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Model 3 ground clearance - should I be worried?

Mr K O’Watt

Member
Dec 12, 2018
10
6
Blackpool
After seeing a couple of alarming looking videos on YouTube of folks in the US nervously trying to get their Model 3s either into or out of garages that have ramps or slopes down to the roadway, with very little ground clearance to play with, it got me to thinking about my driveway, which is a little higher than the street level, so has a bit of a hump that needs to be negotiated before getting on to the level.

Over the 15 years I've lived here I've never had any problems with any previous cars I've had, but I note the M3's ground clearance is 5.5 inches, whereas my current car is about 7 inches, and my wife's car is nearer 9 inches. Just wondered if anyone on here with a similar driveway off-road parking set up had experienced any issues with the Model 3. Most of the threads I've seen about ground clearance here on TMC seem to relate to concerns over grounding the car on speed humps.

I did rather cheekily ask my nearest SC whether there was any chance of a longer test drive so that I could bring the car home and very carefully put it to the test rather than discover there was a problem only after I'd paid £40k+ for it, but as I'm over 50 miles away, even the fearsome acceleration of a Tesla wouldn't have allowed me to do the return journey in the 40 minutes or so allowed!

Maybe I'm worrying unnecessarily. I keep thinking, if the car can't cope with my driveway, there'd be no chance of it negotiating the ramps in some of the multi-storey car parks I've had the misfortune to use. And then I remember the tradesman who came to do some work at my house a few years ago who attempted to reverse his Ford Transit van down my driveway as he was leaving, only for the towbar on it to gouge a great chunk out of the tarmac in the road outside my house - thankfully long since resurfaced by the council!
 

UrbanSplash

Member
Nov 10, 2019
427
199
UK
After seeing a couple of alarming looking videos on YouTube of folks in the US nervously trying to get their Model 3s either into or out of garages that have ramps or slopes down to the roadway, with very little ground clearance to play with, it got me to thinking about my driveway, which is a little higher than the street level, so has a bit of a hump that needs to be negotiated before getting on to the level.

Over the 15 years I've lived here I've never had any problems with any previous cars I've had, but I note the M3's ground clearance is 5.5 inches, whereas my current car is about 7 inches, and my wife's car is nearer 9 inches. Just wondered if anyone on here with a similar driveway off-road parking set up had experienced any issues with the Model 3. Most of the threads I've seen about ground clearance here on TMC seem to relate to concerns over grounding the car on speed humps.

I did rather cheekily ask my nearest SC whether there was any chance of a longer test drive so that I could bring the car home and very carefully put it to the test rather than discover there was a problem only after I'd paid £40k+ for it, but as I'm over 50 miles away, even the fearsome acceleration of a Tesla wouldn't have allowed me to do the return journey in the 40 minutes or so allowed!

Maybe I'm worrying unnecessarily. I keep thinking, if the car can't cope with my driveway, there'd be no chance of it negotiating the ramps in some of the multi-storey car parks I've had the misfortune to use. And then I remember the tradesman who came to do some work at my house a few years ago who attempted to reverse his Ford Transit van down my driveway as he was leaving, only for the towbar on it to gouge a great chunk out of the tarmac in the road outside my house - thankfully long since resurfaced by the council!

I will take a pic of the top of my drive for you. Sometimes it scrapes slightly. I’ve looked under and no obvious damage so far, but I was surprised at how little ground clearance the M3 has.
 
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NewbieT

Active Member
Aug 16, 2019
1,194
833
North West
My drive drops downward steeply. Couldn’t get a Landrover Discovery on it. I got the crossing re-laid £800 and now the M3 goes on fine.

You won’t have a problem with speed bumps or car parks. It’s about the height of a typical Merc.
 

LukeUK

Member
Feb 25, 2020
413
249
Shropshire, UK
Maybe there's a local forum member who could pop round for a test?

It's the breakover angle that its sounds like you're more concerned about, rather than the clearance itself.

I would be happy to take some measurements so that you could knock up a couple of battens as a test? Low-tech but it would tell you what you need to know.
 
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Mr K O’Watt

Member
Dec 12, 2018
10
6
Blackpool
Maybe there's a local forum member who could pop round for a test?

It's the breakover angle that its sounds like you're more concerned about, rather than the clearance itself.

I would be happy to take some measurements so that you could knock up a couple of battens as a test? Low-tech but it would tell you what you need to know.

Thanks for your kind offer.

As you say, it’s that break over angle that is the concern.

I did actually knock up some battens myself (the good people at Tesla were good enough to provide me with the wheelbase measurement) and it looked as though it “should” be ok, but wasn’t really 100% sure.

For info, I live in Lancashire, near Blackpool.
 

AnthonyLR

Member
Feb 21, 2020
661
507
London
Maybe repost a thread asking any M3 owners near Lancashire in the title? There must be one of us! If I was nearby I wouldn’t mind popping over but I’m from London.
 

HKP_Tom

Member
Apr 5, 2018
141
69
Essex
I just measured from the ground to the lowest point of the front bumper (which is about 30cm aft of the front of it). Model 3 P 20" 13cm, Model 3 SR+ 19" 14.5cm HTH?
 
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Adopado

Active Member
Aug 19, 2019
4,303
3,253
Scotland
I just measured from the ground to the lowest point of the front bumper (which is about 30cm aft of the front of it). Model 3 P 20" 13cm, Model 3 SR+ 19" 14.5cm HTH?

If he gets a SR+ it will come with 18inch wheels ... (have you put 19s on one or was that a typo?) ... anyway in theory the circumference including tyre should be the same ...
 
