Model 3

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Car won't detect key or show location after a rear end wreck

Hello Everyone,

We love our Model 3 and wifey got into a wreck (rear end). Car is excellent and she wasn't hurt much. Car safety really stood up to its reputation.

Getting to main concern, after the wreck got a bunch of notifications on screen ranging from trunk open to electrical system failure, etc etc. TeslaCam didn't record the actual wreck :( for some reason, but the screen was working initially or at least until we loaded the car on the tow truck.

Went to the wrecker today, but car wouldn't detect the keys, wouldn't connect to the app/network. Nothing. Closest body shop is 397 miles away and insurance is trying to get someone to transport the car soon. Fingers crossed.

I am just anxious and thought would come to our community for some help & get some answers.

1) Has anyone faced a similar situation?
2) Do you think this damaged the motor or battery? Or i will loose the car, really love our car?
3) How do i make sure if they fix everything, the battery & components are working just like before?
4) Anything specific i should keep in mind from insurance perspective, so i don't get ripped off?

Thank you in advance



  • Call Tesla for advice. Do not trust random yahoos like us.
  • > @danp said:
    > 4) Anything specific i should keep in mind from insurance perspective, so i don't get ripped off?

    Yes, if the accident was not your fault at all, meaning the other party was found to be 100% at fault then make sure you get diminished value. The accident will go on your carfax report and the value of the car will be less because of it.
  • @HAL2001 Thank you for the suggestion.

    I was just reading up on that. i was planning to wait for body shop to get back to me with an estimate. Will have to figure out how to get the diminished value claim done.
  • @ARKEBUS LOL. I did call them and they just said they have stopped doing body repairs in Dallas area and send all cars to third party repair shops :neutral:

    So any suggestion from anyone would be helpful at this moment.. Remember experience is the best teacher.
  • @danp: Just a suggestion. I'm pretty sure that Tesla has a list of body shops that are "authorized" to do work on their cars. The "authorized" simply means that the people there have had the training to do work on the cars. While body work is body work, there's funny business with the cameras, sensors, and such that, if not done right, result in Evil.
    So, check with the body shop that has your car and make sure that they have the training. If not.. could be bad.
  • I would second Tronguy's suggestion for an authorized body shop. To wit, this is from the guy's who did an EXCELLENT job fixing my M3 after I got hit with 20 miles on the odometer:

    "Jeff Shaw’s Collision Craft joins a very small and select group of repair facilities as a Tesla Approved Body Shop!

    Why is that important? Factory training, factory tools, proprietary equipment and repair-tailored firmware downloads. Even seemingly simple repairs like replacing a headlight or bumper could require a firmware download in order for your Tesla to continue operating properly. In other words, you can’t trust your Tesla to just any body shop. To ensure that compromises are not made in the repairs to their vehicles, Tesla also restricts the sale of many components, particularly structural parts (ones that are not bolted to the car), so that only trained and duly equipped and authorized shops may purchase them."

    tldr: there are some things (computer and major body) that normal shops probably can't fix!
  • The wreck was probably recorded, but the last file containing the data wasn't closed correctly. Find a computer nerd who can search for and recover deleted files, and you'll probably be able to find it. If there's any question about who's at fault, it's worth the effort.

    It sounds like your 12V battery is dead. You can jump it in order to get the doors open, put the car in tow mode, etc. The manual describes the procedure; you pop a small circular disk in the front fender that has a pair of wires you use to pop the frunk lid, then pop out the frunk liner to access the 12V battery. It's perhaps 10 minutes worth of work.

    If they fix the car, everything will work fine. I had extensive front-end damage on my 3 a couple of years ago; the shop did an excellent job and I've never had an issue related to it. But, I went to a body shop that was well-known to the local Tesla community so they were very familiar with the car, sensors, etc. I suggest checking Facebook, TMCOwners, a few other places to see if there's an owner's group near you that you could ask if anyone has recommendations. At the very least, ask the body shops how many Tesla's they've worked on and choose one that has experience.

    If the crash was bad enough to reach the motor or battery, the car will likely be totaled - not because the motor is expensive, but because it's tucked way back in and if the damage reaches that far, the repair costs will likely be higher than the value of the car.

    If your car gets totalled, make sure you get appropriate value for any software packages (like FSD) that you may have purchased. If your car isn't totalled, make sure you get a diminished value settlement.
  • Perhaps someone cut the first responder cut loop?
  • > @miliapa said:
    > Perhaps someone cut the first responder cut loop?

    Good thought, the car will probably have 12v operations but all the 400v operations would be dead. Which also means nothing is charging the 12v battery so it will be dead soon too.
  • Oh wow... Thank you so much everyone for the suggestions, these really help understand the situation better. I will keep these in mind when dealing with Body shop and Insurance. Will definitely keep everyone here posted.

    - Regarding Body shop: @Tronguy @Just_Ted @Frank99 I did research a little bit and spoke to a couple of body shops before choosing one. Currently car is on the way to Gerber Collision in The Colony, TX (Dallas). Wayne seemed pretty knowledgable about the entire process and mentioned they have been working with quite a few Teslas. He did say body work may not be as difficult as getting the software fixed after the body work repair, so it might take longer to get everything fixed.

    - Totaled vs Repair: The car has not reached the shop yet, may be tomorrow, so will know the details by Monday. But will keep in mind regarding software packages and Diminished value. I did have Enhanced AutoPilot.

    - @miliapa @HAL2001: I should have known about the 12V battery thing. But the car is on its way, so cant do anything anymore :neutral: But what HAL2001 said seems right, the 12V related functions were working just fine until they towed the vehicle.

    Thank you all again. All i can say is, the car saved my wife's life by avoiding a front end collision & reducing the impact of a rear end collision. God Bless Elon & entire Tesla team.
  • Keep us informed on what's happening. Some of us have been through the process and can answer a lot of questions.
  • I was thinking about this this evening, and I have a thought. I remember reading somewhere on the Internet (so it must be true) that the main battery will get disabled (probably by blowing the main ("pyro") fuse that connects it to the rest of the car) in a serious enough accident. This is intentional, to be absolutely sure that the car doesn't have 400 volts shorted to the frame somewhere, eliminating electrocution risks to the occupants and/or first responders and reducing fire risks.

    I'm going to guess that the pyro fuse blew, which means the 12V charger can't charge the battery. The onboard electronics worked for awhile from the 12V battery, but eventually it discharged and couldn't recharge. Then everything went dead.

    It's just one more part that they'll have to replace....
  • @Frank99 Thank you for the detailed explanation. That seems very logical and something Tesla would definitely do to protect everyone interacting with the car after an accident. I was initially worried if the main battery was damaged due to wreck. But hopefully that's not the case.

    The temperature here has been in 30s & car has been sitting in wrecking yard for a few days now. Wonder if this would affect the main battery performance if it cant maintain an optimal temperature. (I apologize i do not have the correct technical jargon, but i will be happy to explain further)

    Thank you all again.
  • Around freezing isn’t an issue for the main battery, it’ll be fine.
  • Just wanted to post an update here. Received an estimate from the body shop. Quoted $10,568.19 for repairs. The body is Tesla approved, so i dont think i will have to ask them anything.

    @Frank99 You were right, the pyrofuse was blown up.

    Since the car won't be totaled, anybody have experience in claiming Diminished Value Claim and Loss of Value claim from State Farm in Texas. I would love any tips/tricks or recommendation navigate through this insurance mess, would really help out.

    Thank you again everyone. Will keep you guys posted.
  • Good to hear that I was right about something this week. Have the body shop remove and charge the 12v battery, and leave it disconnected. it’s not good for it to sit around fully discharged.
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