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Model 3 body and paint protection concerns

Hamstall

Member
Dec 4, 2020
67
58
Uk
Model 3 body and paint protection concerns


I’ve now had my M3P for just over 12 Months. It’s my intention to hang on to the car long term as I do think it’s a great car.

My main concerns about longer term ownership are not really around the tech and component failure. They are mainly focused on the bodywork and in particular corrosion protection and how the bodywork will hold up. The overall build quality of my car has not been great, so I’m fairly low on confidence in this area already.

Here are my thoughts so far based on my experiences after going through one winter in the UK and covering about 17,000 miles in my car.


1/The outer sills seem particularly vulnerable to corrosion. They are steel. As on most cars they’re close to the road and take a pounding. The front edges of mine show quite deep paint chips where the paint has actually come off, in particular along the edges that face into the front wheel arches. There’s also a manufacturer hole just above the sill in the wheel arch liner that lets water in - not sure why that’s there? The sills themselves have an extra coating of stone chip paint on the bottom two thirds to help against corrosion. I’ve looked at mud flaps. I’m still unsure as some reports suggest that these could actual makes things worse, holding in water and encouraging rust. There are some horrendous youtube videos out there, on M3 sills corroding, but as always, you have to be careful how you judge these.

2/I recently had the bootlid seam sealer completely re-done by Tesla as it was cracking. The boot aperture is being done next in the new Year as the seam sealer there also needs replacement. As part of the repair the boot aperture rubber seal was also replaced While this was removed the joints and sealer can be viewed and the build/joints in this area is very poor. The boot, rear wings and boot aperture are all steel construction, so again I’m concerned how well this area will hold up to corrosion and the excessive water/salt we sometimes see in the UK.

3/This may be silly, but I’ve noticed that the wing liners don’t cover the edges of the front or rear wing arches. There’s a gap that lets spray and road debris in. I would expect the liners to fit more securely to cover the lip of the wheel arches?

4/Once again this may be off the mark by me, but I wanted to share my thoughts. The door skins fold over the door frames and look particularly vulnerable. The doors are aluminium I believe. It would be nice to see some seam sealer tidying this area up though.

They just look a little cheap in the finish.

5/Looking inside the back of the front wings when the doors are open the level of paint and protection looks light. There is a particularly flimsy looking wing bracket that looks like it could be a future potential rust area?


As mentioned I’m not entirely confident about build quality and how it will hold up, mostly due to my experiences so far. It would be a real shame if these cars didn’t stand the test of time due to corrosion issues as they’re superb in so many other areas.
 

spon88

Member
May 2, 2019
585
328
Derby
I have similar concerns and hence went for full PPF within a month of getting it around 15 months ago. I went for as much protection as possible by having the PPF wrapped under door frames, sills, arches as much as was practical. However it doesn't protect bits of the car which still see a lot of moisture and potential ingress of other crud and that still concerns me somewhat as the build quality of the body is a bit lightweight.

I'm heading down to Cleveley to have a mini service early in the new year and will also ask those guys to have a look under the car, maybe even under those awful flimsy "protection" covers in the axle area. I suspect it may be a bit grim under there.

I've been used to German tanks so maybe I'm expecting too much and shouldn't be concerned. But I'd like to think the car will be decent in a few years time and so will protect it as much as possible within reason.
 

Hamstall

Member
Dec 4, 2020
67
58
Uk
I have similar concerns and hence went for full PPF within a month of getting it around 15 months ago. I went for as much protection as possible by having the PPF wrapped under door frames, sills, arches as much as was practical. However it doesn't protect bits of the car which still see a lot of moisture and potential ingress of other crud and that still concerns me somewhat as the build quality of the body is a bit lightweight.

I'm heading down to Cleveley to have a mini service early in the new year and will also ask those guys to have a look under the car, maybe even under those awful flimsy "protection" covers in the axle area. I suspect it may be a bit grim under there.

I've been used to German tanks so maybe I'm expecting too much and shouldn't be concerned. But I'd like to think the car will be decent in a few years time and so will protect it as much as possible within reason.
Yes. I totally agree. I too am used to more established German manufacturers - although they are not perfect, they do tend to build worry free bodywork these days. Please report on your findings. It will be interesting to see how you get on.
 

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