Car and Driver's long term Model 3 leaves them stranded....possible rear drive unit failure

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Grey Fox

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#2
Oh dear, looks like the same thing has happened to the Model 3 that magazine Car & Driver has for a long-term test.

Same symptoms (and likely outcome). It's not clear from the article, but I suspect this is a LR AWD, given it's age, rather than a RWD.
Yep. That is what happened to my car. I am no expert, but I think the drive unit was bad and it blows out the pyro fuse and somehow drains the 12V. My experience was a year ago back when service was horrible. No one ever contacted me for days to tell me what was wrong. When I first called Tesla in my garage when I got these alerts, the tech said I think you are going to need a whole new battery pack. (What the what?). When I got the car back, they just told me that something was wrong with the drive unit and that they just replace them and send them back to Freemont to look at them to see what caused the problem.

I am sure this is not a frequent problem as I have only heard of a few of these incidents over the last few years. Sucks though that freakin car and driver had this happen to them.
 

Needsdecaf

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#3
Well this probably won't play out well. Sounds similar to another drive unit failure I just read about HERE Slow charging rate....12v warning....battery dead.


https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a30361800/tesla-model-3-long-term-failure-stranded-while-parked/

  • Our long-term Tesla Model 3 broke down on Christmas Day. While parked.
  • This is the first time we've ever had a long-term car suffer a catastrophic failure while parked, and also the first time we've been alerted to our being stranded by a push notification from a mobile app.
  • Although the tow truck was extremely quick to arrive, we're now in an unknown holding pattern waiting for parts.
Whatever you call the opposite of a Christmas miracle befell our long-term Model 3 last Wednesday. Our staff photographer, Michael Simari, was at his parents' home for a holiday gathering in suburban Detroit with the Model 3 parked outside when he received an ominous push notification from the Tesla app that the car had "suffered a failure and will no longer drive." Welcome to the connected, digital era of automobiles?



Car and Driver
Not only is this the first time we've ever had a long-term car suffer a catastrophic failure while parked, it's also an extraordinarily rare case of any car leaving us stranded, something unacceptable for any new vehicle, particularly one that costs $57,690 and with merely 5286 miles on the odometer. Even our problem-prone Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio was at least able to limp to the dealer following each one of its numerous issues.

Impressively, even on Christmas Day, Tesla roadside assistance got a tow truck to us in about a half hour, which brought the car to the closest service center: Toledo, Ohio, because Tesla isn't allowed to operate company-owned service centers in Michigan. That's only about an hour away from our Ann Arbor, Michigan, headquarters, far closer than when we had a long-term Model S in 2015 and 2016, which had to be serviced nearly three hours away in Cleveland, Ohio. However, the dramatic increase in Tesla's sales since then has no doubt worked to degrade the service experience. Back in those days, the flatbed to pick up our car would be carrying a loaner Model S to drive while ours was away for service. This time, there was no offer of a loaner or any kind of temporary transportation, such as the Uber rides that we've heard have been proffered to some others in similar situations.

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Our opinion on the service experience hasn't improved much in the subsequent days. We heard back on the afternoon of the 26th that our car was in the queue to be diagnosed, but there was no time frame given for how long that might take. After a two-day wait, we were informed that there are issues with the rear drive unit, the pyrotechnic battery disconnect, and the 12-volt battery and that they are waiting for parts. Again, no estimated time was given for when we might be able to cease scrambling for backup transportation.

Notably, there had been no earlier warning messages that anything was amiss prior to the failure. The only oddity was that when at a nearby Supercharger earlier that day, the car was charging at only 50 kW, which is far lower than the usual 150-kW peak. Initially, we were sharing a stall with another car, which reduces the charging rate, so we moved to an empty one to see if the power level would increase. But it didn't. We were just about to download the latest software update (2019.40.50.1) but hadn't yet done it, so that didn't have anything to do with it.

After that slow-charging experience, the car was driven 10 miles to the holiday party where it sat for about an hour and a half before the notification of doom.

We'll keep updating this story through our car's repair and return.
 

Mesprit87

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#4
It would be interesting to look at VINs, wonder if this could end up with an SB.
The publicity just might help us getting a loaner car in cases like this. This particular side of Tesla service with their uber pass irritates me to keep it polite.
 

JWardell

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#6
Car and Driver was my favorite [car] magazine for decades, and my opinion has degraded significantly in recent years as I keep noticing anti-testa leaning, or more accurately just leaving Tesla out of things where they should be included or mentioned. Only more recently did I realize C&D only writes about cars that are provided to them free by the manufacturers. That means it's just a big advertisement. I've strongly been considering cancelling my subscription, especially as I find I am skipping more and more of their articles as I realize they are "review"ing cars and categories of dinosaurs.

