Normal Operating Sounds
While your Model S is incredibly quiet, it is not completely silent. There are some sounds your vehicle makes as part of its normal daily operation and are not a cause for concern. Below is a list of possible normal operating sounds your vehicle could make based on where the sound is coming from:
High-Pitched Whining Noise while Accelerating
When you press the accelerator pedal, you may hear a high-pitched noise in the cabin. This is the sound of your vehicle accelerating. Because electric vehicles are so quiet, this sound may be more apparent while driving.
Cabin Noise during Acceleration with Ludicrous Enabled
Humming, Whirring, or Wooshing Sound
When your vehicle is Parked, especially outside on a hot day, you may hear a humming or slight ticking sound from the front of the vehicle near the front trunk. This may happen even when your vehicle is not charging. You may also hear this sound when Model S is parked after a long drive. This is the sound of your vehicle cooling the battery to maintain its optimal temperature. It signifies that the A/C compressor is working to cool the cabin. This is caused by extra demand on the climate system to meet all your vehicle's cooling needs. The sound may gradually decrease in frequency and/or volume as the optimal temperature is reached.
Vibration Sound/Feeling in Steering Wheel
In this instance, the steering wheel vibrates because Lane Departure Warning alerts you that the vehicle detects an unintentional lane line crossing.
Whirring or Whining While Driving at Low Speeds (if Equipped with Pedestrian Warning System)
This sound is audible when the vehicle is driving at low speeds to alert nearby pedestrians that the vehicle is in motion. The whirring or whining sound is slightly different depending on whether Model S is driving forward or reversing.
Noise in Driver's Footwell When Brake is Pressed
Motor Humming or Whirring when Navigating to a Supercharger
When navigating to a Supercharger (or third-party fast charger in some regions), Model S preconditions the Battery to prepare for charging. This ensures you arrive with an optimal Battery temperature, reducing the amount of time it takes to charge. In some circumstances (such as cold weather), it is normal for the motor(s) and components to make noise, such as humming or whirring as it generates heat to warm the Battery.
Mechanical Enable/Disable Thumping Sound
These sounds occur whenever you shift your vehicle into Park and is the sound of the parking brake engaging/disengaging. See Shifting for more information.
Clicking, Clunking, or Thumping Sound From Floor of Vehicle
When Parked, Model S opens the HV Battery contactors to help conserve energy. This sound occurs when you start the vehicle after it's been Parked, and signifies that the high voltage contactors are closing the circuit between your vehicle and the Battery.
Creaking or Cranking From the Tires or Brakes
When you vehicle has been Parked for a long period of time and you shift into Drive, you may hear this sound. This is because your vehicle is using its disc brakes to hold the wheels in place while in Park. The sound occurs when the brake calipers release from the rotors and can be quite loud, especially in cold weather or after heavy rain.
Banging, Clunking, Popping, or Thumping Noise While Supercharging
This sound comes from the floor of your vehicle (where the HV Battery is located) and occurs when the metal components in your vehicle's HV Battery naturally expand or contract to accommodate ambient temperature changes.