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Model 3/Y/S buyer on the fence. Worried about missing features


Jan 22, 2013
South East USA
I had a similar concern, but then I bought both the Mercedes EQS (every feature and luxury imaginable) plus the Model Y (cheap but fast runabout) and still have the Mercedes GLE as well for when I want a luxury SUV with no range anxiety.

You only need to worry about trade-offs if you are limited to one car.
I just picked up my LR Y today. I do not miss having CarPlay. The Tesla interface provides all the functionality that I need.it would not be a good idea to lose screen real estate to accommodate CarPlay features.
how do you read and reply to text messages via the Tesla interface?


New Member
Apr 16, 2021
Upstate NY
Most likely considering a Model Y due to the space, but have considered the 3 / S for their range and quality. I've read Tesla has really figured out how to build the Model S, and that not only does its fit & finish standout, but its quality stands out compared to the 3 / Y as well.And of course, I like the 3's price point and range. But....I have hesitations....

  • What should a cold weather buyer know about buying a Tesla? Does this video capture accurately capture the experience?
  • Build quality part 1 - fit & finish. What is the trick to getting a well built, painted and assembled Tesla?
  • Build quality part 2 - paint (part a). I read that Tesla is giving out mudflaps/splash guards to Model Y customers in cold climates for free; the article I read cited that the lower side of the Model Y's exterior is prone to paint chipping, especially in vehicles delivered to cold weather customers. Supposedly they said this is due to ice + road salt. Is this for all vehicles or just the Model Y? Is this exaggerated? If not, how bad does it get? Are we talking risk of having to re-paint the entire side of the car and blending with the quarte rpanels?
  • Build quality part 2 - paint (part b). What paint defects are people still seeing in their 2021 vehicles? Do the cars literally roll off the delivery truck with significant scratches/swirl marks/paint chipping/etc?
  • Build quality part 2 - paint (part c). Is there any warranty / guarantee on the Tesla paint job? Like if I get a Model Y, and I buy (or get for free) splash guards, and experience significant flaking/chipping away of paint within the first year, does Tesla warranty this?
  • Build quality part 3. What kind of panel gaps and body fitment issues should someone look for when receiving a Model Y? Are they just cosmetic, or are there more tangible downsides/issues that come from different body panel fitment & alignment issues?
  • Is the Model Y getting a 2021 update? Has anything been rumored? Do they refresh vehicles during a certain time of the year?
  • When accepting delivery of a Model Y, what tests would you do on your Model Y to ensure it is a "good one"?
  • Would you buy a new Model S because of quality, fit & finish? Basically is the price premium for the S worth it, because you know you are getting a properly assembled vehicle with better interior + the longest range of any vehicle in their lineup?
  • What interior blemishes do you check for?
  • How do you know if your AC unit is going to leak excess condensation water on the interior of the car? i read this was a thing, and despite this design flaw.....here I am still thinking about a Tesla...
Breaking up the questions in to sections. Next section - features. First want to start with a rant and say I love/hate Tesla's website. It is beautiful, and also incredibly uninformative. I can't find answers. I know other car sites are overwhelming with the walls of text - page after page of standard features, but it just seems like Tesla hides a lot of info that someone like me wants to know. They show you what they want to show you, and hide everything else. I would check out a Tesla dealer in person, but.......well yeah the nearest Tesla service center / "dealer" (?) is like 2.5-3 hours away. More on that later...

  • HomeLink - I read a few posts about this. It sounds like it was standard OEM feature, but then it became optional, and the cost isn't displayed on the Model Y configurator? So is HomeLink a standard feature? Is it OEM / in the infotainment, or is there a button installed in the cabin interior somewhere?
  • Heated steering wheel - is this a standard or optional feature? Is this controlled through infotainment UI, or are there shortcuts / physical buttons somewhere?
  • Non-Autopilot driver assistance. If I don't spend $10,000 on a software feature....does the Tesla still have backup camera, blind spot warning/detection, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, auto-brake crash avoidance?
  • Electric adjustable seats - is this standard? Is this controlled through infotainment UI, or are there shortcuts/physical buttons placed anywhere?
  • Heated / Cooled front seats - is this standard? Is it controlled through infotainment UI, or are there shortcuts?
  • In a ICE, the hot air doesn't start blowing out of the HVAC vents until the engine warms up; if you don't pre-heat (condition?) your vehicle, does hot air still start blowing out of the vents right away? Is there a warm-up period? What is the HVAC system like? Are there shortcuts to adjust the HVAC without having to navigate thru the infotainment UI?
  • Android Auto / Apple CarPlay - I know for a fact this isn't a feature on any Tesla, but I am curious; does Tesla show any signs of caving on this? Are they kind of like where Toyota was in 2016 with Android Auto/CarPlay? Is there a way to install a aftermarket headunit in the car and get Android Auto / Apple CarPlay? I get a chuckle out of this; they got a fart app on the car, but no Android Auto / CarPlay? I've heard the navigation system is pretty lackluster in the infotainment, and over the years I have just grown dependent on rentals / my cars having support for these (and using them over OEM infotainment)
  • Google Maps - is there native Google Maps navigation support?
  • Wyze - is there native Wyze navigation support?
  • Apple Podcasts / Google Podcasts - is there native support in the infotainment, or is this all through bluetooth?
  • What is the most annoying aspects of having most functionality managed through the software infotainment UI? Is the multitouch support rock solid? Is there lag? Is it like calling Comcast and having to navigate through a phone free, with things buried deep? Do you ever feel it is distracting to not able to rely on physical buttons, or do the steering wheel controls offer UI navigation?

