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Model S Plaid leaves me stranded; almost 30 days in service - No lemon law. What now?

First, I wanted to just thank everyone in this community who has contributed to such an invaluable resource. I have learned so much and am grateful for the amount of time that you all have saved me. I genuinely mean this— so thank you!

The following is my attempt to articulate my experience with my first Tesla— a 2021 Model S Plaid with the hopes of someone out there that may have experienced the same/similar issues. I want to express that I’m not looking for a free lunch or a handout (but rather a car that simply operates and won’t leave me stranded as this one has) and any feedback / recommendations / call-outs would be appreciated.

So what’s the issue? I purchased my Model S Plaid in March of this year from a dealership in FL (I am a GA resident) with about 4K miles on it, and like many of you, I have been blown away by the car, the tech, the speed, and the fit and finish when compared with others I have ridden in over years prior. However in April, with the car fully charged (and still connected) in my garage, I came home after a 5-day trip to find the car completely dead and unresponsive to all the key fobs, phone key, key cards, etc.

Frustrated, and lacking the time to call roadside then and there before work (I am an orthopedic surgeon that had firm timelines that particular day), I returned later to deal with it. They jumped it off, and thinking it was an anomaly, I declined to have it towed and drove it without issue on and off over the next few days.

At the end of that week, I go to get in the car — and low and behold — the same issue and completely ‘stuck’ in hibernation (second time). Again roadside comes out, sends the wrong type of service contractor, and a few hours later a second contractor arrives to tow it away. Luckily, he was able to jump it and drive it to the end of my driveway to load it and get it to Tesla service— where it remained for 17 days in total and I was not provided a loaner of any kind.

The issue was diagnosed as an issue between the DC converter utilized by the high voltage battery to the 12V. The part was ordered, repair completed, and I picked up the car— and again no issue for about 10 days.

I then decide to drive it to the lake as the range is more than doable (especially as they have a Tesla charger I can top off with during the day). Around dinner, I go retrieve the car from the charger (at the hotel on site) and drive about a mile to the home we are staying at to pick up some company to go out for dinner. Upon getting back to the car 20 min after I moved it a mile— and with company in-tow— the car is dead (third time for those keeping score)!!! Worse— its blocking all the other cars.

At this point, I can’t help but just feel so ridiculous and frankly— mad — that here I am with a $150K vehicle, in the middle of the woods, in 90 degree heat blocking in a bunch of friends who are just trying to have dinner down the road— with no support or path of escalation (GM, Service Mgr, etc.) as I would have with Audi, Mercedes Benz, Porsche or any of the other brands I gravitate towards. By the grace of God — the car opened after about 15 min, and we were on our way.

I drove it back home without issue, then parked it, plugged it in, and went away for several days out of town. Again upon returning, the car is dead (fourth time), however, unlike the very first time, the car refuses to go into tow mode / neutral / or release the parking brake. So for 7 hours on a Saturday, Tesla sent one truck after another until finally the third was able to bring the proper tow setup to literally remove it from the interior of my garage on rollers.

The car now has been at Tesla for 10 days (27 days total as we speak) and has YET to be given an initial diagnosis. Unlike before, I was given a loaner (though it did take 5 days of persistence to ‘track one down’) however it’s a total dog — a 2016 Model S with almost 80,000 miles.

At this point, I have no trust in the vehicle I own at ALL and I MUST have reliable transportation given my profession and the critical nature of getting from one hospital to another. I don’t think that for $150K I am unreasonable— and I feel like I have given Tesla more than ample time to address the issues and repair the vehicle.

This is where I could use some advice or a considered $0.02 from those that may have been down this path before. As I purchased the car in GA used from a dealer in FL, it doesn’t qualify for GA lemon law / buyback. I didn’t realize this until today— but used cars (no matter how new or how few miles) do not qualify legally for me to exercise what I would prefer them to do at this point: Buy this hunk-o-*sugar* back!

