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Progression of the dreaded drive unit failure?

On my 2013 P85 (53,000 miles) I noticed a week or so ago that at speeds above 70-75MPH I had a bad vibration. I figured it was a misbalanced tire and was going to check into it eventually (I don't drive highway much so it wasn't a big deal).
Then recently I am hearing a rubbing, creaking sound at low speed coming from the rear. I can get it to change pitch with the accelerator so I am suspecting its in the drive unit. I realize this is rather common but I am wondering what the progression of this failure is?

Basically if I didn't have the window down in the parking lot today I probably wouldn't even notice it. Now that I am aware of it I obviously need to get it fixed, but how soon? Can I drive a few hundred miles before catastrophic failure? Or stop driving immediately and have it towed to get it fixed? I'd like to drive to work tomorrow but not sure if I should.

With the windows up and radio off I can just barely make out that there is a weird noise. I typically have radio on and widows up so I am thinking I have been rolling around ignorant for a while lol.
 

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
11,616
10,682
Visalia, CA
...Can I drive a few hundred miles before catastrophic failure? Or stop driving immediately and have it towed to get it fixed? I'd like to drive to work tomorrow but not sure if I should...

It sounds quite serious so I wouldn't count on a few hundred miles more. I think it's reasonable to go to work tomorrow, but otherwise, I would have it fixed soon before it will need a tow.
 
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On my 2013 P85 (53,000 miles) I noticed a week or so ago that at speeds above 70-75MPH I had a bad vibration. I figured it was a misbalanced tire and was going to check into it eventually (I don't drive highway much so it wasn't a big deal).
Then recently I am hearing a rubbing, creaking sound at low speed coming from the rear. I can get it to change pitch with the accelerator so I am suspecting its in the drive unit. I realize this is rather common but I am wondering what the progression of this failure is?

Basically if I didn't have the window down in the parking lot today I probably wouldn't even notice it. Now that I am aware of it I obviously need to get it fixed, but how soon? Can I drive a few hundred miles before catastrophic failure? Or stop driving immediately and have it towed to get it fixed? I'd like to drive to work tomorrow but not sure if I should.

With the windows up and radio off I can just barely make out that there is a weird noise. I typically have radio on and widows up so I am thinking I have been rolling around ignorant for a while lol.
I can only give you my experience and make your decision. We were driving to the Berkshires from New Jersey .Fifteen minutes away from our friends place I made a left turn over the I 90 interstate overpass.
I heard a thud as if my rear wheel hit a pothole, then no power in forward or reverse, just a spinning and grinding noise that increased with more weight on the accelerator. Called for road side assistance. They tried a reboot of the system. I thought with my limited knowledge of remote access, that this was mechanical, not electrical or software related. I was right. I need a new drive unit. AAA towed it to the Latham Mass. service center, (the nearest one) My car is presently there and the parts manager is searching for a P85 drive unit. There was no warning, no humming, it just gave out. I was told that the drive units are a sealed mechanical unit. They cannot be repaired so the whole unit needs to be replaced. I have 37K on my P85. No longer under warranty....8 years or 50K miles, which ever comes first. Missed it by 7 months! The cost I was quoted parts, labor and taxes......$8,125.00. I gave the green light....The new drive unit has a 4 year warranty and I think 30K maximum mileage, which ever comes first.
I hope this helps with your decision making.
Good luck!
 

TwistedGray

Ludicrous > Ludacris
Mar 12, 2021
516
446
Monterey Bay, CA
I can only give you my experience and make your decision. We were driving to the Berkshires from New Jersey .Fifteen minutes away from our friends place I made a left turn over the I 90 interstate overpass.
I heard a thud as if my rear wheel hit a pothole, then no power in forward or reverse, just a spinning and grinding noise that increased with more weight on the accelerator. Called for road side assistance. They tried a reboot of the system. I thought with my limited knowledge of remote access, that this was mechanical, not electrical or software related. I was right. I need a new drive unit. AAA towed it to the Latham Mass. service center, (the nearest one) My car is presently there and the parts manager is searching for a P85 drive unit. There was no warning, no humming, it just gave out. I was told that the drive units are a sealed mechanical unit. They cannot be repaired so the whole unit needs to be replaced. I have 37K on my P85. No longer under warranty....8 years or 50K miles, which ever comes first. Missed it by 7 months! The cost I was quoted parts, labor and taxes......$8,125.00. I gave the green light....The new drive unit has a 4 year warranty and I think 30K maximum mileage, which ever comes first.
I hope this helps with your decision making.
Good luck!

Unfortunately you did not do some research first else you would have learned they can be repaired. Tesla, how we, will not repair them. That's not how they do things, unfortunately.

Note: I'm not saying that your problem is repairable, but I am talking in general, they can be repaired. There's at least one company mentioned on here before...I just don't remember the name.
On my 2013 P85 (53,000 miles) I noticed a week or so ago that at speeds above 70-75MPH I had a bad vibration. I figured it was a misbalanced tire and was going to check into it eventually (I don't drive highway much so it wasn't a big deal).
Then recently I am hearing a rubbing, creaking sound at low speed coming from the rear. I can get it to change pitch with the accelerator so I am suspecting its in the drive unit. I realize this is rather common but I am wondering what the progression of this failure is?

Basically if I didn't have the window down in the parking lot today I probably wouldn't even notice it. Now that I am aware of it I obviously need to get it fixed, but how soon? Can I drive a few hundred miles before catastrophic failure? Or stop driving immediately and have it towed to get it fixed? I'd like to drive to work tomorrow but not sure if I should.

With the windows up and radio off I can just barely make out that there is a weird noise. I typically have radio on and widows up so I am thinking I have been rolling around ignorant for a while lol.
They can be repaired, start searching to see if you have someone near you that does that. Although I don't know if you can damage it any further, I can't imagine a scenario where finding out works in your favor.

Otherwise, I hope you have deep pockets...it sucks. That's the second most expensive mechanical component.

You could also get it to a Tesla SC and ask for a discount with consideration of the mileage. They have the ability to give you a "goodwill discount" if they want.

Regardless what route you take, the repair/replacement is measured in the thousands. Be prepared.
 
Worth to check out this guy, they seems to be specialists on drive units:
 
I can only give you my experience and make your decision. We were driving to the Berkshires from New Jersey .Fifteen minutes away from our friends place I made a left turn over the I 90 interstate overpass.
I heard a thud as if my rear wheel hit a pothole, then no power in forward or reverse, just a spinning and grinding noise that increased with more weight on the accelerator. Called for road side assistance. They tried a reboot of the system. I thought with my limited knowledge of remote access, that this was mechanical, not electrical or software related. I was right. I need a new drive unit. AAA towed it to the Latham Mass. service center, (the nearest one) My car is presently there and the parts manager is searching for a P85 drive unit. There was no warning, no humming, it just gave out. I was told that the drive units are a sealed mechanical unit. They cannot be repaired so the whole unit needs to be replaced. I have 37K on my P85. No longer under warranty....8 years or 50K miles, which ever comes first. Missed it by 7 months! The cost I was quoted parts, labor and taxes......$8,125.00. I gave the green light....The new drive unit has a 4 year warranty and I think 30K maximum mileage, which ever comes first.
I hope this helps with your decision making.
Good luck!
See my post on 10/7/21 on Rear Drive Failure.
 

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