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Model 3's Ride Quality

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by BobRoberts, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. BobRoberts

    BobRoberts New Member

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    Hey all,

    I picked up my Model 3 on Jan 2nd and am disappointed to find that I really do not like the ride. The suspension is very stiff and seems to magnify every bump in the road. Any significant seam in the concrete will leave me bouncing in my seat. On anything but a perfect road, I find it impossible to rest my head against the headrest or I'm constantly being jarred by it. Also, the steering wheel will vibrate considerably at highway speeds.

    I have owned a Model S in the past and currently also own a Model X and this wasn't a problem for either of them.

    I took it into the dealership and they seemed unable to say whether this was intended behavior. They reduced the tire pressure a bit but it hasn't helped to any great degree. The technician also suggested it needed to be "broken in" (something about the bushings) which wasn't very convincing.

    Have other Model 3 owners noticed this? I understand suspension is a bit of personal preference but this seems at the really extreme end for a car aimed at a more mass market and autonomy.

    Thanks,
    Bob
     
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  2. flyhigh123

    flyhigh123 Member

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    Coils vs air suspension. Coils always will feel more sporty and in tuned with the pavement

    Just like how some people don’t like the pillowy bouncy ride of air suspension.

    Consider it feeling more “sporty”
     
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  3. SMAlset

    SMAlset Active Member

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    There might be different tires that could improve the ride. What wheel choice did you go with?

    Last year we replaced my ICE's tires with a different tire than I previously had on my car (also a coil suspension like the Model 3) and I immediately could feel the difference and honestly dislike them a lot even after all this time. The previous ones were Michelins and these were too but a different line I guess. Big mistake and kind of stuck with these not wanting to put any more money in a car I will replace once we get an invite on our Model 3. Otherwise I've been tempted to buy new ones and sell the ones on the car. Not really into cars before now and this was a real learning experience for me. I'm not into the sporty road feel so understand how you must feel. The Model 3 manual has info on tires in the back of it.
     
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  4. ElecFan

    ElecFan Member

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    What tires do you recommend from your experience?
     
  5. Tam

    Tam Active Member

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    That's the nature of coil suspension and many love what you are experiencing (as negative for you but positive for them) right now!
     
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  6. daktari

    daktari Member

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    Stiff suspension is not inherent to coils, my late Citröen Grand Picasso (coils) had more comfortable suspension than my S on air.
    Some tips would be to get the smallest rim size.
    Another is to avoid any tire with "run flat" tech as this ruins any suppleness from the tires.
     
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  7. SMAlset

    SMAlset Active Member

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    Not a Model 3 owner yet so can't say.
     
  8. K-MTG

    K-MTG Sunshade Captain of TMC

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    My Model 3 is significantly more rough compared to any of my other cars, the Model X, the Acura TLX/RDX, and Cadillac ELR. It is not awful...but probably equivalent to a Honda Fit in ride quality. Performance is a different story...
     
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  9. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Supreme Premier

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    Those who find the ride harsh should first check tire pressure. Higher the pressure, harsher the ride. Don't go above recommended, go below.
    Next move is go with smaller rims. 19" rims have half inch less rubber between the road and the car. Rubber(gas at any pressure) is softer than metal ...
     
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  10. Hertog_Martin

    Hertog_Martin Member

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    Vibration from steering wheel should not happen, no matter the suspension. This symptom may indicate that the front tires are not properly balanced.
     
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  11. K-MTG

    K-MTG Sunshade Captain of TMC

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    The vibration is like likely the lane departure warning...I don’t have issues with steering. I am on the 18” wheels
     
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  12. MotoEvCA

    MotoEvCA Member

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    Start with a Baseline
    • On a smooth road, is the ride stiff. jolts?
    • Are the objections to ride quality more prevalent when you hit bumps, undulations
    Have a vehicle that originally came with low profile sport run-flat tires. Drove like it was on rails but transferred road surface vibrations to the interior. Replaced the tires with a larger side-wall tire with softer rubber compound. The difference is night vs day.

    Questions:

    1. Why did you take delivery and release funds for the Model 3 without taking it for a test drive?
    2. Did you consider adding an addendum to your sales contract with the option of right of refusal for things you cannot validate (because Tesla has chosen not to have at least one demo in each region of the country)?
    3. If there was a demo you could drive before configuring your Model 3 would you have scheduled a test drive before surrendering a non-refundable deposit?
     
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  13. RyanF

    RyanF Member

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    This is the benefit of coming from a Subaru WRX. I have a feeling the 3 will ride like a dream for me.

    Tires will make a huge difference in ride quality. Go to Tirerack.com and put in your size to read reviews to find what tires have the best ride quality. That should be a good starting point.
     
