P85D Not designed to go through puddles??

P85D Not designed to go through puddles??

Hello all,

Apparently Tesla thinks that driving through a puddle is beyond the capability of the Model S and is an "insurance issue."

What do you think?

I drove through a deep puddle last Wednesday. What I think happened is that one of the plastic panels on the underside of the car was loose and the water got between the panel and the underside of the car. Once the panel started to peel the force of the water pushed it downward and backward so that it flipped backwards and took the bumper off with it. I called Tesla immediately and they sent a truck to take it to the auto body. After dragging their feet for the last six days I just got word that they will "not cover the repairs" and I need to call my insurance.

I understand most Tesla drivers are in California and do not see the same road conditions we see in New England. However, if the car is going make it in this market and other similar markets like the Midwest it needs to be able to go through a puddle without sustaining thousands of dollars worth of damage.

Has anyone else had an issue with this? Any advice on how to deal with Tesla?

Thanks to all for any help!

rxlawdude | 07. juli 2015

Sounds like a road hazard, not a warranty issue.

Red Sage ca us | 07. juli 2015


2... 3... 4...



Bighorn | 07. juli 2015

By deep, I'm assuming it was at least half a foot deep in order to have any incidental contact with the bottom of the car. Puddle seems like the wrong word, in that case. Do you have air suspension--what height was the car?

Mathew98 | 07. juli 2015

If a puddle that is high enough to force water up your intake in an ICE, would it still be a warranty issue?

TM advise drivers not to go through standing water. You have no idea how deep it is.

If that "shallow puddle" exerted enough force to rip the bumper off, then there must be some issue with the puddle or it's a case of user error...

JackClark | 07. juli 2015

Stop following these guys in your ~$100K sedan.

mesiham | 07. juli 2015

Road hazard is a pothole. Going through water should not be an issue for any car that is marketed for a four season market. If they want to sell these cars in California and places with year round warm weather, that's fine with me, but don't tell me to buy a car in New England and then tell me it can't go through some water.

For clarification, the puddle was on the offramp/onramp between two highways. There was no pothole. I spoke to the guy at the autobody and he agrees that this was all on the underside of the car and the plastic midbody panel flipping backwards is what took the bumper off.

How did you add that photo? I can share with you the pictures.

jordanrichard | 07. juli 2015

mesiham, I am in CT and I have had no issues going through puddles, but I also have never seen a puddle on an off.

Also, there are no "mid body" panels. The middle of the body underneath is the battery which has a 1/4 ballistic grade aluminum plate.

Should Chevy consider it a warranty item if a driver drives through a puddle, lifts off the accelerator and sucks in water through the exhaust system, in turn ruining the engine?

Red Sage ca us | 07. juli 2015

I grew up in Mississippi, where hydroplaning on water logged surface streets and highways is a commonplace occurrence. Standing water can rarely be avoided there. But there is a reason why dedicated off-road ICE vehicles are fitted with snorkels and smokestack exhaust. There is also a reason why people are advised to reduce speed before attempting to pass through standing water when you can't see the road below the surface. Caution is advised, every time.

lolachampcar | 07. juli 2015

Our MS' have driven through a lot of puddles without issue.

I've also ripped plastic bits off cars in the past driving through water at speed/force. It was my fault and had nothing to do with the quality of the car. Luckily, I'm not 17 any more.

Before you get pissed at my comments, remember the ole Swedish saying-
You through a stick into a pack of dogs...
The one that yelps is the one that was hit.

Bighorn | 07. juli 2015

I think you hit Brian with that "through":)

lolachampcar | 07. juli 2015

oops.... I deserve his feedback :)

jbdvm1988 | 07. juli 2015

I think it's THREW

eye.surgeon | 07. juli 2015

I've seen ICE cars hydrolock engines driving through standing water at speed. It happens. ICE or electric seems irrelevant, if your car is damaged while driving, it's an insurance issue not a warranty issue.

KL | 07. juli 2015

@mesiham, show us a photo of the damage. That sucks. I'm curious as to how much force we are talking about to get this kind of result:

" the force of the water pushed it downward and backward so that it flipped backwards and took the bumper off with it."

Red Sage ca us | 07. juli 2015

Yeah. Funny that 'the force of the water' as opposed to the force of driving the vehicle too fast during inclement weather is the diagnosed culprit...

Mike83 | 07. juli 2015

Do you mean the submarine mode is only for fun?

Bighorn | 07. juli 2015

Hope you drive better than you tied your tie:)

mesiham | 07. juli 2015

I guess that means the pictures are working ;)

vlad22 | 07. juli 2015

@bighorn. Is this not trolling ??? Either op hit a small lake at 100mph or this is total bullshit. Op; I have driven on our wonderful Anthony henday freeway (Google it) after 6inches of unplowed snowfall at 50mph and had snow drifts come over my hood and have never had anything happen. Perhaps you had earlier backed into a curb and then drove away causing 99% of the damage.

NKYTA | 07. juli 2015

Note to self: don't drive thru puddles, or even bigger puddles. Ouch.

I do find it odd that you have both an 18 and a 1 on your license plate. That's so deflating. Perhaps you should request that your next plate has a 19 and a 0? ;-)

Bighorn | 07. juli 2015

He may have been trolling for fish now that you mention it:)

Innkeep | 07. juli 2015

I can recall my parents having a similar problem with a deformed fender/bumper daamaged when driving at highway speeds in the rain. This was in a Buick and about 40 years ago. Their cars were always traded before out of warranty, but I believe in that case they chalked it up to a freaky accident and paid for the repair.

