Model 3 Paint Issues at Factory

Model 3 Paint Issues at Factory

Recently took delivery of my White Model 3 and noticed numerous paint defects (holograms, patched paint chips, post repainting). Has been in the shop numerous times to have the paint corrected. Anyone having the same issues?

Seems like quality inspection at the Tesla Factory is allowing cars to come off the line with paint defects and are covering them up with poor paint rework. Never had to deal with these many issues with my other low end cars.

Slidely | July 21, 2018

Do you have pictures?

Starboy2016 | July 21, 2018

Here are the images. Let me know if you see something similar on your cars.

Magic 8 Ball | July 21, 2018

There are some paint flaws in the images. Why did you accept delivery?

lilbean | July 21, 2018

Ugh! Some of those look like wax residue and one looks the inexperienced operator of the buffer was too aggressive. That chip is not good.

Starboy2016 | July 21, 2018

It wasn’t noticeable in the delivery showroom with all their lights. Only noticed it after it rain and a lot more dust was collecting in those areas making them very noticeable.

One big piece of advice for those taking delivery look at the car extremely closely, don’t let them rush you out. They will hide these things from you at delivery. I had to request service numerous times before they would work on the car. If you don’t bring it up they won’t do anything about it.

Sslnight | July 21, 2018

:( Im thinking i should take my push back and switch to Red.... Sorry for your experience. Hope they get this fixed for you Starboy.

Magic 8 Ball | July 21, 2018

Thanks for the explanation. Many car dealers would simply tell you that it left the lot perfect and since you didn't "notice" anything on pick up they may even accuse you of creating the problem areas yourself. Nice to hear that TESLA is giving you BOD (benefit of doubt) and is trying to help you out.

BTW thanks for making the images easy to look at.

SDcarguy | July 21, 2018

Yes and pearl white is very hard to match. Mine is at the body shop for the 5th time. This time redoing the doors again because they didn't match and the pearl coat wasn't even. I am not convinced it will ever look acceptable to me. After 6 months of the car being in service, never again will I except a car that needs work. I am literally going to spend hours inspecting the car next time.

Revelate | July 21, 2018

Yuck; out of curiosity what are the last 5 of your VIN?

There were paint problems explicitly with white previously but reportedly fixed, wonder if you got one of the older batches or this one is more recent?

Starboy2016 | July 21, 2018

Mine is in the 3XXXX. Didn’t get the miss matched bumper but these paint defects are ridiculous. I guess this is a result of trying to make things too fast and sacrificing quality. Very poor quality inspection at Tesla and delivery specialist hiding it. Sets a new low for car quality.

SDcarguy | July 21, 2018

Some may not agree, but this is normal for Tesla. You should have seen my friends new P100D, had a hand print under the clear on the hood. I have seen numerous Model 3s at the super chargers and other locations with major paint defects but most owners just don't care. One owner I talked to was all excited saying his car is perfect. Took me about 5 seconds to see two major issues with his car. I showed him and his response was "oh man, well, what do you expect from Tesla".

Atoms | July 21, 2018

Hope people continue to demand perfection. I’m asking for only one place where white paint was pushed on the number exposing black underneath. I would be OK with a touch up, but they are talking about repaint. I’m thinking about paint correction before ceramic coating. Maybe overboard for white, but it should make for a very nice surface. Wish Tesla offered this as delivered as an option. Nice to receive perfect paint and protection coat at receipt.

Magic 8 Ball | July 21, 2018

TESLA will do what every other car manufacturer does and they will perform QA to a level that satisfies most of the people most of the time. I personally would not want them to increase the price of the car, to pay for "perfect paint" so that everyone has to pay for quality that only a few are picky about.

David N | July 21, 2018

I thought Elon put in the “State of the art” spray booth for Tesla’s, what happened?

Magic 8 Ball | July 21, 2018

@David N What happened is TESLA is making 5000+ a week now. There is no real valid data to support that out of 50,000+ that TESLA paint is not better than competitors. Isolated stories on the internet skew the gullible into thinking all cars have problems but the fact remains the silent masses are where the real story is.

mikehen08 | July 21, 2018

I'm sorry but a brand new car should have a perfect paint job, end of discussion. The car should have never made it out of the factory with that type of paint job. I don't care if its Tesla, Lexus or a Kia, no car should be delivered to a customer with any problems like that. Clearly, the entire company is overwhelmed by Model 3 demand and QA cannot keep up with said demand. I'd rather wait longer for a car to make sure it is built right than to take delivery of a car with imperfections. I'm sure the overall percentage of cars with problems is very small, but cars with obvious issues shouldn't be delivered until properly fixed. It sucks that customers wait so long for their car only to take delivery without noticing a problem and then have it in and out of the body shop for 6 months.

