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Ear pain/Pressure help

For what it is worth I went out for a test drive with my wife in a new Toyota Venza hybrid the other day. We drove around in EV mode for a good bit around the city streets. She could hear a high pitched whine which I didn't really notice as my hearing is not as good as hers. As I say we drove around in EV mode for a good bit of time cause she wanted to see if she could get used to the somewhat irritating noise. The more we drove the car in EV the more I started to notice pain in my ears. It was deep inside my ear and as many have mentioned it felt like the pressure pain one may feel in an plane. A headache came on by the end of it all. Having followed this thread for some time (was considering an MY) I was concerned that it might be just in my head but it really was quite apparent - to the point that I told my wife a MY was no longer in the running. She decided she didn't like the irritation of the electric motors and so will be keeping her present car.
 
I feel pressure some times in my Y as well, so I was curious where the air leaves the car. I turned the A/C on high and had my wife sit in the car, while I would feel around the back of the car. I could feel air coming out of what looked like two drain holes and around the hitch cover. So I removed the hitch cover and once I did I could feel quite a bit of air blowing out. I'm not sure if removing the hitch cover will help with the pressure problem, but it might since it's giving the air that is being blown in the car an additional place to escape.
 
Just putting a vote in here for Hatch Buffeting as the main cause. It's the one thing that would be able to induce low frequency pressure changes in the cabin. Those little rubber stoppers that can be screwed in and out would be the primary point of adjustment, and I suppose in some cars there may be some malalignment of the door hinges or even more rarely some deformation of the hatch or body causing them to not meet well.
Screw the stoppers all the way in and the hatch may sit closer to the car- this would be good if you were having leaks around the gasket, BUT might allow there to be some slack in the system, allowing the hatch to 'pump' the pressure in the cabin. Unscrewing the stoppers, so that they are more firmly pressed against the body of the car when the hatch is latched would firm things up and reduce pumping.
Someone needs to lay down in the back of one of these 'problem cars' and see if there is a bit of bounce in the hatch- that would be the simplest thing to do since it's actually quite hard to analyze infrasound. Or, folks need to try adjusting the stoppers.
I actually screwed my in to stop a leak and the very next time I got on an interstate, it suddenly struck me that all these ear/nausea/headache complaints weren't just hypochondriacs succumbing to the power of suggestion:rolleyes:! I've since dialed back on my adjustment a bit [screwing the stoppers a bit back in] and think I've hit the sweet spots between leaks and buffeting.
 
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I'm afraid I have to add myself to the list of people experiencing this ear pressure/pain while driving the Model Y. We took a quick 10 mile drive right after the car was delivered last week, and I noticed it right away. It was so distracting that I couldn't even focus on evaluating the driving dynamics of the car, which is why we took the car for a drive in the first place. For me, it wasn't unbearable, but it was really irritating and definitely gave me a headache. After a week of driving around, I can't deny that this is a real issue.

Thanks to everyone that has contributed to this thread. Nobody else in my family is having the same experience as me, so it was nice to get some validation to prove to myself that I wasn't going crazy. I have had the problem on every drive - even short ones, but it's worse on rougher roads. There is a lot of great info in this thread, but no definitive solution to the problem. It may be that different people have different sources of discomfort, or perhaps some combination of sources. I'm going to list out all the potential causes of the problem that I am experiencing, in order of what I hope the source might be:

1) Hatch buffeting - I think this has been the issue for lots of people, and it's a pretty easy fix if that's the case. I had this problem with my Model S eight years ago, and I was able to fix it by adjusting the rubber stoppers as many have recommended. After about a dozen attempts to do this with my new Model Y, I have decided this is not the issue for me. At least, it's not the only issue. There is no adjustment I have been able to make that gets rid of the problem. Also, I have the issue even when the windows are rolled down, so it can't be just air pressure changes from hatch buffeting. I also remember being able to hear the buffeting with my Model S, and with the Y I'm not hearing it as much as feeling it in my ears. There might still be something wrong with the hatch, but it will require a more involved adjustment than the rubber stoppers - maybe the latch height that someone suggested or even realigning the hinges somehow. Or maybe the hatch just flexes in place and that's causing a problem. I have a service center appointment next week, and maybe they will put in those additional rubber blocks so I will see if that makes any difference. I will also try to get a Model Y loaner to see if I have the same problem in a different Y.

