Paint wearing off rocker panels

Paint wearing off rocker panels

I just noticed that the paint is wearing off the rocker panels, lower rear fender, and lower door panels of my model 3. Most obvious is an area of about 3" in diameter just forward of the rear wheels on the rocker panels, both sides, where the top coat is completely worn off, leaving only the undercoat. Other areas showing paint pitted/scuffed off, but showing as small dots. Local body shop says it's due to road particles impacting that area. I inspected a friend's model 3 and the same thing is happening, only less obvious than mine. Anyone else having the same problem?

hcdavis3 | 21 March, 2019

Got any pics?

Dyberry | 21 March, 2019

Just took one, but am new to these forums and don't know how to include a pic. Pls advise.

Magic 8 Ball | 21 March, 2019

You need to post the pic on an image hosting site and post a link to the image here.

Dyberry | 21 March, 2019

OK, I think I got it: Notice the light area above the white area, that 's where the paint is pitted enough to look lighter than the original paint, but not completely worn off.

jjt2122 | 21 March, 2019

Contact your service center right away, they may cover it under warranty and have the panels repainted.

cascadiadesign | 21 March, 2019

I thought that area was protected by clear plastic. Guess I better look at mine and get it covered if needed.

TM3Q | 21 March, 2019


I went to Tesla service center and they took many pictures about the paint coming off because there's no mudguard and our winter in Quebec,Canada is pretty rough on the paint. Both sides have lost the paint (from black turn to gray) and I got the car delivered last November. Tesla will pay for restoring the panels and I have to go at a bodyshop this summer to fix it (have to wait until I change my winter tires). I was told I'm not the only one in the Province as it's a problem reported by many drivers in Quebec.

This summer will protect all the front bumber,hood and rockers panel with film protector after I restore all the surface paint.

Skmetallica | 21 March, 2019

Between all Tesla approved bodyshops backed up fixing paint issues on delivery, and now this, have to imagine that Tesla is losing a ton of money on paint issues. Wouldn’t be surprised if they overhaul their entire paint process. Funny how they seem to struggle with the basics but knock it out of the park every where else. If I was Elon I’d be trying to heavily recruit this expertise from a luxury vehicle competitor.

MS_Hapi | 21 March, 2019

I have read that at least parts of Canada use sand on the road for traction. So kind of sounds like your roads sandblasted the car.

MS_Hapi | 21 March, 2019

Many cars today don't get sold with mud guards that probably would reduce some of that. Does the same thing happen to other cars? If I drove through a sand storm in Arizona I would expect my paint to be in a similar condition.

kp647 | 21 March, 2019

Most cars have clear film paint protection in those vulnerable areas
Maybe we should add some

JWAKRON | 24 March, 2019

I live off highway on 6 miles of gravel road. My 5 month old Model 3 has the same paint wear on the lower rocker panels. But then again, the same thing has happened on my Nissan Altima as well. I'm more concerned by the accumulation of gravel on top of the rear plastic cover under the trunk area. Eventually it will be heavy enough to tear of the cover panel and possibly the rear bumper.

Magic 8 Ball | 24 March, 2019

@JWAKRON Good post. We do not live on a gravel road and our paint in those areas is fine. If you drive on roads that kick up the equivalent of sandblasting a car expect the paint to go away.

TM3Q | 24 March, 2019

I didn't have any similar problem with my 16 year old Corolla about paint wearing off and I drove it for 484000 kM. My Model 3 (only 5 months old) in her first winter as lost the paint coating on both sides, anyways Tesla knowledge the issue (they will fix it) and are taking pictures of others model 3 in the province to take best coarse of action to prevent this from happening again.

This summer I will add all the protection needed right after all paint job is done. Beside the film protectors I will check if mudguard is needed also.

Pierogi | 25 March, 2019

I don’t drive on gravel roads and I have the exact paint wear problem by the rocker in front of the rear wheels. The paint is pitted and lighter in color with white dots. I tried getting it polished out and it had no improvement. I’ll see what the service center says at my next appointment.

wiboater4 | 25 March, 2019

Looked like on the Model Y that area below the doors is now black. and around the fender wells also. So maybe it's plastic? Another thing might be to have that area coated with something like a heavy clear coat or a pickup truck bedliner if it's necessary to drive on sandy roads.

stevehendler | 25 March, 2019

Bottom corner of my drivers rear door is pitted from what appears to be rocks. Its the corner nearest the bottom of the B pillar. Pretty ridiculous. Will be covering with PPF best I can and notifying Service.

lbowroom | 25 March, 2019

stevehendler, Do you have any explanation for why it's on one side of the car and not the other? After all, the geometry of the car and the paint are the same on both sides, no?

stevehendler | 25 March, 2019

I didn't take a good look at the passenger side, will have to check and report back.

Pierogi | 25 March, 2019

They Model Y has black plastic around the wheel wells and along the rocker panels, which is very similar to the Model X.

