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24 Months of Model 3 - How is Reliability?

06/18 LR RWD. Two visits to the ServiceCenter: one for first tire rotation and a service bulletin adjusting frunk latch, second for small body work touch up from parking lot rash and another service bulletin replacing charge port pins. So yeah, pretty reliable for me.

Or, for the glass-half-empty crowd, this is the worst vehicle on earth. I’ve had 24 cars in my life and not one of them had to have a frunk latch adjusted, nor charging pins replaced. And why can’t they use self-healing paint? And for the love of everything motorized, and after well over a century in development, why oh why do I have to rotate tires today?

I’ll close the door on my way out.
How many cars out of the 24 have had a frunk? Lol
 
March 2019 build SR+ received in early April. Fit and finish were irreproachable. 3 significant factory defects, none of which has affected drivability; 1 of 3 corrected so far after 7 months, 8,000 km. 1 service center and 3 mobile service visits so far.

Main screen came up black 50% of time: fixed, screen replaced. One bluetooth antenna replaced at same time because it lost track of my phone when I walked from the driver's door to the trunk.

No WiFi connectivity: not fixed. Antenna replaced, antenna cable replaced after 4 month wait for part: still no WiFi. Computer to be replaced at next service center visit. Thankfully, I'm still getting all the streaming stuff over LTE.

Rattling in suspension at slow speed over small abrupt bumps or bad pavement. Sounds like a 15-year old pickup with shot ball joints. Superlative on the bigger hits. Not a highway issue, local roads primarily, but I live on one, so the rattling is the first and last thing I hear every time I use the car. Diagnosed as shock damage from transport. Stabilizer bar links replaced by mobile service as tentative inexpensive fix in case diagnosis was incorrect. I don't know if that fixed it. We had a bad snowstorm that covered all the smaller road imperfections, the plow levelled the snow into a nice smooth surface which froze when the temperature dropped to -20C (-4F). Should thaw next week. On that subject...

Yeah, the door handles and windows and wipers freeze, but it's not really much worse than any other car in that respect, and I am getting quite talented at karate chopping the door handles in just the right place to crack the ice. I guess the worst aspect is the glass not going down when the door opens, but my driver's door opens with the glass fully raised, and closes again. Besides, with the app, 10 minutes of pre-heating usually frees things up.

Trying a supplier's suggestion to spray Prolab PL-100 lube on a cloth and wipe door seals. I'm also going to spray a little into the door handle and latch mechanisms. It is safe for rubber and plastic and stays liquid to -65 degrees C (-85 degrees F). He also suggested I use it as an anti-rust treatment, as it resists corrosion from both distilled and seawater, and is dielectric to 13kV, making it ideal for an EV.

PL-100 - Super multi-purpose penetrating lubricant - Prolab Technolub Inc.

I have no affiliation with this company other than using a couple of their products in my repair shop.

Tesla service is REALLY slow, but everybody is always so nice. Certainly not a perfect new car buying experience, but it is an awesome car, and all the benefits outweigh the faults, which will presumably be corrected soon.;) I have a technical analyst who is following my case and pushes out updates as soon as they become available, so the lack of WiFi is not yet critical. Apart from that, nothing has broken or had to be replaced that was not already broken when I got the car.:)
 
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I've had one BMW replaced after 10 visits and 12k traveled with a free new BMW plus I've handed keys back on an Alfa and a Fiat with full refunds as well a Jeep Cherokee was on an unlimited warranty after many engine problems. All my 8 BMW's I have owned have all had issues.
My 8 week old Model 3 is having paint repairs being done after delivery and it may have a crack in the timber dash but thats all.
 
I've had one BMW replaced after 10 visits and 12k traveled with a free new BMW plus I've handed keys back on an Alfa and a Fiat with full refunds as well a Jeep Cherokee was on an unlimited warranty after many engine problems. All my 8 BMW's I have owned have all had issues.
My 8 week old Model 3 is having paint repairs being done after delivery and it may have a crack in the timber dash but thats all.


Do dealerships tremble when you walk in?
JK, that's some pretty nasty luck, but not far off what I've heard about those brands.
 
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KenC

Active Member
Sep 4, 2018
4,861
4,629
Maine
You tend to hear about problems on car forums, and just reading this site over the last year, there's been nothing consistent. Just random PM motor failures, and some batteries from last Summer that didn't have all the wires connected so some people had less capacity. There's the undertray coming off in water issue. But nothing really mechanical that I can think of.
I'm sorry that a couple people disagree with me, but I would point out to my Finnish friend Johnni, that the OP was asking about mechanical reliability issues, not paint issues.

And to the other person who disagreed, due to motor failures, if you notice, I mention motor failures, but from what I've seen, they seem quite random. Has anyone noticed a cluster? I asked a while back in another thread for people to post VINs of cars with failed motors but it's hard to really know since a car's VIN isn't exactly a motor's number or date of production. Also, I used to own a Volt, and there are far more Model 3s on the road than Volts, and yet the frequency of Volt forum posts about "shift to park" errors is an order of magnitude more than the Model 3. So, from my perspective, the mechanical reliability of the Model 3 seems quite good.
 
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And to the other person who disagreed, due to motor failures, if you notice, I mention motor failures, but from what I've seen, they seem quite random. Has anyone noticed a cluster? I asked a while back in another thread for people to post VINs of cars with failed motors but it's hard to really know since a car's VIN isn't exactly a motor's number or date of production. ...
So, from my perspective, the mechanical reliability of the Model 3 seems quite good.
I wrote this in early 2018: First Model 3 motor failure reported. What I wrote about Leaf still holds true today as I'm still active on MNL and now some Leaf FB groups. There have been more Leafs sold cumulatively than 3's, however that's going to change in the near future...
 

David_Cary

Active Member
Dec 17, 2012
1,353
1,001
Cary, NC
There have been more model 3's sold cumulatively than Leaf in the US. MNL and TMC are US based forums.
There are 86k posts on MNL in the general forum - plenty of subs but that is the highest number. There are 734k posts on TMC - model 3 forums. Because they are counted and organized differently, I will estimate that MNL has about 200k posts on Leaf related topics in total.

Do you really think the fact that global Leaf sales cumulatively is still higher tells the full picture?

Former Leaf owner (and on MNL) and current S and 3 owner. (Now I am sure I have more TMC posts than MNL posts - Cumulatively I have more years of Leaf ownership but more miles of Tesla ownership 87k vs 62k). The more miles and more posts are not related of course but predictable.

Our 3 is 8 months old with 8k miles and has never been back to SC. If the Model 3 was in anyway unreliable, the SCs would be wickedly overloaded. Now I realize they are in certain areas and I have no first hand knowledge locally which is a good thing. My S hasn't been to the SC in years and it has 79k miles.

Uh - and remember - the first year of any car model from any manufacturer is likely to have issues. And that even includes something like a Camry which is just a newer version of a 40 year old (?) model. I mean when did the last completely new sedan come out? I guess the Leaf was completely new - and those early batteries....
 

ratsbew

Active Member
Mar 3, 2012
1,296
1,054
O'Fallon, IL
For me, my Model 3 has been mechanically perfect (drivetrain, battery, suspension, etc.).

My car is "early" July 2018 and I've had the following addressed:

  • Driver DRL out - replaced left headlight
  • Left Rear brake heat shield was touching the rotor when applying the brakes
  • Driver's window regulator replaced (It's better, but think I need another because the window still stalls when going up sometimes)
  • 12V battery replaced.
All under warranty and not crazy in my opinion for a first model year vehicle. It's been perfect mechanically and I trust it to take me anywhere on a moment's notice.
 

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