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Body Shop Repair Costs--for me, a deal killer?

Discussion in 'Model S' started by JST, Feb 8, 2016.

  1. JST

    JST Active Member

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    I really like my car. I've been taken with the Tesla driving experience since May of 2013, when I went for a test drive on a whim and came away convinced that the world was changing.

    I've been uncomfortable, though, with the idea of owning the car out of warranty, for the reasons we've all discussed, and so had been thinking that I'd take advantage of the RVG and maybe order another one in December, when it will be 3 years old.

    A few weeks ago I scraped the side of the car on the wall of my parking garage on the way out of the building. Not sure why--I've done that drive every night for 2+ years in the car. Call it a momentary brain freeze, or a misguided attempt to clip the apex.

    The scrape is entirely cosmetic, but is sadly on the rear quarter, right behind the rear door.

    Long story short, it looks like (consistent with what others have posted), I am going to need a new rear quarter panel, and that this is going to cost about $20,000.

    That's. Crazy.

    C-r-a-z-y.

    Insurance has authorized the repair, so now it's just a matter of waiting for it to be completed. But as much as I love this car, I can't deal with daily driving the equivalent of a mobile Faberge egg.

    It's also hard to get excited about the "social responsibility" of having a car like this when a scrape on the side leads to burning $20,000 in resources that could be used better for almost literally anything else. How much permanent supportive housing could you buy for local homeless folk with that kind of cash, for example? How many solar panels could I buy? Instead it will go toward fixing my fancy luxury car. Jesus.

    If it weren't for the RVG and the fact that I've been planning on giving the car back in December, I'd probably just leave it. But I can't do that, so I suppose I will have it fixed.

    But the chances that I'll buy another just went down significantly. Tesla really needs to address this cost-of-repair issue, and do it quickly.
     
  2. JST

    JST Active Member

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    993304766f5b7360d092f7d989e948d2.jpg

    73e58359db2a959af0ea415ced6d7bbd.jpg

    This is $20,000 in damage.
     
  3. SabrToothSqrl

    SabrToothSqrl Active Member

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    I agree these aren't cheap to fix, but let's wait for the final report before worrying too much.

    There's plenty we can worry about mean time :)
     
  4. Skateboardgolf

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    Get another estimate!
    My "Tesla Authorized Repair Shop" estimate was 4x the cost of the repair I ended up going with. (which ended up looking flawless!) And it, the damage was on the rear quarter panel, just like yours.

    Make sure you find a shop with extensive experience with aluminum.
    I suspect your shop is insisting on replacing the back bumper, which my "TARS" wanted to do, which was completely unnecessary.
    Good luck!
     
  5. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    Yes, a new quarter panel is very expensive. Some body shops assume that insurance is going to cover it for you and so expense is not an option.

    A couple of decades ago, I had a situation with the Chevy Corsica. As it turns out the oil cap was a tall monstrosity, and I laid it upside-down on top of the flat engine intake as I was changing oil. It was a very sturdy cap, as I found when I pulled the hood's prop rod and dropped the hood. As there was no room between the top of the intake and the hood, it created a huge round welt in the hood.

    We didn't have coverage for that on the car, but I didn't want to drive it around with an ugly mosquito bite. Most body shops just wanted to order a new hood and paint/replace. But the guy at my local shop said he thought he could do something with it. He managed to get it hammered reasonably flat again, and blended some paint in, and fixed it up for an amount 1/4 that of the full-hood replacement.

    Ask around!
     
  6. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Member

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    I would at least look at where the money is going. If its $20k because the body shop needs like 300 hours to remove and replace the panel, then keep in mind your creating a job for a skilled worker.

    Course that's rather unlikley... If its $20k because there is a $15k Tesla factor that the body shop owner is pocketing because of Tesla's ridiculous certified body shop policies, then yes, that's crazy and Tesla needs to wake up before our insurance rates sky-rocket.


    That does look like it would require a new panel to get back to new condition though. There are severe creases and dents in it, thats gonna be nigh impossible to fix.
     
