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Mind the Gaps

beantownrich

Member
Nov 21, 2016
118
77
Boston
She's here! After two years and one month for good luck my Model 3 has arrived.

And just in time, my trade-in's registration expires tonight at midnight. So they rushed to make sure I got everything ready. Of course they called me two hours before to say that the car wouldn't take a firmware update. But luckily they resolved it by the time I showed up.

I've been reading about gaps and misalignment for the last few months and was really worried. I have to say, it's not horrible, but it's definitely still not up to the levels of Audi and BMW that Elon claims. So for those of you curious, here's what my car is like (April build, 18xxx VIN) It's more a bunch of minor annoyances than anything else.

  • Sunken hood - Left side is about 3-5 mm lower than fender, right side 1-2mm higher
  • Passenger A Pillar - Sizable gap compared to a perfect drivers side
  • Passenger Fender - Slight misalignment with Passenger door
  • Rear taillights - Inconsistent. Right side metal overlaps slightly, left slide standard panel gap
  • Trunk - Inconsistent. Right side tight. Left side sizable gap on c-pillar
  • Front bumper - One small paint chip from transportation (touched up) two bubbles
  • Drivers side Chrome - Slight scratch above door
  • Roof - Slight chip or excess residue on rear glass near above door
  • Speaker grille - The fabric on the front speaker grille is ever so slightly wrinkled
  • Orange Peel - I can't really complain about the orange peel because I noticed it on my three year old Audi I traded in today as well and the beautiful S parked next to me, but hoping to get some smoothness when I get my paint correction and ceramic done.
So nothing earth shattering, I just hope they can quickly resolve some of these things so I can get my tint and ceramic coating done!
Shiny.jpg
Right Tail Gaps.jpg Left Side Trunk C Pillar Gap.jpg A Pillar Gap.jpg
 

vinnie97

#WalkAway
Jul 24, 2014
1,110
392
southwest
Quite extensive! My 14xxx probably has just as many misalignments but only a few bugged me enough to complain.

Getting the chip fixed on the bumper seems pointless unless you do a front wrap afterward. ;)
 

juanmedina

Active Member
Mar 31, 2016
2,275
5,908
SC
When/If I get one I'll have make note to bring the calipers.

It's like a panel gap measurement contest in here these days. :p

Just get plastic shims in 1mm increments. Less risk of scratching the paint.

Threads like this one blows my mind. I never heard or care about panel gaps until I joined this forum. It made me look at my two cars sitting in the garage and I happen to find inconsistent gaps that I never noticed before. Which I still don't care about...
 

voip-ninja

Give me some sugar baby
Mar 15, 2012
4,124
4,697
Colorado
Yeah, not at German levels for sure based on the photos you've shown.

There were a few small misalignments on my 2013 BMW 328i which was purchased about a year after the F30 model went into production. My 2016 340i is pretty much perfect.
 

Uncle Paul

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2013
6,299
6,879
Canyon Lake,CA
Interesting point. Wonder if we could get some feedback from people taking a fresh look at their current non-Tesla car with coments on those car's panel gaps.

Sometime we got focused so much on what is wrong with a vehicle, we totally loose track on what is so right with the same vehicle.

Kind of like dating a supermodel and complaining that they snore and wear too much make up :)
 

voip-ninja

Give me some sugar baby
Mar 15, 2012
4,124
4,697
Colorado
Interesting point. Wonder if we could get some feedback from people taking a fresh look at their current non-Tesla car with coments on those car's panel gaps.

Sometime we got focused so much on what is wrong with a vehicle, we totally loose track on what is so right with the same vehicle.

Kind of like dating a supermodel and complaining that they snore and wear too much make up :)

I have already provided some photos of my current ride. Based on the photos the fit/finish on this particular Model-3 is not as good as the fit and finish on my older BMW which did have some early problems with how parts fit together.

In the stable right now is a 2012 Honda Fit, 2008 Acura MDX, 2016 BMW, 2016 Mini Cooper. None of them have fit and finish as shown.
 

