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Car damaged at service center. Help!

Hi, first post here.

Took my car in today to have trunk alignment fixed, which also required some touch up paint due to the bad alignment.

I go to pick up the car (same day), as soon as I put my hand on the steering wheel - I felt texture at my palm. About a 2.5-3 inch cut into the steering wheel fabric! I didn't even move the car an inch, I go to let the staff know. They got the manager to come check. All they said is basically "sorry, you can't prove we did that" and said their employees would not do that... the cut was 100% not there before the service appointment. I mean, accidents happen, ok... but they were absolutely not even considering the thought of helping fix the damage they caused.

I went back and forth with the manager - he would not even consider it their issue. Absolutely crazy to me. I don't have dogs, kids, and I'm super meticulous about my car. I drive 5-6k miles a year and baby it.

They did not put a steering wheel cover on or anything, they hopped in my car and took it to the body shop almost instantly - didn't even put those mat covers in it. Which is weird cause I saw them do that to other cars that were there. Didn't see them take any photos, which I believe they usually do when you first arrive as well and this was confirmed afterwards cause he said he didn't have any photos of the "before".


This is absolutely crazy to me and so beside myself. They fix a 1/8 inch scratch in my trunk and I leave with a 3 inch cut in my steering wheel. In fact, the car won't even charge now after the visit, they did something to the chargeport - but that's a separate concern.

Anyone have any suggestions? In no way am I in a position to pay for a new steering wheel and obviously should not have to...
 

Casss

Member
Aug 6, 2021
525
480
UK
Should be on them to prove they didn't damage it in their custody.

You should totally fight this, but it may be that you have to chalk it up as an expensive lesson. It's a real PITA but I'm now in the habit of doing a video walk round of the whole exterior and interior of the car on the morning I drop any car off with any service centre. I also put my own plastic cover on the driver seat, console and steering wheel. (I know, I know... it's kinda sad. But like you I'm fastidious with my cars, and numerous bad experiences have forced my hand. It also sends a very clear message to the tech working on the car... namely that I'm a fastidious arse and if they aren't careful they're on the line for damages).

I've actually had a garage do exactly what you've described to the wheel on my Model S. Luckily for me, it wasn't a Tesla service centre, so sentry mode wasn't disabled, and the employee was caught in the act damaging the wheel from outside the car with a diagnostic tool that had a sharp metal bracket on the bottom.

What you could do if you don't have any photographic or video evidence, is ask them to describe what was done to your car on the day, and try and identify any processes or tools that were used that could have caused the damage. If you can get to that position, it becomes much harder and riskier for them to deny fault. Essentially, frame this as a simple fact finding exercise to get to the bottom of how it happened, and let them walk themselves into a corner. They can't exactly refuse to tell you what they did on the car and what their processes are. For instance, what steps did they take to mitigate the potential for causing damage to the wheel.

I would push the diagnostic tool angle too, and see what they say. A lot of the hand-held tools that need to be plugged into the data port have metal brackets so that they can be propped up or clipped over things, but should have something underneath to protect the vehicle.

Wish you all the best of luck.
 
I just got back from the SC getting a windshield replaced. The top headliner looks like they dragged it across the floor. The side pillar has wires hanging out and no longer sits flush, and there is some white staining on the right speaker. I can't get removed completely. I made a service appointment to have it corrected, and they have confirmed a mobile tech will fix everything. If they were going to fight it, I was just going to file an insurance claim. I'm pretty sure I trashed the headliner. They've got something sticky in there I wasn't able to scrub out and I would need to have the pillar corrected. A detailing runs $500. They gave me the car back with ~$750 in damage. Just from lack of care.
 
I just got back from the SC getting a windshield replaced. The top headliner looks like they dragged it across the floor. The side pillar has wires hanging out and no longer sits flush, and there is some white staining on the right speaker. I can't get removed completely. I made a service appointment to have it corrected, and they have confirmed a mobile tech will fix everything. If they were going to fight it, I was just going to file an insurance claim. I'm pretty sure I trashed the headliner. They've got something sticky in there I wasn't able to scrub out and I would need to have the pillar corrected. A detailing runs $500. They gave me the car back with ~$750 in damage. Just from lack of care.

Should be on them to prove they didn't damage it in their custody.

You should totally fight this, but it may be that you have to chalk it up as an expensive lesson. It's a real PITA but I'm now in the habit of doing a video walk round of the whole exterior and interior of the car on the morning I drop any car off with any service centre. I also put my own plastic cover on the driver seat, console and steering wheel. (I know, I know... it's kinda sad. But like you I'm fastidious with my cars, and numerous bad experiences have forced my hand. It also sends a very clear message to the tech working on the car... namely that I'm a fastidious arse and if they aren't careful they're on the line for damages).

