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A few questions from a potential owner

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Mike K, Oct 31, 2015.

  1. Mike K

    Mike K Member

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    Hey all. I've been a fan for a bunch of years but just never pulled the trigger. I drove a P85 in 2013 and liked it but was a bit turned off by the interior, lack of center console, etc. It felt a bit too concept car for me. Fast forward a couple years and I'm seriously considering a 85kWh. So I decided to rent one for 5 days to see how it is to live with. I'm glad I did because it's helped me decide that I do indeed want the car but it also raised some questions. Here they are.

    Interior Noise
    - The car is LOUD on the expressway. At first I couldn't pinpoint the noise but I realized I couldn't make out words on my podcasts unless I really turned up the volume. Then I realized I kept asking my wife to repeat herself. It's not wind noise. It's just a lot of cabin noise. My last car was a top spec 535D which was silent and before that I had an A8 with the dual pane glass which was also dead silent. I wasn't expecting the Tesla to be like that but it's louder than my wife's Infiniti FX35 on the expressway. Is this a known issue? Has this improved in newer cars or is it just something I'm going to have to deal with?

    Overall Reliability - I've had the rental for 48 hours now. In that time one key has failed to start the car, the tire pressure monitoring system said it was malfunctioning, bluetooth doesn't connect to my iPhone 50% of the time and the touch screen became unresponsive and tossed a code on the instrument display, forcing me to learn how to reset it. The car is a 2013 with 18,000 miles on it. Is this kind of stuff par for the course? I can deal with the occasional touch screen error if I'm not going to have to replace the touch screen on the car. I know the powertrain is covered by Tesla for awhile but what about the other electronics? Are there a lot of problem with them?

    Upgraded Stereo
    - This car has the base system which is comically bad. I mean wow. I've heard some bad systems but this almost on par with my dad's 1987 Dodge Omni that had an AM radio and a single 6x9 speaker in the center of the dash. I think the Omni had more bass too. How is the upgraded system? Is it similarly bad? Should I look out for a car with it or am I going to have to update the system to get decent sound out of it either way?

    iPhone Support - I know this isn't currently supported natively and I saw a lot of threads saying that it was just around the corner but a few of those threads were from 2013. Are there any plans for this?

    Durability -
    Some parts of the car look like they're not going to hold up well with time. The leather covered door panels are of particular concern. I also noticed that the rental I have with 18,000 miles is showing wear on the driver's seat bottom cushion. I believe it has the Nappa leather. How are these seats after some miles have been stacked up? What about the rest of the interior?

    Anything else that you think I should know?
     
  2. Khatsalano

    Khatsalano Member

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    Noise: The car is pretty quiet from an absolute decibel level measurement. But because there is no engine noise, everything else will sound louder and the brain's perception of noise is relative, not absolute. There is no auto-volume adjustment on this car (yet) like on most luxury cars. In competitor luxury cars, the sound system is turned up automatically and you don't notice. In the Tesla, this is done manually and you do notice.

    Reliability: Yup, lots of things aren't as reliable as a Toyota Camry. We put up with it because service is top notch at fixing any issue, no matter how small. Quality will increase over time. You can see a huge difference between VIN 0-10,000 and the 68,000 + series with things like NVH, gaps, and other small things.

    Stereo
    : You sound like an audio enthusiastic. The premium is quite a bit better, but since you'll likely complain about it anyway, just save the money and go aftermarket. That way, when you complain (which you definitely sound like you're the type who needs perfection and a bit more), it'll be on you. :)

    iPhone: The Tesla app runs on the iPhone. iCalendar syncs with the car. You can make phone calls. Bluetooth audio connects to stream things like Spotify. After market Remote S does the Apple Watch integration. Not sure what else you mean.

    Durability: Leather is not as good as competitors and does wear early. My seat cushion showed wear after only 5,000 miles, but it has stabilized now at 23,000 miles and looks no worse. The wear on the B-pillar due to exiting the car remains an issue-- and no, I'm not a plus-sized dude. Even with extensive core training and a shoulder, head, torso yoga sequence of exiting without trying to touch anything, there is still wear.

    It sounds like you're not ready to buy ... maybe check out the X?

    - K
     
  3. CHG-ON

    CHG-ON Still in love after all these miles

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    First off, I would look at mid 2014 and later. Not '13. I have seen a great improvement in quality with the later models. I have a car delivered 9-14 and the quality is miles better than the '13 loaners that I have had.

