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A week with Model X - Owner Review

Discussion in 'Model X' started by abikepeddler, Jan 15, 2017.

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  1. abikepeddler

    abikepeddler Member

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    It's been one week since we received our Tesla Model X 75D and I wanted to give back to this community in the hope it might help someone else thinking about such a purchase. Let me preface this review by saying upfront that this owner review is coming from a true, gritty car nut. I spend nearly every weekend at local cars shows, planning my next car purchase or wrenching on one of the cars in our stable. I speak fluent car: "Columbo V12", "Killer B's", "4AGZE"... My ideal car has big horsepower, a manual transmission, defeatable traction control, and cargo capacity. So my take on the Model X is coming from a bit of a different angle then some I suppose. I do not have any allegiance to any car brand or country of origin and find fault with nearly every car as, like people, none are perfect. I am 50 years old and by my count the Model X is the 86th car I have owned.

    Our Model X was delivered to our home January 7th of 2017, some 319 days after we ordered. We have never bought a car of this expense so the 10 1/2 month delay in getting the car was both a blessing as well as.. well.. a blessing. It allowed us time to both prepare for the car from a at-home infrastructure standpoint (set up charging) but also gave us extra time to save even more money towards its purchase and to buy needed accessories online. I was not really anxious to get the car until the very end of 2016 when I realized that the $7500 Fed Income Tax credit would not be applicable to the 2016 tax year if we did not take delivery by years end. (Our tax accountant worked with our DS and together we developed a work around and were able to apply the tax credit to the 2016 tax year even though the car arrived in 2017.) The delay in ownership also allowed us to lease a 2016 Kia Soul EV+ electric car to MAKE SURE we really wanted to commit to buying a $100,000 electric SUV thing with doors that went to the sky and had all the reported issues that the Model X had at launch. By the way, the gap between the Model X and the Soul EV is a lot narrower then you might think. I have written up a comparison between the two here: Model X 75D vs Kia Soul EV+ Owner Review


    The Model X was delivered to us after the car carrier it was on reportedly received two flat tires which delayed the cars arrival into the early evening. A Tesla Delivery Specialist arrived in conjunction with the car and walked us through the basics but because we had a dinner engagement that night we were sort of thrown to the wolves. With 75% showing on the battery display we just sort of drove off into the abyss. The funny part is the next day, at the crack of dawn, my wife took the Model X to a high school sports function some 100 miles away and didn't return until that evening and the following day, due to my schedule, I again did not see the car in the daylight. It wasn't until day 3 that I was actually able to see the car in the daylight to inspect it for Falcon Wing Door alignment and general fit and finish.

    The car was quite good from a fit and finish prospective. I have read thousands and thousands of posts on this forum of all the issues with these cars.... from their FWD's not lining up to middle row seats making grinding noises to cars with front windshields that are cracked from the factory. Ours had none of these issues (knock on Matte Obeche wood!). Outside of a missing tow attachment and a drivers side sun visor that is out of alignment, the car is darn near perfect. The Midnight Silver Metallic paint is very good, FWD's are smooth and predictable and the touch screen is intuitive if not a little slow when making certain demands of it. We have noticed none of the "ghosting" in the front windshield during night driving that others have reported. I have looked hard for it including raising my seat up high and trying to see if the angle produces it and yet, nothing. All door seals were also excellent and we have had what I would consider normal wind noise at speed. Granted, the Model X certainly has more cabin noise then the aforementioned Kia Soul EV but that is to be expected since the Soul has many advantages on that front including the fact it has but one drive motor, much less glass and a smaller cabin from which sound can resonate. The MX center console works very well but coming from a master of packaging 2012 Honda Odyssey the Tesla is going to struggle on that front. I can't understand why Tesla designers located the cup holders in the armrest area between the front seats where your elbow wants to naturally land nor can I understand why that same center armrest pedestal does not open up to take advantage of the empty space that is obviously inside.

    Other interior quirks are no armrests on the center seats of our 6 seat configuration. Nevermind that they don't fold flat, the fact they don't even have armrests is just, well, it's silly. Long distance passengers need armrests. If they come on a $30,000 Nissan Quest minivan the Supermodel X should have them! Other silliness is the gloss back seats. They look amazing... on the floor of the Detroit Auto Show. Not so good with hyper children with their sandpaper like feet as they pile in after a day at the beach! Plan A: Cover them in clear protective film. Plan B: Don't let anyone in the car. I'm going with plan A.

