I defeated the car rattle!

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, October 11, 2022, 8:53 PM | comments: 0

It was a year and eight months ago that I drove our Model Y home. On that drive home, I immediately noticed that there was a rattle somewhere. At the time, I figured it was just something minor, but I spent the better part of the next month trying to figure out what it was. It was hard to figure out where it was coming from, and I had seen some anecdotal evidence that it was in the backseat headrest or the back belt buckles. So I added some felt pads and rubber pieces to minimize potential noise, since they were easy to get to. Unfortunately, it was not those things.

Tesla has had a lot of issues with fit and finish problems. By the time we got our Model S in 2015, they seemed to have worked all of that out. Even if they hadn't, in those days, they weren't doing the kind of volume that would get in the way of getting adjustments. When we replaced it with the Model 3 in 2018, there were no big issues on that one either. Again, maybe they had time to work it out. The Model Y in February 2021, replacing the totaled Nissan Leaf, had a really badly aligned front fender, and I got that fixed. The rattle, I never had them look at. And I'm not gonna lie, it was disappointing and I wasn't enjoying the car the way I did the other ones.

Eventually I just tried to make sure the music drowned out the rattle, but I kind of enjoy the silence and quiet of driving an EV at times. That whine that the motors make is fun. It reminds me of a launched roller coaster. And here's the worst part of it: In that first month, I found a couple of videos from a guy who fixed a rattle in the seatbelt buckle in his Model 3, then later fixed one in the plastic pieces in the same spot on his Model Y. I even bought felt tape then. It has been sitting on my desk ever since then.

The other day, we were all going somewhere and it started to rattle louder than ever. I realized how much time has passed, and I was pretty annoyed with myself that I didn't try to remedy it.

Today was the day.

I couldn't tell for sure what was rattling in the column, but wiggling it definitely made some noise. When I got the panel off, there were already bits of felt tape in the plastic, so they knew this was a problem. But the bits of tape weren't in the places that knocked against each other. So I added quite a bit in the plastic where I could see potential for noise. It's not structural, it's all decoration. I also put a few little pieces around the buckle, which necessarily has a little play around a screw. As I put the panel back in place, I noticed the one below wasn't seated that well, so the truth is that pushing that one on and putting the other one back on might have bee the thing that fixed it.

Twenty months, and I had the solution.


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