The Model X was Tesla’s first SUV when it was released in 2017.
It’s extremely quick yet very practical and family-friendly.
As new EV rivals enter the market, it’s still able to stand out with its cutting-edge tech and fancy falcon-wing doors.
In this article we’ll take a detailed look at the most common problems and issues of the Tesla Model X.
1. Suspension Issues
According to Car Problem Zoo, a website that collects customer complaints, suspension failure is the most commonly reported issue for the Model X.
Many Model X owners have complained about constant creaking or clunking noises coming from the front suspension.
A more concerning issue is when the suspension control arms fracture and shear off the ball joints that they’re connected to.
Here is what one owner had to say about their experience:
“Driving the vehicle in a parking lot and at low speed turning the wheel, heard a loud pop and the front driver’s side wheel started hitting the wheel well. No warning signs or lights came on. After looking under the car a control arm snapped. I am very surprised this could happen at normal use at low speeds.”
Control arm failures are a common issue with the Model S which the X shares many parts with. It usually affects Model Xs made from 2015 to 2017 which is before Tesla updated some of the suspension components.
Another common point of failure is the Model X’s air suspension system.
Issues with the air suspension can include:
- Uneven ride height
- Sloppy handling
- Getting stuck in the lowest position
- Complete failure of the air spring
The noises from the front suspension are usually caused by faulty or worn-out control arms or a damaged air spring.
The cost of the parts depends on the severity of the issue. Individual suspension components should only cost a couple hundred dollars. But it can add up quickly if you need to replace a lot of parts.
2. Vibration or Shudder During Acceleration
Vibration or shuddering from the front of the vehicle is a pretty well-known problem with the Model X.
The vibration usually only appears when the ride height is set higher, but as the problem gets worse, it can be felt even in the ‘Standard’ or “Low’ suspension setting.
Although Tesla has issued several Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) to address this issue, we’ve seen it being reported on early builds from 2015 all the way up to the 2021 cars.
Here is what one owner had to say:
“I had my car for almost 12 months and have driven 11,000 miles. In the past one month, I started experiencing a violent shudder/vibration during initial acceleration between 30 to 40mph.”
The shuddering is usually caused by a defective half shaft, which connects the drivetrain to the wheels.
Some people have already had multiple half shaft replacements because the issue keeps coming back.
Another possible culprit is a poorly designed clevis mount which is the subject of a couple of service bulletins.
There’s no conclusive fix as of yet since people with newer vehicles are still reporting the issue.
3. MCU (Media Control Unit) Failure
All Model Xs made before April 2018 use the first generation Media Control Unit or MCU1 which is the computer that runs the infotainment system and the center touchscreen.
These first gen units are prone to failure because of the small 8GB eMMC flash memory that they use.
Over time, and after numerous reads and writes, the memory chip simply stops working and causes all kinds of software errors such as:
- Dash and touchscreen won’t turn on
- Frequent reboots
- Slow and unresponsive user interface
- Bluetooth connection issues
- Failed software updates
Here is what one owner had to say about their issue:
“The continued Tesla MCU problem. Got bad with system crashing and screens going blank, then finally got the Tesla eMMC memory fix and all was good the last year or so. Then in the last several weeks, it occurred 4 times and I made a service appointment. Tech cleared the drive and said all would be good. Two days later it occurred again. MCU crashed again.”
When the MCU’s starts acting up, it has to be completely replaced since the memory chip is soldered onto the board.
You can replace it with another MCU1 computer, but the issue will happen again since it’s still using the same type of memory.
Upgrading to the MCU2 computer will be more expensive but is a more permanent fix. It’s also going to be faster and will have more software features compared to the older unit.
4. Falcon Wing Door Problems
Although the Model X’s Falcon Wing Doors (FWD) are really cool and unique, they’re also significantly more complicated compared to a regular car door.
Here are some of the common issues that people have reported with the Model X’s FWD:
- Poor alignment
- Squeaks and creaks when opening and closing
- Not fully opening
- Opening or closing by itself
- Water leaks
- Wind noise
- Paint peeling off door jambs
More FWD issues occur with the early model years, but due to the numerous parts and systems involved just to make them work, even newer cars will eventually encounter problems.
Model Xs from 2017 onwards did get new FWD seals which should lessen leaks and wind noise.
The Model X Falcon Wing Doors use lots of different parts and components like motors, sensors, springs, hinges and seals which can fail due to wear and tear.