    Interior noise: My car is quite quiet. What wheels are on your renter? The 21's are much louder than the 19's. I have 21's because I couldn't resist. There is a price to be paid for them in noise. Tire choice makes a big difference. The factory Michi's were very loud. I switched to Hankooks, which were much better. Conti-silents are very quiet, from what I have read, and I am going to try them next. I have no wind noise at all.

    Overall reliability: It is a new car from a new company and it's a new technology. So, yes, there are risks. My car, after 13 months and 15.5K mi has been very good. I have had a few small issues, but nothing that stopped me from driving it. A pano roof seal had to be replaced, my interior mirror has stopped dimming, I had a driver's seat squeak: all small issues for me. I did have a solenoid go in the air suspension very early on. That was the biggest issue, but the car was still drivable. I can say that my experience with service has been nothing short of fantastic. They pick the car up, give me a loaner, keep me informed every single day and then bring her back. I couldn' be happier. But yes, things do go wrong. I have read many posts about big issues, like drive motors crapping out. But I believe they are all early cars. That's why I suggest staying away from '13's.

    Stereo: I have the upgraded stereo. It's just OK and I am pretty much OK with it. It takes very judicious balancing to get it right. I will upgrade with Light Harmonic's system in the future. Disappointing here.

    Durability: I have some wear on the lumbar part of my nappa seats. Not happy about it at all. But fortunately, I really never see it. I am more concerned about resale value with this issue. Otherwise, the interior has held up very well. Still looks brand spanking new. I take very good care of the car. I purposely chose the vinyl door and dash trim because I thought it would hold up better and I really don't care about leather there. I actually prefer the feel of the vinyl on the arm rests. Less slippery. It's holding up great. No wear at all. I have seen photos of worn areas at the trim near the door, when people slide in and rub against the side pillar. Looks terrible. But I have none of that.

    I think the thing with buying a Tesla is that you have to have the fire for the car, which makes some of these issues go away. For me, it was the tech, going totally electric and the complete coolness of the car. She drives like a complete dream: silent and elegant when cruising and a fire breathing monster when I hammer it. I love that. I simply could not be happier. But I truly do have the fire for the car, the company and the mission of getting off of oil.

    Your questions are excellent and your concerns are all completely valid.
     
  4. gaucho20

    gaucho20 Member

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    Khatsalano- that was a great reply; excellent answers. Mike (OP) I agree with you that there is a lot of outside noise entering the car; more than my Infiniti G and other mid level luxury cars. I think it has to do with the glass and how the window meets up with the door seal. I just turn up the radio manually. But, like K said, the difference I notice may simply be relative because there is no engine noise to cover up. If you are north of the city, we could go for a ride in my 85D, which is a few months old, so that you can get a feel for the current build quality, see how the iphone integrates seamlessly (other than 17" can't control iTunes like it should) etc, and I'll be able to answer any other questions you may have. Also, I am not an audiophile, but my base audio system is decent enough after adjusting the equalizer.
     
  5. Mike K

    Mike K Member

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    Objectively, it's loud. It's loud enough at highway speeds that I wouldn't know whether or not it had an engine. It's not a relativity thing. I'm not talking about auto-volume either. When I was talking on the phone I had to ask the person on the other end if they could hear me because the cabin sounded so loud to me.

    Not at all and I'm not expecting it. The base system is terrible though. I mean that's an accepted thing right? I've had everything from base systems in Grand Prixs to the B&O system in my 535 and A8 and I'm not expecting B&O quality but I do like something that sounds good. I don't need top of the line but I do need passable. When you're paying a certain amount of money for a car you're expecting at least a certain level of clarity.

    I'm talking about control of playlists, etc through the touch screen versus having to use the phone.

    Good to know. It's not a deal breaker for me but I'd like to know what to expect. What about the door panels?

    What makes you think I'm not ready to buy? I'm asking these questions precisely because I'm ready to buy and I'm just trying to set my expectations to a reasonable level. Due diligence if you will.
     
  6. DFibRL8R

    DFibRL8R Member

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    63k miles on mine in 2 3/4 years with 3 kids under 12years, I have been happy with the tan leather, minimal care, it still looks good, no issues with the door panels. Driver's seat has some puckering from pressure points.

