Windshield Crack due to structural defect?

Windshield Crack due to structural defect?

Hi everybody,

I received my TESLA model S on December the 8th, 2012 in Houston, TX. I noticed a spontaneous crack on the windshield (without any stone chips) 2 weeks ago. When I contacted the TESLA service, they said that it has apparently happened to other cars as well and it is likely due to some increased stress in the structural aluminum frame of the body which makes the windshield crack. I have yet to have the glass fixed and waiting (for the last 2 weeks)for TESLA service manager to call back to fix it. But the more important problem is that simply replacing the glass would not solve the cause of the problem. It is imperative that the structural fault needs to be addressed as well, to avoid it to be a recurring problem. I wonder if anybody else has experienced this. | 12. Februar 2013

It doesn't sound like a common problem, but a few others have encountered windshield cracking. If there is a tiny chip on the edge (beyond where you can see), it can easily be the source of a crack that appears later after heat/cooling and vibration takes it's toll.

I think other car manufactures also have similar problems on a tiny percent of vehicles. It's hard to detect before use and I think somewhat accepted by car manufacturers (as long as the occurrences are fairly low relative to units shipped).

brainsgn | 12. Februar 2013

Texas does have Lemon law. But I am waiting to see what does TESLA do to repair it AND address the issue.

Frank2, I appreciate your comment and understand what you are saying. That does not mean we should trivialise the problem, specially when it comes to a car as new as this with so few (1000+)on the road. Model S is really in a bet testing phase right now and problems should be fixed before it gets to a larger scale. It is really a saftey issue as far as I am concerned. My car is NOT drivable and sitting idle in the garage, connected to the charger for NOTHING! I would not be in a haste to say that it is a rare problem when few others have already experienced this whereas only 1000 plus of these cars have been on the road for the last 8 months. This is more than a rare problem in my opinion, having been driving myself for the last 35 years with so many different models of cars and only heard about it from others. THAT is called rare occurance, this is not.

Mel. | 12. Februar 2013

Nick, could you tell us who had it replaced 3 times? Thanks | 12. Februar 2013

I developed a crack in the windshield that was replaced about 1 week ago. So far no problem. The local service center said I was the first crack they had dealt with & they seemed to think it was "over-torquing" in the manufacture process. It is a known issue but I do not get the sense it is a widespread problem.

brainsgn | 12. Februar 2013

Thank you so much for your input. Can you please explain "over-torquing" of what exactly? I dont see how glass can be over-torqued. Is it related to structure/frame of the car? I would really like to be educated about this.

brainsgn | 12. Februar 2013

I just learnt about it a little more from the Texas forum about it. There are records of the SAME problem with others as well. Here is the link : | 12. Februar 2013

@brainsgn (neurosurg?) As I understood it the "over-torque" was installation pressure by machine at the time of manufacture. Having watched the replacement process, that explanation will not be correct if I develop another crack. My crack was 1/3 of the way up on the passenger side. My manufacture was in early December 2012.

danielccc | 12. Februar 2013

This is not a safety issue, as the windshields are laminated and cannot break.

It is clearly a quality issue though.

The first thing I saw posted here several times is that during installation on early models the robots applied force incorrectly when bonding, thus overstressing the windshield.

That sounds plausible.

A structural design issue sounds plausible as well, though less so since by all accounts the car is exceptionally rigid.

A third possibility that pops into my head, is that the car, being aluminum, has more thermal response to temperature, and that could also be stressing the glass excessively in either very high or very low temperatures, or both.

I can imagine solutions to any of these, but Tesla should issue a statement on this issue and the status of their engineering analysis. I'm sure they've done one, since this is costing the company money and time.

stevenmaifert | 13. Februar 2013

Assuming it's tempered glass, it could be a fault in the tempering process that is putting undue stress in a particular area of the windshield that is aggravated by some of the other factors mentioned in this thread.

Brian H | 13. Februar 2013

You're really working hard on your badmouthing project, ain'cha, nick? Is your disposition genetic, d'ya suppose?

Sudre_ | 13. Februar 2013

nickniketown just sounds upset because he can't afford the car..:-)

I am keeping an eye on this issue myself since I just received my car. It could be a bad batch of windshields from the vendor. If it's a car design issue it would be happening to every car.

Getting Amped Again | 13. Februar 2013

Sudre_ | FEBRUARY 13, 2013 NEW
nickniketown just sounds upset because he can't afford the car..:-)

I am keeping an eye on this issue myself since I just received my car. It could be a bad batch of windshields from the vendor. If it's a car design issue it would be happening to every car.

That's certainly possible, but most product design issues that make it into the field are "overlooked" because they involve tolerances in fit and performance that can't be adequately screened out (or found) until thousands of units are tested (or in the field). That's the biggest challenge for engineering quality into a product - you just can't assume that the performance obtained using components with nominal dimensions or performance is going to be replicated in the field when these variables range to their extreme values.