2) Tire ride/noise - Someone else suggested that this was the problem (sorry, there have been so many posts in this thread that I can't remember who said what) and I think that's definitely a contributing factor for me. My Y was delivered with the tires (the standard 19" Continental Procontacts) inflated to 42 psi. I had been driving around like that until this morning when I lowered the pressure to 39 psi. This seemed to make a real difference with the ear pain. I don't know if it's because of noise from the tires, or just the fact that the less inflated tires smooth out the ride a bit. I had ordered the winter tire package from Tesla even before I took delivery of my car, but I'm not sure I want to make that investment now until I know if I can keep this car for the long term. If I do decide to keep the winter tires, I will have Tesla put them on at the service appointment and will see if those tires have any impact on this ear pain issue. I'm going to drive the car with my current tires at the lower pressure until the day of my service appointment. Then I will re-inflate them and see if I notice a big spike in ear pain.

3) Heat pump/AC/battery coolant circulation - There are lots of things that might be running even the car isn't moving. This probably isn't the issue for me. I have spent a lot of time just sitting the car while I was fiddling with settings or listening to music. I also did an overnight car camp with my son. Camp mode with the AC and heat pump were running all night and I had no issues at all. While this is probably not my issue, I could see how a defect in one of these systems could cause persistent audible (or inaudible) pain. My old Model S had an AC unit that vibrated so badly I thought the panels might fall off the car.

4) Bolt/Weld/Seal issue - Maybe something somewhere in the car isn't secured the way that it should be. This could be anything, and given how fast Tesla is trying to crank out Model Ys, I'm sure plenty of cars get shipped with problems. If that's the problem with my car, it could be something that's easy to detect and fix, or impossible to detect and fix. Impossible means I will have to get rid of the car.

5) Suspension/Body/Design - I'm really hoping this isn't the problem, even though many people on this thread have provided some pretty good evidence that this might be the case. My own testing is pointing to this as well. The ride on the Model Y is pretty stiff, and that's by design. Maybe there is just something about the design of the car and the interior volume that causes the car to resonate with a low-frequency booming while driving.

I feel bad for those that have had to get rid of their Model Ys because of this issue. We might be doing this same thing if we can't find a resolution. The would be a shame because the Model Y is the perfect car for our family in many ways. Even if I can figure out a way to make this go from painful to tolerable, that still won't be good enough. The Model 3 that I traded-in was the best car I have ever owned. I enjoyed every single drive in that car. Even just sitting down in the car made me happy. It's pretty hard to go from that to a car that I will just tolerate for the extra cargo space. If Tesla can't resolve this issue for me, I will take the financial hit from selling my new Model Y and get myself a new Model 3.

Good luck to everyone that is dealing with this same issue. Keep us posted on any progress that you make towards finding a solution. I will do the same.
 
I'm afraid I have to add myself to the list of people experiencing this ear pressure/pain while driving the Model Y. We took a quick 10 mile drive right after the car was delivered last week, and I noticed it right away. It was so distracting that I couldn't even focus on evaluating the driving dynamics of the car, which is why we took the car for a drive in the first place. For me, it wasn't unbearable, but it was really irritating and definitely gave me a headache. After a week of driving around, I can't deny that this is a real issue.

Thanks to everyone that has contributed to this thread. Nobody else in my family is having the same experience as me, so it was nice to get some validation to prove to myself that I wasn't going crazy. I have had the problem on every drive - even short ones, but it's worse on rougher roads. There is a lot of great info in this thread, but no definitive solution to the problem. It may be that different people have different sources of discomfort, or perhaps some combination of sources. I'm going to list out all the potential causes of the problem that I am experiencing, in order of what I hope the source might be:

1) Hatch buffeting - I think this has been the issue for lots of people, and it's a pretty easy fix if that's the case. I had this problem with my Model S eight years ago, and I was able to fix it by adjusting the rubber stoppers as many have recommended. After about a dozen attempts to do this with my new Model Y, I have decided this is not the issue for me. At least, it's not the only issue. There is no adjustment I have been able to make that gets rid of the problem. Also, I have the issue even when the windows are rolled down, so it can't be just air pressure changes from hatch buffeting. I also remember being able to hear the buffeting with my Model S, and with the Y I'm not hearing it as much as feeling it in my ears. There might still be something wrong with the hatch, but it will require a more involved adjustment than the rubber stoppers - maybe the latch height that someone suggested or even realigning the hinges somehow. Or maybe the hatch just flexes in place and that's causing a problem. I have a service center appointment next week, and maybe they will put in those additional rubber blocks so I will see if that makes any difference. I will also try to get a Model Y loaner to see if I have the same problem in a different Y.

2) Tire ride/noise - Someone else suggested that this was the problem (sorry, there have been so many posts in this thread that I can't remember who said what) and I think that's definitely a contributing factor for me. My Y was delivered with the tires (the standard 19" Continental Procontacts) inflated to 42 psi. I had been driving around like that until this morning when I lowered the pressure to 39 psi. This seemed to make a real difference with the ear pain. I don't know if it's because of noise from the tires, or just the fact that the less inflated tires smooth out the ride a bit. I had ordered the winter tire package from Tesla even before I took delivery of my car, but I'm not sure I want to make that investment now until I know if I can keep this car for the long term. If I do decide to keep the winter tires, I will have Tesla put them on at the service appointment and will see if those tires have any impact on this ear pain issue. I'm going to drive the car with my current tires at the lower pressure until the day of my service appointment. Then I will re-inflate them and see if I notice a big spike in ear pain.

3) Heat pump/AC/battery coolant circulation - There are lots of things that might be running even the car isn't moving. This probably isn't the issue for me. I have spent a lot of time just sitting the car while I was fiddling with settings or listening to music. I also did an overnight car camp with my son. Camp mode with the AC and heat pump were running all night and I had no issues at all. While this is probably not my issue, I could see how a defect in one of these systems could cause persistent audible (or inaudible) pain. My old Model S had an AC unit that vibrated so badly I thought the panels might fall off the car.

4) Bolt/Weld/Seal issue - Maybe something somewhere in the car isn't secured the way that it should be. This could be anything, and given how fast Tesla is trying to crank out Model Ys, I'm sure plenty of cars get shipped with problems. If that's the problem with my car, it could be something that's easy to detect and fix, or impossible to detect and fix. Impossible means I will have to get rid of the car.

5) Suspension/Body/Design - I'm really hoping this isn't the problem, even though many people on this thread have provided some pretty good evidence that this might be the case. My own testing is pointing to this as well. The ride on the Model Y is pretty stiff, and that's by design. Maybe there is just something about the design of the car and the interior volume that causes the car to resonate with a low-frequency booming while driving.

I feel bad for those that have had to get rid of their Model Ys because of this issue. We might be doing this same thing if we can't find a resolution. The would be a shame because the Model Y is the perfect car for our family in many ways. Even if I can figure out a way to make this go from painful to tolerable, that still won't be good enough. The Model 3 that I traded-in was the best car I have ever owned. I enjoyed every single drive in that car. Even just sitting down in the car made me happy. It's pretty hard to go from that to a car that I will just tolerate for the extra cargo space. If Tesla can't resolve this issue for me, I will take the financial hit from selling my new Model Y and get myself a new Model 3.

Good luck to everyone that is dealing with this same issue. Keep us posted on any progress that you make towards finding a solution. I will do the same.

agree with your points, especially compared to the Model 3; I think we will keep our 3 for much longer than the Y
 

Pianewman

2021 MYLR VIN 88,XXX, Rd/Wh, 12/20 delivery
Supporting Member
Oct 28, 2020
1,955
1,550
Fort Worth
I'm now at 1800 miles, ContiProContact tires broken in and deflated to 38psi, hatch pads adjusted (there is no shifting of the hatch when I push/pull up/down). My family of four (trained acoustic musicians...serious...concert pianist, violinist, jazz trumpet, flute) all agree that the issue is mostly resolved. I say mostly, because the occasional laterally grooved concrete, especially if it's new and rough, will cause ALL of us to erupt with a collective, "YIKES! There it is again!"

