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Model 3 - Vibration Noise from Steering Column Plastic Cover

jsmay311

Active Member
Apr 22, 2016
1,113
1,631
Chicago suburbs
Short version: Does anyone know how to remove the plastic cover that goes around the Model 3’s steering column?

Long version: A month or 2 ago the plastic cover around the steering column on my Model 3 started occasionally making an annoying “vibration” noise (can’t think of a better way to describe it) while driving at low speeds — mainly around 10-20 mph. It’s almost like the car is hitting some resonant frequency that is causing the cover to vibrate and emit this noise. (I’m pretty certain this cover is the source of the noise since pressing on it stops the noise.)

The noise is not consistently reproducible, so if there’s any way to attempt to fix it myself, I’d prefer that over scheduling a service appointment. However, despite searching online, I haven’t figured out how to remove the cover, which I’m assuming is a necessary first step to fix the noise. (There’s a single screw on the underside of the cover that’s accessible, but removing that screw doesn’t appear to allow the cover to be removed.)

Here’s an audio recording of the noise that I recorded with my phone while driving at low speeds and uploaded to Youtube. (This is a particularly severe example, and I’m holding the phone right next to the cover, so it sounds a bit louder here than in real life.)


And here’s a photo of the cover by itself from an ebay listing:

upload_2020-1-27_22-19-35.png


In the meantime, I’ve wrapped a Velcro strap tightly around the plastic cover, which does a pretty good job at preventing the noise. But that’s just a band-aid solution and I’d prefer a more professional and permanent fix.

Any help or insights would be appreciated. Thanks! :)
 

PNWLeccy

Member
Jul 11, 2019
884
709
Seattle
Short version: Does anyone know how to remove the plastic cover that goes around the Model 3’s steering column?

Long version: A month or 2 ago the plastic cover around the steering column on my Model 3 started occasionally making an annoying “vibration” noise (can’t think of a better way to describe it) while driving at low speeds — mainly around 10-20 mph. It’s almost like the car is hitting some resonant frequency that is causing the cover to vibrate and emit this noise. (I’m pretty certain this cover is the source of the noise since pressing on it stops the noise.)

The noise is not consistently reproducible, so if there’s any way to attempt to fix it myself, I’d prefer that over scheduling a service appointment. However, despite searching online, I haven’t figured out how to remove the cover, which I’m assuming is a necessary first step to fix the noise. (There’s a single screw on the underside of the cover that’s accessible, but removing that screw doesn’t appear to allow the cover to be removed.)

Here’s an audio recording of the noise that I recorded with my phone while driving at low speeds and uploaded to Youtube. (This is a particularly severe example, and I’m holding the phone right next to the cover, so it sounds a bit louder here than in real life.)


And here’s a photo of the cover by itself from an ebay listing:

View attachment 505006

In the meantime, I’ve wrapped a Velcro strap tightly around the plastic cover, which does a pretty good job at preventing the noise. But that’s just a band-aid solution and I’d prefer a more professional and permanent fix.

Any help or insights would be appreciated. Thanks! :)
Had the same issue that I diagnosed by wrapping painters tape tightly around it. I took it to SC and they opened it and put foam and felt tape so that there was no more plastic on plastic contact and thus no more rattle.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: jsmay311

jsmay311

Active Member
Apr 22, 2016
1,113
1,631
Chicago suburbs
Quick update:

The noise largely* went away a couple months ago with the arrival of warmer temperatures. (*It still happens on rare occasion, but is much reduced from the winter.)

But I had a service appointment last weekend for an unrelated issue, and since I expect the noise to return this fall/winter, I asked if they could do anything about this issue at the same time. I provided all the background info that I could, including the audio clip and descriptions in this thread. However, they (predictably) were unable to reproduce the noise and therefore took no action. They said I could bring it back in if/when it returns next winter though.

Till then, I'm sure my velcro strap fix will continue to suffice.
 

jelloslug

Active Member
Jul 21, 2015
4,712
6,020
Greenville, SC
Ours made that same exact noise. It turns out that the rubber/vinyl fabric piece on the top of the column where it meet the dash was not snapped into the upper column cover all the way. It has a hard plastic strip that has four or five snaps that holds it in place.
 

zero610

Member
Jun 14, 2018
56
7
Texas
Any updates on this issue? I have the exact same problem. I have a mobile service appointment but it's a month away. Looks easy enough to fix myself, if I can determine how to get the plastic steering column casing off.
 

jsmay311

Active Member
Apr 22, 2016
1,113
1,631
Chicago suburbs
Any updates on this issue? I have the exact same problem. I have a mobile service appointment but it's a month away. Looks easy enough to fix myself, if I can determine how to get the plastic steering column casing off.

Nope. I never figured out how to get the plastic cover off, and Tesla was unable to reproduce the noise during a service appointment, so I’ve just lived with my Velcro strap “fix”. Every once in a while the noise will reappear, and I’ll just slide the strap up towards the steering wheel a bit to silence it. (The cover has a tapered shape that gets larger closer to the steering wheel, so sliding the strap towards the steering wheel effectively tightens its squeeze on the cover.)

If you find any better solutions, please share.
 

nsrg

New Member
May 10, 2019
4
4
Santa Fe
I figured out how how to get open the cover...
-put wheel low and extended
-remove single screw on bottom with torx screwdriver
-cowl is held together by snaps /clips. I started prying it apart at the area farthest from the wheel then popped the snaps by rotating a flathead screwdriver in the crack.
-I didn't totally remove it, but I applied small swedges of adhesive felt near the clips and also lubricated some clip areas... Not sure if that solved the problem yet but it's my impression that the plastic interface was the squeak and rattle noise, we'll see
 

Kimmi

Member
Nov 30, 2020
183
61
West Covina California
A thread from the past rises!
Any more dash noise fixes?
2021 LR 4WD purchased 12/20/20. It has 1,558 miles. About two weeks ago a rattle started in the dash above the steering wheel or the drivers side A pillar? It is not a rubbing noise, but sounds like something came loose and is hitting against something.
 

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