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Strange "rumbling" noise...Tesla claims it's normal?

Singhman

Member
Jan 18, 2021
30
16
Vancouver
I bought a 2021 Model Y SR, 2 days ago. I noticed that when I'm driving around, or even parked and have the heat on, there is a strange low frequency, "rumbling/ deep humming sound". The sound is quite annoying, and seems to come off and on intermittently. I noticed that when I'm sitting in the car and turn the heat on, the sounds come whenever the fan speed is above 1.

This sound has been extremely annoying, and everyone who has ridden in my car has noticed it. It sounds like a low frequency "subwoofer rumbling",and is on constantly when the heat is on. I called Tesla, and they said it is likely the heat pump, and the sound is normal. But I know this is not normal because when I test drove last month, it was super quiet.

That's when I discovered the strange observation: the sound immediately disappears when I open the rear hatch. When I close the hatch, the droning sound comes back immediately.

I noticed that there are four rubber stoppers on the hatch (2 on the side of the hatch, 2 on the bottom) , and I began to play around with them by adjusting them randomly by turning the rubber pieces (which raises/lowers them). By adjusting these rubber stoppers, the hatch door can be aligned. After a few random adjustments, I noticed that the sound is still there, but it's significantly less than before.

Has anyone noticed this before? The fact that the sound completely goes away when the hatch is opened gives me confidence that this is fixable completely. I'm still not able to completely get rid of this sound after making some random adjustment of the rubber stoppers (it's better, but still there). Any ideas?
 

JHCCAZ

Supporting Member
Feb 2, 2021
264
434
Tucson
I think you are on the right track with the hatch adjustment. I suggest you read through this thread:
Ear pain/Pressure help
I believe you are experiencing a different manifestation of the same problem: hatch resonating infrasonically (perhaps in your case low-audible resonance) due to insufficient or uneven support around the seal.
 

Pianewman

Active Member
Oct 28, 2020
1,100
751
Fort Worth
^^^...and the on/off rumbling is the HVAC system functioning...normally.
Reading through the thread referenced above will be very enlightening, and also frustrating, as none of us have found a way to totally eliminate the low frequency noise.
Regarding the hatch pads. It's my opinion that you should address the lowest 2 pads first, so that they fully support the hatch, and then adjust the 2 farther up the sides of the hatch. I used 2" wide strips of paper, and with a helper inside the hatch area (paper strips will get pinched by the rubber hatch seal if you try this from outside the car!) close the hatch with the paper between the pads and the body. Adjust the pads in/out until the paper is firmly held and unable to be pulled free. You have to open/close the hatch several times, which is why it's good to have a helper stay inside. Then I adjusted the side pads (which can be tested from outside the car), being careful that they engage without lifting the bottom two pads.
Hope this makes sense...
 
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Singhman

Member
Jan 18, 2021
30
16
Vancouver
Thank you @JHCCAZ and @Pianewman for your advice. Much appreciated. I was thinking of just setting up a service call, but I dread to hear the words "it's within spec".

I've never dealt with Tesla before, but in the past with other companies it seems that I can figure things out better on my own by doing research online, and getting advice from people like yourselves.

I tried to make a few adjustments to the rubber stoppers, but I noticed that when I was able to lower the sound quite a bit, there was a loud noise when I try to open the hatch. It's as if the motor was not in the proper position. Still opens and closes, but with a loud thud before opening.
 

MY-Y

Member
Mar 4, 2020
970
1,061
MD
On my car, there is a particular vent direction (wide and fairly high) that causes a similar sound on fan speed 4. This fan speed is common on auto.
 

TomServo

Active Member
Apr 10, 2014
1,341
892
Belleville IL
I can hear and sense a slight RUMBLING kind of noise when the HVAC cycles ON/OFF, am guessing its the HP or blower motor or BOTH. That's the ONLY time I hear it.
 

SilverSp33d3r

No Longer Silver
May 23, 2018
558
393
LA
Wait until summer, I bet this noise will go away. (I know this is not the answer you were looking for) Tesla uses the motors in a inefficient method to generate heat. This causes slight vibrations and noise patterns that can be manifested in low deep rumbles or high pitched squeals.. when you open the hatch or any doors the HVAC stops the heat generation process temporarily.
Being you have a SR Y you only generate heat from the rear motor.

I have the same noise on my 2019 SR+ 3.
 

Singhman

Member
Jan 18, 2021
30
16
Vancouver
I was able to reduce the rumbling noise significantly by adjusting the rubber stoppers on the hatch (randomly). I then wanted to show my wife a before and after, and tightened the stoppers back up.

I now can't get it back to the same low level of noise as before! I should have left it when I hit the "sweet spot"... Back to trial and error until the noise is reduced again!
 

Dennisis

Supporting Member
Feb 11, 2020
564
515
Tucson
Thank you @JHCCAZ and @Pianewman for your advice. Much appreciated. I was thinking of just setting up a service call, but I dread to hear the words "it's within spec".

I've never dealt with Tesla before, but in the past with other companies it seems that I can figure things out better on my own by doing research online, and getting advice from people like yourselves.

I tried to make a few adjustments to the rubber stoppers, but I noticed that when I was able to lower the sound quite a bit, there was a loud noise when I try to open the hatch. It's as if the motor was not in the proper position. Still opens and closes, but with a loud thud before opening.
I believe the loud thud you hear when you release the hatch is due to the added pressure required to engage the latch when it's tightened up. When the pressure is released the thud is more pronounced. If you turned the stoppers in the thud will decrease but the hatch may not seal as well as you'd like - have to find the sweet spot.
 
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