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So is wind noise really an issue?

SoCalGuy

Active Member
Apr 22, 2012
1,416
1,095
So Cal & New York, NY
Have read a fair amount on TMC and also seen too many YouTube reviewers that have commented about the noise in the M3, particularly the wind noise vs the S and Bolt.

Is this an issue with the newer builds? Has Tesla managed to reduce the apparent cabin noise with some hardware fixes/tweaks?

Thanks!
 

PoitNarf

My dog's breath smells like dog food
Jun 7, 2016
2,870
4,007
NJ
I really haven’t noticed any excessive wind noise myself when traveling at highway speeds. My previous car (Mustang) was pretty loud and I always drive with the music at a decent volume level so perhaps I just don’t notice it as much as some others would. The real test would be to have several Model 3 owners use a decibel meter app on their phone and record the cabin noise at various highway speeds.
 

Carotene

Member
Feb 26, 2018
103
256
MD
At highway speeds it didn't wow me, nor did I find it unacceptable. If Mr Musk asked me personally if I'd rather have extra sound deadening at the expense of shorter range I'd tell him "no". It's fine where it is.
 

RayK

Active Member
Apr 5, 2016
1,913
1,871
San Jose, CA
^ This. That's my take from a rental I had a couple of months ago. I took the car up and down I-280 here in the Bay Area and noted that it seemed as loud as my 18 year old BMW 3-series. If that's truly the case, then I'm fine with it too.
 

croman

Active Member
Nov 21, 2016
4,723
6,710
Chicago, IL
My S is pretty loud above 70mph, so I'm curious about any comparisons. I would think smaller aero would mean less noise if seals and sound deadening is equal.
 

JeffK

Well-Known Member
Apr 27, 2016
6,997
6,653
Indianapolis
Some reviewers have used a decibel meter and have determined it has just as much wind noise as other cars in its class. Obviously less noise is better, but we should note it's not abnormally loud.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: croman

SoCalGuy

Active Member
Apr 22, 2012
1,416
1,095
So Cal & New York, NY
Trying to compare it to cars I know well... my Fisker is a bit loud at highway speeds and reasonably rough roads especially compared to my parents' Lexus ES which is noticeably quieter (e.g. you can have a conversation with each other without feeling like you're yelling). I can't remember the last time I was in an S at highway speeds so I'm not sure if its more like my Fisker or more like the Lexus in loudness/noise.
 

T34ME

Active Member
Mar 31, 2016
2,262
3,528
Inland Empire
Decided to get measurements with the service loaner Model S vs my Model 3, for those who care. The Model S had a whopping 108 miles more than my 3 when I turned it back in compared to when I got home.

All measurements taken using "Decibel X" version 6.1.0 on iPhone X running iOS 11.2.5

Moving samples were captured on the same general stretch of road, with the phone directly in front of the steering wheel airbag but not touching.

The idle measurements are taken in my office parking lot with minimal nearby traffic, but not completely silent. I didn't think to capture the S in my garage with the door closed, which would have been ideal.


Model S - December 2017 build, 19" wheels:

0mph, fan off, 30 seconds: avg 49.6dB, max 51.8dB
0mph, fan set to 3, 30 seconds: avg 68.4dB, max 68.6dB

65mph, fan off, on smooth surface, 10 seconds: avg 84.0dB, max 87.4dB


Model 3 - January 2017 build, 18" wheels:

0mph, fan off, 30 seconds: avg 51.2dB, max 52.6dB
0mph, fan set to 3, 30 seconds: avg 56.9dB, 58.5dB

65mph, fan off, on smooth surface, 10 seconds: avg 82.8dB, max 85.0dB
 

itskv

Member
Jun 18, 2017
75
43
San Francisco, CA
The noise depends on where you are seated.
S and 3 are comparable if you are to sit in the front seats, S is tad quieter.
I've only sat in the Rear of an S on highway speeds and that noise is very noticeable. I have gotten feedback that the rear cabin noise in the S is louder than the 3.
 

