Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.

Anyone cleaned their motor cooling fins ?

Keeping the Roadster motor cool has been discussed before, but looking at the air cooling system it looks like the motor cooling fins could be easily choked by dust in the cooling fan blown air (like a vacuum cleaner sucking dirt off the road ! :rolleyes: ).

A layer of dust on the fins will:
A) decrease the heat transfer out of the motor, acting as an insulator.
B) decrease the airflow.

and that is assuming no debris (leaves, straw etc.) gets suched thro' to block the inlet into the fins !! (on left hand side of motor) as shown below:
motor airflow.jpg

I don't believe clearing the fins is part of the normal service, but may well allow the motor to run much cooler... just see the dust on the outside of the motor, below the PEM .. AFTER its been past the fins !

Question: Has anyone removed the ducting to the motor air inflow & cleaned out the fins ?

If so,
what was the dust/debris build up on the inlet fins ?
Was it straight forward to remove the ducting ? (assuming PEM is removed)

Thoughts ?


Active Member
Jun 7, 2011
...Question: Has anyone removed the ducting to the motor air inflow & cleaned out the fins ?

If so,
what was the dust/debris build up on the inlet fins ?
Was it straight forward to remove the ducting ? (assuming PEM is removed)

Thoughts ?

Duct removal is different on a 2.x and 1.5 but the principal is the same. I've removed mine and cleaned out a fair amount of debris. Used a shop vac with a long semi-flexible attachment. Surprisingly the dust build up wasn't that bad, especially compared to my PEM which gets really dusty. But there were a few leaves in there slowing the air flow. I plan on cleaning it out again this year in a couple months after the leaves have fallen. With the PEM out it's not hard to open the top of the duct cowl surrounding the motor, but the bottom is harder to get at if I remember correctly. I did it with a ranger and it was easier with 2 people. The ranger said he often does it as part of the annual service if the PEM is really dirty.
You can use compressed air to blow the motor fins clean which I believe the Rangers do. If you want to step it up a notch you could use electronics cleaner in combination across the cooling fins . My fins were not all that bad but I hit them anyways with a cleaning since I had the PEM off. Didn't pull the shrouds off, hit it from the drivers side. Next time I service service the Roadster I'll pull the shrouds off.
Thanks Guys - yes a simple route would be to squirt compressed air (and electronic cleaning fluid into fins Right to left.. and at the same time have a powerful vacuum sucking where the blower puffs.... to collect any debris. This assumes the PEM has been removed - something which I am planning to do myself at some stage.

I have slight fear :wink: as the car is still in (UK extended) warrantee .. but I'm keen to keep it all in tip-top condition ... care beyond the annual service. I'm reasonably experienced mechanically, especially on early Lotus cars.

I guess once the PEM is removed with access covers below removed, it is little further work to remove the air ducting to properly clean the fins.
Whilst doing this I'd add coarse open cell filter into the large air chamber around the cooling fans > probably the stuff you get for Pond filtration eg

this would allow free passage of air but not road debris - they could easily been pulled out to be vacuumed or washed clean - just like any air filter.

I have also seen various solutions of how to stop debris being sucked up on TMC - This seems like a very sensible upgrade.

To justify this - Can anyone comment on any cooling improvements after cleaning these fins ?

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.