Build Quality?

Build Quality?

I'm a "car guy" - i.e. cars are not just transportation. They are living, breathing art objects. I was at a "cars & coffee" event recently, and was talking to an acquaintance when I mentioned that I was a M3 waiter. He told me about a friend of his, another car guy/collector who bought a MS three years ago, and loved it. He claimed it was a great car, but now 3 years later, it is a piece of junk, almost literally falling apart. From the description, it sounded kind of like the "planned obsolescence" of the last generations of American cars.

In "the old days", Mercedes had the reputation of building bank vaults. They would go 200,000 miles with nary a squeak or rattle. Now they build to a price point, and they get some winners and some losers. I believe the ideas and basic engineering concepts of the Tesla are great.

But, finally my questions to you S owners with three or more years ownership - Were build quality engineering and materials cut 'somewhat' to ease construction? Is your MS suffering from premature ageing?

Beagle | 08. Dezember 2017

New thread

carlk | 08. Dezember 2017

Tesla does build every car with planned obsolescence in mind. It was planned for the obsolescence of all other cars.

Mathew98 | 08. Dezember 2017

You didn't ask the big honcho who whipped around the country or three in his MS. His only visited over 400 superchargers and racked up 160,000+ miles in the last four years or so.

Don't tell him his Tesla can't hit 300K miles in the next year or two.

A friend of a friend of a friend also informed me that I'm the biggest eff'ing deal she has even seen. Take it for what it's worth...

kawdennis | 08. Dezember 2017

I bought my new Tesla P85 in September 2013, I love the car and every time I drive it makes me happy, but to be real honest my Tesla is like a girl friend I once had —The sex was out of this world but she hated me, we fought all the time but she wanted to jump in bed all the time also

Haggy | 08. Dezember 2017

I read something similar to this somewhere else. The only thing I can't figure out is what this has to do with reality. I have a three year old Tesla with above average mileage and it's hard to tell it from new, as long as I wash it. The obvious difference is that Tesla changed the fascia but somebody who didn't know that might ask me if it's new.

KBB shows the value of used Teslas and if I look mine up but change the mileage to 100,000, the value does drop by about $11,000 so there does seem to be a lower accepted price for higher mileage cars. But I live near Fremont where Tesla is a very common car on the road and I simply never see old looking or beat up ones anywhere. Most that are three years old are still under full warranty. The customer satisfaction rate is still the highest for any vehicle, which would not be the case if they fell apart after three years, and if they did, this forum would be full of threads from angry owners. Yet the only ones who make such claims are people who don't own the car.

Aside from the perception, the reality is that my car hasn't lost range in the past couple of years so the battery is fine. Wear and tear isn't a real issue on the drive train. Earlier ones did have bearings that potentially became noisy over time, and when they happened, Tesla swapped them out for ones that meet a newer spec. The reality is that I have a 2016 spec drive train with about 12,000 miles on it, and anybody else with the same model who hasn't had a drive train swap has a warranty with five years remaining if it's a three year old car. I have no mileage cap on that warranty either, and the same is true for the battery.

As for Mercedes, they used to have a reputation for reliability. But you have to consider what that meant. Back in the 1960s, it was a given that your car would break down. It was a question of how often it might not start up. Mercedes simply broke down a lot less often, but by that standard is was orders of magnitude worse than new cars of today. If you are talking about a three year old car, Consumer Reports rates the reliability of the 2015 Model S at 4/5 (above average) and the Mercedes S class at 1/5 (well below average.) Which would you rather have?

RandallKeith | 08. Dezember 2017

You can look at it, sit in it, talk about it, think about it, you won’t understand until you drive it. This isn’t a car it’s a magic carpet spaceship sort of thing.

achilles992000 | 08. Dezember 2017

i can only speak for my 2015 Model S with 34,500 miles.
i had one suspension problem which Tesla fixed in under 2 hours under warranty.
i changed the tires at 30k.
i changed one wiper blade.
battery is at 235 fully charged on dual motor.
i have not rotated any tires.
i had a few squeaks but they disappeared on their own.
safety inspection and vehicle emissions test are cheaper and take less time.
i have the Tesla tire inflator so i inflated the tires due to cold weather.

jordanrichard | 09. Dezember 2017

Beagle, ummmm, no. These cars do not just fall apart. There is a lot missing from the story your friend is re-telling about his friends situation. I took delivery of my car in March 2014 and now have 101,000 miles and it completely baffles people when I tell them that. They all think it is brand new.