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  14. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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    I find the suspension on the 3 to be stiffer than my 2013 P85 with coils, but not quite as stiff as our early P85D with the plus suspension. It is much closer to the plus suspension, with a slightly different feel due to the coils vs air. (Which I prefer - I am not an air suspension fan).

    I would call the ride sporty vs harsh, but I could see where folks might not be pleased with it. I know that the plus suspension was a bit polarizing, so if you are the sort who didn’t like it, the 3 might feel too stiff.


    Personally, I love it. It might be a good successor to the discontinued plus suspension, especially if they come out with a P Model with staggered tires later on.
     
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  15. BobRoberts

    BobRoberts New Member

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    Thanks for all the replies everyone. It sounds like this is intended behavior.

    I should have mentioned that I have the 18" wheels and have turned off the lane departure warning and still feel vibration in the steering wheel at highway speeds.

    Also, to be clear, the car is fine on the rare perfectly flat road, it is any minor crack/bump that gets felt strongly.
     
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  16. brkaus

    brkaus Active Member

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    Did they check the wheel alignment and tire balance? Maybe find another 3 to drive?

    My BMW M3 was similar. I considered it sporty

    My S (coils) is louder/rougher than previous car on some surfaces. Borrowed a friends car and his was similar. Will try a different tire brand next time.
     
  17. DaveT

    DaveT Searcher of green pastures

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    You shouldn't feel vibration on steering wheel at highway speeds. Take it in to your service center for that.

    Also, what's the PSI on your tires? You can check by swiping the bottom left screen on your 3.
     
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  18. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    Opinion (not a 3 owner, just have dealt with a lot of cars):

    You are probably experiencing the Pickup Syndrome, which is a necessary compromise in engineering to handle weight requirements.
    Why the Model 3? It's much lighter than the Model S, and the wheelbase and track are shorter. Big heavy sedans always ride pretty nice.

    In order for the car to have sufficient GVWR to haul 5 people, it must either:

    1) Have advanced electronic suspension ($$$)
    2) Pitch, yaw, and roll control will be too weak when loaded at GVWR, ie - the car 'wallows', acts like it has no shocks or anti-sway bars.
    3) When lightly loaded, the ride quality will be very firm and responsive. Sometimes too much.

    If you are always going to be driving solo, and the ride is too stiff, a serious gearhead can fix it. Lighter swaybar(s), lighter springs, 2 way adjustable shocks (rebound and compression, back off on the compression, adjust the rebound to suit).
     
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  19. Sportstick

    Sportstick Member

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    Hi Bob,
    Couple of points from someone who spent a few decades at another car company:

    • OEM tire selection is based on engineering criteria most important to achieving program objectives and certification. Top among them, lowest rolling resistance compounds are spec'd for best efficiency (fuel or electric). These compounds have the downside of being harder, and will compromise ride and usually are noisier, even in the same size as much more comfortable tires. Imagine how well the ball rolls on a pool table, but also how it would bounce!
    • You already have the optimal 18" size (vs 19" or larger), so the next step is tire selection. As noted earlier, tirerack.com is a great place to learn more. You might want to take a look at tires in the Grand Touring segment, noted mostly for great ride and quietness, where you will see names (be very specific about names, slight variations result in a very different tire!) such as Michelin Premier A/S and Pirelli Centurato P7 in the Grand Touring All Season category. Grand Touring Summer tires don't provide similar levels of comfort.
    • A Grand Touring tire will inherently trade off some of the max handling capability to achieve the ride comfort/quiet. You need to find that balance which best satisfies your criteria, now that you know the priorities the Tesla vehicle development engineers had. They were building a BMW 3 Series fighter, while you might be more of a Lexus vehicle dynamics guy.
    • A different set of tires can be quite transformational for a car. I know this may be obvious, but the four small contact patches of the tires are the only contact your entire car has (or should have!) with the outside physical world! A lot goes on down there, so always focus on having the very best possible where the rubber meets the road.
    • It may seem wasteful, but if it makes you feel any better, I tossed out brand new tires on two new cars in recent years to replace them with my personal preference, improving both cars quite a bit, per my criteria, in the process. Someone on the classifieds on the forum might want them as "newly used" if they plan to be high mileage drivers, so you might recoup some money.
    • Just a detail....your car doesn't have "head rests", they are head restraints designed not for comfort but to prevent rearward hyper-extension of the neck in a rear impact. NHTSA has evolved the requirements over the years, as earlier generations were sub-optimal. I wouldn't judge the car by the comfort of these devices...they are just there, literally, to "save your neck".
     
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  20. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Well-Known Member

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    Whoa there. Do NOT go below recommended tire pressure unless the manufacturer gives a clear indication that it's OK to do so.
     
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