With all that said, I am a huge Tesla fan, supporter and shareholder, and I am sure they will get it right. I am still waiting for my 3. I am praying the car is fine when I pick it up because I will be devastated if its not and have to reject the car. Lets hope it doesnt come to that :)

Magic 8 Ball | July 21, 2018

If that car was bought by someone that felt the paint was perfect then it is perfect.

Why do people feel they get to decide what perfect is in the eyes of others?

While I probably wouldn't have accepted the car myself I find it disgusting that others will walk around someone else's car, that the owner considers to be perfect, and start pointing out "flaws". Why tell someone their baby is ugly when they think it is perfect?

mikehen08 | July 21, 2018

The QA workers at the factory should before it is transported to the dealer. If the owner accepts the car as-is and they are happy with it, let them be happy. I wouldnt point that out to someone at a charging station after the fact, thats just wrong

Magic 8 Ball | July 21, 2018

@mike Perhaps you don't understand "tolerances" and shipping damage. The cars do undergo QA at the factory. There is no reason to believe the car left the factory not being in tolerance. The problems could have easily been caused after the factory. As pointed out earlier it is difficult to tell what is going on with this vehicle but it appears someone got carried away and did a poor detail job on this one. The paint chip is a ??? since it is hard to know when, exactly, that happened.

Again, the over 50,000 out there, with very few complaints relative to that number, indicates the cars are perfect for the masses.

SDcarguy | July 21, 2018

Seriously? The primary item I pointed out was a major bend in the door that should not be there! If the person wanted to sell it, I guarantee you most purchasers would see the issue. If it were me I would want to know so that I could take care of it under warranty before it is too late, if I choose to. The guy wasn't mad at all and was able to make his own decision based on the info I provided. What if I saw a cracked wheel on a car that someone thought was great, am I just to turn my head and wish him luck? It sounds like you would rather have Tesla or anyone else that is aware of issues hide them from you?

neptunesfinest | July 21, 2018

Defects are defects. It’s not a matter of subjectivity just because some customers don’t notice it. If this is a widespread issue (not saying it is) then it’s not just a problem with quality control, they need to tweak their manufacturing process to eliminate the defects.

Magic 8 Ball | July 21, 2018

Only assholes point out cosmetic issues that don't bother the owner. Structural issues that can be a safety concern is a different matter.

neptunesfinest | July 21, 2018

Agree it’s a complete dick move to point out flaws on someone else’s car but saying that something is perfect just because the customer doesn’t notice the flaws makes zero sense, even if that customer is perfectly satisfied with it.

Magic 8 Ball | July 21, 2018

It is up to each individual to determine what is perfect for them.

Those that what to impose standards on others that will increase the cost for everyone, based on their own idea of perfect, makes zero sense. The few want to make it more difficult for the many is an age old problem with the selfish.

bj | July 21, 2018

I had to look hard at those photos - even with the ‘helpful’ red circles I was trying to work out what the problems were. I could see the chip, but the rest I probably would not notice or care about. Maybe it looks worse ‘in real life’.

chrisllana48 | July 21, 2018

Pearl white is essentially impossible to touch up, because of the layers (base coat white, pearl powder mixed with clear, clear top coat). Repainting the whole panel is the most viable fix. I live in San Diego county where the sun and heat are fierce, so will be getting white, but I would have much preferred plain white because I think it looks better/cleaner than pearl white, and it's simple to repair any chips, scratches or other imperfections. But then again, if they offered plain white as a standard color, people would take that and not pay an extra $1000 for another color, or $1500 for pearl white. White is the most popular color for cars.

ellahsue | July 21, 2018

In my opinion the paint on that car is really bad. Similar to the car I was presented with last Saturday. I didn't take it. After spending top dollar for the car, I expected it to be almost perfect and it was far from it. We shouldn't be allowing Tesla to get away with delivering inferior cars. I have owned BMW's, 2 different Lexus models and even a Ford Escape and the paint on all of them was far better than those pictures and the M3 I was presented with. For some crazy reason I always thought of Tesla as a quality car company. I am now waiting for my replacement car. I have the vin but the car is not at the delivery center. I won't take this one either if it isn't right. Been waiting since 4/1/16 and I am not going to settle. I am even willing to change colors if that will make a difference. By the way, the problem of the bumper not matching the car doesn't seem to be a problem anymore.

My advice is don't settle for an inferior product.