Interesting moment, when one of our dogs started thumping on the floor of the hatch, we all noticed the drumming sound was identical to the subsonic buffeting sound that bothers us.

If I were more confident in my disassembly/reassembly skills, I'd start removing panels and slapping dynamat/putty everywhere that looks suspicious. I've done this in previous cars (notably 2007 Honda Odyssey...a real tin can!), but the whole "EV" mystique intimidates me.
 
Interesting moment, when one of our dogs started thumping on the floor of the hatch, we all noticed the drumming sound was identical to the subsonic buffeting sound that bothers us.

That's an interesting observation. We don't have a dog to help test that out, but I did notice that the subwoofer in the audio system sounds way boomier to me than the one our Model 3, even after I tried to adjust the sound. Maybe this is all related.

I'm glad the problem has mostly gone away for you. I would be willing to throw away my Continentals right now and buy different tires if it would solve the problem. I might just attempt that anyway.

Maybe someone with the right skillset will figure this out and tell us where to put the dynamat and putty. That would be terrific if that was all it took to get rid of the problem completely.
 
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Pianewman

2021 MYLR VIN 88,XXX, Rd/Wh, 12/20 delivery
Supporting Member
Oct 28, 2020
1,955
1,550
Fort Worth
... I would be willing to throw away my Continentals right now and buy different tires if it would solve the problem. I might just attempt that anyway...

Agreed! I've been eyeing the Bridgestone Turanza QuietTrack, which gets very good reviews at TireRack.

We have to remember that the Y is a heavy SUV, with tires that are rated appropriately, quasi light truck tires. They'll never be as supple as those on a less heavy sedan.
 

Pianewman

2021 MYLR VIN 88,XXX, Rd/Wh, 12/20 delivery
Supporting Member
Oct 28, 2020
1,955
1,550
Fort Worth
Approaching 2k miles, so 19"Conti ProContact tires are fully broken in, ditto for springs/ struts/bushings...

Maybe I'm losing my hearing, or I've just gotten used to the subsonic pulsing on rough concrete, but...here goes...

I removed both of the hatch floorboards, exposing the storage wells underneath. I just drove over 100 miles, over all different types of road surfaces, speeds, and...and...the volume of the low frequency pulsing seems to be much less, hardly noticeable.

HUH? Am I losing it? What? Can you speak up please???

Could someone else try this and see if removing the floorboards makes any difference?
 
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MY-Y

Active Member
Mar 4, 2020
1,313
1,555
MD
Approaching 2k miles, so 19"Conti ProContact tires are fully broken in, ditto for springs/ struts/bushings...

Maybe I'm losing my hearing, or I've just gotten used to the subsonic pulsing on rough concrete, but...here goes...

I removed both of the hatch floorboards, exposing the storage wells underneath. I just drove over 100 miles, over all different types of road surfaces, speeds, and...and...the volume of the low frequency pulsing seems to be much less, hardly noticeable.

HUH? Am I losing it? What? Can you speak up please???

Could someone else try this and see if removing the floorboards makes any difference?

Just tried this. Overall tire noise is a little bit louder, no change in low frequency. With my hatch catch lowered for a good gasket seal,, and hatch bumpers adjusted, the low frequency noise isn't a problem for me anymore. It'd be great if the car was silent, but even with a modest radio volume, I hear only high quality audio. Before adjusting my rear hatch, the brain-rattling subsonic noise was unbearable.

If the road is rough, the low frequency boominess is bad, but most roads around me are in pretty good shape.
 
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@Pianewman and @MY-Y give this a try

one last thing you might try yourself with the car is to put a heavy blanket on top of the rear under trunk cover, and maybe heavy books on top of that too.. seems to improve the low-frequency booming adding mass to that; you can try pounding it with your fist and see how violent it sounds and reverberates through car before adding the blanket/books
 
Could someone else try this and see if removing the floorboards makes any difference?

@Pianewman I'm glad you are still working on finding a solution to this problem.

