Body Repair Report

Body Repair Report

On 7/23/13, I had the unfortunate experience of walking out of the grocery store and watching a car scrape my MS.

The driver of an SUV left the rear passenger side door open, and backed out of the parking spot, crushing a 6" round section of the fender (to a depth of nearly 3"). When she realized what she did, she pulled forward, scraping the door against the hood, leaving a deep 10" scratch down to the aluminum, and brushing the front plastic bumper, scraping through the paint armor.

Fortunately, no one was hurt, and the damage was all cosmetic. The driver was insured by Geico. I found that little lizard to be quite personal, and he runs a tight ship. He did tell me that I would be covered for only 5 days of a rental car, which would have been disappointing if I had needed one. Fortunately, I did not. They offered me $20/day if I chose not to take a rental. Since I didn't need it anyway, I'm in!

I've heard some stories about long waits for parts, so I was understandably nervous.

We took the car in for an estimate, which came to $2,816.47, but warned us that it might increase. Since I wasn't the insured, I didn't care, as the amounts were a matter between the repair shop and the gecko.

The check arrived several days later, and we signed it over to the repair shop. They ordered the parts immediately, and told us to be patient. We were lucky, as we could easily drive it if we could handle people asking us questions about the dents.

To my amazement, I got a call the next day saying that the parts would be there in 3 days. Apparently there were some canceled parts locally and I got lucky. The parts were:

Front bumper assembly - $360
Front fender assembly - $300
The hood turned out to be a repaint.

Upon the arrival of the parts, we brought the car back. 9 days later, it is back in our garage.

When I picked it up, I learned that paint had to be blended with the driver door, so in the process they had to remove the door handle and side view mirror. The handle looks inset a bit, so we'll have them align it better on a follow up.

I also learned something about the painting process. When I picked up the car, they had not yet sanded and polished the paint, so there was a little bit of "orange peeling." I was told that it is normal, and that they needed to wait several days for the paint to cure before the sanding. The color is dead on. After Labor Day, I'll take it back for the final step, and we'll see how they did.

In the end, the breakdown was as follows:

Body labor - $810
Paint labor - $635
Paint materials - $304.80
OEM parts - $680
Paint Armor - $500
Storage - $2.50
Tax - $186.20
Total - $3118.50

These prices are in Connecticut.

redacted | August 29, 2013

Just curious: "Since I wasn't the insured..." (1) do they let you have a car without insurance in Ct? (2) Why would you have a $70,000+ car and no insurance? Anyway, I'm glad it all worked out so well.

Mathew98 | August 29, 2013

@redacted - The OP had insurance. He just relied on the other party's insurance to pay for damages to his car.

Theresa | August 29, 2013

redacted, I am sure he meant it wasn't his insurance that was covering the damage.

mjs, Since I had a SB done to my car via ranger I was able to observe when they had to remove the door handle and re-install it. I can tell you it is an art to get the handle to be perfectly aligned with the body. In fact I told the service person (after he tried several times) that it looked like it was as close as he was ever going to get it. He had to use shims in order to align it and as he tightened the screws you could watch it move slightly. So he would take it apart and add or remove a shim and then re-tighten it. And then it would be worse the opposite direction. I felt sorry for him trying to get it perfect which is why I said it was good enough when it was so close that it was not obvious unless you looked closely.

Fordy | August 29, 2013

Did you only get one estimate? It's been a long time since I've worked with an insurance claim, I thought they would want three estimates.

redacted | August 29, 2013

the insured. I don't know how I missed that. I feel better, and more contrite.

mjs | August 29, 2013

@Theresa - Thanks for the advice!!

@Mathew98, redacted - Yes. I have insurance with Chubb, to whom I reported it immediately. Geico called me within an hour of my calling Chubb, and said they would handle everything if I wanted.

mjs | August 29, 2013

At the risk of sounding like a Geico commercial, they really made it easy. First, I asked some friends for a reputable shop. Then I took the car to Geico's local adjuster where he said I could choose any shop I wanted, and they would negotiate the payments with the shop without my involvement.

The appointment process with their adjuster was seamless and easy, and I only needed that one estimate.

hpatelmd | August 29, 2013

When my neighbor backed into my parked MS, I called the ATL SC to find out where to get the work done. There is only 1 Tesla approved body shop in metro ATL (which is 45 miles from me). It was worth it, they have a special dust free room for aluminum work. They want me to bring the car back in 1-2 moths to do the detail, wax etc after the paint has fully cured.

The damage to the OPs car sounded much worse compared to mine, yet the total cost on my car was just over $4200 (The insurance adjuster expected significantly higher labor rates on this car, as initial estimate was $1400).

Kit-60kWh now 85D | August 29, 2013

Wow. I am impressed. My repair in the Seattle area took six weeks due to difficulty getting parts that weren't known to be needed until Tessie was in the shop and the bumper, fender and rocker panel were removed. But that was months ago, I'm happy to say. Your experience may now be the norm--I hope so.

mjs | August 29, 2013

I remember when you wrote about that. I was thinking about you and all those responses to your post when I got the estimate.

I do hope that my experience is the "new norm."

Rgv | August 29, 2013

@mjs, I need a new front bumper on mine (just the bumper nothing else). and the tesla certified body shop gave me a quote for 2400 (parts 500 and labor rest). I got another quote who gave me quote for 1500 (parts 1050, labor 450). Tesla service center in Phoenix told me a new front bumper (unpainted) cost 900 dollars. Did you get a new bumper for 360? (Not sure if thats what you meant by new bumper assembly..

mjs | August 29, 2013

Yes, new bumper for $360. Mine was replaced.
I'm really surprised by the variance. | August 29, 2013

$360 sounds really inexpensive for a Tesla bumper.


Rgv | August 30, 2013

I personally went to the Tesla service center today and was told the new bumper (unpainted) will cost 900 dollars. May be there is a regional variation but its surprisingly big!! | August 30, 2013

Are you sure you got a genuine part from Tesla?


bdukov | August 31, 2013

4 days ago, on the 405 freeway south, I'm in the 2nd lane from the right going at 10 mph in heavy traffic, when wham! A big knock on my right side rear, and I see a motorcycle whiz by; a policeman! I honk furiously, and he pulls over up ahead. I join him, and he is crestfallen to see the new Tesla he just scraped with his side bar. Long story short, $10,885 repair estimate by a Tesla sanctioned shop. He has admitted full liability, which is the honorable thing to do, but here is my dilemma: the shop says it is a 30 day repair. Now, I need a replacement vehicle, and I really would like it to be another MS. After all, why should I now have to drive an ICE vehicle and pay for gas for 30 days? It's going to be a wait and see, if his insurance company will be able to find a similar car. Tesla is also looking into a loaner for me. Any similar experiences? Does any car rental company offer a Tesla MS?

bdukov | August 31, 2013

Just googled the rentals; circa $11,400 for 1 month! I can't imagine they will pony up for it.

mjs | September 1, 2013

Seems odd to me. The bill does say OEM on it, and I don't know how aftermarket parts could spring up so quickly.
I'll ask when I bring it in for sanding.

Very strange.