SolpowrAZ | July 22, 2018

3 of my 4 Tesla's have been Pearl White and I have had no problems. Waiting patiently (or pretending to be patient) for my 5th Tesla, a Performance Model 3 in Pearl White with White interior.
2014 P85 traded in
2015 P85D
2016 P100DL
2018 Model 3 RWD Sold to make room for P Model 3 (Vin 56xx)
I live in Arizona and have always chosen black interiors, have had no problem with heat. I always get my cars tinted with the lightest "Photo Sync" tint. Looking forward to the White interior for something different.
Configured 5/23 no vin yet.

mikehen08 | July 22, 2018

@Magic A brand new car should have ZERO paint blemishes, chips, dents, scratches, etc. I 100% understand things happen while the vehicle is in transit, but it shouldn't be presented to a customer that way. Customer shouldn't be able to notice any defects while taking delivery of their BRAND NEW CAR. This applies to ALL car manufacturers. If it was used, different story.

Would you buy a brand new iPhone and find a scratch on the screen or a dent on the corner and keep it? What about a TV with dead pixels? I know I wouldn't

Magic 8 Ball | July 22, 2018

@mikehen Yes, a brand new car should have but if you take out your magnifying glass and crawl around on your hands and knees you will find at a least one defect on any brand new car. Suggestion: bring your magnifying glass with you when you inspect your car; I will leave mine at home.

Maksk | July 22, 2018

Wow... I expect a flawless paint job when purchasing a new vehicle. All the cars I have purchased new were great but my merc and bmw has the best paint jobs. My merc wagon was looked like liquid silver. Perfect on every curve. I expect my Tesla to be equal or better.
I guess I need to ask to see it before purchasing. What happens when you don’t accept it after all the financials are done? Do they give you a check back?

mos6507 | July 22, 2018

[In my opinion the paint on that car is really bad. Similar to the car I was presented with last Saturday.]

Great thread. Responses like these show it is more of the norm rather than the exception. Tesla should take note.

Magic 8 Ball | July 22, 2018


Why are you ignoring the 50,000+ that are not complaining about bad paint?

RadOne | July 22, 2018

"TESLA will do what every other car manufacturer does"

I can't figure out why the fanboys insist Tesla is different than other car manufacturers and at other times the same as those companies.

Magic 8 Ball | July 22, 2018

@RadOne To be different you don't have to be different in all aspects.

RadOne | July 22, 2018


Phtp | July 25, 2018

I may have missed it, but did they say they will fix it?

cfcubed | July 25, 2018

Have had our beautiful Blue RWD Aero a week now & we love it. But it was delivered with:
- tiny clear-coated bubbles over passenger door (photos in another of my posts). Got call an hour+ prior to 2nd delivery attempt that they were spotted & did I want to delay delivery for repair. Decided to take car & see if there’s other things to address.
- a few dull areas on sides under center-line not visible in SC lighting. Were hasty passes over surface rubs I think as I easily, lightly polished them out & waxed, no longer visible.
- left frunk gap 50%+ wider than right frunk gap, noticeable in front view. Couple issues with fit where A-pillars meet mirror mounts + hood. May or may not request fixing, cure could be worse than condition:)
- wife tested horn & found it hard to operate & pressing left horn icon does nothing.

Will schedule fixes which SC says will take 1 - 2 weeks. They said issues are "not that unusual” but they like to catch & fix prior to delivery.

But people we LOVE the car even as is. This is a car like no other in its price range: sexy, pretty luxurious, fun, BEV, 310 range, super-charger network, equiv to $40k ICE car (in NJ + fed rebate). You will enjoy the ride:) No more gas stations & just plugging her in the garage is a hoot. Much less to go wrong & require servicing compared to ICE. But will also own an ICE car/small SUV for long trips + snow.

IMO/common knowledge Tesla has their hands full trying to deliver 7k+ cars (5k TM3s + S,X) through their limited distribution network in final prep condition comparable to the big/giant makers. A “rejected” car is clearly just fixed & sold to someone else weeks later. Not unusual for all makers cars to require some work *prior* to delivery. Major makers have production methodologies honed over time + procedures, policies, distributor & dealer networks set to handle the volume/issues *prior* to customer delivery.

Should obvious problems be caught/corrected prior to delivery, yes, but simple math of 7k cars across maybe 260 US SCs(?) means maybe 1/2hr per car for prep? Should obvious problems not be happening at all, not coming from factory, yes, but Tesla is new to this volume of deliveries & clearly has issues to work out (+ 100ks of cars to produce:).

Should we punish/teach Tesla a lesson by demanding absolute "perfection' in our cars at delivery? Sure if we don't want the cars or want to lessen Tesla's chance of success. Time = $$$ and the $$$ for that would have to come from somewhere. Nothing is perfect & rarely are there clear wins, there's compromise & cost/benefit to all your decisions & purchases. Getting a car this impactful & revolutionary is worth a couple minor aesthetic compromises to me.

