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Do I need air suspension because of my driveway?

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by Snarky Marky, May 9, 2014.

  1. Snarky Marky

    Snarky Marky Member

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    All - I've got my car on order... don't know if it can be changed (mid June delivery) or even if it should, but...

    I live in LA in a hilly area. My driveway as a slight dip at the front of it, coming in off the street. Some cars scrap the underneath of the bumper there - never happens with our current ICE (Jetta Sportwagen TDI and a Passat TDI), but wondering if that might be an issue. A buddy with a Golf will park his car on our street instead of the driveway, because of the scrapping...

    But I can't see the need for the air suspension, unless the scrapping would show, which I'm sure it wouldn't and perhaps not even scrape... Thoughts?
     
  2. ghost640

    ghost640 Member

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    I posed this question in a couple forums, asking about the dirt roads and the steep hills around Duluth, and the answers were strongly in favor of getting the air suspension. I ended up adding it as an option and think it was a good decision. You'd be sad to hear your Tesla scraping on a curb!
     
  3. Chipper

    Chipper Active Member

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    My Honda Civic Hybrid scraped each time I entered the driveway unless I approached very slowly and at an angle. If I leave my Tesla in "Normal" mode it will very gently rub (not really scrape, but it does rub the front valence) no matter what angle I approach from. So I punch "High" every time I approach and do not need to be concerned. Obviously for you it is going to depend on the weight inside and the angle of approach. I will say, I got the Smart Air Suspension and I have not EVER regretted it. In my opinion it was money well spent.
     
  4. Jeddi

    Jeddi Member

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    You'll be surprised how little of a bump or dip can scrape the bottom of a Tesla. Most it happens when backing out of a drive way. You might want to get it.
     
  5. Jeff Miller

    Jeff Miller Member

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    A shallow but wide pothole formed this winter in front of the apron of the lot where I park at work. Going over it one day I scraped the bottom of the car and ended up partially tearing off the small piece of chrome trim on the bottom at the back of the car. Cost me a fair bit to get it fixed because the bolt that holds the trim was snapped off. Now whenever I go over this section, I keep the car in High and haven't had any problems since. Aside from this one location, I never use the Air suspension, but I'm happy I have it if just for this one spot.
     
  6. MattMDK

    MattMDK Member

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    #6 MattMDK, May 9, 2014
    Last edited: May 11, 2014
    I have air suspension. Keep in mind when raising the car it is not an instant process. You cannot raise it as you approach the driveway because it won't raise while driving faster than a few miles an hour. You will need to stop in front of the driveway and start the process. Plan on sitting for about 15 seconds while it happens. Having said this, if you have a steep driveway, it is worth the extra time to protect the underside of your car.
     
  7. Jeff Miller

    Jeff Miller Member

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    That used to be the case, but with 5.9 you can now raise the car while moving at a reasonable speed. I start raising the car about a block away, traveling at typical city speeds and that is plenty of time.
     
  8. NJ Plugin

    NJ Plugin Member

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    Depending on how far you are from a local store (or maybe Service Center), you could ask to do another test drive and go to your driveway and test the car. Just explain to them what you want to do.
     
  9. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    I've only scraped once, in the rear, and even then it was very light and I had 4 large adults in the car. I was probably to blame as I was pulling out into traffic and should have gone slower. Anyway, I've gone over a number of huge dips and peaks that were badly gouged by others scraping their cars on them. The coil cars sit a little higher, which helps, and so you can't really directly compare with people who say they scrape on normal with the air suspension. Last I saw a service document, the coils sat 0.35" lower than cars with the air suspension set on high.

    Certainly air is the safe bet. If you're concerned, Tesla may let you borrow one for an extended test drive to your house to verify. I've seen a couple mentions of them agreeing to that.
     
  10. jcaspar

    jcaspar Member

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    Try a coil car on it if you can. My driveway approach is quite steep (almost impossible to get my Dodge Viper up it without scraping). Air cars at standard height will scrape but my coil doesn't. I am really glad I got coils as it would have quickly driven me crazy to repeatedly have to raise and lower the car every time I came and went. Stock coil height is higher than stock air height.
     
  11. Blathering1

    Blathering1 Remember

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    I have an urban steep driveway, and raise the car everyday. It is a simple step, like closing the sunroof, that I start on the last few secs of my approach. Required to use my driveway, although I have contractors lined up to improve the situation.
    Air suspension is highly recommended for this alone.

    Recently I experienced a situation near the NC coast where a road was closed for an indeterminate time. Folks redirected over a few sandy knolls between private parking lots. The ability to jack to max height with air suspension was a good peace of mind and possibly invaluable.
     
  12. contaygious

    contaygious Active Member

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    I use the suspension more than any other feature here in sf. So glad i have it!
     
  13. Francis Lau

    Francis Lau P-1456

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    I recommend air suspension. I use it for my driveway every time; otherwise the MS will scrape. Also, I raise it when I park when there is a high curb. The ride is also better with air suspension.
     
  14. EriCal

    EriCal Member

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    Vipers are designed to scrape!!
     
  15. liuping

    liuping Active Member

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    I've driven up many step driveways/curbs and never scraped or had an issue.

    Since the normal height on the air suspension is lower the the coil suspension, if you do get air, you will have to use it when coil Teslas don't have to bother
     
  16. skdave

    skdave Member

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    My SC430 Lexus did so I ask the Service center to bring one out to see if I needed Air. I did so I ordered Air.
     
  17. SCDrJ

    SCDrJ Member

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    It would be nice if they applied the same GPS detection they use for the HomeLink transmitter to allow the identification of certain areas/speeds to raise the car (like your own driveway or work location if needed).
     

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