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General Build Quality of Teslas

Discussion in 'Model S' started by willgreco189, Jun 13, 2017.

  1. willgreco189

    willgreco189 Member

    Jun 12, 2017
    I'd like to hear opinions on the build quality of Teslas versus other comparable luxury/high-end vehicles. I'm surprised by a few things on my new 2017 Model S that I didn't expect from this type of car. It looks like a lot of things were just rushed. I'm sure if you stare at anything long enough, you'll find issues.

    - the seal/gasket on the left rear window wasn't pressed firmly when glued so you can see air bubbles through the glass
    - the chrome trim with the Tesla logo on the trunk is already loose on one end, not glued properly
    - the driver's side seal on the window occasionally lets a few small drops of water in when washing car
    - the hood aligns with the left quarter panel but not quite on the right quarter panel
    - lastly, condensation is leaking into the car and there is a pool of water on the front passenger and front drivers carpet
    • Like x 1
  2. KidDoc

    KidDoc Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2014
    College Station, TX
    I would contact your service center. I didn't have any of those issues with my car back in 2014.
    • Like x 1
  3. jelloslug

    jelloslug Active Member

    Jul 21, 2015
    Greenville, SC
    My 2016 refreshed Model S has been decent. I had a scratched piece of interior trim on delivery and three rattles since I have had it. One of the rattles was a seal or guide on the steering rack that was corrected quickly, the second one was a piece of foam in the headliner rubbing on the roof support just under the drivers side sunvisor. The last one was a loose piece of trim near the back seat. Compared to the BMW I had before this car, it has been much less problematic.
  4. mrtian97

    mrtian97 Member

    Oct 17, 2016
    So Cal
    I have the same question as I am taking delivery next wk. When you take delivery, do you get to drive it and then sign off for acceptance?
  5. Sir Guacamolaf

    Sir Guacamolaf The good kind of fat

    Mar 15, 2016
    My Model S
    2015 Model S here, I don't have any of those issues. So those are below Tesla's quality standards at least from my point of view. If I was you, I'd politely request the service center to address them.

    Out of curiosity, did you get a CPO or Inventory car? Mine was brand new (14 miles on the odo when I picked it). In my ownership experience, I feel that you do need to "baby" this car a bit. But if babied properly it stays good (so far for me at least)

    My definition of baby'ing,

    - I don't do any hard accelerations
    - Don't slam doors, handle everything delicately.
    - take super duper care of the exterior and interior from a washing/waxing maint. point of view, including all seals and leather. The car has a LOT of rubber seals, and once those dry off, (6-8 years), replacing all of them will be $$$$$, best to just never let them dry off.
    - Always avoid potholes, eyes on the road big time!
    - Park far away from every one
    - etc.
  6. msnow

    msnow Active Member

    Jul 14, 2015
    Mine had a few similar issues such as condensation, seals not put in properly, loose gaskets etc. They don't have the greatest quality control but they will fix everything for you. Don't worry.
  7. gabeincal

    gabeincal Enjoying Napa life the electric way

    Jul 5, 2016
    Napa, CA, USA
    I had a lot more issues on a 2016 S60. Service center will fix everything.

    One more note: i'm hoping that you're not imitating a hurricane and washing the car with a pressure washer. If you do, then it would explain why the water gets in (since there is no window frame)..
  8. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Well-Known Member

    Jun 30, 2013
    Buckeye, AZ
    Tesla's build quality is generally inferior to cars half the price. That is just a reality we need to live with because Elon Musk has shown absolutely ZERO desire to improve the initial quality of the vehicle. Well, there was that one time he crawled into a sleeping bag on the Model X production line to supposedly "ensure quality", but then you have to wonder what went so wrong as to require the CEO to sleep on the manufacturing line to ensure his employees do their damn jobs.

    You cannot compare Tesla's build quality to vehicles in the same price range, it's absolutely no contest. Put a Model S up against a BMW 7 Series or a Mercedes S Class and the Tesla will lose every time. Remember that you have a $30,000+ battery strapped to your vehicle, so Tesla has to make compromises elsewhere. ICE vehicles don't have to make that tradeoff.

    Tesla is also notorious for pushing problems downstream to owners in order to make their quarterly numbers. Cars regularly get delivered with water leaks, poor seals, panel and chrome misalignments, and one unlucky owner received a vehicle with a broken A-pillar that was missed by everyone at Tesla - including those who prepped the car for delivery!

