Downside of owning a Model S -- getting parts

Downside of owning a Model S -- getting parts

A couple of weeks ago, another driver scraped the bumper on my Model S. I took the car to get an estimate from a body shop, and they said they need to contact Tesla in writing to see how long it will take to get a bumper shipped to them. That was over two weeks ago, and I haven't heard anything yet. Anyone else unfortunate enough to have the same experience?

AmpedRealtor | July 11, 2013

Have you considered contacting Tesla to find out who is your nearest authorized Tesla-approved and trained body shop?

shop | July 11, 2013

I have heard that Tesla is way behind in building a parts inventory. It almost sounds like they were caught totally unprepared for how many parts they would need. At some point they need to slow down car production to increase part inventory, I think.

Carefree | July 11, 2013

there have been reports from other drivers who had the same problem. Spare parts are difficult to come by - at least for some.

Mathew98 | July 11, 2013

I picked up my case a month ago with scratches on my driver side window. My local service center is still waiting for the replacement window to come in.

In the mean time, I'm still driving and having a blast every time I get behind the wheel.

Theresa | July 11, 2013

I was unfortunate enough to get rear ended and my car has been out of commission since May 28. Still waiting for parts. VERY disappointing to have to drive the ICE for so long.

Joshua Burstyn | July 11, 2013

On one hand it's probably incredibly frustrating to wait so long for parts. On the other hand, it means the company is extremely healthy; they're selling everything they assemble and don't have much inventory on the books.

Hopefully soon Tesla will get inventory under control. I understand some of their suppliers highly underestimated how many cars Tesla would sell... they probably won't make that mistake again. :-)

mumanoff | July 11, 2013

Theresa, who was able to catch up to you?

tobi_ger | July 11, 2013

Suppliers are just one factor.
So far I saw 4 of those huuuge stamping machines for the aluminium parts (NatGeo docu). Unless they've expanded those, they may already work at (or close to) the limit. If regular car production already takes most of the capacity, any extra deman might result in some delay (parts need also be painted in the needed body color).
Has anyone, who went with a factory tour, seen the number of stamps there, i.e. still 4? Thanks.

tobi_ger | July 11, 2013


Theresa | July 11, 2013

mumanoff, Well when you are stopped just about anyone can catch you. I was at a stop sign waiting for traffic to clear. The guy behind me stopped and when I crept forward to see around the driver on my left (two lane stop) the guy behind apparently thought I left and ran into me. Needless to say I was not happy. And the really sad part is that I would not have even been there had I not had one of these cars that has had the extreme tire wear. I was driving it to Chicago to have it looked at.

Joshua Burstyn | July 11, 2013


Fair enough, although speaking specifically about the bumpers I don't believe Tesla manufactures those themselves.

Here's hoping for everyone waiting on parts. :)

tobi_ger | July 11, 2013

Agreed, if it was only the bumpers on Theresa's car, not any structural dings?

jbunn | July 11, 2013


The bumper skins will be done on the plastics injection and paint line. I was there before production started. Looked like they refit about 1/5th of the machinery. Plant boss for plastics said they would refurbish more as production requires.

tobi_ger | July 11, 2013

Interesting, thanks!

Theresa | July 11, 2013

Mine was far more than bumper dings. He hit me pretty hard and managed to warp the hatchback.

Joshua Burstyn | July 11, 2013

"[...] managed to warp the hatchback."

Wow. Hopefully you and your passengers are alright. What an a-hole the other driver is though. It never ceases to amaze me how feeble most peoples' (including mine sometimes) driving skills are. This should've been an easy to prevent accident.

tobi_ger | July 11, 2013

@Jewsh: Sometimes it just needs a split second distraction that causes someone to e.g. run a red light or overlook oncoming traffic. IMO it's not just driving skills.

@Theresa: Hope you're all ok!

create | July 11, 2013

@tobi_ger. I did the tour when I picked up my 60 in early May and the presses are not running full time. They have plenty more capacity there. Also my impression was that the 4 presses work in series as the parts that they are working on go through each of them (I have not seen the natgeo special so not sure if these are the same ones). There also was another larger press that got shipped in that does the larger body panels.

As jbunn noted the bumpers are made there too.

What impressed me the most is the amount of stuff that is manufactured at the plant.

Theresa | July 12, 2013

It was just me and I was not hurt. It was a low speed impact but shocked the hell out of me. I do understand how he could have not realized I was not moving as he most likely saw me start moving so his attention then went to looking to the left and subsequently was not looking forward. But if you are moving forward that should be your first priority.

gill_sans | July 12, 2013

@Theresa, sorry to hear about your getting rear-ended! I wonder if the silence of the Tesla contributes to this kind of accident. (I certainly hope not.)

mal42north | July 12, 2013

I agree the spares situation is a little vexing. My S60 has been at tesla service since June 15 after a rat decided to dine on the main wiring harness. The service center finally got the replacement harness today, but only because the service manager drove over the the factory and pulled it from the production line. This is a worse delay than when I had to get a new Prius battery shipped from Japan. If you are not in a bay area service facility you'd probably need to organize an :"Itallian Job" style heist to get your parts. Tesla needs to hire a VP of service, because all of the current executive team (with the possible exception of George B) would be effectively acting against their own interest if they started supporting good service.

KOL2000 | July 12, 2013

I had EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE experience. I hit road debris and it tore off a small plastic piece of the trim on the right side of the car. They had the part, charged me $30 and reapplied it at the Tesla service center for free in less than 30 minutes without an appointment.

Unbelievable service. I can tell you for the comparable experience with a BMW I would have paid $300+ and waited a day to get the car back.

Steve in San Diego Service center is awesome by the way!!

Paul Koning | July 12, 2013

Blaming lack of parts on high demand for the car is nonsense. This is a matter of correctly setting the priorities. If production for parts is treated as lower priority than production for new car assembly, then yes, you'd get parts shortage. But such a priority setting is wrong. The correct priority choice is to reserve some percentage of capacity for filling the parts inventory, if it isn't sufficiently full.