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Do I need to go to a Tesla approved Body Shop to have a Rocker Panel repair done?

Somehow, because of all the wind on Monday, a branch got stuck in my door without me noticing as I left work. I drove probably 50 feet after noticing a scraping sound, pulled to the side and removed the branch. The scraping noise went away, and I drove home. When I got home, I noticed a huge scratch and dent on the driver side rocker panel. About a foot wide, and dented probably 3/4" - 1" deep. Somehow a branch was able to tear up and dent steel...crazy.

I called up a body shop in my town. The manager working there said he used to work at Tesla, and recommended I go to a Tesla approved body shop because he's not sure if the battery has to be disengaged, or if there's foam behind the rocker panel (this doesn't sound right, why would Tesla have flammable foam near the battery?). Unfortunately the Tesla approved shops are very far away and booked for weeks just to set an appointment to take a look at it. Does this look like a repair that most body shops should be able to handle?

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I would be surprised if there's something behind that panel, but then again I've never taken one apart so I can't say for sure either.

I almost wonder if a mobile body repair guy couldn't fix that in your driveway in a few hours. I had one service fix my wife's car that had side-swiped a concrete column look brand new without any discernible work being done in 1 day, in my driveway, while I worked at home. And that damage was much more significant than what's on display here.
 
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Reactions: Matt L

EVS Motors

Active Member
Global Vendor
Sep 3, 2013
2,117
500
Houston
No, you don't need to go to an approved Tesla body shop if you don't want to, and don't feel like just because they are Tesla approved, it means they'll do a better job than a shop that isn't. We've seen a fair share of Tesla approved body shops in our area that have put out inferior work.

Going with someone mobile may be convenient, but you'll give up quality if you're ok with that. A painter can only do so much in a non controlled environment like your parking garage/lot/driveway/outside, especially when painting is involved. Of course, some people may not notice a difference because they aren't too familiar with quality control when it comes to paint.
 
While generally I would agree, I think I've decided that quality is really dependent on the painter. I was skeptical about the environment too, but at least in my case, the work on my wife's car looks better than anything I've ever had done in various body shops over the years. Even the texture of the clear coat matched the factory finish. Lord knows it looks miles better than my Tesla factory paint job.
 
By running over that log you have crushed the rocker in.
As a body man I will tell you that it needs to be pulled and repaired properly so it all doesn't rust away in the future.
Whether or not Tesla uses any noise reduction in the rocker in unknown, but I would believe it's just stamped and hollow.
 
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Reactions: apkom
It's not 100% to tell from just photos and your description... We'd recommend getting a high quality shop familiar with Teslas to do proper inspection (i.e. looking behind the panel) to ensure no that there is no undercarriage damage to the battery. It's important to keep in mind that body work is often more involved than just having a good painter!
 
As a body man I will tell you that it needs to be pulled and repaired properly so it all doesn't rust away in the future.
Help me understand this one since you seem to have experience in this area. Aren't those panels make of aluminum which does not "rust"? Yes, I can understand it might corrode over time if not painted. What is considered to be the proper process to repair? :)
 

dhrivnak

Active Member
Jan 8, 2011
4,657
4,314
NE Tennessee
Somehow, because of all the wind on Monday, a branch got stuck in my door without me noticing as I left work. I drove probably 50 feet after noticing a scraping sound, pulled to the side and removed the branch. The scraping noise went away, and I drove home. When I got home, I noticed a huge scratch and dent on the driver side rocker panel. About a foot wide, and dented probably 3/4" - 1" deep. Somehow a branch was able to tear up and dent steel...crazy.

I called up a body shop in my town. The manager working there said he used to work at Tesla, and recommended I go to a Tesla approved body shop because he's not sure if the battery has to be disengaged, or if there's foam behind the rocker panel (this doesn't sound right, why would Tesla have flammable foam near the battery?). Unfortunately the Tesla approved shops are very far away and booked for weeks just to set an appointment to take a look at it. Does this look like a repair that most body shops should be able to handle?

0FAeysW.jpg


1prtIMi.jpg
You can take it to a normal body shop. There should not be foam there and it is several inches from the battery. I would try another shop.
 
Help me understand this one since you seem to have experience in this area. Aren't those panels make of aluminum which does not "rust"? Yes, I can understand it might corrode over time if not painted. What is considered to be the proper process to repair? :)

The rockers on the Model 3 are steel. Pretty much the entire shell is steel. I believe the doors, hood and trunk are aluminum.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: Silicon Desert
Somehow, because of all the wind on Monday, a branch got stuck in my door without me noticing as I left work. I drove probably 50 feet after noticing a scraping sound, pulled to the side and removed the branch. The scraping noise went away, and I drove home. When I got home, I noticed a huge scratch and dent on the driver side rocker panel. About a foot wide, and dented probably 3/4" - 1" deep. Somehow a branch was able to tear up and dent steel...crazy.

I called up a body shop in my town. The manager working there said he used to work at Tesla, and recommended I go to a Tesla approved body shop because he's not sure if the battery has to be disengaged, or if there's foam behind the rocker panel (this doesn't sound right, why would Tesla have flammable foam near the battery?). Unfortunately the Tesla approved shops are very far away and booked for weeks just to set an appointment to take a look at it. Does this look like a repair that most body shops should be able to handle?

0FAeysW.jpg


1prtIMi.jpg
Hi did you end up fixing it? can you give an update. My car has similar damage.
 
I recommend you take it to a Tesla owned and operated body shop like one of these: Body Shop Support

Just had our rear bumper & trim on ouor 2015 Model S P85D replaced to perfection in 4 business days at Tesla's Walnut CA body shop. They were awesome including handling the $1,200 "supplement" approval needed from State Farm (the guy who ran into us' insurance company). Third party "Tesla Certified" body shops quotes were higher, required US to pay any of their costs (which they wouldn't quantify until they got did the work) they charged that State Farm... and they were booked for 4 to 6 weeks. They also said this could be delayed indefinitely waiting on Tesla for parts (Tesla's body shop had our parts in stock). Easy decision to take our Tesla there... PLUS it supports Tesla too!
 

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