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2012/2013 to Present - What are the "Build Quality" Deltas?

Discussion in 'Model S' started by cab, Feb 28, 2016.

  1. cab

    cab Member

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    So, as I consider a CPO Tesla I have noticed a ton of comments with regard to "build quality" on the early model year Teslas as compared to thr latest cars. In general, the comments are nebulous though and indicate things like:

    (I'm paraphrasing)

    "The build quality on the new one I just got is miles better than my old one"
    or
    "Everything is just screwed together so much better"
    or
    "My new one is much better built than my old one"

    Honestly, you'd think the first cars were built with hammers and sticks and the later ones with automated robots to hear the descriptions. Anyway, the general consensus always seems to be "Buy the latest VIN you can afford" when shopping used, but I'd love to hear some specific examples of the "improved build quality" folks talk about (note: new "features" aren't generally build quality of course...we all know thinks like parking sensors, autopilot, next gen seats, dual motors, etc. all came later).

    Examples might be exterior panel fit, paint quality (i.e. gloss, even finish, orange peel, etc.), rattles, smooth operation of everything from exterior doors, to the hatch, pano roof, glove box, etc., air leaks due to door, mirror or window alignment, flush fit of windshield, interior panel fit and gaps, etc.

    Alternatively, if folks think this is "overblown" then I'd be happy to heat that too!

    Thanks!
     
  2. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    Maybe I'm not discriminating enough but I have no issues with the build quality of my 60 with VIN in the 15000 range. Yes I've had some creaks fixed but I know owners of much newer cars that had creaks too.
     
  3. msnow

    msnow Active Member

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    #3 msnow, Feb 28, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2016
    2012/2013 to Present - What are the "Build Quality" Deltas?

    I have a new build but in watching the comments of the threads over the last several months your examples pretty much cover the specifics of what people have said.

    You should check out the recent Consumer Reports article that focuses on the problems Tesla had on reliability and customer complaints. Many of them were build quality issues like fit, squeaks, door handles, pano roof, etc., etc... In defending Tesla after this article appeared Elon stated that CR's data was skewed to the inclusion of earlier builds and the the later builds did not have those issues.
     
  4. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    #4 ChadS, Feb 28, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2016
    I too have heard many say their new one is better than an old one. I don't doubt the experience of people that have upgraded. But I don't think it's everybody's experience, and it hasn't been mine.

    I have VIN #112. Last June I spent 3 weeks examining a couple hundred new cars in very great detail, mostly in the ~90k VIN range (I was helping to deliver them). Other than new features (AWD, parking sensors, Autopilot, next-gen seats) the cars really seemed pretty identical to mine. It was not what I expected.

    I didn't drive them though; maybe new ones drive nicer. (I did recently drive an AWD loaner that sure handled corners better than mine does - early models had a known "float". However, the new one also made more noise than mine).

    Some people (though I am sure it is a small minority) getting brand new cars complain about several issues that I don't, and have never, had. There were some issues that the early VINs had - noisy pano roof, noisy HVAC, unreliable door handles, etc - but Tesla upgraded those to newer ones so they are no longer a problem.

    While Tesla is constantly making changes to the cars and production methods, keep in mind that they aren't all to improve quality - many are to reduce costs or increase production, which may cause (hopefully temporary!) backtracks in quality. And there's always the "built on Friday afternoon" or "end of quarter" problems.

    In short, while I am sure quality on average improves over time, there is no magic rule of thumb that guarantees you a good car. There are great, solid cars new and old, and cars with many niggles new and old. And I haven't even considered how different owners may treat the cars. A newer car is probably more likely to be better, but there is no guarantee.
     
  5. StaceyS

    StaceyS Member

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    We have a Feb 2013 P85, VIN in the 6400s that we bought through the CPO program in June of last year. I've never felt that its been rattly or poor finish. I have a friend with a 2015 85D, and the two cars feel the same to me, fit and finish wise.

    Also, in August last year, we took the car in for service due to a software update that wouldn't take. Tesla did a whole bunch of other things as well, including a bunch of new interior pieces that they told me had been redesigned so they wouldn't rattle. Things like the sunroof cross bar cover, the A-pillar covers and new windshield dash vents for better airflow.

    Whenever my friend's ridden in our car, he shakes his head and tells me the car feels like brand new, and he's coming from an 85D less than a year old.

    Now, having said that, there are a few things that are going to be addressed the next time we're in for service:
    - the reverse light moisture issue (which they have a fix for)
    - Wind noise on the sunroof (which they have a fix for)
    - Air leak at the little triangular windows on the front doors (which they have a fix for)
    - minor adjustment of one door handle (which they have a fix for)

    There's also a couple of things that are different about our car than newer cars. These things really don't bother me at all, but they are differences:
    - Our cup holders have little sprung grippers in the holders. Hold smaller cups fine, but bigger cups/bottles are more difficult to seat.
    - Our car has the original smaller sun visors. Other than the ridiculous airbag warnings, they really don't bother me. (The newer visors are a bit bigger, and the airbag warning is smaller and shoved over to one side of the visor.)
    - The aluminum frame trim around our dash display is actually aluminum, and thicker and more rounded than newer cars. Newer cars have a one piece frame, and the edges facing the driver is painted silvery to match the rest of the aluminum trim.
     
  6. Sethsla

    Sethsla Member

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    A Great CPO Experience

    This past September we bought a CPO 2013 Model S 85 from Tesla. The Vin range is 17000 and was built in September 2013. The Tesla staff in Southern Cal restored this car to as nearly new as they could and IT IS AMAZING! Most people believe its a new car until we tell them about it. I have had 2 loaner Model S cars since purchase as they first restored our car's finish and then replaced our motor at the very first mention we made of minor whirring sounds. They also addressed any few minor issues that we bought up. There are no creaks, squeaks, or rattles in ours. We are beyond happy with the car, its amazing performance and the first class customer service. We've never owned a car as fine as this one. I am sure your experience will be similar if you opt to buy a CPO.

    Hope that helps.
     
  7. cab

    cab Member

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    All - thanks for the feedback! Most of the specific items listed appear to be "correctable" in earlier cars. I don't know that I would be inclined (at the same price point) to go for a later VIN at the expense of say getting an older "P85" over a newer "S85" or perhaps even over getting lesser features like air suspension, pano roof, parking sensors, etc. based on what I am reading so far. Others may disagree of course.
     
  8. mrjedistud

    mrjedistud Member

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    Hey Cab, I recently got a P85 CPO in the vin 11K range. The car feels and looks great. Tesla did a great job prepping it. There were a few items that still need parts, etc, but the car drives very well and is very quiet.
    I recently got a loaner in the vin 15K range (just an 85). Although newer than mine and with fewer miles, the car feels very loose and feels/looks worn. I'm sure as a loaner this car took some abuse. While I don't know anything about the former owner of my CPO, I get the sense that the car was very well taken care of. If you are looking at a CPO keep in mind whether it was used as a loaner. Also, keep in mind what state the car is from. Mine was from Florida so I didn't have to worry about salt. In addition, a car with a lot of winter miles probably has more cycles on the battery than a car from a warmer climate.
     
  9. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    The build quality of my early 2013 is just fine.
     
  10. AWDtsla

    AWDtsla Active Member

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    From test driving earlier cars and loaners - HUGE improvement.

    But hey, if you don't notice, good for you. It's just like after someone points out what compression artifacts look and sound like, you'll never stop hearing and seeing them again.


    PS - paint is still complete garbage. Some people seem to get luckier than others.
     

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