I think PPF in the rocker area would get beat up a ton also and probably not last, albeit the paint underneath may stay better protected.

It just seems odd the impact area is really focused right on the lower panels in front of the rear wheels.

neylus | 25 March, 2019

As a point of reference, at 6k miles I don't see anything like this on my car. Just checked it in detail. I'm running stock 19's on AWD silver. This is a weird one.

doigtsdhonneur | 5 April, 2019

Here’s another example - I’ve got the same issue.

doigtsdhonneur | 5 April, 2019

It’s pretty much symmetrical on both sides of the car.

vmulla | 5 April, 2019

Just curious, when was your car made?

mbouchti57 | 5 April, 2019

I have the same issue. Both sides of the car. Mine was build in August 2018.

Do you have P3D with 20 inch tires???

mbouchti57 | 5 April, 2019

One more think to add. We have two blue model 3’s: Rwd with 19 inch ( 1 year old) and P3D with 20 inch ( six months olds) and I only see the paint issue with the P3D

doigtsdhonneur | 6 April, 2019

Mine is September, LR AWD, stock wheels, winter tires.

I found this : the guy has designed mud flaps and in the instructions video he explicitly mentions this problem, seems to have seen it a lot.

He’s the same that reported an issue with sand accumulating in the underbody.

doigtsdhonneur | 6 April, 2019

Si it’s got to do with traction from the front wheels

Pierogi | 6 April, 2019

I have the same issue. Symmetrical paint wear and putting on both sides of the lower rear rocker. I took delivery in early September 2018 - LR Dual Motor Standard Black and 18 inch stock wheels. I noticed the wear in early January. This was before I installed snow tires and still had the stock Michelin tires on.

I have a service appointment Friday to get my snow tires swapped out and will see what they say about the issue. I know it cannot be polished out and requires repainting.

Pierogi | 6 April, 2019

Pitting not putting.

Pierogi | 12 April, 2019

Was at the service center getting my winter tires swapped out and showed them the damage to the rockers. The paint putting happening on both sides of the front and rear rockers. Tesla said they would cover it under warranty, repaint the rockers, and cover the rockers with paint protection film so it won’t happen again. Wow! I’m amazed. Although I’ll have to bring the car back and part ways with it for a while but glad they are making it right.

mbouchti57 | 12 April, 2019

wow that is good to hear :)

doigtsdhonneur | 13 April, 2019

Which service center? Mine told me Tesla is not recognizing the issue yet as they say it has only been reported by Quebec owners and still under investigation.

I took my phone today to « look » under the car (video recording) and discovered the metal is exposed over ~2ft in length under the rockers, starting from the front wheels. Much worse than what’s happening on the rear. Even the metal itself is worn with some grooves in it. I doubt PPF would be enough to prevent this after repainting.

Pierogi | 16 April, 2019

@doigtsdhonneur - it was the Littleton, Colorado Tesla Service Center.

jamespompi | 17 April, 2019

From OP on reddit thread I shared above yesterday..

jamespompi | 17 April, 2019

"thanks for reaching out. I spoke with our manager and reviewed the photos of your Model 3 and this is not something that is covered by the 4 year New Vehicle Warranty.
Below is a link to Tesla’s New Vehicle Limited Warranty PDF which outlines all the details of the warranty, including what the warranty limitations. On page 7 under “Warranty Limitations” it says the following is not covered, including, but not limited to:The environment or an act of God, including, but not limited to, exposure to sunlight, airborne chemicals, tree sap, animal or insect droppings, road debris (including stone chips), industry fallout, rail dust, salt, hail, floods, wind and (thunder)storms, acid rain, fire, water, contamination, lightning and other environmental conditions.
I apologize for any inconvenience, but this sort of road debris/salt damage is not something we can cover under the warranty"

Beenjaamin | 17 April, 2019

@Pierogi @jamespompi I sent my SC this thread and asked if I need to go to Colorado. LOL This is my car

wiboater4 | 18 April, 2019

I'm wondering if the new plastic trim they showed on the Model y that goes around the wheel wells and covers the rocker panel area wiill help prevent the sand from hitting the body? I think this is one of the downsides of Tesla having owners be the testers. Had Tesla tested and ran the cars in those environments they would have known they needed to modify something to prevent that .

andrew | 18 April, 2019

I'm in San Diego, and have the beginning of this at 7300 miles. can barely start to see little spots of white undercoat on the rocker panels. I'm wondering if this isn't something in the quality of the paint/materials they used to mfgr the car?

I've had dozens of cars in my life and never had them wrapped. Never seen this kind of damage. I had a model S prior to this and drive on the same roads I do today and didn't see this kind of damage. Had a Caddy ATS black before the Model S. The Caddy and the Model S had really thick body protection/coating there wheras the model 3 does not.

My Model 3 was manufactured 8/18. we just added an SR+ to the family and will see if it starts to do the same thing.