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Self lowers when parked

Just a word of caution. On Saturday night I backed into a parking spot with the rear of the car hanging over the sidewalk.
When I backed in everything was fine... no noise.
I got back to the car about 5 hours later and put the car in drive and it didnt move (I have creep ON). I pushed lightly on the go pedal and the car moved with a terible sound coming from the rear. It sounded like it tore the whole back of the car off. I stopped and got out to observe the damage... it tore the chrome trim piece on the bottom of the fascia off. I called the SC today and they told me the car is not supposed to lower on it's own, but it can.
Here is a their response:
Regarding the vehicle “sitting down” on top of the curb – it doesn’t revert to “low” when parked, but the suspension can definitely settle down on its blocks, post shut down. The exact amount is determined by the system and the vehicle’s computers together, and can vary widely.

It's only going to cost about $325 to have a new chrome trim piece installed, but I'm still bummed about it.
So... if you park with the front or rear of the car hanging over an obstcle, make sure to look at it before getting back in the car, or raise the car before you move.

This concludes this public service announcment.

Very helpful. Sorry you found out the way you did. Nick should add this to his owners guide.

Thanks for warning Andercam. I prefer to back in so I can see on the camera how close I am to the curb.

Well that probably explains my parking and not noticing anything, like how far over the standard concrete block in front, and then backing out it scraped! thanks

My Infiniti used to do the same thing. It did not have any kind of special suspension, but it would settle about 1/2" or so once parked and I scraped the crap out of the underside of the nose.


Please tell Tesla Ownership what happened and have them pass it on to the appropriate group. In my opinion, that shouldn't be going on. I had it happen once when I was on a ferry and I thought that the movement of the ferry made the car decide to level itself by going to a lower setting. If they hear that cars are occasionally lowering themselves spontaneously and doing themselves harm I'd bet they'll work on a fix in no time.

@jtodtman - there were stories of this happening back in 2012 - haven't heard anything recently so assumed it had been fixed in software/firmware. Apparently not! I'll add it.

@Andercam - what's your VIN/what version of software do you have? Just wondering if you have a new vs older car.

Had precisely the same thing happen to me earlier this summer. Parked over a concrete stop, no issues, then ripped off the chrome air channel and part of the bumper leaving.

Easily proved in my case, because you could tell the scratches only went one way.

Menlo Park service were super helpful and got everything fixed up after a few weeks' wait for parts.

Lame situation, but they made it right. Haven't seen the issue since.

My car sporadically lowers overnight while sitting in the garage. One of our homes is in a new neighborhood that is still under construction, with only the scratch coat road paving in, and lots of manholes protruding, with a big lip into our driveway. We therefore stop when entering the neighborhood, set to very high and drive the last three blocks at 8mph. We also usually check the setting when leaving, but last week I forgot and pulled out, only to experience a big thunk in the rear of the car as it passed over the curb. We are certain it wasn't user error, and think the car should wake up where it left off.

Settling Scrapes.

I picked up the car on September 7th (one month ago).
19746 running v5.0

Yep, same with me. I looked under the car and the scrapes only go one way.

I thought I was doing myself a favor by backing up so far over the curb. The lane in front was narrow, and I was trying to keep it from getting hit by passing cars!

My wife and I have to laugh though. We've had a number of issue with the car (mainly the motor hum) and now this. I love the car, and am having a blast driving it... just hope a lot of the "issues" get resolved soon. I don't have any doubt that Tesla will get them all figured out.

I got to thinking after reading the post above about the car lowering that was on a ferry. I was parked on the 5th level of a parking garage.
I wonder if it is the movement that causes the car to lower. If you've ever stood while a car is passing in a parking garage, the floor does move a little.

I did ask whether I should put the car in jack mode while on the ferry. They did say that they would get back to me. I'll remind them and tell them that others are inquiring as well. I'm sure we'll hear something.

Would there be any unforeseen negative issues of the car automatically rising to max height when started and then progressively move to lower settings as MPH increases?

