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Mysterious Model 3 squeaking and flapping noise

Forensic

Member
Jul 3, 2020
77
22
New York
I’ve taken my Model 3 into service twice for the same 2 issues. I'm hoping someone here has had the same issues and can help point me in the right direction. Both of these issues have existed since I picked up the car in September 2020.

The 2 issues are:

1. When driving 40+ mph and going over certain bumps or road imperfections, the car makes a squeaking noise that is louder than it comes across in the video. Turn up your volume and you can hear a video of the noise here: Streamable Video. The interesting thing is that it's not present on every drive. I can't for the life of me figure out why on some drives it's super loud the entire drive and others it's barely audible or not there at-all. It's not weather dependent either as this has been going on since the winter. I'm slightly suspect to the passenger seat as it seems to happen less when someone is sitting in the car. Is there a way to maybe tighten the bolts on the passenger seat?

2. When driving at highway speeds it sounds like there's a playing card on the spokes of a bicycle tire on the driver's side of the car. To me it seems like the wind from highway driving is causing plastic somewhere to flap and tap annoyingly against metal somewhere. I can't find anything that would cause this and found little while researching online.

The service center the 1st time said they weren't able to reproduce the issue and requested a video (linked above) which I then sent over. The 2nd time they said they still weren't able to reproduce the issue but since I provided a video they would replace both front upper control arms. I literally heard the noise the entire way home from the service center even after having 2 new upper control arms.

So at this point both issues still persist. I'd really like to get them sorted out as I love driving the car but these issues are super annoying.

If anyone else has experiences something similar and can help point me in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
10,510
12,753
San Diego
The 2nd time they said they still weren't able to reproduce the issue but since I provided a video they would replace both front upper control arms. I literally heard the noise the entire way home from the service center even after having 2 new upper control arms.

This is what I suspected too, but then I listened to the video and the sound is clearly from inside the car. I'd check all the latches and stuff as well as the bolts on the seats, etc. Not sure what it could be. Make clear to Tesla it's from inside.

Sometimes things can slip under the carpet under the front seat, but usually you'll hear them rolling around, and I wouldn't think they would squeak like this. I mention this because you said it is intermittent.

When driving at highway speeds it sounds like there's a playing card on the spokes of a bicycle tire on the driver's side of the car. To me it seems like the wind from highway driving is causing plastic somewhere to flap and tap annoyingly against metal somewhere. I can't find anything that would cause this and found little while researching online.

The wheel well liners will flap in the breeze. They make contact in a couple different places on the inside of the fender (at the very edge, where the fender rolls over). I thoroughly cleaned these surfaces and added some felt, though you could also probably add PPF and it might get less nasty. It might be easier to remove the liner, do the prep work, then add the felt or PPF. It's actually only a couple locations and there is a thread around here somewhere that explains exactly where, as I recall. You can kind of figure it out by experiment.

Here's what you should have Tesla do if they are willing (just glue it! I wouldn't do this but it does seem like it would work): Wind Noise at A-pillar FLAPPING Sound - Solved for now

I think they are not so much gluing the liner as they are adding some silicone (which will stick well). This can also be done yourself - but you still have to do the prep work - the inside of the fenders is filthy. Might be easier than PPF or felt though.
 
Last edited:

m a x i m u s

Member
Apr 18, 2021
90
39
West Los Angeles, CA
Did you check to see if that squeaking is coming from your steering wheel? Mine has a squeak when I move the wheel fore and aft (as opposed to rotation). For example, if you grab the wheel and pull yourself up in your seat, do you hear a squeak? Since this is happening at higher speeds and looks like some bumpy roads, it could be your had yanking on the wheel causing the noise.
 

NJM3

Member
Aug 28, 2018
16
14
Central NJ
This is what I suspected too, but then I listened to the video and the sound is clearly from inside the car. I'd check all the latches and stuff as well as the bolts on the seats, etc. Not sure what it could be. Make clear to Tesla it's from inside.

Sometimes things can slip under the carpet under the front seat, but usually you'll hear them rolling around, and I wouldn't think they would squeak like this. I mention this because you said it is intermittent.



The wheel well liners will flap in the breeze. They make contact in a couple different places on the inside of the fender (at the very edge, where the fender rolls over). I thoroughly cleaned these surfaces and added some felt, though you could also probably add PPF and it might get less nasty. It might be easier to remove the liner, do the prep work, then add the felt or PPF. It's actually only a couple locations and there is a thread around here somewhere that explains exactly where, as I recall. You can kind of figure it out by experiment.

Here's what you should have Tesla do if they are willing (just glue it! I wouldn't do this but it does seem like it would work): Wind Noise at A-pillar FLAPPING Sound - Solved for now

I think they are not so much gluing the liner as they are adding some silicone (which will stick well). This can also be done yourself - but you still have to do the prep work - the inside of the fenders is filthy. Might be easier than PPF or felt though.
+1 on this. I stuck some electric tape along the inside wheel well liner and the rattling disappeared after driving me crazy for months!
 

Forensic

Member
Jul 3, 2020
77
22
New York
This is what I suspected too, but then I listened to the video and the sound is clearly from inside the car. I'd check all the latches and stuff as well as the bolts on the seats, etc. Not sure what it could be. Make clear to Tesla it's from inside.

Sometimes things can slip under the carpet under the front seat, but usually you'll hear them rolling around, and I wouldn't think they would squeak like this. I mention this because you said it is intermittent.



The wheel well liners will flap in the breeze. They make contact in a couple different places on the inside of the fender (at the very edge, where the fender rolls over). I thoroughly cleaned these surfaces and added some felt, though you could also probably add PPF and it might get less nasty. It might be easier to remove the liner, do the prep work, then add the felt or PPF. It's actually only a couple locations and there is a thread around here somewhere that explains exactly where, as I recall. You can kind of figure it out by experiment.

Here's what you should have Tesla do if they are willing (just glue it! I wouldn't do this but it does seem like it would work): Wind Noise at A-pillar FLAPPING Sound - Solved for now

I think they are not so much gluing the liner as they are adding some silicone (which will stick well). This can also be done yourself - but you still have to do the prep work - the inside of the fenders is filthy. Might be easier than PPF or felt though.
Thanks for the detailed reply, I’m going to try your suggestions when I get home from work later today. I’ll report back with the results.
Did you check to see if that squeaking is coming from your steering wheel? Mine has a squeak when I move the wheel fore and aft (as opposed to rotation). For example, if you grab the wheel and pull yourself up in your seat, do you hear a squeak? Since this is happening at higher speeds and looks like some bumpy roads, it could be your had yanking on the wheel causing the noise.
Thanks for the suggestion but no squeak on the steering wheel, it’s definitely coming from the passenger side somewhere.
 

guzzijones12

Member
Apr 21, 2021
18
13
MD
Thanks for the detailed reply, I’m going to try your suggestions when I get home from work later today. I’ll report back with the results.

Thanks for the suggestion but no squeak on the steering wheel, it’s definitely coming from the passenger side somewhere.
My squeak ended up being something in the glove box.
 
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facedown

Member
Dec 10, 2019
54
74
Denver
My experience was that the squeak was coming from the lid on the center console storage. Not the armrest nor the cell phone cover lid. The one between them that allows access to the storage. I put a little 3 in 1 oil on the hinges for it and the squeaking went away...took me a solid week to isolate the noise in the first place.
 
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