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Sound of bird hitting a window - but no contact

kelly

Supporting Member
Nov 22, 2015
185
732
phoenix, Arizona
I am currently on a road trip from Phoenix to Vancouver, BC. On the afternoon of day 3, in Idaho, at about 80 mph, we heard a loud sound that sounded just like a bird slamming into a window. We thought something fell on our glass roof, but there was no contact. It was very unnerving. We continued and it happened again under similar conditions.

On day 4, in the morning, at about 30 mph, it happened again.

Later that day, while sitting at the supercharger in Pendleton Oregon, the noise happened twice, about 14 minutes apart. It is very alarming and each time it happens we think something hit the car at the area where the windshield meets the roof. But there is no evidence that anything hit the car anywhere.

The car is a year and a half old and has 23K miles. Never heard this sound until two days ago.

Has anyone experienced this loud noise? If so, did you figure out what it is?
 

kelly

Supporting Member
Nov 22, 2015
185
732
phoenix, Arizona
i can only speculate but it almost sounds like you've got battery movement (expanding). have you been to the SC?
Thank you for the reply. I am a couple hundred miles from the closest SC, so I will call them this morning.

Interestingly though, when I opened the driver side door this morning I heard a "pop" sound and then a thunk, which sounded like it came from the floor area. Both of those sounds are different from the sounds I described from inside the car.

It seems odd though, that if it is expansion and contraction, that this would only begin to show up after 22K miles and 1.5 years.
 

swaltner

Active Member
Oct 13, 2012
1,588
1,573
Kansas, USA
Were you driving in the mountains? I suspect this was just the oil-canning on the battery that is most common during drives in the mountains (rapidly changing elevation) or during Supercharger session (thermal expansion).

There was apparently a service bulletin to change valves on some older battery packs, but as far as I know it’s not really a problem. The guys at the service center said “they all do that” on my May 2018 build Model 3.
 
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AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
9,262
11,066
San Diego
driver side door this morning I heard a "pop" sound and then a thunk, which sounded like it came from the floor area.

This particular sound (not the topic of your original post) is likely just the HV battery contactors. But I would assume you would have heard this sound many, many times before. It's very obvious for all Model 3s and happens every time you wake up the car from sleep mode (not idle).
 

KenC

Active Member
Sep 4, 2018
3,365
3,072
Maine
I am currently on a road trip from Phoenix to Vancouver, BC. On the afternoon of day 3, in Idaho, at about 80 mph, we heard a loud sound that sounded just like a bird slamming into a window. We thought something fell on our glass roof, but there was no contact. It was very unnerving. We continued and it happened again under similar conditions.

On day 4, in the morning, at about 30 mph, it happened again.

Later that day, while sitting at the supercharger in Pendleton Oregon, the noise happened twice, about 14 minutes apart. It is very alarming and each time it happens we think something hit the car at the area where the windshield meets the roof. But there is no evidence that anything hit the car anywhere.

The car is a year and a half old and has 23K miles. Never heard this sound until two days ago.

Has anyone experienced this loud noise? If so, did you figure out what it is?
Maybe the battery "dunk" sound reverberated off the glass roof to make you think it was something dropping on your roof? Did you check for condor poop?
 

AltLogic

Member
May 14, 2018
252
309
SoCal
A fellow 3 owner reported something similar. They said the sound came from a front speaker. There are also reports of this happening and the noise comes from a back speaker. It took a factory reset (easily completed by the owner) to get it to stop. Unfortunately you loose all of your settings when you do this. It might be worth a try.
 

kelly

Supporting Member
Nov 22, 2015
185
732
phoenix, Arizona
Were you driving in the mountains? I suspect this was just the oil-canning on the battery that is most common during drives in the mountains (rapidly changing elevation) or during Supercharger session (thermal expansion).

There was apparently a service bulletin to change valves on some older battery packs, but as far as I know it’s not really a problem. The guys at the service center said “they all do that” on my May 2018 build Model 3.
The first time we heard the sound was on the way to Twin Falls Idaho. Probably around 4,000 ft. Later at the Pendleton supercharger, which is 1200 ft. elevation. You may be right about the oil-canning.
 

kelly

Supporting Member
Nov 22, 2015
185
732
phoenix, Arizona
Today I stopped in at the Bellevue Service Center and described the problem. At first the guy thought I had an X and he was ambivalent about whether he could help. But as he took my details he realized I had a 3 and he said, "Oh yeah. This is a known problem. We "may" be able to help you out." When I asked if there is a solution, he said "maybe." He thinks the sound was the floor flexing.

Whatever that means. We will see. He kept my car. We were picking up friends in Pendleton to go to Vancouver so they drove their car to Bellevue and we left mine at the SC and all piled into the ICE (ugh) for the rest of the trip. I'll be picking up my car on the return trip this weekend.

I had read about the issue of the thunk while supercharging, but was not aware that it could happen at other times. And the noise is so loud that it makes you jump. You really do think something hit the car.