I hope it's a bad batch of windshields. That's an easy problem to fix - kick some ass Elon!

danielccc | 13. Februar 2013

Right nick, because Mercedes Benz cars never have any problems.


DECEMBER 2012 -- Mercedes-Benz is recalling certain model year 2011-2012 S400, S550, S550 4Matic, S63 AMG, C300, C300 4Matic, E350, GLK350, GLK350 4Matic, CL550 4Matic, and CL63 AMG vehicles manufactured from April 18, 2011, through July 12, 2011. Due to an irregularity stemming from the molding process of the fuel filter flange, the fuel filter flange may crack when operated in high temperatures. If the fuel filter flange cracks, it will leak fuel which may lead to a fire if anexternal ignition source in present. Mercedes-Benz will notify owners, and dealers will replace the fuel filter, free of charge. The recall campaign is expected to begin in January 2013. Owners may contact Mercedes-Benz at 1-800-367-6372. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY: 1-800-424-9153), or go to 12V-557

I´ll take a cracked widshield over a fire, but that's just me I guess.

JasonT72 | 13. Februar 2013

I had the windshield crack on my model S within 2 weeks of taking delivery as well in early November. The Fremont service guys were very good about getting it replaced, I think I was one of the first ones to have the issue. I'm happy to say now that with 5K more miles on it, the windshield is holding up and no cracks have reappeared.

With that said, I've had my windshield replaced on my old car, MB GL500 and it cracked within a week as well - and then subsequently replaced again. I don't think this is a structural issue - just a luck of the draw issue. Just my two cents...

Getting Amped Again | 13. Februar 2013

@nickniketown - I think the feedback you're getting is because most people use this forum to learn more in order to make a purchase decision, or if they are owners, gain information about issues they might be having. There's a lot of information transferred and we know TM monitors our posts, and also know they listen to our gripes and concerns.

There's two camps: those who think the Model S quality issues are the normal result of a new company making a revolutionary new vehicle, and those who think they are deal-breakers. You're in the second camp, which is cool with me. I get my S in two days and can't wait.

60 kWh,19", air, tech, sound, pearl white, gray interior, obeche matte. ;o) Woo Hoo!

scriptacus | 13. Februar 2013

@nickniketown - why are you still here? If you have no interest in purchasing for the next 2 years, why not go do something more productive with your time instead of spreading FUD. Is posting 3rd hand accounts about cracked windshields doing anyone any good? The sad part is your statement isn't even correct. The 3rd hand account had her windshield replaced twice, not 3 times as you stated. Sh*t happens. Go read the TMC posts... I have yet to see a firsthand report of this issue happening more than once.

Sudre_ | 13. Februar 2013

Because he can't afford it and he just wants to whine about it here. There is more to affording a car than just the initial purchase.... guess the guy never got married either.

mw | 13. Februar 2013

I think most early adopters know that there will be issues and they are willing to deal with a less than perfect car cuz they are getting it ahead of 99% of the car buying public. Obviously, if MB had a recall they aren't producing perfect cars either. Anything touched by humans will be less than perfect. Mistakes happen; that's life. It's how you deal with it that sets you apart. As of right now my Sig Vin 211 has 5,593 miles on it. Yes I have had issues, but Tesla has or is addressing all of them. Going to the service center tomorrow morning for a repair. Every car I have owned has needed a repair at one time or another within the warrenty period. Doesn't change the size of my Tesla grin when I am driving my car! I will never go back to gas and I plan to have my Tesla for 20 or 30 years... battery changes and all!

DouglasR | 13. Februar 2013

@Getting Amped Soon

"I get my S in two days and can't wait."

By golly, you really are Getting Amped Soon!

Getting Amped Again | 13. Februar 2013

Yes. I will be Got Amped from then on!

DouglasR | 13. Februar 2013

Couldn't you be Got Amped Recently for at least a couple of weeks?

Getting Amped Again | 13. Februar 2013

Yes I think I will do that. Thanks for the suggestion!

Brian H | 13. Februar 2013

nicknike has yet to experience a recall -- just like the vast majority of Model S purchasers. In fact, there has never been a "recall" of the MS, though early Roadsters had one.

But "it's not perfect yet." Why he thinks perfection is necessary or achievable is hard to say. Maybe feels that's the least he deserves. Talk about "perfection being the enemy of the good"! In this case, the superb.

ViewAskew | 14. Februar 2013

I received my S in December. I've been driving it with only MINOR issues that aren't so much the vehicle, just life. (if that makes sense) 2 days ago my windshield cracked at the lower passenger side. (started from the edge) I'm sure it's not "rock/chip" related as it didn't happen until after I was parked. I went inside a store, came out after 35-40 minutes and it was there. I just contacted Tesla so I'll have to see what's said. Based on what I've read on the forums and what I know of the build process I do feel it's an issue with the S.