I have not noticed any issues with the car lowering itself. I set it to High before entering my driveway/garage, and it remains in High mode when backing out one or two days later. If the active suspension is dropping after a period of time, wouldn't that indicate a leak somewhere in the system?

Amped - I think you may be right there. My F-150 pickup has a small leak in its aftermarket airbag suspension and self-pumps upon start-up after the truck has been left for a few days. I can hear that pump. However, the Models S suspension's air pump cannot be heard inside the cabin.

Perhaps leaking is the problem, but it also a software issue even if that's the case. Even my Firestone airbags on the pickup know enough to re-set themselves where they were last set when they leak down. IF the S air suspension has some leaking while idle, the system should sense that and raise back up when restarted.

The REASON that most people use the high settings is upon parking to avoid obstacles under the car. If the car settles down while parked, that's a serious issue. My car only bumped over the curb and I assume no damage except a small scrape on the bottom, but we already have two reports here of real damage to rear underbody fascia - the very thing this feature is installed to avoid. IMHO, Tesla should be repairing any damage this causes. It seems that they did step up on one, not on the other.

Amped - yes it would; however this is the first time mine has lowered (that I'm aware of).
I'm going to pay attention to it the next time I park in a parking structure. I'm wondering if it has something to do with the ground under the car moving.
I've parked over curb stops and such, and never had it lower... just this one time. Unfortunately, this one cost me $325! :-(

If I'm parked in a might rub spot, before I move, I set the suspension to High, wait for a second, and then set it back to Very High, and then you are good to go.

Are air suspensions in general 'guaranteed' not to bleed down overnight?

Hmm...I remember having a discussion with Johnny at Burlingame service and he mentioned when parked on uneven surfaces the car tries to self-level. This doesn't appear to be the case here, but thought I'd mention it. I've not noticed NKYTA lowering herself at all.

hmm @Andercam, was the car suspension on LOW when you backed in? and it lowered some more?
I set mine to HIGH to get into my driveway steep slope down to garage every day, and it stays on HIGH until I backed out and drive to 10 (?) mph

Re: Amped
I also haven't had the issue described above. I've raised my car to High or Very High a few times to clear a curb at the front of the car and haven't had any issues with the car lowering itself onto the curb. I'm running software 4.5 (1.33.61). If I'm on Very High, it lowers to standard at 10 mph and for High it lowers to Standard at 20 mph.

Has anyone above actually gotten the chrome piece replaced for $325. I got a quote and it was $250 for the part plus 2.5 hours of labor at $175/hour or $437.50 in labor for a grand total of 687.50. In addition there is a possibility the rear diffuser might need to be replace, this can only be determined after they take it all apart and inspect the connection point where the chrome piece connects inside the diffuser. If the diffuser needs to be replaced then the cost goes up by a$450.


The tab with the hole on the chrome piece in the photo is fastened with a plastic pin that is suppose to break when stressed. They told me that some of the time this bolt actually damages the rear diffuser before it breaks, but they can't determine if this is the case until they open it all up.

Very prudent.

@DJay | OCTOBER 8, 2013: labor at $175/hour

When I was at the service center in Phoenix, I could have sworn that their labor rates were posted as $125/hr for Model S and $150/hr for Roadster.

When we test drove a p85+ the car lowered around 1/2" or more a couple minutes after we got out. I'm guessing the car does this and it's normal.

I've had my car for 12 days and have probably raised the car to Very High at least 15 times entering my driveway and it has never self lowered. You can be sure from now on I will check the height without leaving my garage. Thanks to OP for the warning!

I had raised my car to avoid a curb. When I returned to drive away the car told me it was too high to drive. So I lowered it and drove away with no damage. I was surprised that it told me it was too high.

For those of you who have experienced this lowering phenomenon, did the setting on the Control Panel change or was it still on the setting you selected but the car had settled after parking within that setting?

Ouch! Will keep an eye.

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