    As for reliability, I am out of warranty, no repairs yet out of warranty. Lots of electronics in this (and most in this class) car with finite lifespan so I expect some issues
     
  7. Mike K

    Mike K Member

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    Thank you. Validation for the issues I mentioned is better than denial and takes nothing away from the car's greatness. It might have the 21's on it. I'm embarrassed to say I didn't check. It does have summer tires on it though and in my experience with the BMW's, high performance tires can be loud. I didn't consider that. I did take a look at decibel tests and the Model S actually rates well at highway speeds so perhaps it is the tires. Legitimately I can't tell if the car is an ICE or electric at highway speeds because of the noise, not wind noise, just cabin noise.

    Thanks so much for the offer. I actually live in Los Angeles now. I just haven't changed my location.



    As for reliability, I am out of warranty, no repairs yet out of warranty. Lots of electronics in this (and most in this class) car with finite lifespan so I expect some issues

    You're in the same boat as me. I'm looking for this to be a family car in Los Angeles. The 14mpg out of the FX35 is killing me. I'd rather spend that money on the car I'm driving than on the gas I'm putting into it. I'm surprised at how well this thing car seats. It's loads better than the FX35.
     
  8. BriansTesla

    BriansTesla Old school meets new tech

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    Quietest car I have driven. Maybe your rental had some tire issues.


    Reliability has been outstanding for me. Just a few minor issues, quickly taken care of by my Service Center. They are fabulous!

    I mentioned some driver's seat wear when my S was in for service and they fixed it. I haven't paid for any service in 24K miles!
     
  9. EarlyAdopter

    EarlyAdopter Active Member

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    Which tires does your rental have? Tires make all the difference in road noise in the Model S, since there's really nothing else to contribute to cabin noise (except for wind noise from the occasional misaligned pano roof or side window triangle).

    My first Model S came equiped with 21" Continental Extreme Contacts. They were ok. My second Model S came with 21" Michelin PS2s and they are WAY louder. They handle better though, so it's a trade off.
     
  10. Mike K

    Mike K Member

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    Enough of you have said it's a quiet car that I'm going to chalk this one up to the tires. It has performance summer tires on it right now. They're loud. I'd trade some performance for some silence here. :)
     
  11. Brass Guy

    Brass Guy Member

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    I have a 2013 with 19's and solid roof. It is MUCH quieter than the same year with 21's and pano roof, I've driven several loaners with that configuration. The tires are a lot louder, and the reflectivity of the pano compounds it.

    Also I've read that newer cars are quieter inside, that there is more sound absorbing material in the design now. I bet a new car on 19's and solid roof would be very quiet.

    I have the textile seats, and they show no wear after 51k miles, and I'm not kind to them. Actually I prefer them over leather, I don't slide around!
     
  12. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Interior Noise - I've found it depends on the pavement and the tires. On smooth pavement with 19" Michelin Primacy tires, it's very quiet.

    Overall Reliability - At 60K miles mine has been very reliable. No drive train changes, no battery changes (early 2013 85S).

    Upgraded Stereo
    - The Tesla audio system is very much a garbage-in, garbage-out system. If you have lossless music played from a thumb drive that has been recorded properly, it's great. If you play compressed music that may not have been recorded properly--not so much.

    iPhone Support - I don't get this question. iPhone support has been there since I purchased my car 2.75 years ago, and I just upgraded it with LTE.

    Durability -
    The only part that shows wear is the B-pillar. Otherwise, the interior looks as if it were new.
     
  13. JunesongProvisn

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    My P85D with 19s is super quiet on the highway. I've driven VWs and Audis for awhile, so maybe I'm just used to something much louder. I asked my wife and she thinks it's quiet as well.
     
  14. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    Could some of the interior wear be because it's a rental so people weren't careful with it? I have a mid-2013 Model S and it has no wear issues inside (or significant reliability issues, for that matter). The only time my iPhone didn't connect to Bluetooth was when it had been turned off on the phone accidentally.

    I'd put up with a few issues to drive all electric, but I realize that attitude is less common as the car gets beyond early adopters.
     