I was thrilled to see, perhaps under pressure, they had finally purchased a Model 3...and they clearly pointed out that this is the first time they had to purchase their car. All these years I thought the long term cars were actually purchased and reviews in secret from the manufacturer, there it was in proof that in fact this is the first time.

So they have a lot stacked up against the car...how dare they have to pay for something!! And yes, this is very bad news as they will be sure to never shut up about a catastrophic failure. But just maybe there is a chance that the car is so incredibly good that they will all quickly realize it is so superior. The best part of the long-term cars is they strongly encourage all staff to drive them.
We'll see how things turn out.
 

skygraff

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#7
It sucks that they had this failure and I’m glad they’re writing about the service issues which definitely need to be addressed; can’t keep hitting high water marks on deliveries and not improve the support structure. I’m amazed that they got a tow truck in 30 minutes but I’m just as amazed that Tesla didn’t offer them Uber credits (something fishy there).

All that said, while being stranded is awful (especially if they didn’t get credits), the fact that it was parked when this happened deserves to be brought out as a positive aspect. Sure, it would’ve been nice if the UI had given some warnings (if it had any inkling) but, better that it happened while parked than while on a six-lane highway at speed.

As much as I didn’t like having to wait two hours at a supercharger when mine happened, a well lit parking lot with power and nearby restrooms (for a while anyway) was about as good as it could’ve been. Suppose a holiday party with all the amenities and potential ride options (or even a bed) would be even better; at least it happened at the party rather than at the supercharger beforehand.

Here’s hoping both Tesla and C&D do the right thing.
 

Needsdecaf

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#8
Seems like this car and driver article is getting a lot of attention.
Car and Driver still has a big following. Not surprising.



Car and Driver was my favorite [car] magazine for decades, and my opinion has degraded significantly in recent years as I keep noticing anti-testa leaning, or more accurately just leaving Tesla out of things where they should be included or mentioned. Only more recently did I realize C&D only writes about cars that are provided to them free by the manufacturers. That means it's just a big advertisement. I've strongly been considering cancelling my subscription, especially as I find I am skipping more and more of their articles as I realize they are "review"ing cars and categories of dinosaurs.

I was thrilled to see, perhaps under pressure, they had finally purchased a Model 3...and they clearly pointed out that this is the first time they had to purchase their car. All these years I thought the long term cars were actually purchased and reviews in secret from the manufacturer, there it was in proof that in fact this is the first time.

So they have a lot stacked up against the car...how dare they have to pay for something!! And yes, this is very bad news as they will be sure to never shut up about a catastrophic failure. But just maybe there is a chance that the car is so incredibly good that they will all quickly realize it is so superior. The best part of the long-term cars is they strongly encourage all staff to drive them.
We'll see how things turn out.
I haven't subscribed in years. The writing has gone way downhill.

Almost every car mag relies on the press fleet for cars to test. Even long term test cars are loaned, not bought by the mag. I don't really have a problem with this as long as there is transparency, and in general the manufacturers tend to be pretty hands off from what I hear. I don't think magazines should have to buy their own cars. I do see a trend now of online reviews saying "XXXX car company flew me to Los Angeles and put me up in a hotel for a day and provided the loaner car, insurance and a tank of gas". But the entire industry must be taken with a large grain of salt.

I stopped subscribing to C&D because it got turned into basically a joke, where every article was just slapstick / Will Farrel type bathroom humor. Not the place for it, thanks. Road and Track is now by far my favorite domestic mag. Those guys have really done a good job in turning it around. All auto enthusiasts every one.

The Model 3, well, I strongly suspect that they are happy about the drivetrain failure. More clicks! More likes! I'm not saying in the least that they did it on purpose. But they didn't buy a car outright just for laughs, they did it for the views. And this helps, becuase there is so much anti-Tesla sentiment in the "enthusiast" car world that it's sure to get retweeted and shared and viewed and commented on. So not surprising if this blows up into a "big thing". Sad.
 

Mesprit87

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#9
Some news on that front.

Added to the article on the 31st:

UPDATE 12/31/19, 10:00 a.m.: Although it’s possible the timing is purely coincidental, the service department at Tesla’s Toledo, Ohio, facility contacted C/D within three hours of this story's initial publication, offering a loaner car, a rental, or $100 per day in Uber credit while our Model 3 is in the shop. They also said parts are on the way and the car will be ready for us on Thursday (January 2). We will provide full details of the outcome of the car's repair and its return to our long-term fleet as they become available.