Not saying the extreme cases such as the OPs & other's cars with similar are acceptable; you can be sure Tesla will (eventually:) make things right. And yes Tesla is shooting themselves in the foot by allowing some of this to pass from factory to SCs lesser equipped to fix. You can be sure this info is passed back from SCs -> corporate. But using magnifying glasses & micrometers against TM3s at this point in time will not make you or Tesla happy. Think about your first parking lot ding. And last but not least driving it:)

Atoms | July 25, 2018

Hold Tesla accountable for the quality you expect for your car. Do I expect perfect paint? No, but I do expect obvious flaws are fixed before scheduling delivery. Do I expect perfect software? No, but I do expect everything functions and the latest software is SUCCESSFULLY loaded before delivery, and there are NO sensor warnings or reboots. Do I expect the delivery specialists to know every detail about the car? No, but I do expect that they don’t recommend to remove tape used in shipping using acetone when I get home. Do I expect the premium audio not to crackle randomly? Yes.
Quality systems are set to meet the quality levels customers expect. It takes time for quality systems to be built up in a new company. It is the customers who set the level of quality a company delivers. It is up to the new owners.

mos6507 | July 25, 2018

[It is the customers who set the level of quality a company delivers.]

Which is why fanboi apologists who say time and time again that slop is acceptable are working against the interests of future owners who are going to want a trouble-free car.

That logic seems to escape them. The only approach they know is cultish devotion.

cfcubed | July 25, 2018

"working against the interests of future owners who are going to want a trouble-free car." This thread is not about trouble its about paint/cosmetic issues. I've had no actual trouble other than the Homelink loss thing with my car.

"Hold Tesla accountable for the quality you expect for your car." No one said not to. Get what you think you should for the $$$ paid and in comparison to other "comparable" cars (are there any?)
We'll get the fixes necessary to make our car acceptable to us as everyone should.

"It takes time for quality systems to be built up in a new company" yes it does question is how much time to reach what level. You can be sure Tesla is feeling plenty of pressure (time + $$) from customer pushbacks/SC fix-ups. That combined with actual sale pressures is clearly being felt & feeding back to production. How fast they can refine / adjust & yet still pump out cars to make $$$, meet debt obligations and get U.S. people their full fed rebates is the question.

No fanboi here otherwise I'd not have enumerated our car's minor issues. Just a first-time realist Tesla owner that's impressed with the car and happy to be getting the full fed rebate.

djejnyc | July 25, 2018

Thanks for the info, I'm picking up next week and have no idea about paint stuff, these pictures help, I'll try to remain calm and check out the car properly

teslafei | July 25, 2018

I'm also bringing my pearl white M3 into the service center for paint chips and other marks that I missed at delivery. Does the service center typically give you a loaner Tesla? How long does it typically take to get your car back?

Revelate | July 26, 2018

Do you really think Tesla wants these issues?

They too want a “perfect” car to be delivered as much as any of us do; however, some amount of rationality on our parts wouldn’t be remiss.

Shit happens, cars get dinged up, paint issues can be corrected... and the rest of them too.

Ultimately feedback is a good thing, but getting righteously indignant: life is too short, worry about important stuff instead... and there are definitely more important things to worry about for everyone than minor issues that can be resolved with a future SC visit.

efuseakay | July 26, 2018

Fanboys are only doing tesla harm. OP, hope they take care of you. Please keep us posted.

mos6507 | July 26, 2018

[Fanboys are only doing tesla harm.]

Nice to know I'm not the only one who feels this way.

Magic 8 Ball | July 26, 2018

60,000, and growing, without complaints.

TeslaIsFast | September 29, 2018

I have paint defect on mine. Reaching out for service.

airedale | September 30, 2018

Just took delivery of mine last night - there was no way to see the paint issues I am finding now. It was dark out in a dimly lit tent at almost 10 pm. Super disappointed that I am going to have to take it back in. They did say I have 3 days to report anything.

zsanchez | September 30, 2018

Oh man! Reading some of these comments is really getting me antsy about pickup on Tuesday. :( I agree with the folks saying they expect NEAR perfect paint jobs. If I'm going to put down over $60K for a car, I expect for that car to have a wonderful paint job. Do I expect some imperfections? Of course, but if it's something noticeable, I'm going to call it out. I've been waiting too long for my car and I can definitely wait a week more or so to get it near perfect. For those of you that are okay with these imperfections, awesome, but don't belittle those of us that are concerned and what quality for what we are paying. Tesla brands itself as a quality (and revolutionary) car company, so I'm going to hold them to that standard. No hate, just getting my money's worth. Still very excited and hoping for the best come this Tuesday!