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Body shop work

Body shop work

The Tesla S offers a great performing car; hopefully it can follow through with delivery. I'm considering putting the 5K down. Can anyone in the industry help allay a major concern: I have this vision of driving my new car and someone talking on their cell phone rear ends me. The car is towed to the body shop and the manager says, "what should I do"? Is it realistic that the necessary parts will be available in a timely manner?

Straight Shooter | April 15, 2011

No one can answer that one right now with certainty. Obviously the car will be under full warrenty and you will have full insurance on it too.

I suspect a Tesla Ranger would be on route to get the car. Your insurance company probably pays for a gas powered rental while it is being fixed. Repair won't cost a thing. Basically you will only be paying for gas, and you might have a possible reimbursement from either Telsa or your insurance company for that one, but don't count on it.

One thing worth looking into which isn't fully defined yet either. If Telsa charges $1/mile/kilometer to get your car, under the above circumstances, to an "appropriate" repair shop, it is probably better to get CAA/AAA to tow it directly to the closest Tesla Dealer. Almost no repair shops will be qualified to repair EV systems in the short term. Even though your insurance company has their "preferred" shops that they want to fix it, there is almost no chance they will be EV certified either. Your insurance will have no choice but to pay for the trip to the Telsa dealer.

Your insurance company will cover all charges for CAA/AAA and if you are Plus member (like we are) most the trip is free anyway. That means CAA/AAA can probably tow it back to your front door too, coveraged by insurance too.

I can't wait to see how that one fleshes out.

William13 | April 16, 2011

This issue has concerned me also. I think that the aluminum body and frame, powder paint, and electrical system mean that no work other than tires and brakes can be done by any one other than Tesla. I probably won't even do the brakes elsewhere anyway.

David70 | April 16, 2011

@William 13

And I'd think you would have to be a real lead foot on the brakes if they didn't last at least 100k miles.

At 100k miles my Prius had negligible wear on the brakes.

msiano17 | April 16, 2011

Especially with the Regen system.

What would be nice too is that the insurance company, theirs since it is their fault, picks up gas costs. Since we switched to EV to get away from that, should not be penalized for some idiot hitting us. Seems fair, but most insurance companies probably do not see it that way.

Sudre | April 16, 2011

Last time I had a claim on full coverage here in the US the insurance company just gave me blue book price for the car and walked away. I imagine they will do the same with any significant damage to a Tesla since the cost to repair will be way to high. I don't know how insurance works in other countries but from my experience in the US it's whatever is cheapest for the insurance company.

Dan5 | April 17, 2011

There are shops that do replace aluminum parts currently. You would have to call around, but it is highly likely that there are places in your area that would do aluminum body work. More or less, the shop does need special tools to repair aluminum, but in the grand scheme it is a negligible investment for any body shop.
In reality, they would probably just replace the panel of the car. If the frame is bent, for the most part insurance companies just total the car.
In terms of paint, it depends, some shops do a very good job at painting the panel to look the same- in actuality powder coating verses spray look about the same, the only difference is that powder uses less solvents, but if it's a few years old, the color will not look the same so you may as well get the entire car painted. Same with the clear coat- since they are different paints they may not wear the same so one panel may take a yellowish tinge, while the other may look clear, but be speckling or bubbling, but at that point, you are talking between 40,000 and 50,000 hrs of high UV light exposure (6-8 years kept outside 24/7) (keeping a car in a garage or putting a cover on it substantially increases the life of the paint)

neroden | April 25, 2011

Followup question: what insurance company to use?

It's clear that in the case of an accident we'll want our Teslas taken to the dealership, at least in the near term (until more garages become "EV-ready"). The question then is, what insurance companies will behave themselves and happily go along with the 400-mile tow and the dealership repair, and what insurance companies will be obnoxious about it? I'm in a position to get new insurance before I receive my Model S, so I'm thinking about this.

Jaffray | April 26, 2011

There are shops around that repair aluminum bodied vehicles, and the number of such shops will no doubt increase as more aluminum EV's hit the road.

TM will help you find a shop if you are in need.

The Toronto office of TM now has an approved repair facility for the Roadster and I'm sure if this facility can handle CF repair, they'll be able to handle aluminum as well.

I'm sure that if you asked your local TM store, they will have already sourced out proper repair facilities in your area.

CollisionSam | October 10, 2012

I can tell you our bodyshop has the repair jigs and access to the parts to repair them. The official roll out is slow, but if heaven forbid someone is eager to crash their new Tesla, they are NOT S.O.L.

joergm | January 29, 2014

Unfortunately, I got rear ended a couple of weeks ago in my P85. I called Tesla and they pointed me to a couple of Tesla certified body shops that have gone through Tesla training in Fremont in how to repair a Model S. My car is currently at Chilton Auto Body in San Carlos, CA.
Damage to mine was mostly in the back and a bit in the front as I got pushed into the car in front of me. Parts seemed to have been available quickly (within days of ordering them). They are not cheap and a lot of parts that had very minor damage had to be replaced because of the fact that aluminum parts can't be as easily corrected as steel parts. Repair still takes significant amounts of time (4 weeks). For my car, one headlight, the hood and the trunk (all with very minor damage) cost ~4K. The body panels around the trunk are all being replaced and cost about the same.

The car itself drove fine after the accident (advice: call Tesla to check out your car remotely). Estimated repair cost ~25K (14K in parts, the rest labor and paint).

Half Dollar Bill | January 29, 2014

Different story but hopefully similar outcome. I've got minor front end damage and I called Tesla. They had a list of recommended shops in my area. Some weren't necessarily convenient but the one I chose looks like a very qualified place. The shop indicated I'd be without the car for about 2-4 weeks.

Brian H | January 29, 2014

What did the other car(s) look like?

Jewsh | January 29, 2014

Hopefully we never have to go through the repair process on our 'S. :-(