Now that seems unbiased from them, I don't think it will necessarily turn nasty if the service does it part.
Which up to now it seems they did. We'll see how it ends.
 

skygraff

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#10
Some news on that front.

Added to the article on the 31st:

UPDATE 12/31/19, 10:00 a.m.: Although it’s possible the timing is purely coincidental, the service department at Tesla’s Toledo, Ohio, facility contacted C/D within three hours of this story's initial publication, offering a loaner car, a rental, or $100 per day in Uber credit while our Model 3 is in the shop. They also said parts are on the way and the car will be ready for us on Thursday (January 2). We will provide full details of the outcome of the car's repair and its return to our long-term fleet as they become available.

Now that seems unbiased from them, I don't think it will necessarily turn nasty if the service does it part.
Which up to now it seems they did. We'll see how it ends.
Benefit of the doubt, I’m guessing the Uber credit offer had nothing to do with the article just an oversight by the roadside rep (who can be forgiven considering the rapid tow) which was corrected by the SC (ASAP). As for the parts and repair timing, if it’s actually that quick and not just the beginning of a runaround, I’d be suspicious about the article having influence.

Again, benefit of the doubt, maybe Tesla’s improved their process for this issue based on recent experience but, as somebody without subscribers, I’m jealous and skeptical of the timing.
 

MelindaV

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#13
Some news on that front.

Added to the article on the 31st:

UPDATE 12/31/19, 10:00 a.m.: Although it’s possible the timing is purely coincidental, the service department at Tesla’s Toledo, Ohio, facility contacted C/D within three hours of this story's initial publication, offering a loaner car, a rental, or $100 per day in Uber credit while our Model 3 is in the shop. They also said parts are on the way and the car will be ready for us on Thursday (January 2). We will provide full details of the outcome of the car's repair and its return to our long-term fleet as they become available.

Now that seems unbiased from them, I don't think it will necessarily turn nasty if the service does it part.
Which up to now it seems they did. We'll see how it ends.
all of that seems pretty routine with service as of late. nothing special they did because the owner is a magazine
 

Nautilus

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#14
When I had my rear drive unit fail, the Indianapolis SC provided me a loaner without batting an eye, probably because they had one available, so did not have to revert to Uber vouchers. They seemed to have a fleet of old-style Model S's with Ohio plates for just this purpose.

With respect to troubleshooting, I expect that at this point the service centers know what the issue is when the car is brought in, but have a set troubleshooting protocol they have to go through that takes some time. I'm thinking this since I didn't get the diagnosis on my car until the next day.

This reminds me of (oh no, not ANOTHER sea story....), when we had a low ground alarm in the electrical system on the submarine. As Engineering Officer of the Watch, I went to pull out the isolation procedure. The Electrician's Mate on watch (who had absolutely NO TIME for newbie junior officers) told me "Its the deep fat fryer, sir". When I asked him how he knew, he rolled his eyes and simply said, "Because it always is, SIR", with just the right amount of acid in his tone of voice. Before I could respond, said Electrician's Mate had already called forward and had someone open the breaker to the deep fat fryer. Lo and behold, the low ground alarm disappeared.

Echoing comments elsewhere, it would be nice if service centers could have a spare motor in stock for when this happens, but maybe it doesn't occur frequently enough to justify the added cost of holding all that spare inventory at all service centers across the country. Maybe hold a couple spares regionally, and maybe they are already doing that.
 
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#17
Got my car back yesterday and it’s fixed and ready to go! I believe they told me they replaced my rear motor as well as the pyrofuse. I was told I would get an email of what exactly was fixed so I’ll have a look at it when I get it but for now it’s great to have the car back! SC In dallas did a great job, car was fixed (even did realignment) all within 1 week. Got to drive a loaner model s as well so that helped tremendously.
 
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#18
1/19/2020 Got a 12 Volt battery requires service message today when I got into my car this morning. This is starting to make me a little nervous. Picked up the car on 01/03/2020. Anyone else with a similar experience? It is a 2020 Tesla Model 3 performance stealth.
 

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#20
Just make a service appointment ASAP and they will take care of you. On earlier builds, there was an issue with with terminals not being tight so you may want to check there in the mean time.
I really hope thats it! This is a 2020 Tesla Model 3 with less than 2,000 miles that recently had the pyrofuse and rear motor replaced.