wonder if this is making the difference.

christurbeville | 8 luglio 2014

It's always happened for me. I've just learned to never stick my nose over anything. If it means my ass is too far out I set it to high before pulling in. I leave the screen up to remind me.

mcgreevyphillip | 8 luglio 2014

Never scraped the curb yet but yes my car lowers itself at random after parking and just as I am walking away. Usually makes a strange noise as it does so.

kevinf311 | 8 luglio 2014

This will be something that I will have to be conscious of when my S arrives. Currently, in my old Town Car, I park with as much of the nose over curbs as possible due to the length of the car.

The Town Car has air suspension and load leveling as well and I have on more than one occasion scraped the underside on the curb. The difference between this and scraping the S is that the Town Car only cost me $1500!

Hopefully I won't rack up to many scratches before I change my parking habits :D

bp | 9 luglio 2014

This happened to me yesterday. I usually go into "Very High" when pulling into a parking spot and haven't had the car go low on me.

Yesterday, I decided not to use Very High and left it on Normal. I was able to pull into the spot without hitting the curb.

When I came back, the car wouldn't back out of the spot easily - and that's when I realized it had dropped to Low - and that I had chosen not to use Very High when pulling into the spot.

I'm going back to using Very High whenever parking with the car hanging over the curb.

PBEndo | 9 luglio 2014

It has only happened to me once, but it was shortly after the software that allowed suspension lowering again. SInce then I rarely park where I hang over anything and if I remember, I raise the car to very high.

J.T. | 9 luglio 2014

I've never had this happen but I would appreciate some clarification. If you leave it at normal as bp did and the car has lowered, has the actual setting changed from Normal to Low or has the car changed its height without a change to the control screen?

NKYTA | 9 luglio 2014

@Tap, that guess sounds very plausible to me and matches my experiences.

Rocky_H | 9 luglio 2014

@loefvinc: "even cars without air suspension have this issue some times. We once hand an Acura Legend that was just high enough to park with the nose over those parking stops. After sitting for a while the suspension would settle and when you backed up it would scrape loudly."

You've seen it happen, but I have a hard time believing standard suspensions would "settle" like that and make the car go lower.

So in addition to not wanting the terrible repair bills when the air bladders start going out in the 10 to 15 year time frame, this thread is another great reason why I am really glad I did not get air suspension. I know you all like it, but that sounds really nerve wracking.

Bill Korea | 9 luglio 2014

Umm... Is it necessary to park over curbs, or is this just a bad habit? You wouldn't get close to a curb in a sports car, but you might miss the spot entirely with an SUV.

ZERO EMS | 2 settembre 2014

Having the same issue, adding a new observation. Walked up to car after workday and got the impression that the driver side was sitting lower than the passenger side. I measured and indeed, both wheels on the passenger side had about 1.5" more clearance (wheelhouse edge against rim-lip) than on the passenger side. What I am trying to understand is when/why that happens. My initial suspicion is that the car lowered (unwanted lowering symptom) the drivers side but not the passenger side. Another root cause could be a defect/erratic level sensor.

PV_Dave @US-PA | 2 settembre 2014

I've occasionally seen slight lowering in coil-based cars, which I'd attributed to the tires cooling down while parked, relative to rolling in hot.

The air suspension's re-leveling after parking would be a much larger factor, of course, but even a coil car can sink a tiny bit.

Thinktronic | 2 settembre 2014

I have had unexpected lowering with the car parked happen twice with my P85+ since I acquired the car March 2014. (Without any passengers, standard setting. I weigh 200 pounds). While the Teslatap conjecture regarding multiple or weighty passengers, may sound plausibile--it didn't apply in my case.