  15. Btrflyl8e

    Btrflyl8e Active Member

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    Interesting that there are a lot of 60's posting saying no reliability issues. I have had no major issues either, 42,000 miles and 2.5 years in. Interior still great, except some wear on the B pillar on the passenger side. Not sure how my friend is getting in and out of my car, since he's the most frequent passenger. Could be how he has to fold his 6'6" freakish frame to get in.

    The service center manager told me awhile back that they had not had a single battery or drive train issue on a 60, and that was less than a year ago.

    I do have the upgraded sound, and once I got it adjusted just right it sounds good. I'm no audiophile, though.

    In every car I've had, I can always tell when it's time for tire rotation/replacement by the increase in road noise. I have the Goodyear tires my car came with, and just keep the same when replacing. They were getting pretty loud recently, had them rotated and it's much quieter now. Soon they'll need replacing and I expect more silence then!
     
  16. BertL

    BertL Active Member

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    Noise -- I've driven Lexus for 20+ years, my last was a 2013 RX450h (hybrid). I've also had BMW 335i and MBZ SLK. My MS is by far the quietest vehicle I've owned -- surpassing my Lexus which are fairly well known to be quiet, especially the hybrids. Agree with others, that noise level is subjective though -- quieter it really is, the more you will notice sound levels. e.g. I like to hear my music when I'm driving, and it's almost never over 3 on the control.

    Personally, in my many years on and helping moderate a Lexus forum, most of the time, type of tires, wear on tires, proper pressure on tires, and proper alignment are what end up causing or reducing road noise. If you have a rental, well, no telling how well it's been maintained with those things -- I know many rentals I've had over the years have been horrible, and that isn't a reflection on the vehicle or the mfgr, as much as it is the company that owned and rented the vehicle to me.

    Reliability -- While my MS is not quite a month old, I agree with others. If you are looking at used, stick with 2014+. You can develop your own impression for when reliability seems to have improved with Tesla having caught up to initial problems with things like door handles, panel alignment, windshield issues, etc by spending some quality time reading threads here on TMC and paying attention to date/time stamps as to when the voices die down and what year or VIN people have by looking at their signature lines. That's what I did.

    Upgraded Stereo -- I have the UHFS option and care a lot about my tunes. For me, UHFS is a minimum and on-par with high-end sound options from mfgrs in my former Lexus, MBZ, and BMW. It's NOT as good as my old Nakamichi I had in my first Lexus, but I have said that through 4 other Lexus since they switched to Mark Levinson. As others have said, if you care a lot, buy aftermarket so you get what you want and don't have to come on here and grouse about sound quality. ;)

    No matter which option you choose for a sound system in an MS, IMHO, Infotainment is unfortunately one of the areas Elon and Tesla have really let owners down on, now that we are approaching the 4th year of production. They've spent time on things like Autopilot and new UIs but not yet circled back to create a more robust set of entertainment system options that just flat catch up with what other brands have had for years. e.g. I have 1400 albums in my iTunes library, and have maintained iPod Classics in each of my former luxury cars for the last several years. I've been able to then have all 29K songs available as albums, as well as playlist capability. If you have a physical music library, your only option is to use USB sticks or to stream music. USB is problematic as Tesla has not implemented M3U playlists, so you must live with only using folders and likely duplicated tracks, without any easy and decent sync capability on your USB device if you want to control the music by the Tesla Media Player. Your other option is to stream via Bluetooth, but as a person that cares about music quality, you probably realize that is always highly compressed. While my hearing is not what it used to be, I can tell a difference and hate listening to music that way -- I just won't unless it's a podcast since that the only way I can get to most of the ones I listen to is via my iPhone & iTunes. All is not lost with Tesla's Media Player implementation, but there is a huge amount of work Tesla needs to do to just catch up. Fortunately, IMHO, most of this can be done via a future software upgrade when Elon decides to prioritize it -- but we won't get a hardwired external media player (like an iPod), so that remains an issue in my book that I had to acknowledge before buying my new MS a month ago.

    iPhone Support. I have no issues with my iPhone 6. None. My new S90D also came with LTE. THAT may be a consideration for you if you purchase a used MS... Only newer vehicles come standard with LTE vs original 3G -- if you buy an old MS with 3G you may be able to pay for a conversion to LTE. See other threads about that.

