Electric Vehicle Maintenance: Tesla Model 3/Y Rear Knuckle Bushing Replacement

At southern Alberta’s destination for electric vehicle service, we welcome quite a few Tesla vehicles to our shop every year, including the popular Model 3 and Model Y. These have proven to be fantastic cars, but like every vehicle, they’re not without their issues. After inspecting hundreds of these cars at various mileages, we’ve identified a common failure part in the rear suspension: the upper knuckle bushings.

Tesla rear knuckle bushing

These bushings are pressed into the rear spindles/knuckles and serve as the attachment point for the upper control arm. The bushings contain a pivoting ball socket that allows for movement as the suspension travels up and down. Over time, this ball socket wears and the bushings develop play; another word for looseness or internal clearance inside the part. This extra clearance allows the rear wheel to lean inward at the top – also called negative camber – further exacerbating the inner edge tire wear that the Model 3 and Y are already known for. It’s not uncommon to see play in these bushings at fairly low mileage, sometimes as low as 80,000 kilometres. A tiny bit of movement is okay, but more movement means the bushings need to be replaced.

How to Check Tesla Model 3/Y Rear Knuckle Bushings

To inspect your rear knuckle bushings, follow these steps:

  • To check these bushings correctly, your rear wheel must be off the ground but the suspension loaded at ride height. This means you’ll have to support the vehicle from underneath the lower control arm. It’s best to remove the plastic control arm splash shield before you do this, but a correctly-sized rubber pad will also allow jacking under the arm without damaging the shield.
  • With your Tesla correctly and safely supported, grasp the rear tire with one hand at the bottom of the tire and the other hand at the top.
  • Firmly rock the tire in and out, almost like you’re trying to wiggle the wheel loose from the car. You should not feel any movement; the wheel should feel securely fixed.
  • If you feel any movement, it’s likely that your rear upper knuckle bushings are worn and loose.

The Parts Conundrum

Sadly, Tesla does not sell these bushings separately and only offers them as part of a complete knuckle assembly, like this one:

Tesla rear suspension knuckle

To make matters worse, Tesla has updated the rear knuckle design so the replacement part will not fit 2022 and older Model 3 vehicles without replacing one of the control arms as well. This makes for an exceedingly costly repair.

Tesla repair in Airdrie

The Solution

In order to offer our Tesla clients a longer-lasting and more affordable repair option, My Garage now carries aftermarket replacement knuckle bushings for the Model 3 and Model Y; a Canadian first. These upgraded bushings feature steel-on-steel pillow ball construction, designed to last longer than the original Tesla part.

Tesla repair in Alberta

We keep these bushings in stock and would be happy to install them for you! After removing your old knuckle bushings, we will press in the new ones and then finish off the repair with a meticulous wheel alignment. Your Tesla will be returned to you cleaner than when it arrived and driving like new.

If you value quality and pride in workmanship, you’ll appreciate our caring, non-commission technicians’ attention to detail. Best of all, we’ll back your knuckle bushing replacement with our industry-best 3 year/100,000 km parts and service warranty.

Tesla wheel alignment