Love the care and have no regrets at all. And I for one would order air suspension again and I really like it.

murphyS90D | 2 settembre 2014

With the driver in the car the system has leveled the car. When the driver gets out the car has to be re-leveled. One approach would be to leave the driver's side where it was and drop the passenger side to keep it level. I have no idea what it actually does and my car still doesn't exist so I can't test it.

jbrowdy | 2 settembre 2014

Add me to the "me, too" list on this. I thought I was doing something wrong. Scraped several times. Made me cringe.

riceuguy | 2 settembre 2014

@Zero EMS-- Were you parked on an incline/decline such that the passenger side would have been compensating? That's intended behavior, but not if it was on a level surface! | 2 settembre 2014

Had a lowering incident in garage at work.

Went to back out, scraped sidewalk backing out. Incredibly car had lowered so far that wheels were tucked up into the wheel wells and clearance from the underbody panels to ground was around 2"!

Raised suspension and lowered to normal and everything reset. Called SC and they claimed there was an 'incident' noted with suspension in afternoon before I had pulled out.

Nothing unusual since.

ZERO EMS | 3 settembre 2014

@riceuguy - the parking lot is even. It can't have to do with passenger weight either as mentioned from other follow forum users. A mature product design will keep the car leveled at any time and the car will not lower post parking, its that simple. My educated guess is, that both symptoms are related to software and that they will be addressed through the next SW release. Love my car, would buy it again in a heartbeat. TM did a fabulous job designing, developing and launching a game changing product. In such complex endeavor, the product is not perfect. How the company is dealing with those is critical and in addition, the design of MS allows for continuous improvements, perfect.

lecompte | 6 agosto 2015

This just happened to my in my brand new Model S 70D today. I was parked at a curb. I didn't hear any scraping when pulling into the spot (and was clearly over the curb). When we came back 10 minutes later to leave, the car was lowered and resting directly on the curb. As we pulled out we heard a lot of scraping. Inspecting the car afterwards showed that the car was very low to the ground in the front. There was some scraping on the black rubber part in the front of the car, but luckily I didn't see any major damage. I guess there was some talk in this thread about it getting fixed, but I guess it still isn't. We've learned our lesson! Also, does the Model S in general dip a little bit more to the ground in the front vs. the back when in Standard setting?

Newampster | 6 agosto 2015

Why would anyone risk such frequent damage by driving over the curb? How often do you see cars with dangling plastic body parts? Air suspension is wonderful, what do you gain by pulling in so far?

Sudre_ | 6 agosto 2015

It's not fixed lecompte. I just got tired of people like Newampster thinking there is NEVER a reason one would need to have the car stay the way you left it.

There is a way to stop the car from lowering. You have to put it in Jack Mode before exiting.

rkantecki | 13 agosto 2015

This happened to me two days ago. Parked at Walgreens Key Largo. As I started reversing I heard a excruciating noise, had a look what was happening and found that half the bottom cover was pulled off, the sensors on the right hand side of the car pulled away, and the nose cone pulled of with two connecting brackets broken. I have only had the car 9 days, as you can imagine, it was very upsetting. I took the car to the recommended Tesla body shop in West Palm Beach. They had about eight Tesla's undergoing various body repair. I was told that the damage that occurred to be is not unusual, it is a regular occurance.

jordanrichard | 13 agosto 2015


Pleasanton_Ca | 13 agosto 2015


skymaster | 13 agosto 2015

There is a simple fix to this common problem. When you enter a lot, make sure you set the height to "Very High". As soon as you put it into "park", hit the "Tow" mode. In "Tow", it will never lower down. Try it, it works.

When you return, you don't need to remove it from "Tow", it will do it by itself within a few feet. Very simple fix...

Redmiata98 | 13 agosto 2015

I think the option is "JACK" mode that keeps it from lowering after you leave the car. I consistently use this option to keep my car's underside in one part and not effected by the curb stoppers.

RedShift | 13 agosto 2015


I took my car in for the auto lowering problem a month ago. According to service, your suggested solution won't work. Car will go back into lowering mode when you hit PARK.
The remembering thing only works in DRIVE according to them.

Only way, according to them is to manually raise the car in the spot after you park. THAT, apparently IS remembered. However, you might not park in the same spot every time :-|