Tesla Wanted $16,000 for a Simple $700 Model 3 Repair
A visit to an authorized Tesla Service Center is presumed to be expensive, and now a local garage shows how big the difference between fixes and replacements is.
Science & Tech
How much does one pay for minor repairs for a Tesla car? As one Tesla owner found out, almost half of the vehicle price. After hitting some debris on the road that damaged his battery pack, the owner visited a Tesla service center, where he was handed a repair estimate of $16,000. Unable to foot that bill, the owner sought help from a non-authorized garage, which diagnosed and resolved the issue for $700.
Standard Model 3 Tesla is rear-wheel drive, with an option to make it all-wheel drive. For users who exercise this option, the company puts a drive unit in the front, next to the battery pack. The cooling system runs through the car and connects to the battery pack through a nipple.
For this Tesla owner, the debris resulted in the coolant leaking at the nipple of the battery pack. But since the nipple was molded outside the battery pack, which is not serviceable at a Tesla Service Center, they could only offer replacement of the entire battery pack. This resulted in the quote shooting up to $16,000. Unfortunately, for the owner his insurance did not cover damages due to road debris, forcing him to look elsewhere.
He found help at Electrified Garage, who diagnosed the problem and found a simpler solution. They cut off the nipple and then threaded it back into the battery pack with a $15 brass fitting that can be found at any hardware store. They were able to fix the leak and charged the owner $700 for labor and their expertise.
The real question is whether this is safe.
Electrified Garages says that, unlike internal combustion engines that generate a lot of heat, electric cars operate at temperatures well below 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit). Most of the heat comes from the lithium-ion batteries, which they tested during the fix.
Such instances reiterate the need to allow owners the Right to Repair, whether it be smartphones or smart cars. The increasing usage of technology has allowed companies to force subscriptions or channel after-sale services only through limited outlets, causing inconvenience and larger bills for device owners. This is set to change after President Biden is expected to allow Right to Repair in different sectors, beginning with agriculture.
We have reached out to Tesla for their comments but haven't received a reply yet. We will update the article if we get a response.