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2012 Tesla Model S Drive Motor Advice

Hello Tesla Community! Despite spending a significant amount of time on the forum, this will be my first post so please let me know if there are any issues with this post.

My wife and I are experiencing issues from her 2012 Tesla Model S and were hoping that you might be able to either help us directly or point us to someone that might be more knowledgeable about these issues.

On March 25th my wife was in a minor accident with her 2012 Tesla Model S that required some body repairs (mostly impacting the passenger front quarter panel but also included some scratches along the passenger side):


I drove the vehicle from the site of the accident to our house (only a few blocks away). We contacted Tesla Insurance, opened a claim, and were instructed to deliver the vehicle to Fix Auto Brea for repairs. I then drove the vehicle from our house in Fullerton, CA to the repair shop in Brea, CA on March 31st. During the drive, I noticed some issues with the electronics had emerged including new bubbles to both the main and driver displays as well as issues with the Bluetooth and cellular data connections.

The body repairs took roughly two months to complete as Fix Auto Brea needed to order some replacement parts. On May 18th the vehicle was towed from Fix Auto Brea to the Tesla Service Center in Pomono, CA to be ‘recalibrated and purged’ (I think the radiator may have been replaced).


The vehicle was driven from the Tesla Service Center back to Fix Auto Brea on May 19th. We were then informed that the vehicle repairs had completed and we could pick up the vehicle from Fix Auto Brea on Monday, May 22nd after they complete a full cleaning of the vehicle.

On the morning of May 22nd we were informed by Fix Auto Brea that they could no longer power on the vehicle. They assumed that it may have been an issue with the 12v battery and ordered a replacement. After the replacement 12v battery arrived, the vehicle was still unable to power on.

On June 9th, the vehicle was towed to the Tesla Service Center in Buena Park, CA for diagnostics.


The technicians at the service center believe that there may be an issue with condensation in the main drive motor that requires a full replacement (~$10k). However, this was described as only the first stage to a repair that could include items even beyond this cost. The insurance adjuster initially stated that this likely did not occur from the accident so it would not be covered under the accident claim. I then requested for it to be covered under a separate comprehensive claim but they stated that this is a wear item and will not be covered under any insurance claim.

We were informed by the Tesla Service Center in Pomona that we would either needed to commit to paying for the motor replacement out of our pockets or begin incurring a $50 / day fee for having the vehicle stored on their property while we debated with the insurance adjuster. To avoid this fee and provide ourselves more time to gather additional information, we instead requested that the vehicle be towed to back to our house.

The car was towed to our house on June 21st and is now parked at our residence but it is not operational. Not only does it not drive but we can not even enter the vehicle due to it’s lack of power.


Now that we have some time to survey the situation and gather information, we are reaching out to the Tesla community in Orange County for advice on how to proceed. I have spent some time on the Tesla forums (mostly here on TMC) and it appears that condensation in the drive motor is a common issue with the early Model S. Is anyone on here familiar with this issue or could you help put us in contact with local repair facilities that may be?

The forums also appear to indicate that many people experiencing this issue were able to have it covered by Tesla Insurance. Do you know of anyone that may have experience working with Tesla Insurance (perhaps a lawyer) that could provide advice? Also, could this have been caused by negligence at either the body shop or the service centers? It seems strange that we never experienced any issues before this and it just happened to occur while in the procession of the repair facilities.

On a side note, we had a similar experience with this same vehicle roughly a year prior when it suddenly wouldn’t charge past 30 miles. After bringing the vehicle to a Tesla Service Station, we were pressured into purchasing a replacement battery for $15k. We purchased the battery at the time under the assumption that this was our only option and that it was an investment into the future of our vehicle. We have since learned that there are much cheaper repair options from third parties which is why we are now reaching out to the local Tesla community for advice. Our current situation feels very much like the previous instance where we were being pressured into making a quick and costly decision.

My wife is currently without a vehicle (her rental period has expired and the vehicle that we had borrowed was stolen) so we are looking to move forward on this quickly. Any advice or assistance would be greatly appreciated! Thank you very much!


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