Insane cost of repair; Tesla's Achilles heel

Insane cost of repair; Tesla's Achilles heel

New model S. Turning around on a parking lot at night. Left front side scrapes parking lot guard rail. Walking speed, < 4 mph. No damage to drivability.. Still 100% operable. Tesla says go to Tesla authorized repair shop. Tesla shop estimates cost of repair at $9600. After regaining consciousness, I said I want to get another bid. Closest location of qualified competitor; 300 miles.

Conclusion: either Tesla affiliated shop is gouging, OR
Tesla Model S is outrageously fragile.

In either case, the bottom line is, had I known then what I know now, I would not have purchased the car. And this statement comes from Elon Musk's greatest cheerleader and Tesla shareholder.

More information? Pix? Contact me.

jordanrichard | January 31, 2016

Cost of repair is not indicative of fragility. It is the cost of the parts and in a larger part the labor involved when dealing with aluminum.

Ask an Audi certified body shop how much such a repair would be on an A8. BTW, in ALL of the United States, there are only 49 places you can get an A8 repaired (certified by Audi).

There is already complaints about the new aluminum F150 and the repair costs associated with that.

EVRider | January 31, 2016

You need my email address to prove you're not making this up? Nice try. If it really happened, post your details and pictures here.

hv.lewis | January 31, 2016

Rolls Royce scrapes are cheaper than that!!!
Could you ask them to break down their estimate?
Labour : materials.
Maybe be you have to have a whole car body??

renwo S alset | January 31, 2016

I have had two similar repairs, one cost $1300 the other $2400. I would suggest that due diligence would mean getting competitive bids before posting inflamitory headlines.

jordanrichard | January 31, 2016

Roofless, very good point.

rmg007 | January 31, 2016

These types of posts keep appearing which leads me to believe they are genuine. I agree with OP's thread title.

firerock | January 31, 2016

Why do we need to contact you for pictures? Just post them here.

dogfishbird | January 31, 2016

072647 - I'm on your side. Hang in there. You need to get another estimate, and forget the Tesla "Authorized Serviced Centers." Find a good local shop that has experience pounding out aluminum.

I had a small dent above my left rear wheel (hopefully my images will post) and the "TASC" wanted over $4K, and 6 weeks to repair it. Even worse, they wanted to replace the rear quarter panel, AND the rear bumper. I didn't want them to A) rip the car apart, and b) that expensive of a repair might show up an accident in CARFAX. Too invasive for me.

I was lucky - the person who dented my fender offered his USAA insurance, I found an approved shop that had familiarity with aluminum repair. They fixed it perfectly, in 4 days, and $1200 - and, bonus, it didn't show up on my insurance as an accident when I went to sell it.

I think I see their side - the TASC wants the car to be a perfect as possible - a brand-new part is better than one that's been repaired. I disagree, however.

Here are photos of the damage: | January 31, 2016

@072647 - Not enough information.

If the damage was a deep gouge across both doors and front and rear fender and both bumpers, $9600 might be a bargain. New aluminum panels on half the car is a lot of labor and materials. Each bumper is not a minor cost either. Then it all needs to be sanded, painted, clearcoat and buffed out. If the damage was this extensive, I'd expect a bill closer to $25K. Sounds like the damage is not as extensive, but cars are not cheap to repair. It's not unique to Tesla.

TaoJones | January 31, 2016

And that, dogfishbird, is one of the most useful posts to have appeared on these fora in years.

Tired of the reports, both online and off, of price gouging and in particular the interminable delays for relatively simple repairs. Just because Audi can't get it together doesn't make the Tesla repair experience any less negative, or, at best, inconsistent.

patrick40363 | January 31, 2016

Scraped by left front fender on my garage entry twice. Had it buffed/painted for $100 at a local body shop.

AmpedRealtor | January 31, 2016

You don't have to use a Tesla authorized shop.

J.T. | January 31, 2016

@AR +1

Had a scratch on rear bumper just below tag. Authorized quote $1800. Every day guy $350.00

Shop around.

Oh And this statement comes from Elon Musk's greatest cheerleader and Tesla shareholder.

You're not even in the top ten. :-)

Solarwind | January 31, 2016

Last summer I hit a road candle at 65 mph, put a dent in top of fender no scratch. Paintless dent repair fixed it for $125.
However in December a young lady slammed into the left rear, the quarter panel has to be replaced. I do not know the cost and don't care as long as her insurance takes care of it, However the repair person said they would be replacing the bumper and it is $400, not out of line with others.

eye.surgeon | January 31, 2016

It's amusing watching people who have never owned a 6 figure aluminum premium vehicle freak out when they need body work done. Newsflash, it's exactly the same issue with an S class, a 7 series, an A8, a Range Rover, a big Jag, etc. etc. etc. Tesla didn't invent this issue.

Captain_Zap | January 31, 2016

My repairs seemed to be right in line with my BMW.

EVdoublepro | January 31, 2016

"And that, dogfishbird, is one of the most useful posts to have appeared on these fora in years."

