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Creaking/Squeaking control arm ball joint fix

My X developed a very loud creaking/squeaking in the front from the suspension a few months ago. I didn’t know what the issue was and I was super busy and didn’t have time to deal with it so I took it to Tesla and they said the upper control arm in the front on pass side was bad and needed replaced. So they replaced it and $1,000 later there was no more squeak.
A few months goes by and then all of a sudden I get the same noise again but this time coming from drivers side. Now I’m getting pissed off because a vehicle that costs north of 100K shouldn’t have issues like this just out of warranty. I’m a pretty handy guy so I decided to jump in and take a look at it. I jacked up the vehicle and took off the front tire. I put a second jack just under the lower control arm to take the pressure off the suspension and I removed the bolt that connects the upper control arm (see attached). It’s a 15mm nut with a torx on the opposite side. With the bolt out I used the jack to lower the suspension about 1” and then used a small pry bar to pop out the upper control arm from the socket. I noticed the ball joint was stiff. I clamped on a pair of vice grips onto the stud of the ball joint and proceeded to rotate the ball joint around and around and side to side and front to back to move all the grease around inside the socket of the ball joint. I moved it around for about 2 minutes until it didn’t feel as tight because of the lubrication. I then jacked up the suspension the 1” I had lowered it and then pulled down the upper control arm to drop the ball joint stud back down into the hole. I had to use a large pair of pliers to sort of clamp it together to get it to go in. I prob could have done it by hand but pliers made it easier. I reinstalled the bolt that I removed and put the tire back on. Voila, no more squeak. The suspension is completely quiet.
The issue is the grease inside the ball joint doesn’t get moved around inside the socket enough and causes a squeaking over time. This took me all of 15 minutes start to finish to complete. That’s the easiest $1,000 I ever saved.
If you are a mechanical person it’s a quick and easy fix.
Wish I had of done this when my first one was noisy and would have saved a thousand bucks. Lesson learned.
See attached picture of the only bolt that needs to be removed. Except the wheel nuts of course.
I hope this info is able to help someone else.
 

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timf

Active Member
Apr 14, 2013
1,043
165
Michigan
I took my Model X in for the steering bolt recall and it came back with a squeak like the one you're describing. Never had any issue prior to this service visit. Does it make sense for the two to be related? I'm green when it comes to anything mechanical with the car.
 
I just got this fixed at my SC. I noticed very noticeable loud creaking from the font whenever I applied the brake and more weight shifted to the front. I took it in and SC repaired it for free. Im not exactly sure what they fixed but its stated on the invoice as "Front and Rear Drive Unit - Lubricate at Hub". Either lubrication was added or taken off according to your original DIY fix.
 
I just got this fixed at my SC. I noticed very noticeable loud creaking from the font whenever I applied the brake and more weight shifted to the front. I took it in and SC repaired it for free. Im not exactly sure what they fixed but its stated on the invoice as "Front and Rear Drive Unit - Lubricate at Hub". Either lubrication was added or taken off according to your original DIY fix.
I am having same problem with my X. SC states it squeaks due to bushing noise, but no damage to control arm and no wear on bushing, so not covered under warranty, but I can replace control arm for $600. Does anyone have receipt of your warranty repair so I can show my SC, thanks
 
I had suspension noise/rumble at low speeds over bumps. First Tesla replaced the control arm $800, but this didn't fix the problem. Tesla said, oh, that was so loose it was a safety issue. Then then replaced LH and RH aft lower suspension links. They said this fixed the problem, maybe, but that was another $1200. At the same time, they said the sway bar was loose and replaced RH sway bar link as goodwill. Who knows. I have since emailed the manager with a reference to these threads... :)

2014 P85
 
Does anybody have a video/audio recording of the sound? My 2018 MX started making this sound a few weeks ago. I have a SC appointment, but curious. My car *does* have the infamous "shudder" but I don't drive it hard at all. I made a video shows me just driving slowly with all kinds of squeaking and squawking. Seems to be coming from passenger side, at startup and gentle acceleration. Mostly heard on bumpy roads and while turning. Will try to post it to YouTube so I can share it here.
 
