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Brand new Tesla has a weird sound (video included)!


Dec 31, 2013
Got my car about two days ago. Just today I noticed a weird sound coming from the front of the car while backing up. You can hear it in the video below. It's kind of a grinding vibrating sound. Has anyone had this experience? If so, what was the cause? Thanks.

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Active Member
Feb 25, 2013
Greendale, Wisconsin
I hope you will all take my word on this, however, that IS the Vacuum pump for the brake booster (What gives your vehicle powered brakes).

If you want to confirm. With the car in park. Just press the brake pedal in rapid succession 10 or so times, and the vacuum pump kicks in, you will hear the sound. ICE vehicles do not usually use a Vacuum pump, as they use the natural vacuum of the internal combustion engine to power the brake booster. EV's do not have that, thus, need a special vacuum pump for the booster. This is not the Air Shocks. If it is the compressor for the air shocks, then they would be defective and leaking, and once parked, the car would lower to it's lowest possible height on the air shock pouch that was damaged.
The vacuum pump usually cannot be heard while driving due to the road noise covering up the sound. At extremely low speeds or at a stand still, it can be heard, and especially when in a garage where the noise can echo.
Now, just imagine all the noises a ICE car makes if it didn't have the engine to mask the sounds ;)



Active Member
Jan 15, 2011
I hope you will all take my word on this, however, that IS the Vacuum pump for the brake booster (What gives your vehicle powered brakes).
Cool, learned my new thing for the day. I'd always assumed it was the air suspension, but this makes much more sense. Especially since changing my air suspension setting never made a noise remotely like this.


Active Member
Jul 11, 2012
SF Bay Area, CA
The Prius uses an insulated tank to retain some warmed coolant for the ICE. When you press on the brake pedal before powering up it injects some of that coolant back into the system to get the engine ready.
That was true until Toyota ditched the coolant thermos w/Gen 3 (2010+ model year).

Gen 2 (04-09) Priuses have at least two distinct noises: the coolant heat storage (CHS) pump noise and some brake accumulator pump noise. The latter you can hear when braking and can repro if you pump the brakes repeatedly. It should be repro even at a standstill (while pumping brakes) and I believe even w/the car turned off. Gen 3 Prius still has the latter sound.

(There are others such as the evap emissions check that is a light whirring/fan-like sound about 5 hours after shutdown.)
I have the same problem but with a squeak at the end. I think I am going to call the service center to have them check out the squeak part. I feel like the Vacuum pump for the brake booster is normal but the loud squeak at the end shouldn't be there? Any one else have this problem?

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