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"...may void your warranty"

Discussion in 'Roadster: Performance' started by Slackjaw, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. Slackjaw

    Slackjaw Member

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    I've been warned by TM (after asking for a tech inspection) that racing may void our warranty. I know they're essentially just "covering their a**es" here.

    I did look it up in the warranty "manual" where it says damage caused by the following will (reasonably, in my opinion) not be covered:

    This doesn't actually say it "voids" the warranty, which sounds a lot scarier (a bit like my employment contracts which say disciplinary action can be "up to and including termination").

    Anyway... It seems like a lot of people take their Roadsters to autocross events, but I guess everyone drives "sensibly"? It's not like you can lie to TM about how fast you were driving or how much juice you had left.

    Can anyone give any feedback on this? Any precedents? Anyone ever been told they voided their warranty, or ever damaged a Roadster this way?

    Is the below a reasonable checklist of how to use the Roadster for performance driving (note: small "p") in a way that doesn't even slightly hurt the car, just on principle, aside from warranty mumbo-jumbo?:

    • Drive in standard mode
    • Leave Traction Control on
    • Don't deplete the battery
    • Stop driving if the power limiter kicks in

    This is about taking a road track driving course at Raceway Park. I am not intending to race per se, even if the other cars on the road track think it's a race (and I think the road track rules are pretty conservative). I just want to try some performance driving without the risk of getting a ticket, and I like the idea of asking an expert driving instructor to teach me how to do it safely.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Was also told changing out the terrible radio would void the warranty.
     
  3. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

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    Void the warranty on the terrible radio or void the warranty on the whole car?
     
  4. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Car.





    .
     
  5. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

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    That's rather draconian. Sounds like Tesla is taking the Steve Jobs Apple model a little too far.
     
  6. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    "Overuse" is a pretty vague term, but would seem to imply a long-term ongoing situation, rather than a one-off event.

    Autocross might be hard on the tires, but it's sure not going to stress the drive train. The local club's autocross course takes under a minute to complete, and drivers get to go through about once an hour. Driving to the event would be more stressful on the car.

    Driving aggressively on a real race course would of course get the drive train hot, but as long as the customer slowed down and headed to the pits when the Power Limit light came on, I don't see how they'd have any grounds for exclusion. I once had Power Limit come on while driving just 60 kph during a heat wave. If the light doesn't come on before the vehicle was damaged, then it's a design flaw.

    If a dispute ever got to court, the judge would almost certainly find in favor of the customer. Even if TM demonstrated prolonged, repetitive, heavy stress on the car, they might still lose for any number of reasons; for example, the judge may rule that the limitation on the use of the product was unreasonable.
     
  7. Dragon

    Dragon Lightning Green Fairytale

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    I don't think the driving would be a problem. The warranty can void if you do careless things, like for example always charge the car in performance mode and let the batteries go near 0% charging level. And with the Roadster registering everything they could proof you were "careless".
     
  8. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, It was more of a threat in the early days. By pulling out the old radio and putting in a non approved one you run the risk of voiding your car's warranty. Obviously many have taken their cars to radio shops and pulled out the stock junk and added amps and speakers. Al and Eds in Hollywood "worked" with the LA store to do all sorts of mods on the Roadster, including a spare battery just for the radio.

    The other related issue was the single din to double din. At first Tesla would not approve that radical change nor would they do it themselves. Then they came out with a double din radio. No answer was given how they preformed that feat since all the talk against it was structural safety cutting a crossbar and new crash testing that would be needed. You would think that would void a warranty.
     
  9. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    Seems like standard warranty stuff. I bet most cars (and devices) have a similar provision, since warranties always define what they consider normal operation and won't cover anything else.
     
  10. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    By the way. First year cars are getting close to their 40,000 mile warranty. Probably in 6 or 10 months they will be free of the tyranny of void. :)
     
  11. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. There is a certain weight hanging over the head of a Roadster owner though. You can only get it fixed at the same place you bought it (Tesla). If you mess up the drivetrain then no mechanic or even other independent dealerships can do the work.
     
  12. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    I don't see how this is any different. Company X warranties their products, and provides that warranty service either directly or through licensed dealerships. If company X doesn't agree to fix it under warranty, you can still pay them to fix it.

    Substitute GM or Tesla for Company X in the above sentence. What is the difference?
     
  13. Slackjaw

    Slackjaw Member

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    I think that sums up my fears quite well. Not only do they have logs of everything you've done with the car (excluding, perhaps, the seat and wing mirror positions), but there's nobody else out there who can fix these things. So I'd prefer to just "co-operate with the authorities" on this one. Luckily for us owners, it's a healthy relationship.
     