    The drivers seat itself has a good range of adjustment as does the steering wheel. I tend to prefer my seat down low to lower my own center of gravity and bring the steering wheel down low so it is solidly in front of me and the Model X does this well. The thick leather steering wheel can cut off the top portion of the gauges if lowered to much but overall the drivers cockpit has a wide fit range. The non-perforated white vinyl seats on our car have become nicknamed the "Marshmallow Thrones" for their incredible pillowy softness and odd, foamy like appearance. I am 5' 6" in height and I still find the bottom cushion of both front seats to be a bit short in length. My leg (Femur) sort of hangs off the end of the seat a bit. I wish the bottom cushion was just a tick longer or even adjustable for length as it is in many German rivals.

    My last peeve about the cars overall design is the exterior profile. It doesn't work on a BMW X6 or the Mercedes-Benz GLC and it's doesn't work here. Yes, it is more energy efficient having a teardrop shape but I'd give up that efficiency for a more standard "box" shape so that I could fit, oh, I don't know... box shaped things in the the back! I regularly have to transport packed bicycles in large shipping boxes (53"L x 29"H x 8"W) and I was JUST able to slip 2 such boxes into the MX if I lower the 3rd row seats and move one of the middle row seats all the way forward but I risked making contact with the 2nd row glossy black seatbacks. For comparison, a 2013 Honda Fit will swallow 4 such bike boxes. The Model X is short on the "utility" front.

    Due to the sloped rear glass and fixed rear wing (why is there a wing at all?) the view out the back is pretty horrendous. This doesn't bother my wife as she is one of the growing number of drivers that "drive by rear-view camera" but I am old school. I properly place my hand on the back of the passenger seat as I articulate my body so as to look backwards when backing up. But damn if that makes little to no difference. You just cannot make out the corners of this vehicle. It is the first car I have driven in quite some time that that actually drives bigger then it is. From the outside the car does not look overwhelming large. But inside, it just seems immense. It feels wide and ponderous at slow speeds and, keep in mind, that is with the aviary like amount of glass around you. If this car did not have that massive windshield it would feel like piloting an aircraft carrier from one of the lower decks. And the reverse camera is mounted at such an angle as to not show you the actual rear corners of the car. As others on this forum have discovered, the guide lines on the screen suggest where said corners are but they are only there to fool you into backing into something it seems. Beware!

    So why did I commit to buy this if a more affordable, better thought out vehicle existed? Because I believe the Model X is the greatest value in a car since the Ford Model A. When you consider everything, it's efficiency, ease of use, tax and utility breaks, performance and the fact that the car gets over the air updates essentially making for an exciting, always changing car ownership experience, this car is a no brianer. It is made in the U.S.A.! U.S.A!! U.S.A!!! Heck, it is made in California! U.S.A.! U.S.A!! U.S.A!!! It is made almost entirely out of aluminum, something that no auto manufacturer that I can recall has even attempted. (Ford, Land Rover and Audi do not count as they only make the exterior skin and small bits out of aluminum.) Oh, and the vehicle has the capability of piloting, parking and if those doors could flap hard enough, fly itself into the future. What a car! What a value. Nothing else on the market, for any amount of money can do what this vehicle can. For $2.6 million dollars you can buy a Bugatti Chiron that can do none of this. But the Tesla can do a darn good impression of a Chiron from a standing start! Again, this is the best value in a car going. Imagine, a $100,000 car.. that is an out and out bargain!

    So how does it drive? Well the first pleasant surprise for me has been how good the steering was. I expected the typical dead feeling electric steering that has become the norm on so many mass produced modern cars and while the steering in the Model X is not a first generation Mazda MX-5 Miata in terms of steering feel, it is quite good. It weights up nicely as cornering forces build and has a satisfying speed to the steering during quick maneuvers. Speaking of quick maneuvers, I am still new to this vehicle so I haven't pushed the envelope to 10/10ths but I can say that the cornering traction while under heavy throttle inputs is just phenomenal especially for a 5300lb behemoth such as this. It definitely fights above it's weight class in this regard. No nasty cornering tendencies near the limit and the instant throttle response is an out and out revelation! Like a light switch of speed. Flip it, and your simply throttled to the next corner.

