Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

Model 3 Frunk Fit tolerance

jay__

Member
Mar 15, 2021
7
0
Santa Cruz, CA
I just received my Model 3 Performance. In the docs folder was the QA report checking off all the fit and finish boxes with pretty wide tolerances, IMO. The fit / gap of the frunk is noticeably off and is especially apparent with the white finish, It appears that the gap tolerance is good when looked at from above, but looks off because sections are out-of-flush with the fenders. If this was a body shop repair after an accident, with ANY car, I would reject it.
Before I raise this issue with Tesla, what should I expect as a response? It bothers me enough to actually pay a body shop to have it fixed.
 

LionXng

Member
Mar 4, 2020
235
334
Virginia
I don't know about the service centers in your area or your exact misfit without pictures but I can say I had zero issues getting things fixed after pickup.

You should use the app to schedule service, include pictures, and mention you just bought the car. Don't be afraid to use paint/photoshop to circle things in your photos. Help them help you. You should expect a response in the form of an estimate describing the problem to be fixed with a zero dollar total sometime before your appointment. Don't assume it will be a "you vs them" scenario. I did, but everyone was always very reasonable and there was never any gas-lighting when I pointed things out. It is very very common for people to come back with that kind of minor alignment issue after purchase.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JohnnyEV

jay__

Member
Mar 15, 2021
7
0
Santa Cruz, CA
I made an appointment and took the car, an hour drive, to Seaside Tesla in Monterey, CA., and talked to the service manager about the frunk gap/fit to the body. He got out his inspection tool, measured the gap and said the tolerance was within Tesla's specifications, which I think are 2 to 4 mm. In any case, visibly off in an area that defines the very iconic image of the car. I have friends who have Model 3s and they don't have this problem. This is the easy part, right? Fit and finish is not an issue for ANY 21st century car...at ANY price. Yet, here I am. Is there any appeal for this?
 

Attachments

  • IMG_4277.jpg
    IMG_4277.jpg
    49.2 KB · Views: 23
  • IMG_4278.jpg
    IMG_4278.jpg
    51.9 KB · Views: 23

KenC

Active Member
Sep 4, 2018
3,381
3,080
Maine
I made an appointment and took the car, an hour drive, to Seaside Tesla in Monterey, CA., and talked to the service manager about the frunk gap/fit to the body. He got out his inspection tool, measured the gap and said the tolerance was within Tesla's specifications, which I think are 2 to 4 mm. In any case, visibly off in an area that defines the very iconic image of the car. I have friends who have Model 3s and they don't have this problem. This is the easy part, right? Fit and finish is not an issue for ANY 21st century car...at ANY price. Yet, here I am. Is there any appeal for this?
Yeah, doesn't look very good. Try another service center. I know there's a spec, but the gap should be symmetrical since the human eye is good at picking out asymmetry.

If you get no satisfaction, I'd point out that you can adjust the rubber stops under the hood, which can make a big difference in how the hood sits, relative to the fenders.
 

Gauss Guzzler

Member
Dec 27, 2020
105
160
Old California
That's in spec. Mine looks the same way and also has a bit of vertical misalignment where the hood meets the fenders. You can see by the shape of the panels that there's no way they could possibly align.

I have a connection in Fremont who was able to secretly film the Trabant/Model 3 production line and posted it here. It really helped me understand the limitations once I saw the exact process in action. They sure put in a good effort though!
 

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
9,936
4,850
I made an appointment and took the car, an hour drive, to Seaside Tesla in Monterey, CA., and talked to the service manager about the frunk gap/fit to the body. He got out his inspection tool, measured the gap and said the tolerance was within Tesla's specifications, which I think are 2 to 4 mm. In any case, visibly off in an area that defines the very iconic image of the car. I have friends who have Model 3s and they don't have this problem. This is the easy part, right? Fit and finish is not an issue for ANY 21st century car...at ANY price. Yet, here I am. Is there any appeal for this?
Some people get that "within spec" response. Some people get it adjusted regardless. If it were, me I would have asked the service manager to at least try to get both sides matching even if they were "within spec". They usually can do it as "good will" even if technically it is "within spec" (especially if you had other issues they were handling also in the same visit).

At this point only thing is try another SC or hope to get Mobile Service (although if you weren't offered it first time, likely you won't).

As others mentioned, have you tried the rubber stopper adjustment? It's easy and simple to do to address any height differences between the two sides (and may help even things out, even if it doesn't completely solve the issue).