dhrivnak

Active Member
Jan 8, 2011
4,437
3,663
NE Tennessee
I really haven’t noticed any excessive wind noise myself when traveling at highway speeds. My previous car (Mustang) was pretty loud and I always drive with the music at a decent volume level so perhaps I just don’t notice it as much as some others would. The real test would be to have several Model 3 owners use a decibel meter app on their phone and record the cabin noise at various highway speeds.
I tested with a DB meter app on my iPhone and found the 3 to be within 1 DB of the S at 65. So mine is quite quiet at 63 db with the S just a little quieter at 62. About the same as a normal conversation at home.
 

novox77

1.21 Gigawatts
Nov 25, 2017
1,640
3,546
NH, MA
Just ran a test on my phone between my S and 3. Here are the results:

Road noise test (30mph)
Model S: 48dB
Model 3: 50dB

Wind noise test (70mph)
Model S: 54dB
Model 3: 57dB

Calm night - no wind. No traffic either. Road noise test lasted around 3min 30sec each. The numbers posted are the average for that duration. Wind noise test last around 1min 45sec.

Car details:
2014 Model S 85 Michelin Primacy all seasons (stock)
2018 Model 3 18" Aero stock tire, Feb 2018 build.

I consider both of my cars quieter than stuff I've driven in the past. Model 3 is a tad noisier than S according to the phone, but to my ears the difference is really minimal.
 
Last edited:

MRPLUGIN

Member
Jan 8, 2017
89
96
Utah
Have read a fair amount on TMC and also seen too many YouTube reviewers that have commented about the noise in the M3, particularly the wind noise vs the S and Bolt.

Is this an issue with the newer builds? Has Tesla managed to reduce the apparent cabin noise with some hardware fixes/tweaks?

Thanks!
I do not notice any abnormal wind noise , the car has more road noise than my MS, but the car costs half what my MS did when it was new, so I would not expect it to be as quiet. but probably close to most other small sedans.
 

SoCalGuy

Active Member
Apr 22, 2012
1,416
1,095
So Cal & New York, NY
Just ran a test on my phone between my S and 3. Here are the results:

Road noise test (30mph)
Model S: 48dB
Model 3: 50dB

Wind noise test (70mph)
Model S: 54dB
Model 3: 57dB

Calm night - no wind. No traffic either. Road noise test lasted around 3min 30sec each. The numbers posted are the average for that duration. Wind noise test last around 1min 45sec.

Car details:
2014 Model S 85 Michelin Primacy all seasons (stock)
2018 Model 3 Feb 18" Aero stock tire, Feb 2018 build.

I consider both of my cars quieter than stuff I've driven in the past. Model 3 is a tad noisier than S according to the phone, but to my ears the difference is really minimal.
Thanks - very helpful!
 

smartypnz

Supporting Member
Jan 23, 2013
2,080
2,247
Monterey Peninsula
Initially, it was hard to measure road noise (because of the squealing noise coming from the back seat).
But the 3, compared to the S is pretty close in that you can have a conversation using normal speaking levels even at highway speeds.

One of the first things we noticed in our S
 

alseTrick

Active Member
May 17, 2016
1,645
892
Florida, USA
Doesn't the wind noise depend on if Tesla installed the window seals/windshield/glass roof properly or not? That seems to be why some people have excessive wind noise.
 
  • Like
Reactions: novox77

bradhs

Member
Oct 14, 2013
814
319
San Diego, CA
Just ran a test on my phone between my S and 3. Here are the results:

Road noise test (30mph)
Model S: 48dB
Model 3: 50dB

Wind noise test (70mph)
Model S: 54dB
Model 3: 57dB

Calm night - no wind. No traffic either. Road noise test lasted around 3min 30sec each. The numbers posted are the average for that duration. Wind noise test last around 1min 45sec.

Car details:
2014 Model S 85 Michelin Primacy all seasons (stock)
2018 Model 3 18" Aero stock tire, Feb 2018 build.

I consider both of my cars quieter than stuff I've driven in the past. Model 3 is a tad noisier than S according to the phone, but to my ears the difference is really minimal.

What did you use to measure? dB or dB(A) or dB(C)?
I did a quick test in my 2014 P85D with 22" rims PSS tires. New in rear, almost fully worn in front. 30 mph, 58-60 dbA, 70mph, 68 to 73 dbA.
 

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