    The Speed: Everyone is enamored with the speed produced by Tesla's electric drivetrains. From auto magazines to owners to passengers.. to the people with mustaches and little blue lights on top of their cars. These cars produce forward momentum unlike almost any car in history. But how does that translate in the real world? Our Tesla Model X 75D produces a 0-60 time of 6.0 second according to Tesla. But in the real world that means a world of hurt for cars that are, on paper, much faster. Example: Entering the highway on a loooong on ramp the 2014 Audi S6 in the next lane, complete with it's 450hp 4.0 liter twin turbo V8 pins the throttle at the same time I do. I am car lengths ahead before his dual clutch transmission and delayed turbos can even respond. Yes, a car such as that will eventually real in a 75D but by that time the battle has already been won. I am already onto the highway at a rather interesting speed and the Audi owner is left wondering how a vehicle that weighs 900 lbs more and gives up 120hp left them for dead. And that is a regular occurrence. Whether it be passing maneuvers or simply watching in amazement as the cruise control will steadfastly refuse to deviate from the speed selected even when ascending or descending steep grades, the power and instantaneous response of that throttle make the Model X feel like a time machine.

    Would I buy a MX again?... hmmm... well the Model S is most certainly a better looking vehicle in my opinion and it can realistically carry more stuff until such time that Tesla offers up a folding 2nd row in the 6 and 7 seat configurations of MX. But what the Model X has is a sense of fun. It is goofy. It is 80's Miami (especially with that Don Johnson white interior!). It is probably the most "baller" car on the market right now and I am including all the big boys in that statement... Ferrari, Rolls, McLaren... When you go about your day in this car even the most innocuous daily chore becomes an event. You have to make the decision whether to open one of it's Icarus doors because, be prepared, the stares are coming. You can feel them from near and afar. For instance, yesterday, sadly, we attended to a memorial service for a good friend of mine... a fellow "car guy"... and when we all piled out of the MX the somber gathering all stood slack jawed at first and then they all started smiling. And while the cars electron fed drivetrain doesn't have the "soul" that is inherent in a great gas powered car, any vehicle that can raise the mood at a memorial service awash in real car lovers is a winner in my book.
     
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  2. NikeWings

    NikeWings Active Member

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    Congrats to you!
    interested in your details to take the tax credit for the X in a different year than taking its possession?
    Thank you
     
  3. PedanticOne

    PedanticOne MyTesla Refresh Champion

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    Holy crap! And I thought I was bad.
     
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  4. xkwizit

    xkwizit Member

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    Congrats! Beautifully written post. It was fun to read and though I am not even a little percentage of you as a car nut, I could easily relate to your experience of owning an X. :)
     
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  5. MasterT

    MasterT Member

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    Great review
     
  6. singleview

    singleview Member

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    What a well written piece through and through. Loved the entire read. This should be published somewhere!
     
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  7. DIL

    DIL Supporting Member

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    Have you tried the Model S? How does it handle, in your opinion? Not straight line speed, but around corners!?!?
     
  8. abikepeddler

    abikepeddler Member

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    Well, what we did (DS and my tax accountant) is have me pay for the car in advance (against the suggestion of a few Forum members here...) and sign all the paperwork. As far as the California DMV knows the car was purchased December 23rd 2016. Says so on every document I have including all DMV docs and Tesla's own Motor Vehicle Purchase Agreement (MVPA). The risk, as was pointed out by some of the forum members, is if the car carrier transporting the car from Fremont to San Diego were to overturn or be impacted by weather and the car were to be damaged I, not Tesla, might be liable for the damage. Well that turned out to be unfounded. It turns out the car carrier company is actually the one that carries insurance for such occurrences and I would not have been liable. The not-so-funny thing was the car carrier DID get 2 flat tires in transit... so it did cross my mind that... "oh, man. Those forum chaps might just be correct.. I shouldn't have paid for a car before even receiving it..." But it all turned out just fine. The only other reason I can think of to NOT pay for the car in advance were if the car was a total disaster of a build.... FWD falling off etc... I might have some issues refusing to take delivery of the car since it was already paid for.
     
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  9. abikepeddler

    abikepeddler Member

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    I have driven the Model S twice. A 70D and a 90D. But I did not cane the car around corners nor was I in an area of any twisties. Just Urban driving and a bit of Autopilot on the freeway. I am sure the S handles even better then the X. But I do know that both vehicles only let you have so much fun before the power can start to be software limited if the drivetrain starts to get to hot. Tesla's are not track cars. But I would think you would have to be hammering on the car pretty hard on a public road to get one to limit power. Not likely I'd ever see that in real life. :rolleyes:

    The Model X I can say understeers at the limit and you can most definitely feel the weight of the thing wanting to drag you to the outside of a corner if you over cook it. But it's mass is very well hidden in all other circumstances. Braking however is where I really feel it's weight. The brakes do not feel very aggressive and take a good amount of pedal pressure to bring the car to a halt. But the regen offers up so much stopping power that I was tempted to not even touch the brakes as I was hurdling towards the next corner. Not a good plan obviously. To improve the stock braking initial bite it would be interesting to swap out the stock brake pads for some Hawk HPS's or similar to see how that might improve things.

