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M3 mid range battery swap after accident

ABerry

Member
May 3, 2021
9
16
Waco, Tx
Hey everyone,

tl:dr - Hit a deer, had a rough experience with the Tesla service center and a long wait, ended up with a new battery for the cost of my deductible. Glad to have my car back!

I thought I'd share a quick story and experience I had with Tesla Service center Austin and Caliber Collision. Interestingly, Jalopnik wrote an article about a video from Rich Rebuilds that documented the exact same failure I had but I ended up with a battery.

Driving to work early in the morning on June 10th (on the day I made the first payment on the car), a truck in front of me hit a deer. I avoided the deer as best as possible and ended up running over it with my drivers side front tire. I pulled over (the truck didn't) and looked the car over and found it pouring out blue fluid. Limped the car home (about 3 miles) and started a claim with my insurance.
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Before the tow truck came and got it 6 days later (there will be a trend here), I looked behind the wheel well panel and found this fitting snapped off. No real guard, maybe not the best design. Not that there should really ever be a deer carcass nailing that, but I digress. The whole time I waited, for the tow truck, the cooling pump ran. Tesla service app said shut down the car from the settings screen but that didn't do anything. Interestingly, there was no bumper damage or rocker panel damage. It was like the deer went perfectly under the car and bounced into the wheel well.

On June 16th, the car finally got towed to caliber collision per Tesla service center instruction and my service center ticket was cancelled. No worries there. It then sat for a further 3 weeks while caliber Collision tried to contact the service center to no avail in order to have the battery disconnected, as that is a requirement per their training to be a certified shop. They went as far as having a manager go to the Tesla service center for guidance and they got nowhere. I ended up finding a back door phone number to the Tesla service center and conference called the body shop so they could coordinate the repair. Tesla service center said it should have gone to them first, in contradiction to the instruction and cancelled service ticket they initially gave me.

The car was towed to the service center where, after a further 2 week wait, they replaced the battery and full cooling system. Looks like we're in the clear right? Wrong! Tesla service center will not release the car to the body shop to finish the claim, will not accept payment from my insurance (or even communicate with them), and demand I write them a check for ~$13k for the work or they will hold the car. Not good. After some back and forth and a call from the service center manager apologizing for the issues and confusion for payment, he and the body shop manager work out that the body shop will pay Tesla and bill my insurance. Now we're good!

The car goes back to the body shop to complete the claim, have the car detailed and prepare to have it towed back to me (I live 2 hours away and in the time we were waiting, my wife had a baby. The body shop volunteered to transport it to ease some of the strain of how long it had taken). The manager calls me and says he only expects to need it an hour or so to give one last good look over to check for any suspension damage that they weren't able to look for while the we're waiting for the compromised battery to be disconnected and check for any body damage, though he agreed that he didn't remember seeing anything.

Now it gets good. He calls me back 45 minutes later to tell me that EVERY SINGLE PANEL (except passenger rocker cover) that has to be removed to do the battery swap is damaged. Mounting holes torn specifically and fasteners left in. The summary I got was that it looked like the panels were ripped off to change the battery as opposed to removing the fasteners. They ended up having the car another 2 weeks to receive front and rear bumper, rocker panel, whee well liners and lower aero cover as well as painting. It was a rough wait.

This sounds like I'm bitching, and maybe to a degree I am, but first week last week I finally got my car back. It's got a new battery (with slightly more usable range), a new paint job on most of the lower panels, and a new found respect for the shop (and their manager) Tesla recommended. With that said, if I ever have any other issues that mobile maintenance (which is awesome) can't handle, I'll be sending it to Dallas!

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Last edited:

Chriso123

New Member
Jul 30, 2020
2
0
Massachusetts
As a Mid-Range owner myself, I've always been curious what it would look like in the event I ever needed a battery swap. Mid-Range cars were produced for such a short period of time I can't imagine Tesla is stocking service parts for them. I always understood our packs to essentially be a Long-Range pack with some cells removed. How much extra range are you seeing? Do you think they may have replaced it with a Long-Range pack?
 

ABerry

Member
May 3, 2021
9
16
Waco, Tx
I'm currently getting a max range estimate of 238 miles. When I bought the car with 40k, I was at ~220. I would have loved to swap to the long range battery, but I don't know what all that would entail and after my experience with the service center, I'm a little afraid to ask! As far as the refurbed battery, I wouldn't be surprised if a long range battery with cells removed was used.
 

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