Infuriating car rattle

posted by Jeff | Sunday, September 12, 2021, 9:44 PM | comments: 0

Tesla has a pretty bad reputation since the introduction of the Model 3 for fit and finish problems. With the 3 and the Y, they've not done a very good job of getting body panels lined up. Our 3 was actually mostly OK, with the exception of the trunk not always grabbing the latch on the first try. That was easy enough to fix once I was motivated enough to get a couple of Torx bits to loosen and realign the latch. Our Y had a really poorly aligned front right fender, and it drove me nuts because the crease that went from the camera and into the door didn't line up, and it was the first thing that I would see every time I entered the garage.

I took it in and got that fixed, but what eluded me is a rattle that I can't find. I found countless forum posts and videos showing resolution for various rattles, but none of them address the one that I have. It seems like it's somewhere in the back, and has a slightly metallic noise to it. In the process, I've found some other things. The back of one of the rear seats wasn't seated at all. The side of the center console was also not seated. The rear seatbelt buckles are really loosely connected to the frame, and just in case it was one of those I added a little adhesive foam, but I don't think it's those (the volume of the rattle doesn't change with the seat top removed). I've discovered that the rear left window isn't aligned right in the door, and I'm pretty sure that I'll take that in because I can't un-see it.

Still, the rattle eludes me. If I shake any of the individual rear seat sections, none of them make a noise, so I don't think it's the seats. It could be something with the trunk, but shaking that doesn't reveal anything obvious. If it's something loose in the trunk sides, I'm not sure how to get in and look. Cavernous as that trunk is, there are two long plastic liners on both sides, and I can't find anything online to see how they're attached.

It could conceivably be on the outside of the car, maybe in the rear suspension, but it's so hard to see any of it. The underside of the car is all battery, and in between the wheels is the pit inside of the trunk and the rear motor. That's the thing, there aren't actually that many parts!

The success ratio of service calls to fixed rattles isn't good, which is why I feel like I need to find it myself. You also never know if they're going to send mobile service to you, which is awesome, or if they want you to bring it in, which is not awesome. That's super inconvenient in Orlando, as the store is too small, and way up north. My hope is that they will come to me to get that window aligned right.

I love the car... It's comfortable to road trip in, the cargo space is absurd, and yeah, 0-60 in 4.8 seconds. But this rattle is all I hear on any road that isn't perfectly smooth, even with the radio on. I mean, a Nissan Versa or a Toyota Corolla won't ship with these problems, and they're less than half the cost.


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