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Plagued

Member
Apr 9, 2019
242
192
Uk
My issue isn't just the height it's also the slightly longer wheelbase. I found I couldn't get my car down the drive to charge as it beaches itself at the top (my drive slopes down quite a bit) My only option would be to actually put a hump in my drive further down to get the car over the lip as I can't touch the top as it's the pavement.
 
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M3noob

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Aug 22, 2019
726
558
Beyond the pale
My issue isn't just the height it's also the slightly longer wheelbase. I found I couldn't get my car down the drive to charge as it beaches itself at the top (my drive slopes down quite a bit) My only option would be to actually put a hump in my drive further down to get the car over the lip as I can't touch the top as it's the pavement.
After seeing a couple of alarming looking videos on YouTube of folks in the US nervously trying to get their Model 3s either into or out of garages that have ramps or slopes down to the roadway, with very little ground clearance to play with, it got me to thinking about my driveway, which is a little higher than the street level, so has a bit of a hump that needs to be negotiated before getting on to the level.

Over the 15 years I've lived here I've never had any problems with any previous cars I've had, but I note the M3's ground clearance is 5.5 inches, whereas my current car is about 7 inches, and my wife's car is nearer 9 inches. Just wondered if anyone on here with a similar driveway off-road parking set up had experienced any issues with the Model 3. Most of the threads I've seen about ground clearance here on TMC seem to relate to concerns over grounding the car on speed humps.

I did rather cheekily ask my nearest SC whether there was any chance of a longer test drive so that I could bring the car home and very carefully put it to the test rather than discover there was a problem only after I'd paid £40k+ for it, but as I'm over 50 miles away, even the fearsome acceleration of a Tesla wouldn't have allowed me to do the return journey in the 40 minutes or so allowed!

Maybe I'm worrying unnecessarily. I keep thinking, if the car can't cope with my driveway, there'd be no chance of it negotiating the ramps in some of the multi-storey car parks I've had the misfortune to use. And then I remember the tradesman who came to do some work at my house a few years ago who attempted to reverse his Ford Transit van down my driveway as he was leaving, only for the towbar on it to gouge a great chunk out of the tarmac in the road outside my house - thankfully long since resurfaced by the council!

I solved this issue by installing an MPP Lift Kit. See my posts re: Raising the Model 3.

I can't detect any increase in power consumption at 70mph although MPP did suggest that I might lose 10% of range.

The car handles as before and it is just a bit easier to get in (don't have to duck)
 
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Alistairuk

Member
Jun 25, 2020
548
365
Scotland
I am hoping I am not going to have the same problem, previously I had an MX5 which bottomed out when it was put into/out of my garage (there's a steep ramp leading up to the garage and it used to scrape halfway along the bottom when it was going in due to the angles).

I solved it with my MX5 by putting two rows of paving slabs inside the garage to drive on (it lifts it high enough to clear) - it has a similar height to the M3, but the M3 has much further between the wheels so here's hoping it's ok when it gets delivered.
 
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Avendit

Member
Apr 18, 2019
850
564
EDI
I had this problem while on wait for my delivery. I also have a high 'break over' on my drive due to a steep drive and a slightly sunken curb. After buying the house, my Leon (FR, so like the P a cm lower than most) grounded the first time I reversed it in, after which some small adjustements with an angle grinder and that under body plastic having been broken made it OK until I got the Tesla.

What I did to decide how big a problem it was going to be was to make up a really long stick with 15cm sticks at either end, closely modeling the model 3 clearance - ie |------------|, using distance between the wheels and heights as accurate as I could find online at the time (this was before any 3's were in the UK). Then rolled that back and fore a few times to confirm that indeed there was no way the car was getting in the drive.

The height isn't that different from other equivalent cars, but the wheels are a good bit further apart. Which means it straddles more of the hump to get into the drive and thus grounds :(.

Luckily I was needing to re-do the drive and drop curb for other reasons which is how I have ultimately got around this. But the simulator stick meant I wasn't surprised when I got the car home. If I could have reasonably had adjustable suspension I would have, but I wasn't willing to raise it permanently.
 
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M3noob

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Aug 22, 2019
726
558
Beyond the pale
I had this problem while on wait for my delivery. I also have a high 'break over' on my drive due to a steep drive and a slightly sunken curb. After buying the house, my Leon (FR, so like the P a cm lower than most) grounded the first time I reversed it in, after which some small adjustements with an angle grinder and that under body plastic having been broken made it OK until I got the Tesla.

A vote of no confidence from Eurotunnel... they classify the M3 as a car with low ground clearance, perhaps wary incidents on the ramp up to the top level.

So you'll get put on the single level deck along with stinky FWDs pulling trainers, diesel vans with crap on their roof, ad nauseum.

I never really minding sharing the world with ICE cars before (being a reformed petrol-head) but the wife has noticed a creeping intolerance towards their affluent.
 
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Plagued

Member
Apr 9, 2019
242
192
Uk
I am hoping I am not going to have the same problem, previously I had an MX5 which bottomed out when it was put into/out of my garage (there's a steep ramp leading up to the garage and it used to scrape halfway along the bottom when it was going in due to the angles).
That doesn't bode well, The wife had an MX5 for a bit and that went down the drive. I've had a lot of cars down my drive (sounds like a euphemism) and the only thing worse than the model 3 (excluding lowered cars) was an RX8.
 
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UrbanSplash

Member
Nov 10, 2019
427
199
UK
I sometimes catch this. Not happened in any other car.
4D2B202D-3E82-4EFA-AF1D-014B00A275C8.jpeg
 
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Mr K O’Watt

Member
Dec 12, 2018
10
6
Blackpool
This is mine. At least I’ve got a bit of pavement before I hit the uphill, rather than what looks like a rather nasty double kerb!
 

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