Lastly service centers/dealers......
  • Whats the deal? Is Tesla ever going to build out their dealer/service network (maybe not identical to a traditional vehicle manufacturer)?
  • Has the vehicle service & support matured? Are repairs a multi-week/month process? Are replacement parts in short supply or delayed, lengthening repair times?
  • What is the service experience like for someone that has only surface street parking on roads with 25mph+ traffic, and has a dealer 3 hours away? Will Tesla come pickup the vehicle, drop off a loaner, and provide me with that convenience? Does Tesla require me to drive 6 hours to drop off my car, and 6 hours to pickup my car? Are loaners guaranteed?
  • Are there any authorized 3rd party service centers yet?
  • Are parts still impossible to get? Is there any right to repair with Tesla? Lets say my dog cracks or breaks a interior plastic trim piece, can I get the part, or is this going to be a biggggg ordeal that requires moving mountains or buying it from a parted out salvaged car?
They got the early adopter customer, they got the bleeding edge tech customer. The remaining potential customers are people like me.
  • In response to competition, are the model refreshes, new trim levels, and price reductions just a hint at what it to come with Tesla? How is Tesla going to respond to Rivian, Volkswagon, Ford, and the onslaught of models hiting the market in 2021?
  • Is now a good time to buy a Tesla? Basically...will competition prove beneficial to me in that I will be able to get a Tesla at a better price, with more features, have more service centers, better build quality, etc? The last 6 months it seems Tesla has made a number of....accomodations / changes to their offerings. Most everything seems to be beneficial for the consumer, and I get the feeling that Tesla is trying to broaden the potential customer base for their vehicles. I am even wondering if Tesla will start running promotions like 'December to Remember' and 'Toyotathon'. Special financing, or combo packages to entice customers.......especially as they have exhausted their $7,500 federal tax credit. Would anyone else hold off just a few more months to see what happens?

Rant / Musings below:
When the build quality is what it is, and the service centers/dealers so far and few; it adds up to the be biggest obstacle for me to make the purchase. Visiting a local dealer for a ICE vehicle is already enough of a pain in the butt, even if they come pick-up the vehicle and drop it off. So having to consider buying a vehicle from a manufacturer that barely exists in my entire state, and only exists in the densest / wealthiest zip codes in the state is just a tough pill to swallow. I literally live in "the automobile state", and its surprising to think that Tesla doesn't manufacture any vehicles here, or have what I would describe as a serious service presence across the majority of America. When each service visit could require a 1 day commitment - at best, or a 2 day commitment if I need to drop-off and pickup (3 hours there, 3 hours back......), this whole topic starts to become larger than the significance of the fact that I am buying the coolest EV around. I want one really bad, but I also don't live in Palo Alto.

At times I feel the Tesla brand just isn't for a "normal middle America person" like me, and is really designed more to be a Cali-Car. I would really love if Tesla could just make a big push to have a presence in 2nd tier cities across the USA, and eventually 3rd tier cities. There are MSA's/population centers with 350k, 750k, even more than a million citizens - that are still several hours from their local Tesla dealer/service center. Then the anxiety over the fact that a single service center The traditional dealership model has its flaws, but there is something to be said for the accessibility of service, and even just the feeling of knowing that companies is invested in your city (employing people, paying property taxes, sponsoring little league teams, whatever). I think this could offer a lot - to get people like me off the fence, and in to a Tesla. Or maybe they won't, and Volkswagon and Ford will be the brands that let people touch, feel, and experience an electric vehicle in a way that Tesla reserves for Palo Alto, Austin and Portland. Currently there is one Tesla service center, and one dealer in my state. This one service center supports a state with 10 million residents, spread across more than 96000 square miles. I would be curious to know how many Teslas are registered in my state, because I could at least have context / perspective on how many vehicles this service center is supporting, although I admit, it might discourage me to hear the number of vehicles the sole service center is tasked with supporting. It is a $60 or $80k vehicle, it is a big purchase. I come with expectations that it should, by most measures, be nicer than a entry-level luxury car like a BMW 3 series or Mercedes C series.

The reason that buying a Model S is on the table, is because Tesla's don't appear to depreciate much in value (historically, that is....). So even if I spend $80k on a vehicle, there looks to be buyers willing to pay nearly full retail MSRP price for used models with 20-30000 miles on them. If buying the Model S is just the easiest way to get the Tesla everyone deserves to drive, then it might be the best choice for me. So in a weird way, the Model S helps ease my concern about vehicle service....

Despite all these concerns, I have an immense amount of respect for Tesla. They are a disruptor. They are innovative. They are a international mega-brand that commands attention around the world. They built out their own (proprietary) "gas station network" with the supercharger network. And because of this, I still am willing to make the trek to a not-local dealer, and pay $80,000 for a car, sight unseen. If I buy it, and I don't like it, I can just sell it.
You can have a million reasons not to get a Tesla and that is your prerogative. When I took my first test drive all those were blown away by the sheer excitement. The folks in this forum clearly felt the same way. I picked up my model Y today and it is amazing. Each person will have their own reason for selecting a particular model but the technology is more or less similar and absolutely fantastic.

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