I realize the difference. I didn't realize the Teslas even had that big plastic flap underneath. I suspect unless there are other Teslas that appear with the same damages it's just one of those freaky things, I'd make use of your insurance.

Surf | 07. juli 2015

Did you snap a photo of the puddle?

Bighorn | 07. juli 2015

The plastic cover hides the drive unit.

Roamer@AZ USA | 07. juli 2015

Note to self. Don't hammer it thru deep water.

renwo S alset | 07. juli 2015

I thought if you were going fast enough, you would just skip across it.

mesiham | 07. juli 2015

Giants fan. Love the post.

AoneOne | 07. juli 2015

@renwo S alset: Not yet. You need a second gear to get to warp speed :)

NKYTA | 07. juli 2015

Close, OP, Dolphins fan here, there is only 1 in Perfectville.

Ironically, I owe (the world + extra stuff) to my wife, who is a Gints fan, so they are a close third now to GB.

Back to the post, I've got auto-raising ON in so may places that I frequent, and park, here in NorCal, that I do wish for the reverse, wish it was the default. I'm probably over taxing the car+DB for their servers. I might have to go vote over at on this...

GAGSTESLA | 07. juli 2015

Sorry, that was no " puddle" , more like a raging creek bed. I can see why Tesla turned you down on a warranty claim.

ragtopday | 08. juli 2015

It could have been drive error for going too fast thru a puddle or there could be a problem with the design of the car. I do not think we have enough information as to where to place blame. I think the only way to determine fault would be to know how fast the car was going and how deep was the water. I do not think it is right to bash the driver nor is it right to bash the car without knowing the circumstances.

lolachampcar | 08. juli 2015

Been there, taken that cover off....
No design flaw. It is well secured.

rod19425 | 08. juli 2015

I live in PA, I live on a dirt road. I have driven through, rain, sleet, snow and hit some serious puddles. I've never had a problem...

Based on the picture you showed on FB, that is no puddle nor were you driving at the correct speed.

User Error.

End of line.

vperl | 08. juli 2015

Some may think this guy is a troll.

garygid | 08. juli 2015

Is there any evidence that the plastic under-panel was not fastened
in place properly?

Are the bolts and washers still in place in the car, and the
panel just ripped off at all of the bolt-holes, which would
all show damage due to being ripped off the bolt heads?

AmpedRealtor | 08. juli 2015

@ mesiham,

According to your post in the FB group "Tesla Owners Worldwide", you state that you were going 40 MPH when you hit this body of water at the bottom of an offramp:

Mena Mesiha - It's between two highways - I slowed down a bit when I saw the puddle but I couldn't go to a crawl because there was traffic behind me - probably 30-40mph

Hitting a body of water at 40 MPH is bound to cause damage to your car. This is clearly a collision issue for insurance, not a warranty claim with Tesla. Tesla is not responsible for people hitting bodies of water with their cars at 40 MPH. Based on your FB posts, you don't seem to understand the damage that can occur when you plow into a body of water at high speed. You also seem to think, because it is "just" water, that it shouldn't be an insurance issue.

You learned an important lesson, I think.

JackClark | 08. juli 2015

Why didn't the front bumper get ripped off an run over? Shouldn't it have taken the majority of the impact when plowing though standing water?

jordanrichard | 08. juli 2015

JackClark, very good point.

Roamer@AZ USA | 08. juli 2015

Jack. I would imagine there front bumper was pushed on tighter and the rear bumper pulled off. Fluid dynamics and force direction.

mesiham | 08. juli 2015

The guy at the auto body said the bumper was ripped off by the plastic under piece flipping back. That is my entire point - the plastic under piece is 20 bucks. If that broke away I would have no issue paying for it from hitting the puddle. The fact that it didn't break away and took the bumper off with it is a DESIGN FLAW and the major part of the damage. | 08. juli 2015

I'm thinking that it takes a lot of force to do that kind of damage. Hard to believe that it was just water even at 40. If that were the case, we would have heard from more Tesla owners about this sort of thing. It is hard to avoid standing water when driving at that speed in traffic. There are too many Tesla cars out there by now. Massachusetts is a state not renowned for the upkeep of roads nor the cautiousness of its drivers. It is possible that there was something besides water in that puddle, although the front edge of the panel might be expected to show more damage if something solid was hit. It's a mystery.

Brian H | 08. juli 2015

lola, jbd;
A throwly careless, error, through and threw.

Brian H | 08. juli 2015

typo; careless error ...

Roamer@AZ USA | 08. juli 2015

@mesiham. if you drive the front end over a parking bumper then back up and rip off the bumper is that also a design flaw. If you drive over a log in the road or blast thru standing water does it really matter. File an insurance claim and don't drive thru standing water of unknown depth at high speed.

Tropopause | 08. juli 2015

Not sure how the underpanel came loose but it effectively became a scoop, channeling water into the rear motor compartment.

I would think the water rushing into this compartment would be the reason the bumper came loose, not the underpanel's doing.

Secondly, sounds like the rear motor/inverter unit is just fine after being flash-flooded. That's great to know.

jordanrichard | 08. juli 2015

"Design Flaw"!!!!?? man you just keep throwing more fuel on the fire here.

Are you saying that Tesla should design these panels to break away on the off chance that someone plows into a deep puddle?