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Suspension Problem on Model S

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gpcordaro

Member
Jun 19, 2014
63
128
Connellsville Pennsylvanina
I have owned my Model S since May of 2013 and truly love the car. With that said, I must tell everyone about a recent problem I experienced this past Sunday while driving on a back road at a very low rate of speed, about 5 MPH. The road was rough so my air ride was at it max lift. As I was proceeding down a steep hill I heard a snap and felt my steering wheel pull to the left. I stopped the car for further inspection only to discover that my left front hub assembly separated from the upper control arm. Needless to say the car was inoperable due to a loss of steering. Thank goodness I was not traveling at a high rate of speed. This could of been a tragic accident causing injury or even death.
I contacted Tesla and they towed the car to a service center. They just informed that this is not covered under warranty, stating that the cause was due to normal wear and tear. I have owned many cars in my life and have never experienced such a failure. My car has been driven 73000 miles.

Has anyone experienced this failure on their car?
:(
 

Gizmotoy

Active Member
Sep 16, 2013
3,670
871
Bay Area, CA
I've never heard of a control-arm-related failure being termed "normal wear and tear" before. That whole assembly is supposed to be designed to be insanely robust. To my mind, the failure options are: 1) abuse, and 2) defect.

It might be that they really decided it was abuse and didn't want to cause a scene about it since that implies fault, but "normal wear and tear" sounds silly to me.
 
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zambono

Active Member
Mar 1, 2016
1,160
607
DC
Air suspension systems cause issues on all automakers. The control arm isn't the air system per say but the failure might be related.
 

santana338

Member
Apr 11, 2012
341
47
Manchester, NH
I have owned my Model S since May of 2013 and truly love the car. With that said, I must tell everyone about a recent problem I experienced this past Sunday while driving on a back road at a very low rate of speed, about 5 MPH. The road was rough so my air ride was at it max lift. As I was proceeding down a steep hill I heard a snap and felt my steering wheel pull to the left. I stopped the car for further inspection only to discover that my left front hub assembly separated from the upper control arm. Needless to say the car was inoperable due to a loss of steering. Thank goodness I was not traveling at a high rate of speed. This could of been a tragic accident causing injury or even death.
I contacted Tesla and they towed the car to a service center. They just informed that this is not covered under warranty, stating that the cause was due to normal wear and tear. I have owned many cars in my life and have never experienced such a failure. My car has been driven 73000 miles.

Has anyone experienced this failure on their car?
:(

I would escalate this up the Tesla management chain. It sounds absurd. I had the upper control arm assemblies replaced in November as part of my annual maintenance when the technician working on the car noticed they were worn. It was all covered under my annual maintenance fee.

If you have the option of talking to another service center you might try that (since you probably can't just take the car back and drive it to another SC). Hopefully this will work out for you. The early cars like yours and mine had parts that were not quite up to standard.

Keep a positive outlook and don't take "no" for an answer.
 

Camera-Cruiser

Fully Charged
Dec 4, 2015
773
795
Fullerton, CA
I have to agree with all the posts above. It's absurd. You have to speak with someone else about this.

Now I am freaked out a bit. Am I to expect my wheels to become separated from their respective control arms while driving through Topanga Canyon and flying off the road? I have been driving for 35 years and never once thought about something like this happening, and for most of those years I've had four-wheel drive vehicles that have had countless miles of dirt roads at driven at speed. My 98 Land Cruiser is still going strong.

Sheesh, owning a Tesla, I expect the drive unit failing - maybe, but control arms failing. Uh, no.
 

gpcordaro

Member
Jun 19, 2014
63
128
Connellsville Pennsylvanina
here they are.
 

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travwill

Active Member
May 1, 2015
1,715
1,183
Marble Falls, TX
Seems like we are seeing so many post where Tesla has interior/part rust issues lately - just an observation. Not sure if it i mainly where some people live, closer to coast/ocean environment, but either way seems like a trend as the 2013+ model age. Seems to early to be seeing anything like that yet though for any make/model
 

gpcordaro

Member
Jun 19, 2014
63
128
Connellsville Pennsylvanina
I've never heard of a control-arm-related failure being termed "normal wear and tear" before. That whole assembly is supposed to be designed to be insanely robust. To my mind, the failure options are: 1) abuse, and 2) defect.

It might be that they really decided it was abuse and didn't want to cause a scene about it since that implies fault, but "normal wear and tear" sounds silly to me.
If abuse is driving
I've never heard of a control-arm-related failure being termed "normal wear and tear" before. That whole assembly is supposed to be designed to be insanely robust. To my mind, the failure options are: 1) abuse, and 2) defect.

It might be that they really decided it was abuse and didn't want to cause a scene about it since that implies fault, but "normal wear and tear" sounds silly to me.
If abuse is driving down a rough road at 5MPH, I am guilty.
 

Az_Rael

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jan 26, 2016
5,643
8,827
Palmdale, CA
They just informed that this is not covered under warranty, stating that the cause was due to normal wear and tear.

If it's truly a "wear and tear" item, I wonder what the replacement/maintenance schedule is for control arms? :rolleyes:

I had an argument like that once with a dealer service center about a stripped oil pan. They tried to tell me the oil pan was a wear and tear item for a car with less than 100k miles. (They were the only ones who had ever touched that drain plug, so they couldn't get out of it with the usual argument that the "other guy must have done it")
 

gpcordaro

Member
Jun 19, 2014
63
128
Connellsville Pennsylvanina
I've never heard of a control-arm-related failure being termed "normal wear and tear" before. That whole assembly is supposed to be designed to be insanely robust. To my mind, the failure options are: 1) abuse, and 2) defect.

It might be that they really decided it was abuse and didn't want to cause a scene about it since that implies fault, but "normal wear and tear" sounds silly to me.
If abuse is driving
I've never heard of a control-arm-related failure being termed "normal wear and tear" before. That whole assembly is supposed to be designed to be insanely robust. To my mind, the failure options are: 1) abuse, and 2) defect.

It might be that they really decided it was abuse and didn't want to cause a scene about it since that implies fault, but "normal wear and tear" sounds silly to me.
If abuse is driving down a rough road at 5MPH, I am guilty, but I
 

gpcordaro

Member
Jun 19, 2014
63
128
Connellsville Pennsylvanina
I think I read there was a service bulletin regarding the control arms at some point? I wonder if the OP had that bulletin performed during an annual service visit? If it hadn't been, its possible these were an old design.

Edit: found a reference: Service Bulletin - Replace 4 Lower Control Arms | Tesla Motors
Thank you for the information. They refer to the lower control arm bolt's , my failure was the upper control arm ball joint.
 

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James Anders

Member
Mar 13, 2014
892
609
Southampton, PA
That's is atypical wear for any car. Looks like that ball joint was soaked in hot salt water for days.

Something is not right. Either material specs or quality, or electrochemical galvanic corrosion, or something.
 
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