    Tesla is having great difficulty understanding the word "quality".
    • Like x 8
    • Disagree x 7
    • Love x 2
  9. Silverstreak

    Silverstreak Member

    Jun 9, 2017
    Comparing it to the Porsche I had, The Tesla S is not the same build quality, plain and simple.
    • Like x 4
  10. MarcusMaximus

    MarcusMaximus Member

    Jan 2, 2017
    San Jose
    In terms of build quality, I've noticed one issue so far: the black plastic hood that goes over the rear view mirror/AP front cameras isn't flush with the windshield on the passenger side. It hasn't produced any issues, but the SC said they'll take care of it at the same time as when they change my badge to the 75(that was supposed to happen a couple weeks ago but I had to cancel at the last minute).
  11. oktane

    oktane Active Member

    Oct 25, 2016
    Very, very, poor. Almost, but not quite, unacceptable. I'd say my $155,000 Tesla is worse in build than a $32,000 Acura. Also worse than a Chevy Bolt. It's better than a Nissan Sentra or Honda.

    Main issues are extremely poor window and door seals, sloppy installation of the seals, soft paint or thin clear coat in areas, inconsistent interior trim pieces, creases in leather, paint imperfections new from the factory. Also the wiring and connectors are not as thoughtful as other cars. Door conduits are not as nice as even a Bolt.

    Regardless, I've gotten used to it. I only am reminded about how inferior the Tesla is when I drive my other cars. They feel much more "solid". To me, the Tesla drives and feels like a premium rental car. Not at all in the same league as say a cheaper AMG GT or SL63 AMG, etc.
    • Like x 6
    • Disagree x 5
    • Love x 1
  12. Petra

    Petra Member

    Jan 31, 2015
    Palmdale, CA USA
    Hey, now... it's not a real Tesla unless the chrome trim is misaligned ;)
    • Funny x 8
  13. ucmndd

    ucmndd Member

    Mar 10, 2016
    Making a dollars for dollars quality/fit/finish comparison of a boutique manufacturer building a car around a technologically advanced (ie expensive) drivetrain to an established hundred year old ICE manufacturer that cranks out orders of magnitude more cars per year is only going to result in disappointment.

    If that's what you're looking for, you're looking in the wrong place.

    There are improvements to be made no doubt - while the service centers seem to be very effective at dealing with these issues post delivery, most of these issues should never make it into the hands of owners to begin with. That said, when you're battling a market that is betting billions you're gonna fail and placing extreme importance on quarterly delivery numbers, I've gotta say I sorta understand.
    • Disagree x 3
    • Like x 1
  14. jelloslug

    jelloslug Active Member

    Jul 21, 2015
    Greenville, SC
    My Tesla was WAY better than the BMW, Nissan, Honda, and Chrysler cars that I have bought new. The only car that was better was the Toyota that my wife has.
  15. Science fan

    Science fan Member

    Mar 18, 2016
    Boynton Beach, FL
    My 2016 S75 is at just about 10,000 miles. Not a single leak, rattle, or anything else wrong or out of spec. Two Lexuses (Lexi?) that we had previously owned were also without any issues. Not so for other cars made by the major American car companies we had owned. I cannot logically extrapolate to others' experiences, but mine has been very positive with regard to zero deficiencies.
  16. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

    Feb 3, 2015
    I largely agree. The only distinctly better build quality I have had was with a Scion xB that my wife had. frankly, the more basic the car the better the build in my experience. By far the worst one I have had was a BMW M3 convertible that had major problems with transmission and suspension from the beginning.

    My Tesla has had couple of issues, a 12V battery and a charge port door that would not stay closed. Both were fixed quickly and without problem. I do not count the cosmetic issues due to being an inventory car, which were also taken car of.

    OTOH, the Tesla design is minimalistic and some don't like it. OK. It also is much more sensitive to wind and seal noises that are, I think, a function of trying to minimize weight, so less silencing foam and seals, plus the total absence of engine and transmission sounds to overwhelm the minor issues. That said, trim alignment and things others mention do need improvement. I expect the next round of factory improvements will make some substantial upgrades.
  17. RayW

    RayW Member

    Nov 9, 2016
    Every manufacture has limited engineering and manufacturing resources. Mercedes/BMW/Audi/Porsche/Lexus/etc focus their resources to design and produce high quality automobiles with uncompromising fit and finish. Body panels interlock near seamlessly, paint is blemish free, and no automobile leaves the factory unless it is cosmetically perfect.

