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 | March 21, 2019

Got any pics?

Dyberry | March 21, 2019

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

Magic 8 Ball | March 21, 2019

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

Dyberry | March 21, 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 | March 21, 2019

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

cascadiadesign | March 21, 2019

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

TM3Q | March 21, 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 | March 21, 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 | March 21, 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 | March 21, 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 | March 21, 2019

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

JWAKRON | March 24, 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 | March 24, 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 | March 24, 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 | March 25, 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 | March 25, 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 | March 25, 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 | March 25, 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 | March 25, 2019

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

Pierogi | March 25, 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 | March 25, 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 | April 5, 2019

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

doigtsdhonneur | April 5, 2019

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

vmulla | April 5, 2019

Just curious, when was your car made?

mbouchti57 | April 5, 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 | April 5, 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 | April 6, 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 | April 6, 2019

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

Pierogi | April 6, 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 | April 6, 2019

Pitting not putting.

Pierogi | April 12, 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 | April 12, 2019

wow that is good to hear :)

doigtsdhonneur | April 13, 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 | April 16, 2019

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

jamespompi | April 17, 2019

From OP on reddit thread I shared above yesterday..

jamespompi | April 17, 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 | April 17, 2019

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

wiboater4 | April 18, 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 | April 18, 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.

mathieuepollock | December 4, 2019

@doigtsdhonneur did they fix the paint issue in the Quebec dealerships

Scrannel | December 4, 2019

Mine is a Sept. 2019 build and the rockers came with some sort of PPF on them.

Stevenml155 | February 9, 2020

M3P with 3500 miles on it - gray color and noticed it today both the rear rocker panels and behind front wheel panels as well. Smaller but starting to pit out. It's a lease so I don't want to really wrap the car only to give it back, but I also feel this falls into the normal wear and tear of a vehicle as I shouldn't have to modify the stock car to have it wear normally. I'm going to send photos to Tesla this week and get their opinion on this. Seems like a very easy factory fix to place some of the 'rubberized' paint and coating I had on my last two vehicles (Audi). Never have had this issue with any of my vehicles. Tesla needs to get these items dialed in especially with all the competition that is coming to market in the next year or two. Things like this for a $58K car are not acceptable ... just my .02 opinion :)

ReD eXiLe ms us | February 9, 2020

Ladies & Gentlemen? Remember... When such things happen to your $58,000 expenditure? Be sure NOT to accept it. It's the absolute ONLY way Tesla will ever learn. Never mind that they'll just sell it to someone else fifteen minutes later. Stand your ground! You must be FIRM! That'll show them how to treat YOU! After all, you're... important. The guys at the AUDI, BMW, or Mercedes-Benz dealership all know that. They UNDERSTAND you. Really they do. It isn't pandering at all. They are properly trained. They know how to treat a Customer RIGHT. You don't have to stand for this [$#!+] at all. Be sure to yell, "I'll never buy from you again!" as you leave, OK...? Good. Being the 'squeaky wheel' really works to yiur advantage. Really. Honest & for true.

vmulla | February 9, 2020

@ReD eXiLe ms us,
True! It’s important any company gets direct customer feedback. If something is wrong during the warranty period ask for the manufacturer to resolve it. That’s not only helping yourself, it helps the manufacturer with data to improve quality

kkerstetter9 | February 9, 2020

It would seem that Tesla is addressing this issue with the Model Y. Pictures show what appears to be black molded plastic
around both wheel wells and the rockers up to the bottom of the door opening. Both the front and Rear bumper have the same material on the bottom part of the bumper.

njelectric | February 9, 2020

It’s interesting that my 2013 model S had the black plastic on the rocker panels and behind the rear wheels which I thought was a great idea but when they did the first refresh they got rid of that.

FISHEV | February 9, 2020

“Tesla Will Pay For Mudflaps In Canada: Generosity Or Strategy?“

Had the detail shop put PPF on rockers after doing full nose and they also installed the mud flaps so have protection in place for it. Should be a good selling point.

WhiteWind | February 9, 2020

Fish is dumb and troll

Scrannel | February 9, 2020

My white 2019 Performance has some sort of clear protectant on the rockers.