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Rant: New builds waaay better than my 2012. Grrr!

My S 85 has been in the shop for a week which I spent driving a brand new loaner P85. The difference between the two was astonishing, cabin of the loaner was way less outside noise (I made a previous overestimate), no air leaks, no rattles, creaks or buzzes. The ride was smoother as well, despite having 21" wheels instead of my 19". When I got my car back I felt extremely disappointed in how loud and rickety it was in comparison.

A quiet cabin without distracting creaks and buzzes is really important to me. I have been to service centers a few times to correct the noise issues to no avail. Honestly, my S feels like a cheap car in the inside. I couldn't really figure out why until I drove a newer S. Just the subtle (and not subtle) differences were like the difference between a high end BMW and a cheap Hundai.

Maybe the problem is because I got the textile I interior. I didn't want a cheap interior, I just didn't want leather.

Apparently the only way to correct this is just to sell the damn thing at a giant loss and buy a new one (with leather). Kinda pissed.

Did you actually use a sound analyzer to figure out that 5-10dB figure, or is that just a guess?

Let the games begin!!!

I'm an audio engineer. It is a guess, but it was off. To my ears, it is more equivalent 3 db on a fader.

10 would be way too much. Sorry.

But with the way technology runs, I'd expect things to constantly improve. However, it would suck to have just bought a car a year earlier and have the next model be that much better but I think with new technology that is how it will be in the future.

I'd fully expect they will constantly be improving the car in the near term. I think that's the risks that we take as early adopters.

Just upgrade to the new car. It's just the milage and age difference between the 2, shouldn't be much more. Found one with the specs you like and trade up.

Find not found.

I have no idea if Tesla has reduced the noise level or not in newer cars, but there could be other factors that make one car quieter than another:

Your somewhat worn tires may be louder than when they were new, especially if they are wearing badly. Also not sure other options may makes it louder or quieter, but did both cars have the same roof design, parcel shelf, air suspension and 3rd row seating or lack of it? I also assume you were driving the same basic route for both cars?

So, mine actually should have been the quieter of the two: 19" wheels, parcel shelf, premium floor mats, air suspension, all of which the loaner didn't have. As for tire wear, as far as I recall it has sounded more or less the same since I got it.

My hypothesis is that new builds have more robust seals on the doors and windows, for whatever reason interior parts/panels are more secure as well.

I noticed a few other changes, the loaner had a heavier hood that latched more easily, and I believe the sun visors might have been bigger.

I would like to trade the car in to Tesla, although it is an automatic 20% hit from the purchase price. It has a Reus stereo system, not sure if that would a problem.


I also deal with Audio on a daily basis, so I had to call out the overexaggeration... haha :)

I commiserate. My 60 was delivered in Feb and developed the very annoying known A pillar passenger side creak and pano roof creak. Service center was able to resolve last week and I am in love again with my MS. I would recommend that you persist with service center to get the creaks fixed to your satisfaction.

Thanks for the input, guys.

I guess what I forgot to mention is that I took it to the shop to have the noises fixed. This was the second time. After a week the pano roof is fixed, but the rest remain.

The difficulty is getting them to reproduce a particular sound. I have driven the car 5,000 miles all over the west coast, and most of these sounds are intermittent. So when a tech takes it on an urban freeway for a mile they usually don't hear it, and the issue gets dropped, especially if its not a known issue.

I will persist with the service center, but at this point there at least 8 different rattles and creaks, some more frequent than others. At least my service center visit fixed the pano roof sounds.

Beyond that, I don't know what to do about the ambient noise level. There is a clear difference between mine and the new build, but they might not consider it a defect, and they don't seem to know anything about it.

Agree with @Bikezion. Upgrade to a newer loaner.

You got to use your car for 6(?) months when there were very few of them on the road. Isn't that what being an early adopter is about? Even in the 2 months since I got my car, I see twice to three times as many Teslas on the road. Though I wish my car were as good as the ones that will likely be produced a year or two from now, there's no way I'd wait that long.

Anyway, I hope you get your Tesla grin back. You know what they say: "The grass is always greener over by the newer Tesla!"

I am grateful and I am glad that as time goes by, I can hear report such as yours that the car is getting better.

I have no regret because I have driven more than 18,000 miles for just slightly over 6 months without using a single drop of oil.

Interesting, because I just recently took my 2012 P85 Sig (0736) for it's 12.5k service, and was given a new S85 loaner with the 19" wheels, and had the complete opposite experience.

When I got my MS back, I thought to myself... "Wow, I LOVE my P85 Sig!"

Well, that isn't exactly the opposite experience, as the loaner I got was a P85 with 21" wheels and mine is pretty much just like your loaner. I imagine the Signatures got a little more attention on the assembly line too. I love their color.

Maybe P85s are just built better/quieter?

What date marks the difference between 2012 and 2013 model year, and these issues?

We recently had a P85 loaner & while it was nice, we were thrilled to get our 2012 85 back. Our car has 15,000 miles & is very quiet. (We also found the ride in the loaner to be a bit rougher but that was probably due to it having 21" & standard suspension vs 19" & active-air we're used to. ). The P85 acceleration was awesome!