With regard to the perceived Mercedes “vault” like quality. All of that “solid” feel in Mercedes doors was 100% from having stiff door checks and large amount of sound deadening. I once had a Merceds 380SL and I needed to remove the door check to do some work inside the door frame. With the check removed, that door had a light as a feather feel to it and took no effort at all to close the door.

Captain_Zap | 09. Dezember 2017

My 5 year old Model S feels like new.

rdr1rx | 09. Dezember 2017

Go into your purchase knowing this and you won't be disappointed in the car's fair build/assembly quality: the VIN doesn't start with a J or W. Yet I *still* love my misaligned panel-gapped, spotty orange-peel painted, rattle-box S75! | 09. Dezember 2017

My four year S looked like new when I sold it. Paint and panel alignment was excellent. Never stranded me either. I had one minor creak about a year in, which service fixed, and it never came back. Even took it regularly on a 1/4 mile dirt/gravel road to my brothers house. I replaced it with another S, to get the AP tech that didn't exist when I bought the first S and a larger battery. Zero problems on my new S after a full year.

Some owners see a panel alignment errors where none exists. For example, in the pre-refresh S, the front hood between the headlights looks perfect from most angles, but you can lean down to the side, and it looks a bit off. It really isn't.

avesraggiana | 09. Dezember 2017

Our S75D came with three minor cosmetic defects - an out-of-centre steering wheel hub, a misaligned chrome door trim piece, and a door dimple, problably sustained during transport from the factory. All quickly fixed in one afternoon. The car has been driving like a rolling bank vault ever since. Nary a squeak or a rattle. We took delivery in March this year.

Our very recently acquired X100D came with ZERO cosmetic defects. Or so I loudly several days ago, in late November. I finally found one - the interior upholstery trim at the base of the window on the left falcon wing door has an ever-so-slight, gentle rise in the middle, compared to the one on the right. It might just irk me enough for me to take it in and “fix” it.

Oh, wait. You asked about cars three years and older. Sorry, will report back in two years and three months.

avesraggiana | 09. Dezember 2017

My material point is that fleet wide, year over year, there have been several, notable improvements in build quality and fit and finish.

On that much Tesla owners old and new can agree.

carlk | 09. Dezember 2017

I sent my 4 year old 49K mile P85+ to the last annual service before warrenty expires. When the service rep asked me if there's any issue the only thing I could come up was the window washer spray is not even. The car is no different than when it was brand new.

barrykmd | 09. Dezember 2017

carlk | December 9, 2017
I sent my 4 year old 49K mile P85+ to the last annual service

Does this mean it responds to verbal commands, or one of your servants took it in?

tvprier | 09. Dezember 2017

MS 85 from sept 2014. My car is fine. No issues. I think your friend is full of shit.

Haggy | 09. Dezember 2017

MS from September 2014. It has had issues, although none that ever stopped me from using the car or stopped it from working. Despite that, it's better than new. I've never had another car I could say that about.

Run4Waffles | 09. Dezember 2017

@Beagle - can you provide the laundry list of things that cause it to be “it is a piece of junk, almost literally falling apart”?

I’ve only been here for 2 years. Our Dec ‘15 S85D has 55,000 miles on it. I had one issue where they replaced the hood latch. This is the first time I’ve heard something so drastic.

8year, INFINITE mile warranty on the battery and drive train.

Are you there?

Where is he located? How many miles are on the car? What kind of roads does he drive on? The logging roads of Maine by chance? What has he had for other cars? Did he run into the same kinds of problems?

dborn | 09. Dezember 2017

Sept MS 85signature. 45000 km (not miles). New drivetrain for noise. New centre screen because it died. Loose hub nuts. Steering needing a shim and retorquing for clicking/clunking. Sunroof was sticking and recently leaking. New seal and a build up at the rear to fix. All fixed under warranty, but concerning me is the number of major components that seem to work loose and need retorquing. I have never had that on any previous car of any make. Love the car, and love driving it, but have to wonder if the specs for these critical parts have changed over time.

dborn | 09. Dezember 2017

Sept 2014

Beagle | 10. Dezember 2017

I thank all of you for your comments, (except for the comment about a complete stranger being full of 'it').

dougpy | 27. September 2019

My 2012 S 85 is solid with 44K mi charges to 251. What very little service it's had has been amazing.

Quality feels very good. Perhaps because it's one of the first 1400 cars off the line, but I have nothing to base this on.

Should I not buy a 2015 S 85D??