I've actually had a garage do exactly what you've described to the wheel on my Model S. Luckily for me, it wasn't a Tesla service centre, so sentry mode wasn't disabled, and the employee was caught in the act damaging the wheel from outside the car with a diagnostic tool that had a sharp metal bracket on the bottom.

What you could do if you don't have any photographic or video evidence, is ask them to describe what was done to your car on the day, and try and identify any processes or tools that were used that could have caused the damage. If you can get to that position, it becomes much harder and riskier for them to deny fault. Essentially, frame this as a simple fact finding exercise to get to the bottom of how it happened, and let them walk themselves into a corner. They can't exactly refuse to tell you what they did on the car and what their processes are. For instance, what steps did they take to mitigate the potential for causing damage to the wheel.

I would push the diagnostic tool angle too, and see what they say. A lot of the hand-held tools that need to be plugged into the data port have metal brackets so that they can be propped up or clipped over things, but should have something underneath to protect the vehicle.

Wish you all the best of luck.
Thank you for the info. I did try to push back when they said "we didn't even work in that area"... but, they drove the car to and from the body shop at the bare minimum. It only takes a split second to scratch/cut the steering wheel. Clearly it was an accident but shouldn't be at my expense.

Then, when they told me they use steering wheel covers and are very careful, I literally saw my car drive off - the person hopped right in and did not put any covers in the car. Was odd, because even the worker admitted "normally we take photos but for some reason we don't have any of yours".

So they admit those things, but wouldn't admit to the possibility that they damaged it.

I'll continue to push back on it. I have to go back now because my car won't even charge now (yet they are so good at their job, they could never make a mistake) and I was able to contact corporate to file a claim - hopefully something good happens. Blown away that I'd have to go this route though, it's not a cheap car... maybe they're desensitized by that, but to me it's not what I'd think of a company that is supposedly selling a "premium" product. Seems to be quite a common issue after checking this forum.

This will be the 4th visit related to the same issue, 130 miles put on the car just to have the steering wheel damaged, not once have they had a loaner either.
 
Thank you for the info. I did try to push back when they said "we didn't even work in that area"... but, they drove the car to and from the body shop at the bare minimum. It only takes a split second to scratch/cut the steering wheel. Clearly it was an accident but shouldn't be at my expense.

Then, when they told me they use steering wheel covers and are very careful, I literally saw my car drive off - the person hopped right in and did not put any covers in the car. Was odd, because even the worker admitted "normally we take photos but for some reason we don't have any of yours".

So they admit those things, but wouldn't admit to the possibility that they damaged it.

I'll continue to push back on it. I have to go back now because my car won't even charge now (yet they are so good at their job, they could never make a mistake) and I was able to contact corporate to file a claim - hopefully something good happens. Blown away that I'd have to go this route though, it's not a cheap car... maybe they're desensitized by that, but to me it's not what I'd think of a company that is supposedly selling a "premium" product. Seems to be quite a common issue after checking this forum.

This will be the 4th visit related to the same issue, 130 miles put on the car just to have the steering wheel damaged, not once have they had a loaner either.
Who is telling you it's a premium product? Only the price right?

The fit and finish, the lack of care with delivery, the absolutely shocking service, even the tech (lack of Car Play, TACC sucks, maps are awful, they've only just added waypoints to navigation etc) - they are only ahead in the number of miles per full battery and the supercharger network. Believe me, it's not a premium product, and others are ahead now in most areas.
 
Who is telling you it's a premium product? Only the price right?

The fit and finish, the lack of care with delivery, the absolutely shocking service, even the tech (lack of Car Play, TACC sucks, maps are awful, they've only just added waypoints to navigation etc) - they are only ahead in the number of miles per full battery and the supercharger network. Believe me, it's not a premium product, and others are ahead now in most areas.
That is why I said "supposedly" and put premium in quotations. They act like they can do this because they are or were the leaders of EV, but the cracks are showing and luster is wearing off. It seems like internal problems that are working their way out to the staff, cause even the staff seemed to not give a single f*ck.
 
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I’m having a similar issue with the service center. They damaged my bumper paint and noted touch-up paint cover up falls within quality standards on the invoice before I even picked up my car.

I’m actually going to ask for their insurance company information to get my car fixed somewhere with more qualification.

They are just hiring people with little to no experience to fix car until 11pm.
 

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