Possible Lemon?

Joined
Aug 30, 2018
Messages
10
Location
Arizona
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#1
First post here, and I wish I could be doing so under better circumstances. Forgive me for the long-winded anecdote, but I wanted to give a complete picture of the full story.

I am a huge fan of Tesla and a long time Model 3 reservation holder. I placed my order for a Model 3 Performance on June 27th just when the flood gates opened for all reservation holders. Less than a month later, I was shocked to receive an email from Tesla that my vehicle had finished production. I scrambled to secure financing and ultimately took delivery of the vehicle on August 7th. I never expected such a quick delivery given my place in line (reserved September 2016), so I was pleasantly surprised!

At delivery, I pointed out a few minor issues - mostly scuff marks that were easily removed, and the liner was popping out in one of the wheel wells (which seems to be a common issue). Later I found that the triangular trim near the side mirrors was also popping off (also common). Ultimately, there was nothing major and I was actually quite surprised at the overall quality of the fit and finish. I drove it off the lot a pretty happy camper.

Thus began my love affair with my new P3D. This thing was an absolute dream to drive! In my opinion, nearly everything about this car was a home run! The acceleration, the handling, the sexy exterior, the minimalist interior, the crisp sound system, Autopilot. You name it, and I loved it! After having obsessed over this vehicle for the better part of two years, the whole experience seemed almost surreal.

Unfortunately, the love affair was short-lived. On August 14th, exactly one week after taking delivery, I received the following error message during my evening commute:

Car needs service
May not restart

My first instinct was to slow down, then I wondered if the car would continue to drive after coming to a complete stop. Luckily, slowing down and stopping seemed to clear the error message. However, it would continue to appear after accelerating to ~40 MPH.

When I got home, I put the car in Park and was presented with another message:

Vehicle systems are powering up
Shift into D or R when message clears

I waited several minutes, and the message did not clear. The car would not shift into D/R. I tried restarting the screen to no avail. I exited the vehicle, informed my wife of the issue, and after ~15 minutes or so decided to try again. Luckily, the car was able to shift into D and I pulled it into my garage.

At this point, I called Tesla roadside assistance. They informed me that they could not diagnose the problem remotely and I should bring my car to a service center ASAP, which I did first thing the next morning. It should be noted that I was able to drive the car to the SC without issue (though I was driving cautiously).

I explained the problem and they provided me a loaner while they troubleshot the issue. Unfortunately, no Tesla loaner for this guy. I drove off in a clunky, gas-guzzling Chrysler while waiting on repairs. Ugh.

The next day, the SC informed me they escalated the issue to the engineering team. 4 days after that they told me they ordered a part. I asked for some details and got no response. A day later they told me they would need to keep the vehicle a bit longer. I asked again for some details and here is what they said:

“We found a loose bracket that keeps a plug secure that is connected to the drive unit, that we found was loose that allowed movement on that plug causing to intermittently fail.”

I was a bit relieved. That didn’t sound too serious or complicated, and seemed to be a reasonable explanation overall.

Yesterday I received an update that they received the part and would begin repairs. They also told me they would likely keep the vehicle overnight to finish repairs/testing and would let me know in the morning when I could pick it up. As you can imagine, I was pretty excited to hear that!

Unfortunately, they called me this morning and told me they ran into another issue with the vehicle’s “configuration” that would need to be addressed by the engineering team. I was told the earliest I could expect my vehicle was tomorrow, but more likely early next week. Here we go again…

So, I have been a Tesla owner for ~3 weeks, and the SC has had the vehicle for longer than I have (2 weeks vs. 1 week). I was able to convince them to trade in the Chrysler for an actual Tesla, so luckily I have been driving a Model S 100D for the last week or so. As much as I love the Model S, I really want my 3 back.

At this point, I am starting to feel like we are entering lemon law territory. I am really trying to give Tesla the benefit of the doubt, but they have already used up 15 of the 30 service days allowed by my state’s (Arizona) lemon law in the first month of ownership! According to the law, if my vehicle is out of service for more than 30 days in the first 2 years, I am entitled to a refund/replacement. I hate to invoke that law just when Tesla is trying so hard to become profitable, but my confidence in this vehicle is already horribly shaken.

My general take on the Model 3 community is that most owners seem to have experienced only minor issues or no issues at all with their vehicle, which makes this experience all the more frustrating. Did I just get dealt a bad car(d)? Am I blowing this out of proportion?

What do you guys think? Has anyone else experienced similar problems?
 