And without a point guard at Tesla— I don’t really know what to do at this point other than sell it , take a $25K (or whatever) haircut, and forever be done with this brand that I once had high regard for.

I really do love the car when it works and would have no issue swapping into a new one (and paying the incremental costs/wear and tear of the current one) or getting creative somehow to come to a resolution. I’ve only done this one other time on 200+ cars I’ve had over the years. But without the lemon law on my side, perhaps foolishly paying cash for it (vs. if it were leased or financed there would be easier to calculate the loss of use), and not having anyone from Tesla speak to me since last Wednesday, I’m at a loss of what best to do as it seems like Tesla’s attitude is ‘take it or leave it’ — which for their flagship model— is frankly pathetic.

I consider myself lucky to have other vehicles that I can use-- but I really feel for the person who has purchased a Model S Plaid (or any Tesla) as their primary mode of transport.

Frustrated, but Thank you for your consideration and feedback!
 

vcor

Tech Specialist
Nov 29, 2012
410
223
California
Sorry about your problems. Intermittent problems are the worse both for you and the manufacturer. It's really painful for the techs if they can't duplicate the problems. The reality is it is often only an educated (hopefully) guess as to the cause and replace something that seems likely to be the cause. Teslas can be a bit easier to service some intermittents than other manufacturers as they log issues which can provide a clue what is going wrong, but not always.

You said you bought it used from a dealership - did you mean Tesla (they don't have dealerships) or was this some used car lot unrelated to Tesla? I wonder if the car had prior known problems and is the reason it was sold with so few miles. It also seems strange you paid $10K over the new price for a used car. Normally I'd expect it to be significantly less than the new price. If it was a dealer, was there any dealer warranty? Perhaps you can reverse the sale?

Beyond that, you may have to wait for Tesla to solve the issue. I can understand your concern, and I'd also have significant doubts that even if they "fix" it, did they really fix it. Until you have it for a few months without a problem, I'd be very leary of depending on it. I'm sure this is not the answer you're looking for. Perhaps others know more about Georga's specific options.
 
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Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
11,510
10,576
Visalia, CA
...has YET to be given an initial diagnosis...
It sounds like it has a problem with its new 15.5V Lithium battery system. What causes the 15.5V dead repeatedly?

The first suspect was a DC-to-DC converter, but the 15.5V still dies. You should have a receipt, so what repair/replacements were done?

Now you are waiting for another 10 days. It's unacceptable that they don't give you an update for that long.

It's possible that they are still finding the cause. It's possible that they are ordering a replacement part but not telling you because that replacement part might not fix the problem, and they'll need to order another different part.

Lots of complaints with Tesla Service, so that's why Tesla will speed it up to 1 hour instead of, in your case, 10 days.



...Tesla’s attitude is ‘take it or leave it’ — which for their flagship model— is frankly pathetic....

I strongly believe that Tesla will fix this problem well, but it just takes time, and that's why you got a loaner now.

Now you know what Tesla customer service is like, different brands have different expectations. That is how it is at Tesla. I would not hold my breath for Tesla to excel in its service, especially the 1 hour plan!
 
bought it used from a dealership - did you mean Tesla (they don't have dealerships) or was this some used car lot unrelated to Tesla? I wonder if the car had prior known problems and is the reason it was sold with so few miles. It also seems strange you paid $10K over the new price for a used car. Normally I'd expect it to be significantly less than the new price. If it was a dealer, was there any dealer warranty? Perhaps you can reverse the sale?
I bought it from a dealer I do a bunch of business with. I had a tax credit from a prior transaction on file that I applied here (vs. buying it new from Tesla and having to pay 7% taxes on the full amount). I'm using round numbers and factoring in my loss of taxes if I just go and dump it (vs. trading it for another)-- but I did pay right around org. MSRP because at the time the market warranted it. Lesson learned on my part for sure!