There's a more involved adjustment that the service center may do that involves loosening the bolts in the back hinge, but that adjustment moves the whole hood, so is harder to get right.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
  • Helpful
Reactions: jjrandorin and KenC

jay__

Member
Mar 15, 2021
7
0
Santa Cruz, CA
There was a chip in the paint near the right headlight that Tesla has agreed to fix in their designated body shop in Seaside. Since they would have to R&R some fascia parts, I'm going to see if they can tweak the frunk alignment while it's there.
 

jay__

Member
Mar 15, 2021
7
0
Santa Cruz, CA
There was a chip in the paint near the right headlight that Tesla has agreed to fix in their designated body shop in Seaside. Since they would have to R&R some fascia parts, I'm going to see if they can tweak the frunk alignment while it's there.
...and then try to get Tesla to pay for it.
 

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
9,936
4,850
There was a chip in the paint near the right headlight that Tesla has agreed to fix in their designated body shop in Seaside. Since they would have to R&R some fascia parts, I'm going to see if they can tweak the frunk alignment while it's there.
That's a good idea. Body shop's entire business is to fix car bodies so they may do a better job than even Tesla service (which is general service, not specialized in body repair).
 

TBrownTX

Member
Dec 25, 2020
461
521
Dallas, TX
There was a chip in the paint near the right headlight that Tesla has agreed to fix in their designated body shop in Seaside. Since they would have to R&R some fascia parts, I'm going to see if they can tweak the frunk alignment while it's there.
Unless it’s a big chip, I’d leave it. I’d take factory paint w/ a small chip over a body shop repainted panel w/ the potential for fish eyes, solvent pop, overbuffing, overspray, etc. just my 2 cents.

Tim
 

jay__

Member
Mar 15, 2021
7
0
Santa Cruz, CA
That's a good idea. Body shop's entire business is to fix car bodies so they may do a better job than even Tesla service (which is general service, not specialized in body repair).
Right. My strategy is to show what the "damage" is to this car because of the poor frunk build quality. Tesla is willing to fix the chipped paint but, honestly, the frunk gaposis is a much more obvious defect. Would they have put this car in their showroom and dismiss the gaps as: Hey, it passed our QA spec so you get what you get. Some are good, some are not so good. I don't think so.

If I were to sell this car now, a prospective buyer would point out the appearance defect and likely offer a lower price. This damage is what it costs to make it right. I would not have bought THIS car if I saw it first, I would have waited for a better one. But I ordered in online and trusted that Tesla would make whatever problem right like you would expect a car company with the biggest market cap in the world to do. Tesla's quoted fit tolerances are WAY too loose for ANY car built in the 21st century regardless of price.

I intend to escalate this up the chain and be the squeaky wheel...
 

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
9,936
4,850
Right. My strategy is to show what the "damage" is to this car because of the poor frunk build quality. Tesla is willing to fix the chipped paint but, honestly, the frunk gaposis is a much more obvious defect. Would they have put this car in their showroom and dismiss the gaps as: Hey, it passed our QA spec so you get what you get. Some are good, some are not so good. I don't think so.
In this case, Tesla actually might put it in a showroom with no qualms. Tesla in general does not particularly value fit and finish. That's not their car's selling point. That's why they have done little to address it.

Seriously, when they provided loaners to the auto press, they basically make no effort to pick a car that had good fit and finish (unlike other automakers which actual put effort to their loaner pool). That's why you have so many reviews where poor fit and finish is mentioned. A showroom car, they would care even less.
If I were to sell this car now, a prospective buyer would point out the appearance defect and likely offer a lower price. This damage is what it costs to make it right. I would not have bought THIS car if I saw it first, I would have waited for a better one. But I ordered in online and trusted that Tesla would make whatever problem right like you would expect a car company with the biggest market cap in the world to do. Tesla's quoted fit tolerances are WAY too loose for ANY car built in the 21st century regardless of price.
The absolute tolerances are not actually too loose, but rather to industry standard (even for premium/luxury cars like Mercedes, as I found below). Average gap size of roughly 3 to 4mm (not talking about variance here, but the absolute average) is quite common according to this post (edit: found the source, it appears to be Car & Driver's December issue, but the link seems to be dead):
Panel Gap Study
PressReader.com - Your favorite newspapers and magazines.

I googled a bit to try to find allowed variance numbers for the hoods of cars.

Here's one for the current NB Mazda Miata (sold from 2015 and still a current model):
"The spec for hood to fender gap is 2.8 - 4.8 mm"
Panel gap by hood/front fenders?