I just drove around without the floorboards as well, and it didn't make any difference with that low-frequency booming for me either. While I had those to floorboards off, I tried thumping around the area and noticed a hollow booming sound when I hit the center of the hump that divides the deep storage area from the shallow storage area. Maybe some additional dampening under that bulge would reduce some noise. I doubt this would solve the low-frequency ear pain, but maybe it would help a little.

My service appointment is coming up this week, so I'm not going to touch anything until then. We will see what (if anything) they do to fix this issue. After that I will try out some of the things that people have suggested - lowering hatch catch, dynamat, weighted blankets in the back, etc.
 
I'm now at 1800 miles, ContiProContact tires broken in and deflated to 38psi, hatch pads adjusted (there is no shifting of the hatch when I push/pull up/down). My family of four (trained acoustic musicians...serious...concert pianist, violinist, jazz trumpet, flute) all agree that the issue is mostly resolved. I say mostly, because the occasional laterally grooved concrete, especially if it's new and rough, will cause ALL of us to erupt with a collective, "YIKES! There it is again!"

Interesting moment, when one of our dogs started thumping on the floor of the hatch, we all noticed the drumming sound was identical to the subsonic buffeting sound that bothers us.

If I were more confident in my disassembly/reassembly skills, I'd start removing panels and slapping dynamat/putty everywhere that looks suspicious. I've done this in previous cars (notably 2007 Honda Odyssey...a real tin can!), but the whole "EV" mystique intimidates me.
So what would be cool is if someone calculate the resonance of a model Y interior cabin.... some of the solutions to this problem involved throwing blankets and other things over the back seats, hatch space. I know there is software for tuning audio systems that uses a feedback system to measure how much a space resonates at certain frequencies. If something like tires are a cause but the Y is worse than a 3, then it might be that the Y resonates at certain frequencies and causes amplification/interference that makes the Y seem worse....
 
I just dropped my Y off at the service center. One of their service guys took a ride with me too see if he could hear/feel this ear pain issue that I am having. We drove over some rough spots and he didn't think he was hearing anything different than what he hears in all the Model Ys. That does not bode well for Tesla service coming up with a solution. He did acknowledge the stiff ride on the Y, and also suggested that the lower tire pressure could help. They are going to take another look, but I'm not too hopeful at this point. I did notice that the streets around that particular service center are pretty smooth. We really had to go out of our way to find some rough patches. Maybe I will try the service center in the part of town with horrible streets - that would be a better testing ground.

So now I'm worried that the worst case scenario is the right explanation - this is just a design issue with the Model Y. But this brings up so many other questions for me. Is everyone experiencing this and just putting up with it? I am one of the few that is so sensitive to this particular frequency of noise that it causes pain? Do most people drive on smooth streets, so they don't even know that this is an issue?

I was really hoping to get a Model Y loaner to see if I had the same issue in another car of the same type. They were out of Y loaners, but I did get a Model 3. It is almost exactly the same Model 3 that I traded-in. Oh man, what a pleasure it was to drive that car again. No weird low-frequency booming and ear pain at all. I did notice that the car was a lot louder inside than the Y, especially on the highway, but it wasn't that annoying booming noise that was driving me crazy. I really wish I could go back in time a couple of months and cancel my Y order and just get my old 3 back.

When I get the Y back from service, I will try out some other things to fix this issue. But I'm not sure how much time and energy I want to invest in it since I know that a new Model 3 will be a great car for me. I might just be trading back to a 3 in the near future.
 
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MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
18,014
44,352
Oregon
But I'm not sure how much time and energy I want to invest in it since I know that a new Model 3 will be a great car for me. I might just be trading back to a 3 in the near future.

Are you sure that the new Model 3s with the heat pump don't have the same problem? Or maybe it comes from the large rear casting(s) on the Model Y that haven't been implemented on the Model 3 yet.
 
Are you sure that the new Model 3s with the heat pump don't have the same problem?

I really hope the new 3s don't have the same problem. If they do, then I will be shopping for a used Model 3.

I don't think it's a heat pump issue because I did a car campout with my son and we slept in the back of the Y with the heat running all night and I didn't have any problems.

It could be a casting issue. If that's coming to the 3 soon, then I had better get rid of my Y fast.
 

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