    Durability. My impression is MS will stand up pretty well. Like others, I do believe my MS next gen seats will likely show wear faster than the premium leather I've had in my former Lexus, even with the learning I have to do with every car I own to not let my rear end brush against the higher side bolsters as I get in and out. Part of this, IMHO is because there is no automated entry/exit function that moves the seat back and wheel up as you exit MS. There are other threads on workarounds with that, and with use of an Exit Profile and my focus on physical entry/exit, I hopefully won't have too big of an issue. The other very subjective point is you must recognize this vehicle is primarily made of aluminum. If you don't take care with things like proper closing of the frunk, you'll potentially crease or dent it. Also, body work (hopefully you never need it) may well end up being higher price -- hard to say -- just saying you need to understand this vehicle is not steel where any 'ol body shop can help you out should the need arise.

    Good luck with your decision.
     
  17. hiroshiy

    hiroshiy Active Member

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  18. Lex

    Lex Member

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    I had a service loaner 85D last week that had wind noise from the small triangle window on the passenger side, which is not present in my car. Mine is so quiet (now that they fixed the dash rattle) that I complain about the pinging sound of the pneumatic pressure in the tires (and there are people working on that).

    I saw this puckering on every interior pic of any used Model S with leather. This is what made my decision to take the base cloth palatable, as the traditional rule for resale value is "get the leather." But the 85D loaner also had the 2nd Gen seats and damn, they were fine.. I've been adjusting my base seats every day since, trying to replicate the feel.

    I've decided that we may never have simultaneous motors activated or exit / enter function to avoid undue stress on the 12V system which seems to still be a high priority for TMC.

    To OP, the Model S is more than a car, it is an experience. You should already know that from the time you've spent with one. I started my journey considering a used one, but as a technologist the dual motors and Autopilot were just too compelling for me, and the 70 fit my needs and (with shoe-horning ;) budget. With a new Model S, you gain the experience of all the cars that came before it. But that's also a curse, as your car will be missing new improvements immediately.

    I plug my car into my house, take it on comfortable, long-distance journeys, and don't ever feel enviro-guilty about going out for a drive... a drive in what's universally called the world's best car. Just the fact that I win that argument in every circle is kinda priceless :cool:
     
  19. donv

    donv Member

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    The only thing I'd like to add to this discussion is that as the performance tires get older, they tend to make a lot more noise. At 18,000 miles, if it's on the original tires, then that can be a significant factor. As others have pointed out, 19s are quieter. On my recently sold S85, I replaced my 21" tires with the ContiSilent tires and that made a big difference in noise-- especially compared to the worn out Extreme Contact tires that it had on it.

    Incidentally, I would say the overall reliability of my 2013 S85 was excellent. I believe I only had one unscheduled shop visit, and they came out and picked it up.
     
  20. Mike K

    Mike K Member

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    So they are 19's but they are performance summer tires and I know from experience with my BMWs that they get loud. This seemed a bit excessive but either way, it's not a deal breaker for me.



    See I specifically don't want the dual motor car. Call me weird but I'm honing in on either an 85 or a P85. It's more than enough car. The autopilot features seem really cool but I don't need them and the difference between buying a used 85/ P85 and buying a newer car with autopilot would mean the difference of enough money that there are other cars that I'd then probably want over the Tesla.

    iPhone Support

    Regarding this, I think I did a poor job explaining what I meant. Currently the car does not integrate with the phone via USB. On my BMW, Audi and just about every other modern car I've owned, you plug the phone into the car, it picks it up and you can control the phone through the vehicle. So in the case of the BMW I could hold down the talk button on the steering wheel for Siri eyes free, there were apps in iDrive that allowed you to stow the phone and never look at it. You'd control your music, playlists, etc though iDrive. The Tesla seems to interact with the phone solely through bluetooth and the interaction stops at being able to reverse/ forward tracks. To me that's not integration.



    No, I'm right there with you. I don't mind the occasional freakout of the onboard computers as long as they're not melting down. The touchscreen freezing I assumed was a bug and a simple reset would take care of it. I looked up the process and boom, done. I can deal with bugs so long as they're bugs. I just didn't want to come in here and see people saying they were on their 9th touchscreen or other really chronic issues like that.

    Bluetooth - Can someone help me with this? It downright sucks in the car I have. It's not connecting automatically to the phone maybe half the time. The other 20% of the time it won't connect even manually. I'll have to forget the phone on the car, forget the car on the phone and then re-pair them. Known issue?
     

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