GDN

Moderator
Moderator
TOO Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2017
Messages
3,590
Location
Far North Dallas, TX
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#2
I'm lucky enough to have never get close to lemon law territory, but from what I've read and seen you are likely, if anything, not anywhere close to a lemon. It has taken some time, but they are still working to fix the problems. I figure to get anywhere close to lemon law you are talking about trying and failing to repair the same issue for several months or repairing and then the same thing failing again several times. You are a long ways away. I do know of a 3 that has been repurchased because of the lemon law, but it was pretty much a complete failure of the cooling system and car, multiple times over several months.

Wishing you the best, keep on them and make them keep you updated, but from the little you have, I think you are a long ways, if even barely getting started on a lemon.
 
Joined
Aug 30, 2018
Messages
10
Location
Arizona
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#3
I do hope they fix the issue, but it's incredibly frustrating in the meantime. My wife keeps telling me "I hope they give you a new car," so there might be some of her influence coming out here.

At the very least, I'd love to get a detailed explanation of everything that was fixed. That would at least give me some peace of mind going forward.

Thanks for the kind wishes! I'll try to keep this thread updated with any progress.
 

SoFlaModel3

@Teslatunity
Moderator
TOO Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2017
Messages
9,819
Location
Florida
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#4
I don’t think you have a lemon from what I read, but Tesla is an honest company so once all work is completed you can expect a full run down of what they did and can gauge how serious the concern is/was. The challenge my be parts availability more than anything. I can vouch for the minor issue club. Generally speaking I have used mobile service and it’s been a wait 1-2 weeks often for parts. If my car was sitting in the shop waiting for those parts I would have been upset though for sure.
 

garsh

Dis Member
Moderator
TOO Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2016
Messages
11,278
Location
Pittsburgh PA
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#5
At this point, I am starting to feel like we are entering lemon law territory. I am really trying to give Tesla the benefit of the doubt, but they have already used up 15 of the 30 service days allowed by my state’s (Arizona) lemon law in the first month of ownership! According to the law, if my vehicle is out of service for more than 30 days in the first 2 years, I am entitled to a refund/replacement. I hate to invoke that law just when Tesla is trying so hard to become profitable, but my confidence in this vehicle is already horribly shaken.
I'm sorry to hear about your problems. But this is a good wake-up call for everybody getting Model 3s. This is a brand new car design from a new-ish car company. The old adage to "never buy the first year of a new car" applies even more so to Tesla. Teslas tend to have a lot of issues. The Model S was notorious for all kinds of issues for the first two years.

The good news is that Tesla fixes these sorts of issues. They even pro-actively change parts that aren't failing, once they've designed a better replacement. That's why I'm willing to take a chance on a first-year Model 3.

But my eyes are wide-open. I'm expecting to have problems. I'm keeping my Leaf instead of trading it in *because* I expect to have problems, and I don't want to have to drive some combustion loaner when they run out of Tesla loaners. :)

You have to ask yourself if you're willing to put up with these various Tesla issues, knowing that they do have a history of making things right.
 

Bernard

Top-Contributor
TOO Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2017
Messages
453
Location
Hawaii, HI
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#6
First post here, and I wish I could be doing so under better circumstances. Forgive me for the long-winded anecdote, but I wanted to give a complete picture of the full story.

I am a huge fan of Tesla and a long time Model 3 reservation holder. I placed my order for a Model 3 Performance on June 27th just when the flood gates opened for all reservation holders. Less than a month later, I was shocked to receive an email from Tesla that my vehicle had finished production. I scrambled to secure financing and ultimately took delivery of the vehicle on August 7th. I never expected such a quick delivery given my place in line (reserved September 2016), so I was pleasantly surprised!

At delivery, I pointed out a few minor issues - mostly scuff marks that were easily removed, and the liner was popping out in one of the wheel wells (which seems to be a common issue). Later I found that the triangular trim near the side mirrors was also popping off (also common). Ultimately, there was nothing major and I was actually quite surprised at the overall quality of the fit and finish. I drove it off the lot a pretty happy camper.

Thus began my love affair with my new P3D. This thing was an absolute dream to drive! In my opinion, nearly everything about this car was a home run! The acceleration, the handling, the sexy exterior, the minimalist interior, the crisp sound system, Autopilot. You name it, and I loved it! After having obsessed over this vehicle for the better part of two years, the whole experience seemed almost surreal.