    One thing that is driving me a bit mad, and chime in someone to help me out on this, the SAS ("Stupid Air Suspension" as I like to call it...) will adjust it's height even when I am pushing the car on a twisty road. That is the LAST thing I want happening! I don't want the suspension raising itself ("based on GPS location") as I am hurdling along. I want it to stay put.. right where I last left it. "Please do not change stupid car. Just stay put!" See, this is why I originally ordered this car with standard coil suspension. Coils work. They are predictable. They don't break. And they can be swapped out with other coils to make the car softer or firmer. Air is never a good suspension solution except on mountain bikes where their light weight is a plus. On a 5000lb monster you want coils.
     
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  10. mr10012

    mr10012 Member

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    Congratulations and great review!

    I was in a similar situation as I was promised 2016 delivery of my VIN 312xx 90D MX (confirmed November 20) but then I was told it would not arrive to NYC until early January. Unlike your DS, my DS at the NYC (Brooklyn) SC refused to let me sign the paperwork before taking delivery and the options I was given were (a) have someone take delivery for me at the factory in 2016, pay CA sales tax, and then arrange for shipment to NYC at my own expense or (b) purchase a similar inventory car with VIN 278xx (which happened to be in LA) and pay to have it transported to NYC (which is what I chose for mid-December delivery).

    My DS (who overall was very nice and responsive) claimed that he tried to get approval for me to purchase before delivery, but was told that would transfer title to me and Tesla's carrier would not transport the vehicle in that scenario (hence I would have to take delivery at the factory). That seems to be contradicted by your experience though. This may be of interest to other people that try to get delivery before the end of their (tax) year.
     
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  11. vandacca

    vandacca ReActive Member

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    If the vehicle is raising due to GPS location, then someone must have manually set it to raise in that vicinity. When that happens, you should see a pop-up "Raising at GPS Location" with a small 'x' next to it. If you press the 'x', that GPS location will be deleted and it should not auto-raise any longer at that particular location.

    I find it strange that someone would have manually raised the suspension while driving on a windy-road, but anything is possible I guess.
     
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  12. abikepeddler

    abikepeddler Member

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    Interesting. I wonder if any of it has to do with the fact I am located in California, same as the factory. My DS said something to the effect: "What we do in the case where an owner wants to take possession of the car by years end and the car is delayed and might affect them getting the tax break when they want it is we have them pay for the car in advance and sign all the paperwork." So the DS not only spoke to my tax guy but also to my lender (which I thought was cool!) and they all worked out the details so I didn't have to use my tiny brain to much. Keep in mind, I waited 318 days for this darn car to be delivered. I sort of felt like something good had to happen sometime and luckily that good stuff came at the very end when the payment, delivery and cars build quality were all very good. Now I just need to smoothly clear the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Program hurdles to get our $2500 EV rebate. Fingers crossed...
     
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  13. TJtv

    TJtv Member

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    Wouldn't you also have had a 3rd option - simply waiting until the car that you ordered arrived in NYC and taking delivery in early 2017?
     
  14. mr10012

    mr10012 Member

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    Yes, of course. I should have clarified that like OP I needed to "put in service" in 2016 for tax reasons. OP's solution would likely have worked for me (although my accountant wanted to research this further if Tesla would have allowed it). Unlike OP, my DS said that he asked HQ and confirmed that Tesla policy was to not allow signing the paperwork before physical delivery. He even claimed he had attempted same thing before, but promised to try again for me. I remember searching TMC in early December and was not able to find anything that would support my request. OP's accommodation is the first data point I saw that possession before delivery may be feasible, at least for CA, and this may be of interest in the future to buyers in a similar situation.
     
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  15. NikeWings

    NikeWings Active Member

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    You lead a charmed life.....everything falling into place for you.
     
  16. abikepeddler

    abikepeddler Member

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    Sure didn't feel like a charmed life as month after month passed as we got little to no communication from Tesla about where the hell the car we ordered Feb 23rd was. I went on a rant in the Model X December Delivery thread berrating Tesla for how they were treating us. Others complained about waiting 45, 60... 90 days for their car. Once day 300 passed, I lost my poo. It was and has been the strangest purchase I have ever made. But now that the car is actually here I'm like a famished person with food in front of them... I keep looking at the car to make sure it's real....
     
