Model 3

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Cloudy Chrome Advice?

edited August 2019 in Model 3
Noticed about a month ago one area of chrome trim surrounding back windows is clouding up, on both sides of the car. Wondering about a few things:

1. its not really uniform. in other words, its not happening to the other pieces, and so should i ask to have replaced? my 3 is 8 months old, 7500 mi, garaged daily, but sits outside during work.
2. in interim, or perhaps instead of having replaced, are there any recommended products that work well to clean them back up?
3. anybody else experience this with their 3? I did quick search and hadn't noticed so I'm thinking its a relatively unique experience.

pics here.

thanks in advance for advice.


  • edited August 2019
    Following this. I noticed some "cloudlyness" on one area of trim as well. Oxidation?
  • edited November -1
    Oxidation Makes sense. But primarily one piece and inside of 6-8 months seems like maybe they had some bad pieces of trim. I’m sure they’ll do the right thing. I plan to call and see what they say and will report back.
  • edited August 2019
    @terry.k.morrow +1
  • edited August 2019
    Brasso? Last resort I don’t know what that would do to chrome.
  • edited August 2019
    I vaguely recollect that we used to clean chrome bumpers using aluminium foil dipped in coca-cola
  • edited August 2019
    chrome? those trim pieces are plastic, aren’t they?
  • edited August 2019
    Don't think the trim is "chromed". Could be polished metal of some time that has since oxidized.
  • Any update on this? We have the same problem with our Tesla and Tesla Service said it's not covered. They are blaming it on using a Touchless car wash even though the manual says to only use Touchless car wash.
  • edited November 2019
    Is there cloudiness on the entire trim? Or just on some parts?
  • edited January 2020
    I had this problem. Both rear quarter windows became cloudy over time after using touch less car wash. The rest of the window trim was a little oxidized but not like the back windows. Tesla replaces all the trim for free. But a couple months later the same thing started to happen again. So I just covered the trim with black vinyl. I may go back to Tesla again for another replacement.
  • edited January 2020
    Isn't the trim Stainless? Have you tried Semi Chrome? if really stubborn, try Easy Off Oven Cleaner. (Don't get it on the paint). Used to use Easy Off on blued chromed m/c exhausts. Only thing that would clean them. Chrome cleaner had no effect. However... do be sure they aren't "chromed plastic".
  • edited November -1
    I was going to suggest checking to see if the trim has protective plastic on it that didn't get removed during production/delivery...
  • edited January 2020
    It's not a huge problem, but a bit annoying. I have the same issue with my 13 month old 2018 Model 3 with 26,000 miles. Discolored chrome on all window trim, which I pictured here:
    but chrome on the side view mirrors arms is fine. Only touchless washing. Also told by Tesla Service that it's not covered. Also considering doing DIY chrome delete, but time consuming and not sure about longevity. Also wondering if the same chrome discoloration will happen to my wife's new 2020 Model 3, we'll see...
  • edited January 2020
    Tesla Service did offer to replace the rear quarter window/chrome assembly. But with all the other window trim Chrome being discolored as well, that didn't seem to be a great solution for me, so I passed. Replacing all window trim chrome and the quarter window would have been something around $750 to $800. Not sure if that included labor.
  • edited February 2020
    @Spartan24 I too experienced this problem after 3 months of ownership. After much research with Tesla, escalating to their engineering team, and providing the ingredients for every product used on my vehicle, the problem was identified. The rear window trim is made with a stamping process much different than all other areas of the vehicle.

    This is why the finish only changes on that area. The stamping process used cannot come in contact with a PH level higher than 13. I spoke with my local showroom where they shared this information from other owner complaints. (They have an internal case logging area)

    I had taken my car to a touchless car wash a fair amount, it utilized simonez products. I used touchless as recommended in the car manual. What I was not aware of is that every touchless wash uses a high and low PH soap to remove grime and dirt. The simonez soap product (quest/mayhem) has a 13.XX PH level. Above the Tesla threshold that owners are not made aware of.

    I was advised this defect was not covered by warranty but fortunately after a bit of back and forth, they chose to make a goodwill repair this one time with the caveat to only use products below that PH level as it would not be repaired again.

    The recommendation from the advisor is to first ask the facility the list of products they are using and confirm the PH level before use. That really did not seem reasonable so I’ve purchased PH balanced products to wash the car at home moving forward.

    Hope this helps clarify why this is happening for you all!
  • edited February 2020
    Super thankful for your thoughtful post, rogermurray!