It is a "clever" way to not disclose to a buyer that your car was in an accident and needed repairs which TASC estimated at 4k+.

dborn | January 31, 2016

Working with aluminium only applies if they are actually doing any panel beating, which most of the time they are not. They are replacing panels. The price should not differ much from working with steel. Ok, some new panels need welding and that requires a different welding skill. My wife drove into the rear of a taxi with her Honda Accord. Mashed the front end. New headlight, new bumper, new hood, new front grille and sundry new interior supports for same. Grand total? $7500.00 Australian dollars. Australian labour is not cheap and our dollar is lower than yours by a lot. By the way, although the car was drivable, ir legally was not. The hood was crumpled restricting some forward vision. We are talking here of structural damage that was significant. This was also an insurance claim, so the price would have been bumped up.

dbullard | February 8, 2016

Those rear quarter panels are the most expensive part of the body to have replaced (I grazed a parking garage piller and tore the aluminum, no possibility of pounding it out) - mine ran $8500 at the Tesla authorized shop (we have 2 in Portland).

That rear quarter panel is bonded, welded, AND riveted on. They have to do a TON of labor to remove and replace it. It'd be nice if it was easier to work on, I wonder if that level of fastening adds to the crumple zone and crash resistence.

kwen197 | February 8, 2016

Tesla approved body repair shops have to install a very expensive ( I have heard more than a $!00K) "Clean Room" for all the finishing processes. This insures the result is like new with very little diminished value.
There are two approved shops in the Portland OR. area.

RanjitC | February 8, 2016

A friend of mine sideswiped a tree while trying to avoid a dog running across the street. He was able to drive the car around after that. It was a MB 550 SL. They wanted $70K to fix it. You are getting off cheap.

JeffreyR | February 8, 2016

Check out the Tips & Tricks for instructions on posting pictures. I use to put them online. It's easy and anonymous. Make sure to use width="100%" for big images otherwise they won't show up on people's phones properly. The Forums are "responsive" now and are not hard-coded to a specific width anymore (as I predicted--hah!).

jordanrichard | February 9, 2016

The rear quarter panel on just about any car is a costly repair since they are actually part of the much larger side section stamping from the factory. So a body shop has to cut, weld, and blend in the weld and blend in the paint to properly fix it. Front fenders are simple bolt on's and no fading/blending the paint required.

damonmath | February 9, 2016

I had a barely visible scratch on my passenger rear quarter panel just above the rear tire. Estimate from Amato's Auto in San Diego was $3600. I buffed out the scratch with some Meguiars scratch-x 2.0 for $9.

Pungoteague_Dave | February 9, 2016

un, so these are expensive cars...

Jacqueline.gerhart | February 9, 2016

Yeah, what PD said. I was involved in an accident that involved left fender damage (significant) along with the front bumper/sensors/ cost of repairs around $12000 and 6 weeks in a Tesla certified repair shop in Milwaukee. These are expensive cars, I was not surprised at all by the cost. I suspect the Model 3 will be more affordable to repair.

eddiemoy | February 9, 2016

so your car didn't warn you that there was some thing in the way? did the parking sensors not work? bs maybe?

Brian10 | February 10, 2016

I backed into a parking pole last year, good sized, deep dent in the rear right corner. Tesla certified body shop quoted over $6000 do to the repair. I contacted a paintless dent repair guy who came to my home an in a few hours (tediously slow work) the dent was completely gone. His price? $250. Repair shops are gauging Tesla owners while they can.

Socalphil | February 10, 2016

Just an interesting addition to the discussion. I got into an accident in which I t-boned an Acura at pretty high speed. Air bags deployed, smashed in the front of my MS85 up to about the front wheels. Cost to repair, $47k - time to repair 3 months (hopefully, haven't got it back yet). Definitely need Tesla Authorized Repair Center for this.

K85D | February 11, 2016

I scrapped by a pillar in a parking garage and dented my left rear panel. There is two dents, but no painted taken off. I talked to a dent repair company, but since the damage is on the crease (above rear tire). It has to be replaced. Tesla is so backed up in spending parts out to repair facilities, that the body shop just got the part in - 2 months later (rear quarter panel). I now have to wait another 2 weeks to get the car in. It will then take the body shop 2 weeks to fix it. This whole process is going to take three months for one quarter panel and $5,500. I am lucky that I am able to drive the car. I have owned Porshe and BMWs. It has never taken this long or cost this much to fix. Telsa is going to need to fix this issue before it become a mainstream car company. It has been very frustrating. Telsa does not tell the body shop when the part will be there. They just have to wait for it to show up. There is no automated system. I live in VA. There are only two body shops – one in Gaithersburg MD and another in Richmond, VA that are certified for Telsa. Not fun…

AoneOne | February 11, 2016

I covered my entire car in clear XPEL because no part is immune from damage: my roof is occasionally scraped by low-hanging branches, and my doors get scraped by the edges of other car's doors in parking lots and I even once did scrape my front fender against the garage door frame. That scrape took off the film, but left the paint undamaged. I was glad to replace that film instead of repaint the fender. Easier, quicker, and much less expensive.

(Block A Chip near Cleveland OH applied the XPEL at a competitive price and with great skill. I recommend them.)