RyanF

Member
Mar 27, 2016
360
320
US
Interesting point. Wonder if we could get some feedback from people taking a fresh look at their current non-Tesla car with coments on those car's panel gaps.

Sometime we got focused so much on what is wrong with a vehicle, we totally loose track on what is so right with the same vehicle.

Kind of like dating a supermodel and complaining that they snore and wear too much make up :)

I can tell you our two Subarus have gaps far larger than what I’ve seen on the Model 3. My ‘15 WRX (made in Japan) has large gaps but they are very consistent. Our ‘16 Outback (made in Indiana)has large gaps with some minor inconsistencies.
 

TEG

Teslafanatic
Aug 20, 2006
21,886
8,924
I was fairly happy (after seeing pics of some early cars) with the gaps on my 19xxx Model 3... *but*, I think many people find the gaps in front of the side view mirrors sub-par...
gaps3.png


gaps2.png


gaps1.png
 
  • Funny
Reactions: T34ME

irwiny

Member
Apr 26, 2018
49
16
Fremont, CA
I had an issue with driver door mirror chrome trim gap being large and needing an adjustment to bring out. Went in for service for other items and it came out worse. Had to come back one week later due to me being out of town and have the car put into Tesla's body shop in Fremont.

My suggestion is to not complain too much about the gaps, since it can come back worse !

Attached after they tried the first time to adjust the gap... image: Note from the center of the door to the mirror chrome trim - >> gap increases and goes outside >> in
 

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beantownrich

Member
Nov 21, 2016
118
77
Boston
That is what they told me. Dedham doesn’t have a body shop in house.

Yes, the body shop Dedham sent it to was fantastic (Highway Auto Body in Rockland). However, they did take 3 weeks for what were fairly minor issues. The owner had said that while they weren't major repairs they were tedious due to the tight tolerances on the car (ironic). That being said, it came out great, the trunk lid is far more even now, the passenger A-pillar gap now looks identical to the drivers side and the fender is now properly aligned with the door. They also did a great job repainting the front bumper that had several bubbles in it. Now I'm just waiting for it to fully cure so I can go get OptiCoat!
 

beantownrich

Member
Nov 21, 2016
118
77
Boston
I was fairly happy (after seeing pics of some early cars) with the gaps on my 19xxx Model 3... *but*, I think many people find the gaps in front of the side view mirrors sub-par...
View attachment 308448

View attachment 308449

View attachment 308447

I think they look tighter than where I started but they're definitely better hidden on MSM :) In the end, I didn't really raise a stink about it, they offered to help, so I took them up on it!
 

jtpassat

Member
May 26, 2015
398
303
Providence, RI
3 weeks!!!!! That’s insane. What was your loaner?

Yes, the body shop Dedham sent it to was fantastic (Highway Auto Body in Rockland). However, they did take 3 weeks for what were fairly minor issues. The owner had said that while they weren't major repairs they were tedious due to the tight tolerances on the car (ironic). That being said, it came out great, the trunk lid is far more even now, the passenger A-pillar gap now looks identical to the drivers side and the fender is now properly aligned with the door. They also did a great job repainting the front bumper that had several bubbles in it. Now I'm just waiting for it to fully cure so I can go get OptiCoat!
 

alfagiulia

Member
Sep 22, 2016
35
20
Germany
In Germany every other car is a BMW, Audi, or VW. The rest are mostly Porsche and Mercedes, especially in Bavaria. Every car I check has a few inconsistent panel gaps if you really look for it. The gaps get bigger in the winter and smaller in the summer.

Another thing I've noticed... people who drive cool old foreign cars like Italian or Swedish makes, or sometimes even British or American, tend to be cool. People who drive the German makes tend to be spoiled whiny bitches (slang borrowed from a friend). There is a similar pattern observable in the States. Let's hope Tesla owners fall into the first category more than the second.
 

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