  7. JST

    JST Active Member

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    Haven't seen the detailed estimate, but the insurance company has authorized the work to proceed. To be clear, the bodyshop and insurance company have been great about it, and it looks like it's going to get fixed with no out of pocket on my part (other than the deductible).

    I'm just generally appalled at the cost, on philosophical grounds more than anything else.
     
  8. MorrisonHiker

    MorrisonHiker Beta Tester

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    Good point. I saw the "$20,000 in resources" in the OP and was going to mention that just because they are charging $20,000 doesn't mean that's what is really "costs".

    Sorry for your scrape, JST.
     
  9. hybridbear

    hybridbear Member

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    This is a major concern for us, too.
     
  10. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    I agree the repair costs are insane but I don't understand your "philosophical grounds" objection. Do you feel someone is being cheated? If so, who? The only one I can think of is the insurer and, if that's your objection, you're a very rare person to be concerned about the bottom line of an insurance company. I'm guessing though that I've misunderstood you. I just can't see anything else "philosophical" in this. I guess if the repair was cheaper the money could be better spent feeding the homeless, but we all know insurers won't use a savings on vehicle repairs to do that, nor will they lower premiums.
     
  11. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    I just did pretty much the same thing. Backed out, turned too early, scratched the rear quarter panel. I went to different body shops. None of them wanted to touch a Tesla. Only the ones officially recommended by Tesla. The estimate to replace the entire panel was 9k. Once I went ahead and dropped off the car, they talked to the insurance directly and all of a sudden the repair was 20k. When I asked about the difference they said, the $9k is when I pay myself, the $20k is when it goes through insurance. Are you freaking kidding me? And we wonder why the insurance premium is so high for a Tesla. I'm considering opening a body shop now...
     
  12. JST

    JST Active Member

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    I actually do care about the bottom lines of insurance companies, insofar as the amount of claims paid invariably will impact premiums.

    But by "philosophical," I meant something more like I am bothered by the needless extravagance of it. One of the ways you get exited about Tesla is the social responsibility angle--it's better for the planet, etc. But like I said above, it's hard to square that with repair costs that are in the neighborhood of "New Ford Focus" when you scrape a body panel.
     
  13. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    Understood and I agree but I think the costs will come down with time.
     
  14. sorka

    sorka Active Member

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    This is why I've always taken the payout from my insurance company and then I go somewhere else and get a self pay quote and then pocket the difference.
     
  15. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    I strongly disagree.
    How many times does an insurance company pay for $20,000 repairs before they realize that they need to significantly increase the premiums charged on these cars?

    This will not change as long as Tesla continues their insane practice of restricting who is, and is not, allowed to work on these vehicles.
     
  16. DougH

    DougH Active Member

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    It's already been proven.

    Geico was the most popular Tesla insurer until a year ago. After paying so many high claims they dramatically raised their rates. I am now with Nationwide and just waiting for them to do the same.
     
  17. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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  18. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Member

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    The parts are only a small part of the cost. If you look at David99's example, the parts were probably only a few k, the body shop is making a killing on the insurance funded repair. What needs to happen for the cost to come down is for Tesla to stop their ridiculous certified body shop policy. Until that happens body shops are going to keep on charging a ridiculous amount because they can.
     
  19. techmaven

    techmaven Active Member

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    I am glad there is a certification process as there is someone checking after the body shop and there are specific repair procedures to follow to rebuild vehicles. Gouging, however, is a separate matter. As many of the newer vehicles have new methods, equipment, and procedures, Tesla won't be alone. The costs for repairing the aluminum in a Bolt or the CFRP on an i3 won't be cheap either. So hopefully there will be more shops willing to be Tesla certified and we get competition, or, Tesla sets maximums for repair procedures, at least in terms of hours.
     
  20. kennybobby

    kennybobby Member

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    Wow, $20k to fix a little scrape like that--what a joke, those guys are laughing all the way to the bank. Body shops are looking at tesla repairs like picking up fat chicks in a bar--it's open season and there's no limit...
     

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