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  17. dfdtruckie

    dfdtruckie Member

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    Any issues with the FWD? AC? Anything recent to report? Well written and thanks for sharing
     
  18. abikepeddler

    abikepeddler Member

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    Thought I would update my owner review as there is some decent content to add...

    Now I was going to make a joke about how an over the air update changed our Tesla Model X 75D into a 2016 Infinity QX80 but it just doesn't seem funny right now. See, I brought our Model X into the local service center to tighten up a few minor quality control items on the car. Loose trim, condensation in a headlight, misaligned sun visor. No big deal and stuff that really was not bothering us. We were just enjoying the car... it's great.

    Well, the sun visor issue turned out to be much bigger then anticipated and so we have now had a Tesla Service Center loaner Infinity QX80 SUV behemoth since April 6th... You know the saying "You fall in love with your captors?" That is what I feel like is going on with this loaner vehicle. It is so terrible that it, a car mind you, has become the source of endless humor between me and my wife. We affectionately call her "Fat Betty" but I think Infinity should have named this thing the Infinity Cul-de-sac, Cubic Zirconia Edition because let me tell you, the acres of real fake wood... the massive 33" tall tires and a total vehicle height of 6' 7" it has to be one of the tallest vehicle currently on the road and I am including the Ford Raptor in that statement. (Yep, just looked it up. They are exactly the same height at 79")

    So why is a Model X sun visor forcing us to feed Fat Betty $3.51 Premium Unleaded at a rate 14.1mpg? Well the sun visor pivot located on the drivers side A-pillar was so close to the windshield it would make contact with the glass when the sun visor was deployed. My concern was normal chassis flex would cause this to fracture the front windshield. Amazingly the repair, and this is just me guessing from years of being in and around the car industry, is the A-pillar anchor point for the driver sun visor was welded on in the wrong location from the factory.

    So how do they fix this? Well they farm the repair out to a local body shop because, and get this, it involves removing the front windshield and interior A-Pillar trim and relocating and re-welding the anchor in the correct location. And windshield removal often times involves "glass breakage" according to Tesla. All of this is fine except I am concerned about getting a new windshield and suddenly having a ghosting affect that others have complained about but we have not experienced. I guess we will see.

    In the meantime we await the arrival of the windshield which is back ordered until the end of time... (Made that part up. It will get here when it gets here.)

    What I really want to talk about however is Fat Betty. I just can't stop talking about it! God, it is just such a terrible vehicle in every single way. I can see why Tesla is doling these out as loaner cars. It makes the Model X look brilliant! As I have detailed prior the Model X is far from perfect but if you want to REALLY see what a bad car buying decision looks like, go spend sometime with one of these Infinity Hungry Hippos. Ride motions are not so much controlled as survived with a jittery ride and some serious body roll. Yea, it's not a sports car. I get that. But in this day and age of magnetorheological suspension technologies and enough Big SUV competition in this segment you'd think Nissan, the makers of the GT-R!!! would have come up with a better compromise. The interior of this $80,000 vehicle looks okay until you start touching things. Yards of cheap plastics and irritating, counter-intuitive controls such as seat memory buttons and menus for operating vehicle controls. The Nav system is arduous and, well, Tesla's system is light years ahead. The V8 sounds fantastic which is of no surprise as Nissan has always made great V8's (Indy racing experience pays off here...). Transmission is good and the manual shift mode blips the throttle on downshifts. Just to bad what it is all attached to.

    God, where is our Model X?

    Seriously though, Telsa has done a very good job with the MX and spending time with other vehicles of the same price point only highlights this fact. My wife is not a car fan in any way and she is pining for the MX to return. I myself will miss Fat Betty as I think I am falling in love with my captor.
     
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  19. boaterva

    boaterva Supporting Member

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    All I have to say, thank gawd it's under warranty!
     
  20. verygreen

    verygreen Curious member

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    I am in a very similar boat to you, except I noted a bunch of stuff on the due bill and they took my X on Apr 10th and gave me a (really old) Model S 85 as the loaner.
    Turns out S is terrible for my use - my wife is hating it with a passion, also not even AP1.

    They said our repairs would take 2-3 days, but then they were waiting for parts and what not.
    Now, 3rd week in, and when I called, they told me "oh, and there are scratches on your door that we have not looked at yet to see if we could fix that or if it needs to go to a different place for repaint" (why this was not looked at in the prior 2 weeks? I have no idea).

    Ah, and "we ordered your seat replacements, wait time for those is typically 8-10 weeks, but we'll make a separate appointment for the install".
     

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