Ross1 | February 12, 2016

Makes me appreciate my Ford T.
Porridge to stop radiator leaks, barely any body, umbrella when it rained, fix the mudguards with bolts. And stuffed grass in the tires when I couldn't get tubes.
Why does Elon think the Model S is like the Model T again?

KL | February 12, 2016

I had something like this on my hood from hitting highway debris. I got it fixed for $60 by a dent repair service. The guy really knows how to work on aluminum and Teslas since we are in the Bay Area. Check out the before and after picts of my hood:

DAB | February 12, 2016

My wife backed into a pillar in a garage. Nice little dent in back bumper. Tesla authorized shop said it needed full replacement for $2800. Went to a local body shop and had it fixed for $400 last year - still cant tell where it happened. Details:

This accident resulted in insurance paying $16K+:

teslamonterey | February 12, 2016

Just my two cents and experience. My body shop owner told me it costs $100,000 to be trained and then recognize as a certified repair shop. My first nightmare was a good size bang to the drivers side rear quarter panel. $12,000 repair. Had to have a new quarter panel from Tesla. I paid and thought that was my only option. Fast forward to today. Repairs that can be done without ordering parts from Tesla can be done at any shop. Two road dings from highway driving repaired beautifully for $400. Now, I can't speak to all the repairs in between what I described. The first was only to the quarter panel. They told me that on a one month old car, they had to blend the paint into the bumper and into the back door. Never heard of that, but I was a new owner, totally bummed and was willing to pay. Live and learn. Shop around at non Tesla Certified Shops.

compchat | February 13, 2016

With respect to replacement parts, can the body shops order them pre-painted ? Having a titanium car I think it would be hard for even Tesla Certified Shop to match the color (assuming paint is available). When I damaged by first car I'm almost certain the body shop replaced the parts without painting them as they kept waiting for parts and when they finally came in the car was finished very quickly. Anyone know if this is done or possible ?

UnshodBob | February 13, 2016

@nickthehip - try imitation. | February 13, 2016

@compchat - I'm about 99% sure you cannot order a pre-painted part. The problem is it would rarely match. Paints on cars change color slightly over time in the sun and age, and even factory paint from any car-maker will have slight variations over different production runs. You couldn't tell the difference even if two 'same' cars were next to each other, but when two panels are next to each other, slight variances look bad. Paint shops match the paint to your specific car at the time the work is done. Paint shops do this all the time and are quite good at it. Repair shops can do the paint in a day, so it shouldn't hold up the repair either.

Red Sage ca us | February 13, 2016

Pure. Friggin'. Comedy.

bernardkida | June 11, 2016

UGH! I feel your pain... I bumped a new 2016 Model S in the rear. At first it seemed like a an easy out-of-pocket repair and the individual text me back saying it looks like it would be $1400-$1800 from the original pre-estimate. I was pissed at myself, but wanted to just fix it and get it over with, meanwhile my car had virtually nothing, but a cracked front plastic license place holder ($30) fix. After waiting and waiting, the body shop came back with a ridiculous $4500 that I just couldn't believe, and to be honest feel is taking advantage of people. There was nothing I could do because I was at fault and the other party could basically do whatever they wanted, so I had to go through insurance for what a normal vehicle would have most likely cost $500-$1000. Live and learn, especially when a Tesla is front of you.

Ricco831 | June 13, 2016

OP is probably the same Aussie that filed all the fake complaints about suspension issues!

Pungoteague_Dave | June 14, 2016

@TeslaTap, you can order pre-painted parts, at least in some cases. I have ordered and received a replacement mirror cover and two parking sensors in pearl white.

jjchan.OH.US | June 14, 2016

Last summer, I pulled the car out of the garage backwards, & scratched the driver's side front fender on the door jam. Luck had it that there happened to be a nail-head there holding the trim. That put a gouge into the paint. I took it to the local body shop & they buffed all the brown-red scratch marks off, but the gauge obviously remained there. They "repaired" that, sand it down & matched painted it (my P85 is basic white), all for $300. The owner told me it's no different to repair than say a Ford F150 with aluminum body. So, sometimes demanding factory trained repair facilities for the slightest, simple repairs fuels the industry's greed.

Haggy | June 14, 2016

Let this be a lesson to anybody who thinks that keeping a three second following distance will get the person somewhere three seconds later. It won't. It might even get somebody to a destination sooner.

Tess2 | February 17, 2017
Geico said $2500 to fix
Tesla approved body shop said $18,000+
Took 2 months to get the parts
Yes. Not a easy car to fix
But very solid, very safe, and best car I have driven. Not going back ICE despite the challenge re part supply.

hkellington48 | February 19, 2017

After emailing service manager in Vancouver I received notice my parts would arrive in Victoria in just over a week. They've booked me in to their earliest time in two weeks and car will be ready in 5 days. New bumper arrives Tuesday. They've gone above and beyond as far as I'm concerned. I figured June or July the way people talked on forums.

fred | February 23, 2017

@teslatap - similar to @Pungoteague_Dave, I had a gouge in mirror cover (my fault). 2015 Titanium.. Local Tesla Ranger ordered preprinted replacement cover. I can not see any difference in color.