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Parking sensors allow front bumper to grind into parking block

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by JRMW, Dec 23, 2016.

  1. JRMW

    JRMW Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2016
    Messages:
    256
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    Good afternoon,

    New and probably stupid owner here.

    My car is 48 hours old now, and every time I try to park it the front bumper skirt grinds into the parking block and/or curb.

    The parking sensors say 35 inches, 30 inches, then GRIND the front bumper skirt is grinding on the parking block or curb.

    I think this is happening because
    -the Model S is SO low to the ground (My last car was Lexus RX 330)
    and
    -the parking sensors seem to not see curbs or parking blocks.

    is this common for your cars as well? or are my parking sensors not functioning correctly?

    it's irritating because at work the parking spot is diagonal to the curb... thus the right bumper skirt grinds even BEFORE the sensors get to 35 inches!

    I'm nervous about the first time I park in an area with a higher curb. Will my bumper rip off?
     
  2. mblakele

    mblakele radial cross member

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    Messages:
    564
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    I've seen this in a few places, enough to make me cautious. The higher the curb is, the more likely the ultrasonics will detect it. Of course then you're more likely to see it in the rear camera too.

    Here's what my copy of the manual says:

    Limitations and False Warnings

    The parking sensors may not function correctly in these situations:

    • One or more of the parking sensors is damaged, dirty, or covered (such as mud, ice, or snow).
    • Object is located below approximately 8 inches (20 cm) (such as a curb or low barrier).
    • Weather conditions (heavy rain, snow, or fog) are interfering with sensor operation.
    • Object is thin (such as a sign post).
    • A sensor’s operating range has been exceeded.
    • Object is sound-absorbing or soft (such as powder snow).
    • Object is sloped (such as a sloped embankment).
    • Model S has been parked in, or being driven in, extremely hot or cold temperatures.
    • The sensors are affected by other electrical equipment or devices that generate ultrasonic waves.
    • Object is located too close to the bumper.
    • A bumper is misaligned or damaged.
    On that last point you could ask your service center to check your sensors and make sure they're calibrated ok.​
     
  3. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    13,589
    Location:
    San Mateo, CA
    Yes, that has been the case since the introduction of the Parking Sensors option (as part of the Tech Package) way back in 2013. It is still true today.
     
  4. JRMW

    JRMW Member

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    Location:
    Minneapolis
    Thank you!
    Very helpful!

    it seems that they'd configure the parking sensors in such a way that the bumper wouldn't grind on the curb!!!
     
    • Like x 1
  5. JRMW

    JRMW Member

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    I certainly hope my rear camera won't see the curb, since here in Minnesota we do not back into parking spots!:rolleyes:
    (unless we're 120 years old or something)
     
    • Like x 1
  6. NOLA_Mike

    NOLA_Mike Grouchy

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    Location:
    Hammond, LA
    My experience:

    TL;DR - Stop before the dead man and don't rely on the parking sensors to tell you when. You will rip off the bumper cover if you get caught right on one of them. There's a recent thread around here of someone who did just that.

    Normal "dead men" or raised curbs are really too low for the parking sensors. However, I find it does detect most of them until you get about 12" away from them - then they have slipped "under the view" of the ultrasonic sensors and seemingly "disappear" from the park sensor view. If approaching slowly I usually stop right before they disappear from the sensors view (i.e., I stop before the front of my car is over the curb or dead man).

    On top of everything else, it seems that even if you have the air suspension and cautiously raise the car above the curb that often, after shutting off and leaving the car, the air suspension will lower itself. I don't know the rhyme or reason for this, if it used to do it on earlier firmware releases and doesn't do it anymore - since I don't pull the car over curbs anymore.

    Mike
     
    • Informative x 1
  7. Derek Kessler

    Derek Kessler Member

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    Cincinnati
    This.
     
  8. phaduman

    phaduman Member

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    Key is to enter slowly for s/w & sensor to catch the curb/deadman early, before they disappear.
     
  9. mblakele

    mblakele radial cross member

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    Or if you can: line up straight, then get out and use summon. Also handy if the best available parking spot happens to be in a deep puddle.
     
    • Like x 1
  10. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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    That's why we developed the front/rear camera switch kit for the touchscreen. They've long been sold out but we'll be producing them again. Ready probably by March or so.
     
  11. Blissedout

    Blissedout Member

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    I think you will find very few first time Model S owners who did not scratch the nose on a curb or tire stop, once or twice. I think the delivery person should alert new owners to this issue.
     
  12. kavyboy

    kavyboy Member

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    I do this almost every time I park, now. Plus one time as I was walking away I heard someone say "Dayum!", so that was fun. :)
     
  13. eye.surgeon

    eye.surgeon Member

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    Don't park over parking blocks. Drivers of sports cars already know this. Parking sensors detect walls and other vehicles.
     
    • Like x 2
  14. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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    I don't have anything fancy like Summon, but my trick is to pull in, then bring up the rear view camera and pull forward until it can barely see the lines. That's far enough into the space that my rear won't be hanging out, and I clear the bumper/curb. Doesn't work in a short space, but the S ain't a compact, so I avoid those sort of spaces anyway.
     
    • Like x 4
    • Informative x 1
  15. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    That mistake will cost you over $3000 on certain cars. Carbon fiber splitters can break.

    Your best move if you're going to use an exotic or similar on the street, is to either raise the suspension 1-2" or larger diameter street tires.
     
  16. pilotSteve

    pilotSteve Member

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    @artsci - I had your front camera on my 2012 Sig and I *loved* it! Not a trivial install (took one day with a car savvy buddy and it was done) but it works perfectly and is what kept my from bumping my nose. Get one, install it. you will LOVE it.
     
  17. Wilber

    Wilber New Member

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    JRMW: I am curious - why do you say you dont back into parking spaces in MINN? I am in CA and I had a similar experience two years ago when my Model S was new. Since then, i only back into spaces that have a parking block or curb. The advantage is that the rear of the car is about 1.5 inches higher than the front, so not nearly as easy to mess it up in the process. Of course, you also have the advantage of the rear view camera to give a good idea where things are. I generally stop just as the parking block or curb disappears from bottom of screen. You may also find that setting your mirrors to autotilt will help give you another perspective, but not nearly as important as simply looking at your camera image. ps - I am not quite 120 years of age.....
     
    • Like x 1
  18. CalBlue 85D

    CalBlue 85D Member

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    Your ICE probably wasn't detecting the blocks either, but the MS is lower and will collide with them. Parking sensors are really only good for tall objects like other cars or walls. Surround view cameras would be nice though......
     
  19. Scannerman

    Scannerman Member

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    This probably falls under the category of 'Monday Morning QB', but I assume the adjustable suspension would prove helpful. For the record, I have that same problem with my Ford Fusion Titanium.

    Scannerman
     
  20. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    The EPA and CARB have invested in supplier of front air dams.

    Seriously, the more ground clearance the worse the range or MPG becomes.
     

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