Poor radio reception

Within a day of getting my Model S, I noticed that FM radio reception is significantly worse than my previous car and my wife's car. There is usually noticeable static and sometimes a lot of it. It fluctuates between one and two bars (out of three). Only occasionally is the signal good enough to play HD radio. When this happens, I hear the sound fade in and out and sometimes an echo or "dual voice" that lasts a few seconds as the transition from regular to HD occurs (or vice versa). I usually listen to one station (KPCC 89.3) but I've noticed these problems on other FM stations. I haven't tried AM yet.

I was sufficiently annoyed with this today that I tried listening to my station on "Tune In" Internet radio. For a couple minutes I was happy with the static-free sound quality, but then it started cutting out for a second or more. It seems the 3G reception is also spotty, which may explain why map tiles load slowly, and sometimes not all (nav system was nonresponsive earlier tonight). Web browser is sluggish too. This has all been while driving in West LA. I have a 3G phone and it's not nearly so slow. I also noticed a slight buzzing sound when I had the radio off, not sure if that's related.

Have others had similar problems with radio reception? Is this likely are problem with the physical antenna, or software? And where is the antenna on this car?

But I love the car and Tesla is wonderful blah blah blah :)

@lajollan - if you don't want to deal with birthing problems, you shouldn't be on the bleeding edge and you should wait a while. The sig owners are alpha testing, but the rest of us getting the car shortly will still be beta testers. Judging from Roadster owners, you might want to wait a year if you want all the glitches ironed out first.

@stevenmalfert - if they are using software defined radio (basically DSP on the digitized output of an RF->IF stage), then it could conceivably be improved in software. If the problem is in the antenna, there isn't a lot that can be done short of replacing/moving the antenna.

I got the software upgrade a wee ago. It did not improve radio reception. My car is at the body shop to fix problems present on delivery. I also mention the radio reception. At first they gave a generic response that some stations have weaker signals. I live in Santa Monica and prefer to listen to the Pasadena-based NPR station: KPCC. There is another NPR station based in Santa Monica, and the reception for that is better, but I've never had problems getting KPCC in other cars. And besides 3G seems to be affected as well, it is very slow. They said they would investigate but I don't expect they can do anything about it. I have told them my expectation is that they will fix it.

AFAIK Tesla has not yet admitted this is a problem.

I have also noticed the poor radio reception. I had a visit from a Tesla technician today who suggested that I turn off the HD on the radio, which I did, but it made no difference. Could it be the strong magnetic field from the motor's magnets?

Read the above comments as proof the radio is a "lemon part". You might expect some of them in alpha and beta products.
Hence it does not scare me off. But it does scare me off that TM seems to handle the problem by not accepting its existence.

If that's their policy of handling complaints, their warranty is of the poor quality kind.

I also have poor FM and AM on my MS. Had the car for a week. Live about 20 miles north of Boston. The car does have a solid roof.

The Alpine in the Roadster was famously crummy, too.

I think the radio reception was my number one issue with the Roadster. The first antenna was very badly shielded, and the carbon fiber in the car created extra interference. Even small things like turning on the A/C made it worse.

I wrote four posts on my blog about the Roadster about poor radio reception.

I hope the Model S radio reception is better, as I am a fan of talk radio, both AM and NPR, although quality talk radio is getting harder to find. There are now wifi based simulcasts, but that will depend upon internet availability. Maybe will not be any worse since most remote places I travel the radio signals also start fading away.

FM reception in my "S" in South Jersey stinks. Awaiting response from Tesla. I don't buy that we need to live with it on a cutting edge car...They could have used off the shelf components from Mercedes like the gear shift and window controls.

I didn't have a huge problem with the FM reception up until the upgrade to 4.1 that seems to make things much worse.
I did submit a bug report to Tesla, will see what comes out of it.

My general production Model S AM/FM reception has been fine with no problem since the delivery 2 weeks ago in Orange County (Los Angeles Metropolitan area), CA.

The sound needs a better equalizer (such as 12 bands, not current 3) to enhance treble and bass while reducing the mid range to my taste.

Mine pulls in pretty weak FM stations much better than previous cars as well.

I live in the DC/Baltimore area and we have lots of solid FM channels.

There is no doubt, the Model S has horrible reception. Every single channel fades in and out from sometimes receiving HD to not receiving anything.. and quickly.
Have the same issue with 3G.. very mixed results.

I'm right now copy music files to a USB drive to not have to deal with it.

Also, what's up with the non-existant iPod integration.

That said.. just turning off the Media .. and listening to the car and it's unique quietness on the road is pretty darn cool.

Picked up my S last friday and radio am/fm is the worst I have ever experienced in a car. If anybody in the NYC metro area knows of a place to get this fixed please let me know. Thanks.

I now know why in my test drive and the walk through the tesla employees went to fm and then flipped to slacker radio immediately and that is all I got to hear. On my ride home I listened to WFAN and was dissappointed in both the AM and FM broadcast.


@PMJ99 - get with service to have it fixed. This seems something TM hasn't figured out yet to make consistent... my car has good reception, but I got a loaner that was build 4-5 months later with very poor reception.

I have a new Tesla S. The FM radio reception is poor for the local NPR station, WGCU 90.1 FM. I keep getting echoes & repeated words frequently. Unable to enjoy the one station I listen to.

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