If you encounter issues with your FWDs, it’s best to take it to a service center or an experienced tech.
The good news is that the doors are designed to be serviceable and you’ll probably only have to pay for a couple of small parts, unless the door itself is severely damaged and has to be replaced.
5. Yellow Border on Touchscreen
The Model X touchscreen display has a widespread issue where it eventually starts yellowing around its borders.
It’s caused by the glue used in the display panel itself which gets worse over time and when it’s exposed to heat.
The discoloration is inevitable and will eventually happen to all Model X displays over time.
The Model X uses the same touchscreen as the Model S where this issue is pretty well documented.
The Model S display also tends to form visible air bubbles over time, but this isn’t as common in the Model X.
Tesla service centers can get rid of the yellow border on the touchscreen using a UV treatment device.
Some owners have reported that this treatment sometimes doesn’t get rid of the yellowing completely, but it does make it significantly lighter.
You can also get the entire screen replaced, but it will be significantly more expensive.
Upgrading from the MCU1 to the MCU2 infotainment system is also a good option, because it comes with a brand new touchscreen as well.
6. Panel Gap and Paint Issues
Although Tesla has been making the Model X for several years, it still hasn’t completely worked out all the build quality issues.
Even new cars that have just rolled off the line are not free from minor defects such as:
- Poor body panel fitment causing inconsistent panel gaps
- Low quality paint jobs
- Leaky seals and weather stripping
- Random creaks and rattles
- Door and window alignment issues
These build quality issues are minor annoyances at most and shouldn’t affect the car’s overall driveability or reliability.
Of course, build quality and refinement in the newer cars is much better than what you’ll see in the early production cars, but it still could be better especially when you consider its price.
The best way to deal with these build quality issues is during the delivery process which is when you should inspect the vehicle inside and out before to make sure it meets your expectations.
You can always take it back to the service center if you find new issues along the way, but that would mean you won’t be able to use the car for some time, especially if it needs a respray.
Minor issues can usually be handled by a mobile tech as long as they have replacement parts on hand.
All this should be done while the vehicle is still under warranty so it shouldn’t cost you anything aside from your time.
Number of Reported Problems By Model Year
|Tesla Model X|
Source: Car Problem Zoo
Tesla Model X Pros and Cons
If you’re considering a Tesla Model X as your next car you might be wondering what its strengths and weaknesses are…
- Extremely quick acceleration
- Third-row seating
- Great for long-range driving
- Access to Tesla Supercharger network
- Expensive compared to rivals
- Build quality issues and overall refinement
- Falcon Wing Doors add unnecessary complexity
- Vehicle controls are all on the touchscreen
Tesla Model X Reliability Compared to Similar Cars
Consumer Reports rankings detailed below is based on the model’s newest three years, the Tesla Model X sits at the bottom, with a poor score of 5/100.
|Make & Model||Consumer ReportsReliability Score|
|Lexus RX L||76|
|Land Rover Defender||25|
|Land Rover Discovery||25|
|Land Rover Range Rover Sport||25|
|Tesla Model X||5|
Source: Consumer Reports
Tesla Model X Used Value
We’ve taken a look on Car Gurus to gauge the resale value of a Tesla Model X, below are typical asking prices for each model year.
According to Car Edge, a Tesla Model X will depreciate 29% after 5 years and have a 5 year resale value of $79,566.
Note: Used model prices will vary depending on trim level.
|Model Year||Mileage (miles)||Resale Price|
Source: Car Gurus
What Do Owners Like and Dislike About the Tesla Model X?
Based on owner feedback from the Kelley Blue Book site here are what real-life owners love and hate about the Tesla Model X.
- Smart Reliable
- Safe to drive
- Fast acceleration
- Hard to repair
- Loud engine
- Staggered wheels
“So far best car ever. I’m an auto mechanic & I know electric cars will eventually take my job away but can’t really hate on the beauty & reliability of this car. This is the future.”
Source: Kelley Blue Book
“Car of the future meets AI voice systems and blows away any competition. Enable VoiceAdmins and have your calls taken while you drive!!”
Source: Kelley Blue Book
“This car is amazing! I love that it’s fully electric and how smooth everything is. Much better than the previous model x.”
How Reliable Are Tesla Cars?
Tesla sits at the bottom of Consumer Reports reliability chart with a score of 25/100.
Source: Consumer Reports