    FYI, an update from my end. Tesla Service of Milford CT looked into this, and found that this issue on my 2018 Tesla Model 3 is considered to be a cosmetic issue. The last rep I spoke with is not offering to replace my chrome finish window trim or my rear quarter window/chrome trim assembly, unfortunately. I have an estimate, and the repair is actually $1,400 parts & labor, plus tax. It makes little sense for me to go forward with a fix, as it could happen again.

    I'm not sure how to resolve this. A workaround is a spending a Saturday installing a temporary DIY chrome delete kit of black vinyl such as teslabros, but that's just a kludge really. I don't want this to happen again to my wife's 2020 Tesla Model 3, which I'm avoiding bringing to any car wash, at least until I can confirm it's really only a Simoniz issue.

    It really feels Tesla and Simoniz need to discuss this with one another and work something out. Meanwhile, it sure would help if Tesla documented this washing warning in the instruction manual and/or online somewhere.

    In case it helps others, here's some more pictures where you'll notice the discoloration & marring that cannot be buffed out:
    with the chrome around the side view mirrors and the cameras looks fine/like new.
  • edited November -1
    " They are blaming it on using a Touchless car wash even though the manual says to only use Touchless car wash."

    My detail shop noticed the discoloration of the silver colored trim. They think it's just poor quality trim discoloring. All you can do is try and polish it.
  • edited February 2020
    Noticed on some of the m/c forums people using "Bartender's Friend". It's a very slight abrasive cleaner for stainless. However, I used Bon Ami to buff out cloudiness on my stainless Viking B BQ. Bon Ami is less abrasive than Bartender's Friend, I believe. It did a great job.
  • edited February 2020
    Tesla's response here is disappointing.
    This is probably why they did away w/ the chrome all together for the Y.
  • edited February 2020
    Hello again. Fortunately, I don't have to pull a nutty with Tesla as After 11 months I don't have this condition. Seeing as this is not uncommon, if the buyer hasn't done something (other than going to "approved" car washes) Tesla surely is fully aware that it is a condition that THEY have created. Again, I don't know the appropriate procedure but a. letter from a large (petition?) group suggesting a smooth remedy seems a fair approach. The hint of a class action suit may cause some concern. This is not subjective as the photos tell it all.

    Although this, too, may not be helpful...…. I use Bon-Ami and still buy the "cake" on e-Bay; it has a slogan I believe that is " Never scratched yet!" A totally non-abrasive product that I use is Nev R Dull which is essentially a tarnish remover but I have had good results on antiques and keepsakes. Hoping you folks see relief', Ron
  • edited February 2020
    rfpmoxie, this is the kind of damage that is well beyond anything that can be buffed out (which I tried and Tesla tried in a small area, with zero effect), I've got 2 more pictures to further illustrate:
    2018 Model 3 mfg Nov 2018, vin 119,XXX
    2020 Model 3 mfg Dec 2019, vin 612,XXX

    I'm actually going to attempt 3M DIY vinyl wrap over just the trim as a work-around for now. I realize that's not really a solution, but it might be good enough for my needs, we'll see.
  • edited February 2020
    Hello again. I'm not trying to unnecessarily stir the pot and, very fortunately, after 11 months I don't have this problem. Looking at the pictures I see a totally unacceptable condition for a kind of premium car and not an econobox. Based on the replacement cost I would take rogermurrays detailed info to the Tesla Sales/Service Manager and see their "official" response. If it's a dead end I would surely invest in a simple letter from a lawyer to corporate. I know some media outlets (our Boston Globe for one) that take these consumer issues and, often, get results. There must be others, sadly, with the same experience. I'm hoping that you get this remedied. Best of luck, Ron
  • edited February 2020
    Im sorry that you are experiencing this.
    Maybe ask Tesla to go 50/50 on getting the trim replaced.
    You may also consider having the trim blacked out. If done well the results are great. I also understand if you like the shiny look from the factory, I personally prefer the chrome look.
    As a suggestion, if you do have the trim replaced have a detail shop ceramic coat it immediately.
    Best of luck!
  • edited February 2020
    Is the trim chrome or stainless? Again, if stainless, try Bon Ami -- with a strong arm.
  • edited March 2020
    @scrannel, see my post above. No amount of buffing regardless of the compound will return the metal on those panels back to the polished finish. Replacement is the only option unfortunately. (I tried everything under the sun while waiting for my replacement parts. This is a chemical reaction to high PH and the metal used there.)
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