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Squeaky /creaky driver's seat issue identified

tl;dr Sharing for people with the same issue: M3 driver's seat squeak is due to misaligned/rubbing seat rails. Proper fix is properly align the rails, less ideal/maybe temporary fix is add grease.

I've had an annoying creaking noise in the driver side seat that seems to come and go in my 2022 M3LR. It seems to be the loudest at low speed when taking corners, and occasionally I could get it to creak when stopped by just moving back and forth in the seat. I took it into service and SC said they adjusted the frame rails and reinstalled the seat, but it didn't help. I agreed that it was likely the frame rails though, since moving the seat forward or backward even just a hair, and then restoring the seat position would quiet the noise for 5-10 mins. The only thing moving would be the seat in the frame rails.

Tesla's next attempt to fix it was with mobile service, who decided it was my aftermarket rear floor mats that were causing the issue. This is ludicrous; the sound is too loud to be cause by rubber floor mats, it's a very metallic noise, and why would moving the seat forward backward fix it temporarily? The service rep was useless and had no explanation for these points. He even gave me the "some amount of noise is normal" BS.

Next I tried to diagnose the issue myself. And I'm kicking myself for not looking at this earlier, because the problem was extremely easy to find. I first noticed that the paint on the inside of the lower rail on the was worn off on both sides of the driver's set. (The passenger side rails show no sign of scraped off paint) This implies that the driver's side fixed rails on the floor are too wide or the seat rails are too narrow. As a result of this alignment issue, the two rails rub where they shouldn't be making contact, and create the noise.

Here is a view picture of the driver's side, left side rail, looking from the back seat.

1651430459581.png


I was actually able to pull the back of the seat enough to get it to squeak and get video (skip to 20s to see the rubbing movement):

I confirmed this was the spot making noise by taking a bit of 3 in 1 oil and drizzling it in where it says "rubbing here" in the photo above, but making sure not to adjust the seat since this can artificially quiet the noise. Oil make the squeak immediately went away. My guess is the oil won't last long; a heavier grease might fix it permeably or at least for a long time. But I'm tempted to make Tesla readjust the rails or even replace the seat, since the wear shows that something is out of adjustment. Thoughts?

Regardless, hopefully this post might help someone in the future with the same issue.
 
My driver seat is doing the exact same noise as in your video it is driving me nuts and just started very recently I actually called Tesla Service this morning and it was set up as a mobile service and they changed it to a shop visit so I have to wait a month I think I will save this thread though and show them what ended up fixing your problem?
 
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My seat did the same thing (2021). Moving the seat forward/back a fraction of an inch stopped it. Now I know what it is and what to look for. I'll lube the rails. Thanks for posting. My seat also makes a crunching feeling in a certain (6 inch) range along the rails. It's probably rubbing more in that region.

Mike
 
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It's a shame that Tesla is spring loaded to blame things like your mats. I was having issues with my LR door opening consistently. Their first answer was to blame the sticker I added to the door release button in the inside (made it easier to see). I asked the service advisor how he kept a straight face while delivering such BS.

They will have to clean up their act when one or more of the legacy manufacturers successfully replicates our SC network. Then, they will have some viable competition. Until then, I just use the force...

:)
 
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The service rep was useless and had no explanation for these points. He even gave me the "some amount of noise is normal" BS.


But I'm tempted to make Tesla readjust the rails or even replace the seat, since the wear shows that something is out of adjustment. Thoughts?

Regardless, hopefully this post might help someone in the future with the same issue.
Thanks for the writeup. Unfortunately, there's no shortage of useless service reps and service advisors. That's something every automaker seems to have their share of.

I would bring it in to Tesla and make them fix it. The oil is a temporary fix, and what will end up happening is it will mix with the metal shavings and make a nice messy slurry. Grease wold be better but what they really need to do is install a properly aligned and fitting seat rail.
 
Thanks for the writeup. Unfortunately, there's no shortage of useless service reps and service advisors. That's something every automaker seems to have their share of.

I would bring it in to Tesla and make them fix it. The oil is a temporary fix, and what will end up happening is it will mix with the metal shavings and make a nice messy slurry. Grease wold be better but what they really need to do is install a properly aligned and fitting seat rail.

Exactly what I was thinking. In the video, it looks like the left rail is too far to the left. Any chance of loosening the torx bolt at the back and tapping the rail to the right a bit? I'll probably check the alignment of mine and see if there's any leeway to adjust the rails. If it's something simple like that, I'll give it a try, otherwise I'll schedule a service when I get time.

Mike
 
Exactly what I was thinking. In the video, it looks like the left rail is too far to the left. Any chance of loosening the torx bolt at the back and tapping the rail to the right a bit? I'll probably check the alignment of mine and see if there's any leeway to adjust the rails. If it's something simple like that, I'll give it a try, otherwise I'll schedule a service when I get time.

Mike
Yeah the bottom left rail is too far left, and the right rail is too far right, basically the two bottom rails are too far apart, or the inside upper rails are too close together.

I considered just loosing the bolts and moving the rails over a bit, but those bolts are actually supposed to be replaced whenever they're removed (per the service manual). My guess is because the bolts are manufactured with some threadlocker on them which will be less effective if you unscrew/rescrew. You could probably add your own threadlocker though. You also should torque it to spec (33.5 Nm). Oh and the bolt is a T45 torx plus, not a regular T45 torx.

Or you try to get the service center to fix it, I honestly don't have a lot of faith in them though. If that fails, a bit of grease will do the job for a least a while.
 
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My driver seat is doing the exact same noise as in your video it is driving me nuts and just started very recently I actually called Tesla Service this morning and it was set up as a mobile service and they changed it to a shop visit so I have to wait a month I think I will save this thread though and show them what ended up fixing your problem?
A very easy check to see if you have this issue is just look if the paint looks scraped off one of the sides of the teeth on the rail. You can check both the left and right rails, inside and outside teeth. The plastic cover will be blocking some of the view, but you should still be able to see it:

1651589328887.png
 
A very easy check to see if you have this issue is just look if the paint looks scraped off one of the sides of the teeth on the rail. You can check both the left and right rails, inside and outside teeth. The plastic cover will be blocking some of the view, but you should still be able to see it:

View attachment 800057
Thank you for sharing the details! I don't even noticed it's trox plus.

What kinds of grease will you recommend? I'm assuming you put the grease on the teeth?
 
Yeah an update on this, I created an service ticket for the squeaky seat, with photos and the video above. I wanted them to adjust the rails or just replace the seat. They gave me an estimate of $150 and gave me the usual "noises and squeaks aren't covered by warranty" and they would only maybe waive the fee if there was a manufacturing defect. I said F that and removed that item from the request. I'm not interested in them telling me it's not covered, charging me a bunch of money and then possibly not fixing it (like last time). Overall not happy with the quality of tesla service for fixing manufacturing defects like this. My oil/grease fix will have to do for now.
 
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Here is a view picture of the driver's side, left side rail, looking from the back seat.

1651430459581.png
It looks like the screw is not quite centered in the rail.

If the rail can be turned around, it might put the space on the correct side.

Alternately, if the rails are interchangeable, you might be able to swap your left and right rails to get a better fit.
 

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