Unfortunately, the love affair was short-lived. On August 14th, exactly one week after taking delivery, I received the following error message during my evening commute:

Car needs service
May not restart

My first instinct was to slow down, then I wondered if the car would continue to drive after coming to a complete stop. Luckily, slowing down and stopping seemed to clear the error message. However, it would continue to appear after accelerating to ~40 MPH.

When I got home, I put the car in Park and was presented with another message:

Vehicle systems are powering up
Shift into D or R when message clears

I waited several minutes, and the message did not clear. The car would not shift into D/R. I tried restarting the screen to no avail. I exited the vehicle, informed my wife of the issue, and after ~15 minutes or so decided to try again. Luckily, the car was able to shift into D and I pulled it into my garage.

At this point, I called Tesla roadside assistance. They informed me that they could not diagnose the problem remotely and I should bring my car to a service center ASAP, which I did first thing the next morning. It should be noted that I was able to drive the car to the SC without issue (though I was driving cautiously).

I explained the problem and they provided me a loaner while they troubleshot the issue. Unfortunately, no Tesla loaner for this guy. I drove off in a clunky, gas-guzzling Chrysler while waiting on repairs. Ugh.

The next day, the SC informed me they escalated the issue to the engineering team. 4 days after that they told me they ordered a part. I asked for some details and got no response. A day later they told me they would need to keep the vehicle a bit longer. I asked again for some details and here is what they said:

“We found a loose bracket that keeps a plug secure that is connected to the drive unit, that we found was loose that allowed movement on that plug causing to intermittently fail.”

I was a bit relieved. That didn’t sound too serious or complicated, and seemed to be a reasonable explanation overall.

Yesterday I received an update that they received the part and would begin repairs. They also told me they would likely keep the vehicle overnight to finish repairs/testing and would let me know in the morning when I could pick it up. As you can imagine, I was pretty excited to hear that!

Unfortunately, they called me this morning and told me they ran into another issue with the vehicle’s “configuration” that would need to be addressed by the engineering team. I was told the earliest I could expect my vehicle was tomorrow, but more likely early next week. Here we go again…

So, I have been a Tesla owner for ~3 weeks, and the SC has had the vehicle for longer than I have (2 weeks vs. 1 week). I was able to convince them to trade in the Chrysler for an actual Tesla, so luckily I have been driving a Model S 100D for the last week or so. As much as I love the Model S, I really want my 3 back.

At this point, I am starting to feel like we are entering lemon law territory. I am really trying to give Tesla the benefit of the doubt, but they have already used up 15 of the 30 service days allowed by my state’s (Arizona) lemon law in the first month of ownership! According to the law, if my vehicle is out of service for more than 30 days in the first 2 years, I am entitled to a refund/replacement. I hate to invoke that law just when Tesla is trying so hard to become profitable, but my confidence in this vehicle is already horribly shaken.

My general take on the Model 3 community is that most owners seem to have experienced only minor issues or no issues at all with their vehicle, which makes this experience all the more frustrating. Did I just get dealt a bad car(d)? Am I blowing this out of proportion?

What do you guys think? Has anyone else experienced similar problems?
I have not had any problems, but I have a first-production model (RWD), VIN 191xxx, so disabling issues (if any), such as plugs popping loose, had already been fixed thanks to the experience 10'000 drivers over 4-5mos by the time I got my invitation to configure back in early April. Your Performance model does not have much history in the fleet yet, so it's not too surprising that some minor (if, unfortunately, disabling) issues pop up. A poorly secured plug and some configuration changes (software, one assumes) do not sound like lemon territory -- it's all easily fixable and once fixed will not reoccur. But I understand the frustration -- once you drive a Model 3, you never want to drive anything else...
Patience and it will all be fine quickly -- if you read various threads on this forum, one thing you will note is that Tesla is incredibly good at keeping its owners happy, so you can trust they will make damn sure the car you get back is f-i-x-e-d ;-)
 

Bernard

Top-Contributor
TOO Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2017
Messages
453
Location
Hawaii, HI
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#8
Ooops, yes, indeed, one too many x... Model 3 production has ramped up a lot, but not that much!
 

JustTheTip

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2018
Messages
309
Location
Chicago
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#9
Hoping you get good news this upcoming week and get your car back in working order. Please keep us updated!
 

3V Pilot

Top-Contributor
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,274
Location
Oro Valley, AZ
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#11
I'd have to echo those above, sorry for the trouble you're having but it does sound like something that can be fixed and Tesla has a track record of making the car right. AZ does have a pretty good Lemon Law so your covered there if it gets to that point but I'd bet Tesla will make it right before you need to go down that road.

