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What is your air suspension height strategy? Higher = safer?

Discussion in 'Model X' started by AnxietyRanger, May 15, 2017.

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  1. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Well-Known Member

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    The recent thread about side-impacts with Model X (Alive and married bc a Model X saved my life) got me thinking about the air suspension ride height and safety on the Model X.

    Currently I usually ride the Model X on Low, which it seems to default to (anyone got a good grip on when the heights chage?), and occasionally switch to Very High for some tricky spot (which I know it can remember based on geo-location, of course) only to see it auto-lower itself later on.

    On the old Model S I actually used to reset it to High / Very High quite often, although it would lower itself at speed. But since it was inherently a lower car, I used to prefer to sit a bit higher from normal on that, than I've felt the need on the Model X where it always sits a bit higher. Mostly I've been just happy with Low, though I do not I'm riding lower than many people e.g. in German SUVs...

    What is your strategy and experience on the Model X air suspension height settings? On what setting do you keep it and how do you maintain your ride-height through the automated changes? And any comments on if riding higher could be safer or is any safety offset by worse handling?

    One more thing, to me it seems Model S/X both on Very High are harsher rides than on lower settings. Is this just in my head or is it because the suspension has been pushed to an extreme?
     
  2. vrykolas

    vrykolas Member

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    I keep Standard height all the time (no auto-lowering except for a few GPS locations).
    Mostly I do this due to prevent excessive potential tire-wear.
     
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  3. vandacca

    vandacca ReActive Member

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    It is not possible to auto-lower based on GPS location. Only possible to auto-raise on GPS location. This is a pet peeve of mine, as I would like my X to auto-lower in my garage so that the FWD don't nick my garage-door motor.

    Otherwise, mine auto-lowers at preset speed and auto-raises in a dozen places around town. Everywhere else it's Standard.

    I don't think height will affect safety too much. My thoughts are that lower might be marginally safer, due to having lower center of gravity and less chance of a roll-over, as long as the rigid battery structure is still high enough to protect against side-impacts. As far as I'm concerned, I'm not concerned about any possible safety improvements due to suspension height for a very rare occurrence. For me suspension adjustments are for avoiding bottoming-out or avoid having the FWD hitting something up high.
     
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  4. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate the answers, keep the thoughts coming.

    It seems to me my car defaults to Low. Is it because I've set it to Low initially and never to Standard? If I set it to Very High, at some point it seems to lower itself back to Low. Or maybe I just forget setting it back to Low...

    I guess there is a manual for this somewhere. :) But any insider knowledge about the auto-changing suspension levels is welcome.
     
  5. Peteybabes

    Peteybabes redneck drivin' a tesla...

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    you can adjust the speed that your suspension goes to low. so if you set it to 60mph and above, you would stay in "standard" until you go over 60MPH...
     
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  6. Yinn

    Yinn Member

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    Low/Standard/High, I notice differences; but they are very minimal in terms of dampening. The handling characteristics however are very noticeable to me. At Very High and Very Low settings, the suspension stiffens up quite a bit.

    I travel a pot hole ridden gravel road quite regularly and have subjectively determined the very low setting is the harshest ride. I'm willing to go down that road in any other setting.

    As for "normal" I set it to standard and auto lowering when reaching 65 mph. Why?

    Standard: Reduces tire cupping and uneven wear.

    Low Setting: Lowers center of gravity for handling and better aerodynamics on the highway while maintaining a decent ride quality.

    60mph: I used to have it at 50mph, until I got annoyed enough that the car kept changing my suspension while I was mid corner. For my driving habits, 65mph allows the car to adjust back to a standard ride height typically before I enter a corner. It also allows for non-free way driving where speeds may reach 55mph with stoplights and it won't constantly adjusting up and down.

    With those settings, I usually don't touch it; unless I have a need to go High/Very High that's not already geo tagged.
     
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  7. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Well-Known Member

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    Very nice info, thanks @Yinn!
     
  8. MXWing

    MXWing Active Member

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    I cant pinpoint where but I swear I read that going low suspension will chew up your tires faster. I don't want that So I did normal and turned off auto adjustment.
     
  9. Yinn

    Yinn Member

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    That's correct. The lower you go, the more camber gets dialed in. You can actually see your wheels get pointed outwards st the lowest setting. This causes uneven tire wear.

    However, I do a mix of driving 60/40 highway/city and several thousand miles and my tire wear is even outside and inside. Front and rear is a different story though, my fronts are wearing faster than my rears.
     
  10. Peteybabes

    Peteybabes redneck drivin' a tesla...

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    i thought that was just with "very low" setting. the YouTube channel "now you know" did a video on this.
     
  11. G1000Pilot

    G1000Pilot Member

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    higher used to be my favorite, but i noticed the x is already high enough at standard, it drives a lot better at standard, so I've stopped pushing high, as when you go over the potholes etc, you feel them more
     
  12. larmor

    larmor Active Member

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    I use very low on all highways, improves efficiency, but i will now look at my tires... Going on 16 to 17k miles.
     
  13. DavidB

    DavidB Aug 2013 S85

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    I use low suspension almost all the time, and I have my car aligned when it is in the low suspension.
     
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  14. Yinn

    Yinn Member

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    It's basically on every setting, but the lower you go, the more the effect is amplified.

    Lower results in the bottom of the wheels pointing outwards. Lower itgoes, further it points outwards. When you go to the high/very high settings you can see the reverse happening. The bottom of the wheels will move to point inwards.

    If you drove around ok high/very high, you would likely see uneven wear as well as more wear on the outside of the tires.

    thats a good idea. Basically dialed standard settings into your low.
     

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