I live in Philadelphia on a very narrow street, only inches wider than the sidewalls of the tires on my Model S. The concrete street has 4" curbs connected to sidewalks that are lined with trees, staircases, brick partitions, utility poles and other obstacles around the brick row homes with fronts at various distances from the street. A few houses have underground parking. Some others, like mine, have garages at sidewalk level. It is very, very tight. Many (maybe most) people are afraid to even enter the street, much less drive on it for half a block and change direction, but I've been doing it for 20 years so I think I'm pretty good at it, though not perfect. I have had 1 or 2 very minor mishaps over the years. My garage door is about 4 inches wider than my car and the depth of my space is only 4 inches longer than the Tesla. The depth will improve when I get rid the motorcycle I have parked against the back wall, but it won't get wider. It is nearly impossible to enter the garage nose first so I have to turn 90 degrees to the right and back in. I approach by driving up over the curbs onto the sidewalk, pulling as close to my house as I can, then turn right as hard as possible, putting the nose of my Tesla over the sidewalk on the other side until the front wheels are on the steep downgrade of my neighbors short driveway and my nose is nearly touching their garage door. If I hit my marks, I can go straight back into my garage. If I'm even a little sloppy, I have to go back and forth several feet a few times with a concrete wall and a utility pole mere millimeters from the passenger side of my car to get lined up for entry. Today, as I drove down the apron with my suspension set to standard height, I discovered a new hazard when I heard an awful scraping sound from below as the chassis high-centered on the pavement transition from level to downhill. This is a very slow maneuver so it was a mercifully short event and did not damage the car, but it felt endless and sounded like a thousand fingernails scratching a blackboard to me. Fortunately, my Tesla has air suspension, so I immediately pulled up the ride height settings on the screen, hit "very high" and sat for several seconds as the car got taller and created inches of ground clearance. The only other handy method I can think of to escape this predicament without scraping the bottom more would have been to get my air compressor and overinflate the tires to create miniscule ground clearance. Hitting a button on my touch screen was a far simpler and vastly more effective solution. Lesson learned. I will always set my suspension to very high when maneuvering into my garage, or driving over similar pavement transitions. Once a car touches an immovable object, moving it horizontally is usually the worst solution and typically increases damage many fold. Moving vertically is physically impossible in all but a very few cars. What a fantastic feature air suspension is, for this and many other reasons. This not a benefit I contemplated when ordering it, but I am extremely glad I did and I wanted to share my experience. If you are considering the pros and cons of the air suspension option on a Tesla Model S, I would urge you to add this factor to the equation.
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