  14. kgb

    kgb Member

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    #14 kgb, Jul 6, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2011
    Tesla Motors legal may not have thought this through, or that clause is intended to catch people who "abuse" their cars. The problem is that TM markets this car as a sports car, in fact, a "super car." A typical use for a sports car is to drive it in various ways that test the performance. To prohibit the use of the sports car in sports would defeat one of the main features of the car and, more specifically, on of the features promoted by Tesla Motors.

    Assume that running shoes came with manufacturer warranties against defects. Nike promotes a specific shoe as being particularly fit for running fast, but then states that running fast will void the warranty. Sounds to me like they would have a problem with deceptive advertising or their warranty disclaimer would be void due to the express warranty made in their advertising.

    So, I figure that clause is TM's way of saying that if you abuse the vehicle, they may not honor the warranty. They'd better tread lightly here, because many people who can afford a $140k vehicle are savvy business people with the means to fight a protracted legal battle if necessary.
     
  15. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    I remember reading about a court case, where a customer sued a company that made ramps for working on your car. On the box and manual it stated something to the effect, "do not work under car when supported by these ramps".

    Needless to say the disclaimer didn't fly. You can't tell people not to use the product for its intended purpose!
     
  16. S-2000 Roadster

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    As far as the radio is concerned, I have already decided to just wait out the warranty before changing anything. My most recent vehicular purchase (the S-2000 in my online handle) was 11 years ago, and I plan to have the Tesla Roadster for a couple of decades at least. Eventually, the crappy radio will be a long-forgotten memory.
     
  17. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    "Sports car" and track car are still extremely different different designations. And Tesla made it explicitly clear the car in its current form is a road car and in no way a track car (And this is in PR, not just a small disclaimer: http://green.autoblog.com/2007/12/29/would-the-tesla-roadster-be-a-suitable-track-car/ http://green.autoblog.com/2008/01/28/revisiting-the-tesla-roadster-as-a-track-car-it-could-happen/). I think most car companies will not cover anything besides from daily driving use. How strictly they enforce this seems to depend on the dealer (will they actually trace back to logs to check for track use or suspected track use?)

    Anyways, this thread sounds extreme similar to ones like these (and this is for cars that are well known in track use and where the manufacturer doesn't try to make it clear in PR that the car is not a track car):
    http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f100/track-use-may-void-warranty-1171/
    http://forums.gtrforums.com/showthread.php?t=1263
    http://www.6speedonline.com/forums/997/134044-warranty-issues-involving-tracking-car.html
     
  18. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    No one in the world is authorized to fix a Tesla drivetrain but a Tesla employee. Arguably no one in the world is able to fix a Tesla but a Tesla employee with the resources of the manual, the engineers in the Bay Area that they send files and batteries to for expert commands on what to do. If you want to fix the car in the way you want at the price you want you have no choice.
     
  19. daniel

    daniel Active Member

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    I am not a lawyer, and I have no special knowledge of the law. However, I read the warranty clause about abuse to mean that "abuse" is the operative word. Not that autocross, for example, voids the warranty, but that abusing the car in autocross would void the warranty. Similarly, my reading of the exclusion on removing the radio, I read to mean that if you cause any damage removing the radio, such damage would not be covered. Not that your entire warranty becomes void if you remove the radio.

    That said, I would have Tesla do any work on my car, even after the warranty period. Except, I suppose, for changing the tires.

    I would expect Tesla to be reasonable: If you cause damage by abusing the car, that damage would not be covered. If you make some alterations, or race the car, or whatever, and then some damage occurs that was demonstrably not caused by what you had done, I expect they'd honor the warranty.

    I'm not a racer, and I might never even put the car in Performance mode. I do like to floor it up to 35 mph from a stoplight. I do like the power for passing, which allows me to pass in less space than my Prius takes. It's a sports car, so I figure none of that constitutes "abuse." I like it that if I'm in front at a stop light and I want to be in the other lane, there's only 3 other cars in Spokane that I can't get in front of. (That's how many other Tesla Roadsters there are here.)

    The problem for Tesla is that the car is so high performance that abusing it is a big temptation, and it is not a race car. It does not have the stamina for it. So they have to disclaim any sort of abuse from the warranty.
     
  20. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    About 4 months after we got our car I took it to a place where the gave me fancy new brake pads. I kept the old ones as they were nearly new. When at 24K Tesla said my pads were gone they also refused to put the "old" ones back on.

    I understand why they are doing it and that it's not a Tesla drivetrain issue but I use this as an example of why only one place to get repairs is difficult. What if you bought a 2nd Roadster as a parts car? If your motor died (yes it has happened), would they refuse to replace it with the working one from your parts car?
     

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