I hope your noise issues get resolved, but wanted to let folks know it's not a problem w/all 2012s.

Allow me to change your perspective a bit.
Say you were one of the lucky few to get their hands on the first 64 1/2 mustangs. Would you be like aww man, the 65's are so much nicer, they got alternators and a 289ci engine now!
I have a 2012 S and will never let it go. It has little noises, but I think those noises will turn into sounds like, "wow you got a 2012 1/2 S? That's so cool! Those were the first ones!"
I faught hard for an early S. I wanted it. The bugs, the history...
These are the cars that the future will be written about. Everything after this, will be nice for sure, but never as remembered.

technically, Jan 1. There are no TM-designated "model years", just mandated rollovers in the VINs for identification purposes. The next "model" will be a 1.5 or 2.0 or SLT, just like the Roadster.


Maybe the Sigs were a bit tighter because they were built in
slo-mo under Elon's gaze.

I wouldn't be surprised if a few issues popped up after the production ramp up became steep.

I've noticed that there appear to be essentially no used Model Ss on the market. There are a few speculators trying to sell delivery mileage ones for over sticker, and that's about it. I suspect that if you tried to sell it, you'd find demand much firmer and prices a lot higher than you would expect.

Remember, you're an audio engineer and that makes you particularly sensitive to this issue. Most people won't be.

The only way I'll be able to ever afford a Model S is a used one, and I suspect prices won't even come close to the point I need to reach for a long time :(. On the other hand, with a roughly 10 year battery service life and almost no maintenance requirements other than that, a 5-odd year old Model S should be almost the ideal used car purchase ...


@ David

I found four on ebay, 9 on Autotrader. and more in local places.

So there are SOME used Model S in the market, but yeah, still way over your price range. Tho I did see one in Rockville MD on Craigslist. It was a 60kwh and they were asking $74,000...

The prices on used Model S, probably wont come down until there are FAR more in the wild. Most people who are selling used Model S are selling for MORE than they paid for it, especially since any potential buyer also doesn't qualify for the Federal Tax Incentive.

I spent $4,003 in the last year keeping my 2003 Mercedes E320 on the road. It may be time for a newer car. So I am somewhat annoyed that there are no inexpensive used Model Ss around yet :(. Of course this is not exactly anyone's fault or anything ...

About 2/3 of this cost has been keeping the ICE running, by the way. The remaining 1/3 has been ball joints and tires, which I'd need to replace on any car. I really like the potential for much lower operating costs on the Model S. My $400 on monthly gas should turn into about $100 in monthly electricity. So my savings should be $150 in maintenance a month + $300 in fuel, or about $450 a month. It's a pity there is no real lease on the Model S since it might then be pretty close to being within reach.

Of course the main problem behind this analysis is that if I paid $100 a month in electricity I would probably drive a lot more, and therefore spend a bit more on power, and then the lease wouldn't be viable because I'd put too many miles on the car!

Looks like the car I buy AFTER my next car is likely to be a Model S :).


@David Dennis- Do I have this right? You are spending more than $300 per month on maintenance, $400 per month on gas and are NOT considering buying a Model S ?

Have you driven a Model S ?

You are a perfect candidate for a Model S.

@ CnJsSigP - I agree 100%. I got my 2012 MS in January and have no plans on selling it for decades. It should be looked upon as a classic in the future.

I have a P85, tech, no pano, manufactured in Dec 2012 (VIN 2298)
Yesterday I had a loaner 85 (not P) with standard suspension, tech, pano, VIN 12105
Both cars have 21" wheels
10,000 VIN difference at 400 cars/week means the loaner was manufactured about six weeks ago.

Things that were the same:

  • Fit and finish

Things I prefer about my P85:

  • ride - the standard was definitely harsher
  • Oomph - the S85 is great, the P85 is amazing
  • Solid roof - pano doesn't add anything (for me)
  • Tan interior - the loaner had black
  • Carbon accents - the loaner had lacewood

Things I preferred about the loaner:

  • the scroll button on the steering wheel had a better 'click'

All these things are completely subjective, but I'm super happy with my P85.

I'm sure this has probably been addressed but did you try the hatch paper test?

Take two pieces of paper and with the hatch open lay them across the conical supports. Close the hatch and see if you can pull out the paper.

If you can, turn the conical supports counter clockwise until you can't.

This has made a world of difference in my car.

I just laid down dynamat in the entire interior of the car. I have a P85+, so it the loudest and harshest ride of all the Teslas. Within one week of buying the car, I couldn't live with the noise level, and went ahead and stripped the interior and laid it downn.
It has definitely made the rear of the car much more quiet.
The front wheelwell has a huge empty space in between the front fire-wall and front wheels..causing the resonance your hearing.

Took delivery in December. One thing I've noticed is the fit on the external parts of the car seems to be a little better on the recently built cars than mine, particularly the hood. Local service center adjusted it as best they could, but it still isn't flush with the front body panels.