Good luck and let us know what happens.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 30, 2018
Messages
10
Location
Arizona
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#12
Thanks for the encouraging words, everyone!

I did get a phone call this morning from the SC. Unfortunately, it looks like they will need to replace the entire battery pack on my vehicle. It's supposedly due to arrive within the next couple of days, though I find that a bit hard to believe given that it took more than a week to ship a new bracket. They told me it takes about half a day to replace a battery pack, so I should expect my vehicle by the end of the week. I'm not holding my breath.

Under the circumstances, I might consider renaming my vehicle to Frankenstein.
 

KarenRei

Top-Contributor
Joined
Jul 27, 2017
Messages
1,647
Location
Reykjavík
Country
Country
#13
Thanks for the encouraging words, everyone!

I did get a phone call this morning from the SC. Unfortunately, it looks like they will need to replace the entire battery pack on my vehicle. It's supposedly due to arrive within the next couple of days, though I find that a bit hard to believe given that it took more than a week to ship a new bracket. They told me it takes about half a day to replace a battery pack, so I should expect my vehicle by the end of the week. I'm not holding my breath.

Under the circumstances, I might consider renaming my vehicle to Frankenstein.
Wow! Has anyone here ever heard of a Model 3 owner getting a battery pack replacement yet? I don't think I have. I doubt Archmage is the first, but probably one of the first!

I'm sure they'll say no (they'll want to investigate it), but ask if you can have the old one. ;) There are lots of people who would pay a pretty penny for a Model 3 battery pack, even one with defects.
 
Joined
Sep 6, 2018
Messages
21
Location
SF Bay Area
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#14
My Model 3's battery was replaced already so if anything I would be the first lol. I shared it on TMC but not sure if I can link it here.
Remember to check for seats/steering wheel adjustments after the battery replacement. My steering wheel won't adjust to full range after the battery replacement and had to bring it back in for re-calibration.
 
Joined
Aug 30, 2018
Messages
10
Location
Arizona
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#15
My Model 3's battery was replaced already so if anything I would be the first lol. I shared it on TMC but not sure if I can link it here.
Remember to check for seats/steering wheel adjustments after the battery replacement. My steering wheel won't adjust to full range after the battery replacement and had to bring it back in for re-calibration.
Hi David. I did actually find your thread on TMC and read through it extensively. How has your vehicle been holding up since the battery replacement? I hope all is well. Also, how many total days was it in the shop? I am at 23 days and counting.

Thanks for the tip on the steering wheel adjustment. I will be sure to check that first thing.

I know it's apples and oranges, but I have been trying to decide how exactly I would feel if I bought a new ICE vehicle and they told me within the first few weeks they would need to replace the engine. I'm pretty sure the next words out of my mouth would be: I'll take a new car please.

I'm kind of surprised that Tesla would even bother with a battery swap this early in ownership. You would think they would just want to ship the vehicle back to Fremont to determine the cause of failure. Seems like a lot of unnecessary cost and effort on their part only to deliver a "refurbished" vehicle to a new owner.

What do you all think? How comfortable would you be with a battery swap in your first month of ownership?
 

KarenRei

Top-Contributor
Joined
Jul 27, 2017
Messages
1,647
Location
Reykjavík
Country
Country
#16
I'm kind of surprised that Tesla would even bother with a battery swap this early in ownership. You would think they would just want to ship the vehicle back to Fremont to determine the cause of failure.
Why would they ship the whole car when they can just ship the battery, aka the part that failed?

Swapping out a gasoline engine is a much larger task than swapping out a battery pack. I've actually had a engine swap done on a car before, it took days. There's only a relatively small number of connections on the battery pack.

I mean, it's really all your choice. You can choose to make a big deal about it or not. You can just go enjoy your car when they're done, or you can say, "No, it didn't come perfectly from the factory so that's not good enough for me." Your call. You may however be interested in knowing that all car manufacturers have a rework rate - a percentage that's higher in new lines (like Tesla's), but still in the low to mid double digits for established lines - on their cars. Meaning that they have to do fixes at the factory before they ship out a new car. Does it really make that big of a difference whether some rework is done at a service centre rather than in a factory? Would you have been perfectly content if they had done a battery swap at the factory and then shipped the car to you? Does it really matter to you where it was done?