    Tesla focuses its resources to design and produce automobiles which cram unimaginable amounts of electrons into dense battery packs which allow those cars to have mind altering accelerations and travel practical distances between charges. They also drive themselves, somewhat.

    Some people will suggest Mercedes/BMW/Audi/Porsche/Lexus/etc have been focusing on the wrong things for too long. I’ll take misaligned trim over a gas station anyday.

    One last thought -- it's been my personal observation Tesla build quality is on par with other high-end American built cars such as the Cadillac and Corvette.
    • Like x 5
    • Informative x 1
    • Disagree x 1
  18. mkspeedr

    mkspeedr Member

    Jun 14, 2015
    Santa Clara, CA
    When I read these posts - I wonder how my car was built on the same production line. I have 38,000 miles on my model S. I am on my third set of tires and have only had one loose screw in the arm rest.
  19. riemannh

    riemannh Member

    Mar 7, 2017
    I've been in and out of the SC a handful of times already related to fit and finish issues (as well as what appears to be a problem with the computer... taking it in again Friday for that). Overall, I'd say my expectation was that I wasn't getting a Mercedes or even BMW and that I was supporting the development of a new technology so I would accept some of this. That said, I've been mildly disappointed with the number of issues I've had and the resultant amount of time I've spent driving to and from the service center.

    On the other hand, my local service center has been very good about taking my car in and providing me with a loaner (even if it's an older one w/o AP). They were even able to isolate and correct a rattle that was driving me nuts despite rattles (and similar noises) being explicitly excluded from the warranty, an exclusion which is usual (granted, I think most luxury car companies would have taken my car in for what noise I was hearing).

    TLDR: The quality is not very good and may be at or below expectations even if you're handicapping the new company, but, overall, I don't (yet, 3000 miles and 3-4 months in) regret purchasing the car. I am getting more frustrated, though.

    For comparison: My wife's 2011 VW Tiguan seems better put together (despite our beating the crud out of it), though certainly less of a luxury vehicle even with maxed out options. The 2016 Peugeot 308 TD we leased in Europe for about a year didn't need to go back to the shop once and never had any mystery noises (and I beat the crud out of that car too - once driving it into a fence avoiding a tractor in CH and my wife learned to drive stick on it). My older 545i did have engine problems towards the end of my ownership (~80k miles), but never had any fit/finish issues other than it's super-shitty cup holders (not as bad as the 2000 A4, though).

    If I were to advise myself about this car with the benefit of hindsight, I might suggest that I try to find a lease-takeover with a year-ish left and see how things go before making the plunge.
  20. Max*

    Max* Charging

    Apr 8, 2015
    #20 Max*, Jun 13, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
    Teslas build quality are a huge YMMV.

    I've been in the SvC 8 times in 2 years for my 2015 70D. Each of my visits had a "real" problem listed and some minor stuff I asked them to fix since I'm already there

    Visit 1
    Rear door handle failure
    Volume scroll wheel replacement

    Visit 2
    Parking sensors failed (known issue, something about too much paint)

    Visit 3
    Sunroof seal leaking
    Headlight/fog lights fogging, no fix
    Arm rest loose (screw)
    Rear drive unit shudder diagnosed, later fixed in firmware
    Dash rattle
    B-panel trim loose, ordered new one

    Visit 4
    B-trim replaced from visit 3 (annoyed, because I told them exactly the part that would need to be fixed, with pictures, and they couldn't order it in advance and made me show up again)

    Visit 5
    Front door handle failure
    Rear tail lights hold water, replaced applique
    Arm rest loose again (screw replaced again)

    Visit 6
    12V battery replaced

    Visit 7
    Fan condenser malfunction
    12V battery replaced

    Visit 8
    Rear door handle failure

    [Future] Visit 9
    When they replaced the door handle on visit 8, they didn't align it properly or something. It squeaks like there's no tomorrow, so I'm holding out on a real problem before bringing it back in for this minor annoyance.

    Add to this, I have slightly misaligned panels which they said the fix is very extensive (and I didn't want them taking apart my car and potentially screwing something else up), and misaligned chrome all over the car which I never complained about, as it's not a big deal (though I can imagine it'd bother someone). Also when I got the car, there were holograms all over the hood (which I never complained about), that got fixed when I got the car detailed -- but that's not really a "build" quality issue, per se.

    My previous Mazda was of much better quality.
    • Informative x 3
    • Like x 1

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