Here's what it is for the current W205 Mercedes C-Class (sold from 2015 and still a current model):
"I believe it's 3.5mm for ( location C ) Engine hood to radiator trim/soft nose on a w205.0/1. (± 1 mm)"
3.5mm +/- 1mm means 2.5 - 4.5 mm.
Noticeable hood/bumper gap - MBWorld.org Forums

You will notice how both is close to the 2-4mm spec that the service manager told you (in fact Tesla's spec would give an average tighter gap of 3mm vs 3.8 or 3.5). The 2mm allowed variation between the smallest and biggest gap seems to be industry standard. So there is nothing wrong with the spec itself, it's just it looks obvious when it doesn't match on both sides (someone in the Miata thread actually mentioned that).

As a side note, I failed to find the spec for a BMW, but did come across this thread in my search, where people pointed out it's not uncommon to have gaps on the hood on the F80 M3 (2014-2018, $60k-90k car according to the thread) not be symmetrical.
Hood/Bonnet gaps?

So in general I don't think it'll have really that big effect on resale value of cars, as most people don't look closely enough. It just might bother people who are more meticulous about things like this.
I intend to escalate this up the chain and be the squeaky wheel...
Just be warned Tesla might not do anything in the end, as technically it's "in spec". A nicer service center might just do it as "good will", but they don't have to. As I mentioned upthread, it may be easier to just adjust yourself (especially the easier rubber stopper adjustments, which requires no tools and takes almost no effort), than waste time/energy on this.
 
Last edited:
  • Informative
  • Like
Reactions: KenC and TBrownTX

jay__

Member
Mar 15, 2021
7
0
Santa Cruz, CA
In this case, Tesla actually might put it in a showroom with no qualms. Tesla in general does not particularly value fit and finish. That's not their car's selling point. That's why they have done little to address it.

Seriously, when they provided loaners to the auto press, they basically make no effort to pick a car that had good fit and finish (unlike other automakers which actual put effort to their loaner pool). That's why you have so many reviews where poor fit and finish is mentioned. A showroom car, they would care even less.

The absolute tolerances are not actually too loose, but rather to industry standard (even for premium/luxury cars like Mercedes, as I found below). Average gap size of roughly 3 to 4mm (not talking about variance here, but the absolute average) is quite common according to this post (edit: found the source, it appears to be Car & Driver's December issue, but the link seems to be dead):
Panel Gap Study
PressReader.com - Your favorite newspapers and magazines.

I googled a bit to try to find allowed variance numbers for the hoods of cars.

Here's one for the current NB Mazda Miata (sold from 2015 and still a current model):
"The spec for hood to fender gap is 2.8 - 4.8 mm"
Panel gap by hood/front fenders?

Here's what it is for the current W205 Mercedes C-Class (sold from 2015 and still a current model):
"I believe it's 3.5mm for ( location C ) Engine hood to radiator trim/soft nose on a w205.0/1. (± 1 mm)"
3.5mm +/- 1mm means 2.5 - 4.5 mm.
Noticeable hood/bumper gap - MBWorld.org Forums

You will notice how both is close to the 2-4mm spec that the service manager told you (in fact Tesla's spec would give an average tighter gap of 3mm vs 3.8 or 3.5). The 2mm allowed variation between the smallest and biggest gap seems to be industry standard. So there is nothing wrong with the spec itself, it's just it looks obvious when it doesn't match on both sides (someone in the Miata thread actually mentioned that).

As a side note, I failed to find the spec for a BMW, but did come across this thread in my search, where people pointed out it's not uncommon to have gaps on the hood on the F80 M3 (2014-2018, $60k-90k car according to the thread) not be symmetrical.
Hood/Bonnet gaps?

So in general I don't think it'll have really that big effect on resale value of cars, as most people don't look closely enough. It just might bother people who are more meticulous about things like this.

Just be warned Tesla might not do anything in the end, as technically it's "in spec". A nicer service center might just do it as "good will", but they don't have to. As I mentioned upthread, it may be easier to just adjust yourself (especially the easier rubber stopper adjustments, which requires no tools and takes almost no effort), than waste time/energy on this.
IMG_4291.jpg
IMG_4290.JPG
IMG_4288.jpg
Thanks for doing all the research.

I guess the problem is...It bothers ME. It's right up front on that iconic "face". Now I can't un-see it. It looks worse because the high and low tolerances are right next to one another and parts of the panels don't line up vertically either. Since it's already going to be in the body shop, I'm going to ask them what they can do and for what price, and probably pay for it myself.

For reference, I took there pics a few days ago and this is what I expected. You can bet when China starts importing their EVs, which look pretty amazing, they won't have any build quality problems.
 

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top