Would you also be scandalized to know that when a dealership gets a new shipment of cars, the first thing they do is inspect them for factory or shipping defects, and if there are any, they fix them before they put them on the lot? Many states require them to disclose any major fixes, but even there they push that disclosure line as far as they can. Every day, people buy new cars repaired by their dealerships and are none the wiser about it.

In short: you can stick to this idealized version of production and shipping, and demand a new car. And then maybe reject it because someone overbuffed the paint somewhere or some panel gap measured with calipers is too large, and who cares that that's a 15 minute fix. Or you can take the brand new battery pack for your brand new car and enjoy them.

Again: your call.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 6, 2018
Messages
21
Location
SF Bay Area
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#17
Hi David. I did actually find your thread on TMC and read through it extensively. How has your vehicle been holding up since the battery replacement? I hope all is well. Also, how many total days was it in the shop? I am at 23 days and counting.

Thanks for the tip on the steering wheel adjustment. I will be sure to check that first thing.

I know it's apples and oranges, but I have been trying to decide how exactly I would feel if I bought a new ICE vehicle and they told me within the first few weeks they would need to replace the engine. I'm pretty sure the next words out of my mouth would be: I'll take a new car please.

I'm kind of surprised that Tesla would even bother with a battery swap this early in ownership. You would think they would just want to ship the vehicle back to Fremont to determine the cause of failure. Seems like a lot of unnecessary cost and effort on their part only to deliver a "refurbished" vehicle to a new owner.

What do you all think? How comfortable would you be with a battery swap in your first month of ownership?
So far so good since the battery replacement. Mine’s almost 30 days since it broke down twice. I’m just going to wait and see for now. If they truly fixed the issue then I would trust it more than a new car. I’m not very confident right now since it broke down again right after the first repair.
 

3V Pilot

Top-Contributor
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,274
Location
Oro Valley, AZ
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#18
Like @KarenRei stated above, a battery swap is nothing compared to an engine swap. A few bolts, a few connectors, drop one out and put the new one in. I feel for you and that you have to go through it, in the end it really depends on how YOU feel about. I think it should be fine with a new battery and whatever else they replace, you still have the full warranty period to make sure it's all working up to spec.
 

CuriousGeorge

Active Member
Joined
May 18, 2018
Messages
38
Location
Los Angeles , California
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#19
As long as it isnt paint related, i would vote to let tesla fix and keep. Battery swap isnt difficult, my chevy spark ev needed a battery swap the first month , then never had an issue the three years following. In the end, its your car and do what makes you comfortable, but if everything else is good, and whats bad can be swapped out for perfect parts , then i would rather not play the model 3 paint lottery.
 
Joined
Aug 30, 2018
Messages
10
Location
Arizona
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#20
Here is an update for anyone who is interested.

I received a text message from the SC yesterday afternoon that they received the parts and would begin to replace the battery pack and it should be completed by 5:30 PM. I got a phone call from the technician at 4:30 letting me know the installation was complete, but they still need to flush the air bubbles from the battery coolant, upgrade the vehicle's firmware, and perform a test drive. They told me they would also keep the vehicle overnight so they could charge it and ensure the new battery charges properly. They told me that I would be able to test drive the vehicle myself the next morning. Sweet!

A few minutes later I got a notification on my phone from the Tesla app indicating that a software update failed. So much for the firmware.

This morning I got the same failed update notification on my phone again. At ~4:30 PM I got a text message telling me they are having issues with the new configuration and would need to get the engineers involved again. Looks like another weekend without my Model 3.

At this point I reached my limit. I was told at least 4 times to expect my vehicle "soon" or "tomorrow" only to be continually disappointed. I am at 24 days in the shop (26 if you include this weekend) and counting, with no end in sight. The lemon law kicks in automatically at 30 days (though it's not an absolute requirement, as I understand it), which is cumulative for the first 2 years of ownership. Even if they miraculously resolve this issue by Monday, that only leaves them 4 days in the shop to resolve ANY impairment with my vehicle over the next 2 years. Seems unlikely given the (very brief) history of this vehicle.

Of course, I would much rather resolve this issue amicably than to hire a lemon lawyer.

I called the SC immediately and mentioned that they have been repairing my vehicle for almost 4 weeks without success. I told them I had a very simple solution to this problem. Send me a new vehicle, and you can take as long as you like to repair this one. I was told that a manager would be in touch with me first thing on Monday. We'll see if that goes anywhere.

I hate to be that guy, but everyone has their limit. I think I've been pretty patient and reasonable overall. Tesla needs to make this right. I can't be expected to wait forever.

Thanks for listening.