Thank you all for your comments. I'll update this after we get the car back.
 

kelly

Supporting Member
Nov 22, 2015
185
732
phoenix, Arizona
Well, this is disappointing. For anyone following this thread, I dropped my car off at the Bellevue Service Center while on my way to Vancouver Canada (continued my trip in my friends' car) so that they could fix the "floor flexing" problem. Tonight I received an invoice from Tesla (paid in full - no money due) that says the technician monitored the car while supercharging and test drove the car and couldn't duplicate "client's concern." No repairs recommended. If the mileage in and mileage out numbers on the invoice are correct, they "test-drove" my car for 180 miles. So it looks like this was a wasted effort.
 
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kelly

Supporting Member
Nov 22, 2015
185
732
phoenix, Arizona
At the risk of carrying on a conversation with myself, here is another update.

I just received a call from Bellevue Service (even though I am now in Southern Utah, on my way home). I had a long conversation with a very nice woman who first explained that they did not put 180 (the invoice actually showed 280 miles. I was wrong above when I said 180.) miles on my car. What happened was that when I first called from Pendleton Oregon, they opened up a service ticket and pulled the mileage from my car at that point. Later that day when I arrived in Bellevue, the mileage was of course 280 miles higher. Their test drive was less than one mile. So that issue is resolved.

But she also said that what I am describing is similar to some other reports, but not exactly like some of the "thunks" that have been reported. I told her I have been sending bug reports to Tesla within a few seconds of each event and she suggested I continue to do that, although she said it won't necessarily guarantee a quicker diagnosis. She is going to call me tomorrow while I'm on the road to see if it is continuing. She said she is willing to stick with this to see if we can figure it out. So I'm encouraged.

To summarize, I have been hearing the "bird strike" 2-3 times per day since it started doing this on 9/15. The noise is loud. I may have to start wearing diapers because it scares the crap out of me every time.
 
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Incredulocious

LEAF → RAV4EV → Model 3 → Model Y
Mar 31, 2012
422
579
Scotts Valley, CA
Has anyone experienced this loud noise? If so, did you figure out what it is?
Yes, I have and many others have too. There are a number of threads on the subject, like this one: Banging/clunking sound when driving over mountains in cold weather

Here’s a sample of the most common explanation: “This is expansion and contraction of the sheet metal construction of the car's battery pack. So far lots of people have reported this sound coming from various places under the floor while Supercharging or while climbing mountains (lots of heat being generated within the pack). While disconcerting, it isn't indicative of a problem, malfunction or imminent danger.”

I agree with this conclusion as fits the circumstances under which I have experienced it. I don’t ever hear it while at home in the Santa Cruz area (rarely cold), but I often hear it a few minutes after driving in much colder climates like Lake Tahoe or even a couple of occasions while supercharging.
 

kelly

Supporting Member
Nov 22, 2015
185
732
phoenix, Arizona
Yes, I have and many others have too. There are a number of threads on the subject, like this one: Banging/clunking sound when driving over mountains in cold weather

Here’s a sample of the most common explanation: “This is expansion and contraction of the sheet metal construction of the car's battery pack. So far lots of people have reported this sound coming from various places under the floor while Supercharging or while climbing mountains (lots of heat being generated within the pack). While disconcerting, it isn't indicative of a problem, malfunction or imminent danger.”

I agree with this conclusion as fits the circumstances under which I have experienced it. I don’t ever hear it while at home in the Santa Cruz area (rarely cold), but I often hear it a few minutes after driving in much colder climates like Lake Tahoe or even a couple of occasions while supercharging.
I listened to the sound that TeslaBjorn recorded and that someone posted above. The sound I'm hearing is MUCH louder and sounds like it comes from above. It is possible that it is a noise that is generated at the floor and "sounds" like it is coming from above.

I have previously driven in high mountains and low deserts and never heard the noise until last week.

When I spoke with the woman from Bellevue Tesla yesterday, she suggested I install the software update that was sent to my car. I had been waiting until I got back home, thinking my car needed to install the update on my home wifi network. She said it was already loaded to the car so I could go ahead and install it. I did that last night and didn't hear the sound today.

I can't imagine that an uninstalled software update could be causing this noise, but it is a bit of a coincidence that for the three days of the road trip with no software update available I didn't hear the noise. Then on the first day it was available, I began hearing the noise. Now that it is installed, I haven't heard the noise. (I realize that one day without the noise doesn't really mean much.)
 

kelly

Supporting Member
Nov 22, 2015
185
732
phoenix, Arizona
What that is weird I’ve had the battery expanding and contacting issue berries and it’s moderately loud but doesn’t make me jump
I wonder if there are two different noises. I have one noise that I call the bird strike. It does make me jump as it sounds like something just hit my car. It is like a small explosion. After this noise manifested, I started to hear another one that sounded more like the "TeslaBjorn thunk" when I opened my door (usually the first time in the morning). But that noise was heard from outside the car. I don't know if it is the same bird strike sound that doesn't sound that bad when outside the car, or if it is a different sound.

Either way, today was 450 mile day with neither sound. The drive included elevations from 5,300 ft. up to 7,000 ft, and then down to 1,200 ft.
 

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