Normal Operating Sounds

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Note
This is a general guide to help you understand common sounds you may hear from your vehicle during its normal course of operation. It is not a diagnosis of your vehicle and does not represent a comprehensive list of normal sounds you may hear. If you wish to schedule an appointment with Tesla Service for any reason, contact your local Service Center.

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:

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Note
Some sounds may be used for multiple purposes. Use the instrument panel to determine the cause of the sound.

While Parked

Mechanical Enable/Disable Thumping Sound

Disable:

Enable:

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.

Brake Pad Tick

When shifting out of Park, you may notice a tick noise from the brakes. This is caused by slight contact between the brake pad housing and caliper upon brake release.

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 From the Tires or Brakes

When your vehicle is 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. This sound can also come from the front tires when turning the steering wheel, and is not a cause for concern.

Lock Chime

This sound occurs when you are inside the vehicle and it locks (such as when you touch the Lock icon on the touchscreen). See Keys and Doors.

Use an Authenticated Key to Drive

This sound occurs when your vehicle does not detect a valid key. To begin driving, follow the instructions on the touchscreen to authenticate your key. See Keys and Doors for more information.

A/C Compressor Roaring

Outside the vehicle: When your vehicle is Parked, especially outside on a hot or cold 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 preparing the battery to maintain its optimal temperature. 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.

Inside the vehicle: You may hear this sound coming from the cabin of Model S, but this is normal and occurs for the same reasons as above.

While Driving

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.

Single clicking or vibration from the pedal during acceleration

This sound may occur while your foot is on the accelerator pedal and is not a cause for concern. This occurs when the hydraulic control unit performs a self-test to make sure the system is functioning normally at the start of a drive cycle.

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.

Squeal/Screech from Brakes

You may hear squealing coming from the brakes when the brake pedal is pressed. This may occur especially while driving in the rain or cold and/or humid climates, or if there is surface rust present on the brake components. The sound may also occur when you replace brake pads or brake rotors. You can burnish the brakes to get rid of this noise (see "Burnishing the Brakes" in the Do It Yourself Guide).

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

When Model S comes to a stop, Hold may activate. This holds the vehicle in place until you press the accelerator pedal, allowing you to remove your foot from the brake pedal if needed. As Hold initially enables, this faint sound may be heard from the driver’s footwell, as well as a feeling that the brake pedal depresses further. On the instrument panel, the Hold icon also appears:
Gray icon of an "H" in a circle.

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.

Dashcam Save

When you touch the Dashcam icon, this sound indicates a recording has been saved. See Dashcam for more information.

Seat Belt Not Engaged

Front Seats:

Chimes when the vehicle detects a passenger in one of the front seats is not wearing a seat belt. You can see which occupant is not wearing a seatbelt by seeing the red seat belt icon on the touchscreen. See Seat Belts for more information.

Rear Seats:

Chimes when your vehicle detects an occupant in one of the rear seats is not wearing a seat belt.

While Charging

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.

Safety Features

Various chimes, beeps, and alarms sound when your vehicle detects a possible collision, lane departure, etc. to keep your vehicle and its occupants safe.

Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
CAUTION
Safety features are for guidance purposes only and is not intended to replace your own direct visual checks.

Forward Collision Warning

The vehicle warns you against a possible forward collision. See Collision Avoidance Assist for more information.

Lane Departure Warning

This warns you when your vehicle detects a possible lane departure. The lane marking is also highlighted on the Autopilot visualization on the touchscreen. Apply corrective steering and stay in the middle of the lane. See Lane Assist for more information.

Park Assist

This chime occurs when you attempt to park and the vehicle detects objects close by. On the touchscreen, the car status shows you approximately where the object is. See Park Assist for more information.

You are getting very close to a detected object. Proceed with caution and leave yourself enough space to safely park.

This warns that you are too close to an object. Allow yourself more space to park.

Speed Limit Warning

A chime sounds when your vehicle exceeds the detected or set speed limit. See Speed Assist for more information.

Autopilot

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Note
Depending on market region, vehicle configuration, options purchased, and software version, your vehicle may not be equipped with all Autopilot features, or the feature may not sound exactly as described in all situations.

While Autopilot features are engaged, numerous chimes may sound to draw your attention to the vehicle. See About Autopilot for more information on feature details and limitations. Pay attention to the roads and keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times in the event Autopilot becomes disengaged.

Autopilot Alerts

This sound can occur for several reasons. Look at the alerts on the touchscreen for more information.

Autopilot Unavailable

This signifies Autopilot is currently unavailable. Try enabling at a different time. See About Autopilot for more information.

Hands on Steering Wheel Now

This warns the driver to put their hands on the steering wheel, otherwise Autopilot may disengage for the safety of the passengers and other vehicles on the road. Place your hands on the steering wheel to silence the chime.

Navigate on Autopilot

You hear this sound when you enable Navigate on Autopilot (see Navigate on Autopilot) .

You hear this sound when Navigate on Autopilot is disabled.

Autosteer

Occurs when Autosteer is enabled (see Autosteer).

Occurs when Autosteer is disabled.

Traffic-Aware Cruise Control

You hear this sound when Traffic-Aware Cruise Control is enabled (see )).

You hear this sound when Traffic-Aware Cruise Control is disabled.

Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
Warning
Many unforeseen circumstances can impair the operation of Autopilot. Always keep this in mind and remember that as a result, Autopilot may not work on Model S as expected. It is your responsibility to drive attentively and be prepared to take immediate action at any time.