Last edited:
That’s great news, thanks. It definitely sounds like rubber on metal, not metal on metal. I was worried I shouldn't be driving it around (SC appt isn't for a couple weeks due to other stuff). I assume my 2018 / 44K is still under warranty. I'll see what SC says but would be glad to try it out myself per your instructions should they try to charge me $1K. Thanks again for your help!
 
My X developed a very loud creaking/squeaking in the front from the suspension a few months ago. I didn’t know what the issue was and I was super busy and didn’t have time to deal with it so I took it to Tesla and they said the upper control arm in the front on pass side was bad and needed replaced. So they replaced it and $1,000 later there was no more squeak.
A few months goes by and then all of a sudden I get the same noise again but this time coming from drivers side. Now I’m getting pissed off because a vehicle that costs north of 100K shouldn’t have issues like this just out of warranty. I’m a pretty handy guy so I decided to jump in and take a look at it. I jacked up the vehicle and took off the front tire. I put a second jack just under the lower control arm to take the pressure off the suspension and I removed the bolt that connects the upper control arm (see attached). It’s a 15mm nut with a torx on the opposite side. With the bolt out I used the jack to lower the suspension about 1” and then used a small pry bar to pop out the upper control arm from the socket. I noticed the ball joint was stiff. I clamped on a pair of vice grips onto the stud of the ball joint and proceeded to rotate the ball joint around and around and side to side and front to back to move all the grease around inside the socket of the ball joint. I moved it around for about 2 minutes until it didn’t feel as tight because of the lubrication. I then jacked up the suspension the 1” I had lowered it and then pulled down the upper control arm to drop the ball joint stud back down into the hole. I had to use a large pair of pliers to sort of clamp it together to get it to go in. I prob could have done it by hand but pliers made it easier. I reinstalled the bolt that I removed and put the tire back on. Voila, no more squeak. The suspension is completely quiet.
The issue is the grease inside the ball joint doesn’t get moved around inside the socket enough and causes a squeaking over time. This took me all of 15 minutes start to finish to complete. That’s the easiest $1,000 I ever saved.
If you are a mechanical person it’s a quick and easy fix.
Wish I had of done this when my first one was noisy and would have saved a thousand bucks. Lesson learned.
See attached picture of the only bolt that needs to be removed. Except the wheel nuts of course.
I hope this info is able to help someone else.
I just bought a 2017 Model X. It has 65k miles on it. And it has started making the same squeaking sounds as you described. I wouldn't think at 65k miles it would be having upper control arm issues. The car is out of warranty. But do you think that is something Tesla would cover?
 

ngng

Active Member
Jul 23, 2018
1,519
836
Bay Area
I just bought a 2017 Model X. It has 65k miles on it. And it has started making the same squeaking sounds as you described. I wouldn't think at 65k miles it would be having upper control arm issues. The car is out of warranty. But do you think that is something Tesla would cover?

bushings wear out. wear and tear. broken control arms, that's different. out of warranty, they don't care.
 
You shouldn't have been charged anything. This has been a known defect for nearly a year. The SC manager first insisted that I pay nearly $2k for both control arms, but when I pulled up the endless threads about it, they covered it.
I’ll give this approach a try and hopefully get Telsa service center to replace or grease my joints on a 2016 Tesla X. I took my vehicle in for air compressor failure that cost $1700 to fix and shortly after pickup of my vehicle, right before the shop closing time, I hear this noise. Fingers crossed your suggestion works. My appointment is 3 weeks out from July 15th. And, my vehicle is out of warranty.
 
I just bought a 2017 Model X. It has 65k miles on it. And it has started making the same squeaking sounds as you described. I wouldn't think at 65k miles it would be having upper control arm issues. The car is out of warranty. But do you think that is something Tesla would cover?
This post reminds me of something related. When talking to a guy at the factory during lunch, he mentioned there was a recent service announcement to reseal the front upper control arm ball joints on MX of this era. I called my service department to mention this and they scheduled for me to bring it in last month. It took about 90 minutes to reseal both and it was no charge even though out of the first 4 years of the warranty period.

I am not implying this is the reason for your squeak. Just saying it is something that can get done on your next visit. Interestingly, the SCs don't seem to be contacting owners to have it done. Perhaps go into your app to schedule a visit and mention "reseal the front upper control arm ball joints by service bulletin". Then see what they tell you when they contact you.
 

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