That being said... I can't imagine owning another vehicle. Every time I step inside I'm reminded of the value of my dollar. Each drive reasures me that this is the future and I'm driving it now. The smile on my wife's face as she cruises along and talks about getting her X makes any issue melt away. The S would have to catch fire at this point to make me regret it. (and even then I'd probably write that off and get another)

Kauai | 14. Februar 2013

I have also had windshield replaced twice. Original window cracked while in for other service so it was replaced before I even saw it.
Replacement windshield cracked on the lower right hand side. The crack was nearly identical to one posted in a photo on the other forum. Both were replaced under warranty at the same time as other service items so I was not inconvenienced. It is an early Signature model so it might be an early production problem, but frankly I don't care. I have other high end cars with nearly flawless reliability, but they can't touch the overall performance and driver interface of the Model S in its beta version.

How good is the car? We just ordered another one for my "late adopter" wife who seems to have tired of her top of the line Lexus, and who can't seem to get behind the wheel of my Tesla ;)

Brian H | 14. Februar 2013

Is the driver's seat always clogged with your butt?

Oh, well. The res-delivery gap is now down to about 3 months, so she won't have to cultivate saintly patience like so many here have. O8-)

Kauai | 15. Februar 2013

@Brian H

How did you guess ;)

How well I remember my wife's incredulity that I would put down a deposit, years in advance for a "then" non-existent car based just on its engineering potential. I almost can't process how she will squeeze a couple of years of daily Tesla forum obsession into the few short months before her car arrives... LOL!

On a related note, I have seriously thought about moving beyond the ideal of working from "home" to working from my "Tesla". Imagine conference calls while carving through the hills full throttle...

Brian H | 15. Februar 2013

Warning, most people think they can multi-task far better than they actually can. Steering etc. uses the SAME brain circuitry as conversing. So you're likely to either talk or drive like an idiot (half your current IQ) or both. >;p

DouglasJ | 17. Februar 2013

My Model S arrived from Fremont with a cracked windshield, which was replaced by Tesla. It did delay my delivery by a week, but it was worth the wait. What a wonderful car!

My primary issue with the windshield is my inability to use transponders. I use a transponder to access my community and a different one to access the toll roads. Neither transponders work, even in the small space to the right of the mirror.

Again, worth the trouble as I love this car. | 17. Februar 2013

DouglasJ-- I had to go to a clear motorcycle sticker at the bottom of my front left headlight. My EZ Pass toll road transponder did not work through the S windshield.

Stgwbrown | 24. Februar 2013

Today noticed in my 2 week old MS a crack on the passenger side window - ouch!!

bsimoes | 24. Februar 2013

Okay, so my car has apparently been built, and I will probably also have to deal with a cracked windshield. Is this something that rangers can do, or will I need to take a few days from work to drive to Boston and back? ...Say nothing of the expense of a place to stay and having to get meals on the road. I am starting to get really miffed about the silence around this issue and others.

On another thread, someone was talking about snow getting caught up in the wheel well and actually pulling the metal apart, to the point that he thought that someone had hit his car. Upon closer inspection, he said that the inside construction of the wheel well was made from a material similar to felt. I live in snow country; this is so not cool.

MonkeyLice | 03. Juli 2013

Well, looks like I'm a lucky windshield crack person now too. This one was possibly started by a small rock (small enough that it was heard but not seen) but the impact probably shouldn't have caused any damage given its very small size. Disappointing.

negarholger | 03. Juli 2013

@MonkeyLice - my last ICE had four stone cracked windshields the first year. Then 12 years not a single stone. And as my luck in the first week having the MS a stone out of nowhere cracked the windshield. I think it is beginners luck.

justineet | 03. Juli 2013

Hey nicki....ur ICE buddies at GM just few weeks ago recalled millions of cars for potential gas tank explosions.....please make sure to avoid these vehicles......thinking for ur well being buddy.....BTW just recently I saw a brand new ICE car with wind shield crack...I asked the owner what happened....she told me it got hit by a tiny pebble causing about 8 inches of crack...and she told me neither her insurance nor her warranty would cover the cost to fix it..........just to let u know buddy....nicki....

AmpedRealtor | 03. Juli 2013

@ nickniketown, when a rock hits a windshield it tends to crack. I'm sure you have a basic grasp of how things work in the world, don't you? I've gone through two windshields already this year - one each on my Highlander and Prius. The Highlander now needs another one, thanks to all the debris on the freeways and the big rigs that populate them.

So yah, give me a break!

negarholger | 03. Juli 2013

AmpedRealtor - NNT is a lost cause... just ignore.