The Tesla humming noise is a common issue shared widely by electric car owners. Essentially, both Tesla Model X and Model Y produce a moderate ticking or humming noise when parked.
This mostly happens during a hot day from the car’s front near close to the trunk. You will hear the humming sound after parking the Tesla Model Y after a long drive. This article interrogates and provides answers to why your Tesla is making a humming noise even when not charging.
Why Is My Tesla Making A Humming Noise?
1. The Vehicle is Cooling its Battery and Cabin
Tesla cars are likely to produce a humming, whooshing, or whirring sound when parked. This mostly happens when your car is cooling its battery to achieve the required temperature.
It also shows that the car’s air conditioning compressor is engaged to lower the cabin’s temperature. The humming sound implies that your car’s climate system is working extra hard to meet your vehicle’s full cooling demand. As such, the volume and intensity of the humming sound will lower once the optimal air status has been reached.
Your Tesla car may also hum while driving. Just like in parking, the car’s cooling system works hard to meet the cabin’s preferred temperature requirements. This is especially the case when driving on a very hot or cold day.
When the optimum cabin temperature is achieved, the climate system of your car will stop pumping. Consequently, the humming sound will reduce.
The primary coolant pump of your Tesla car produces a humming sound as it meets the cooling demands of your car. These sounds can be alarming because of your knowledge of internal combustion engines.
In most cases, drivers are told to look out for unusual sounds coming from the internal combustion engine. However, this should not be the case for electric vehicles. Unlike traditional cars, electric vehicles use lithium-ion battery packs to power the car.
These batteries need to be cooled to achieve the desired battery efficiency. Lowering the battery temperature protects them from degradation and overheating.
Tesla’s desired temperature is 22°C or 72°F. It takes time for your car to achieve this temperature. It is through this mechanism that the Tesla vehicle is able to cover a significantly long distance on a single charge while maintaining great battery performance.
2. Mechanical Problem
Humming noise resulting from a mechanical problem is rare on Tesla cars. However, it is possible that your car hums due to a mechanical issue. These issues include bearing wear, wheel bearing issues, problematic braking systems, suspension, and drive train issues.
Bearings are used all over the Tesla cars to facilitate rotation. When these bearings wear out over time, they increase friction in moving parts resulting in an unpleasant humming noise. This is especially the case in wheels and electric motors.
Wheel bearings on Tesla wear and tear over time. When this happens, the worn-out wheel bearings may produce a humming noise as you accelerate the car. If this is the main cause of the humming noise in your Tesla car, you need to take it to the nearest Tesla service center for it to be fixed.
Faulty suspension components in the Tesla car may also result in a humming sound. Suspension parts like ball joints, bushings, and control arms cause the car to vibrate leading to the production of a humming sound.
3. Electric Motor Noise
Unlike traditional cars, Tesla vehicles have drive trains that use electric motors to achieve mobility. These electric motors have magnets and coils that work hand in hand to produce rotational motion.
A magnetic field is created when an electric current passes through the coils. This magnetic field interacts with the magnets in the electric motor causing the motor’s rotor to spin. In the process, there is the production of a soft humming sound.
This noise is then compounded by inverter sound. The inverter in the electric motor converts DC (Direct Current) to AC (Alternating Current). The DC current is supplied by the car’s battery. Since this current can not be used as it is by the motor, it is converted into AC current which is readily used by the motor.
Typically, a converter has multiple electric components like capacitors and transistors. These components control the flow of electricity. Consequently, they might produce noises that compound the humming noise in your Tesla vehicle.
Finally, the electric motor might produce humming noise as a result of regenerative braking. This is a feature in Tesla vehicles whereby the electric motor in your vehicle works like a generator to recover energy produced during deceleration.
Essentially, when you break your car, the electric motors work in reverse to convert the kinetic energy produced by the car back to electrical energy. This process results in a humming noise that is distinctively noticeable as you lift off your accelerator pedal.
4. Aerodynamic Noise
Tesla’s car design leverages aerodynamics to increase efficiency and minimize energy consumption. This allows the car’s battery to last long on a single charge. But this streamlined design might cause air to wrap around the car resulting in a humming sound. This can happen in various ways.
For starters, the Tesla car disturbs the air as it moves causing fluctuations in the air pressure surrounding the car’s body. This causes turbulent airflow which consequently produces a humming and whistling noise.
Second, you might hear a humming sound due to boundary layer separation. Essentially, as air flows on the surface of the car, it adheres closely to the car’s body because of the boundary layer.
But in rare cases like a sudden increase in speed or quick changes to the car’s body shape, this boundary layer might separate from your car’s surface. This separation might result in the production of a humming noise by your Tesla car.
The third is wind resistance. Tesla cars are designed to reduce drag or wind resistance to increase range and efficiency. Even so, the car still experiences some level of resistance. As your car’s surface interacts with the air flowing over it, there could be a production of humming sound.
Lastly, your Tesla car mirrors can be a source of a humming sound as you drive the car at high speeds. When air flows over the side mirrors, it creates turbulence which causes a humming sound.
5. The Car is Simply Doing the Work it is Supposed to be Doing
If you have driven a car with an internal combustion engine, you probably are afraid of car noises. In most cases, such cars signify an underlying mechanical problem.
This added to the fact that Tesla’s electric vehicle is widely sold to customers as a very silent car, that can scare you when you hear noises. However, the humming noise in Tesla cars is perfectly normal.
The car will produce this sound as it performs its normal functions. For instance, when the car’s coolant pump engages to cool the drivetrain and battery, it produces a humming sound. Just like your laptop’s fan or home fan, the coolant pump produces a soft humming sound as it performs its function.
However, take keen notice of the volume, intensity, and duration of the humming sound. If it is louder than usual or worryingly intense, you should take your car to a Tesla Service Center for diagnosis and fix.
The humming noise in your Tesla car might seem intense because of the car’s extraordinary silence. If the car was slightly louder, you wouldn’t be able to hear the cooling pump work. However, due to the car’s efficient system and silence, you can hear how the vehicle’s components work.
Since most electric vehicles and Tesla car drives are trained to drive internal combustion engines, they take keen notice of sounds. These drivers were taught to take notice of sounds as a signal of an underlying car problem. Therefore, any slight noise coming from the Tesla car’s normal functioning is perceived as a problem.
My Thoughts on The Humming Noise
All models of Tesla produce a humming sound. This is expected because of the inner workings of the car’s systems. You are likely to hear this sound when the car is parked or as your drive your Tesla car.
However, the humming sound should not be louder than normal or last longer than it should. If it does, it could be an indication of an underlying problem with your car. It could be a mechanical issue or a wheel-bearing problem.
In this case, you need to take your Tesla car to a Tesla service center for diagnosis and fix.
If you are a new owner of a Tesla and are confused by the sounds your car is making, it is prudent for you to join Tesla or electric vehicle forums online to learn from your fellow Tesla car owners. You will pick a few things that will help you live better with your car.