Until you have it for a few months without a problem, I'd be very leary of depending on it.
Yeah, even now I don't want to take the car back as I have zero trust in the car and zero in the brand writ large at this point. It makes me want to dump my stock tomorrow as the attrition of customers has to be crazy high (really frustrating especially considering it could be fixed with increased communication, more staff at centers, and better/more loaner cars).

new 15.5V Lithium battery system. What causes the 15.5V dead repeatedly?

Not a clue -- but what I forgot to mention earlier is when they tried to jump the car off in order to move it and tow it, they brought jumper boxes and the most recent time (when it was towed to the service dept where it currently sits) the car crewed through TWO of them to no avail. Something like 80%+ charge on the jumper to somewhere in the teens.. and then did it back to back... all without any luck in actually getting the car turned on! So you're right, something is probably up in that dept.

You should have a receipt, so what repair/replacements were done?

Funny thing-- the last RO is in the car's glovebox-- and when the car is in 'service mode' on the app, I can't access prior docs/records without 'exiting the current visit'. I'll have to report back sadly.

Tesla will fix this problem well, but it just takes time, and that's why you got a loaner now
I wish I shared your confidence. The loaner is a beat-up 80K mile Model S that has the range of a golf cart it seems. I would have preferred a base model 3, or a Toyota from enterprise (at least it would have been clean). I picked up a TRX a few weeks ago so I've been driving that.

especially the 1 hour plan!
Yeah, I admire the aspiration but when we can't even communicate for over a week? (At this point I'm leaving it alone to see how long it takes for THEM to be proactive-- as nobody would believe this!)

This is a sad story to read, @plaid2nowhere . I dont have any advice here, just wanted to offer some sympathy for your situation. Being stranded sucks, even worse its multiple times, etc.

Hope the car gets fixed properly.
I can't say it's ever happened to me before. I've been super fortunate to always drive recent cars and my ADD wouldn't allow me to drive close to E or create a situation where I'm at risk of being SOL.

This whole experience just has a funny way of making me feel really really stupid, but there are larger problems in the world! Just can't believe they have built this business this far with the service 'tradeoff' that people seem willing to put up with.

Thanks for the kind words either way!
 
It also seems strange you paid $10K over the new price for a used car. Normally I'd expect it to be significantly less than the new price. If it was a dealer, was there any dealer warranty? Perhaps you can reverse the sale?
Bro. Where have you been?? Used cars have been just as (and some cases more) expensive as new due to supply constraints for like over a year. Are you in the US? Otherwise your statement is ….odd.
 
This whole experience just has a funny way of making me feel really really stupid, but there are larger problems in the world! Just can't believe they have built this business this far with the service 'tradeoff' that people seem willing to put up with.

I believe your patience will pay off and they'll get to the root cause of the issue. I'm sorry you had to experience this... but also very impressed that you've had over TWO-HUNDRED cars.

For sure, Tesla is lacking in the service department. I think that the demand far outpaces the supply is a testament to the desirability of the vehicles as well as the reliability. If they weren't reliable the service centers would be collapsing. Parts shortages is part of the battle too.

What you could do is order new, continue to be patient/persistent about the current repair, then sell this one once the issue is resolved.

Anyhoo... I hope this works out well for you!
 
Sorry you had this really crappy experience.

I think like all envelope-pushing technologies and reinvented workflows, when it works how it was designed to it is amazing. But when it fails it does so badly.

Like yourself I have little tolerance for this kind of situation. If I had been burned like this I would take the L and sell.
 

glide

Well-Known Member
Jun 6, 2018
5,340
7,485
USA
First, I wanted to just thank everyone in this community who has contributed to such an invaluable resource. I have learned so much and am grateful for the amount of time that you all have saved me. I genuinely mean this— so thank you!

The following is my attempt to articulate my experience with my first Tesla— a 2021 Model S Plaid with the hopes of someone out there that may have experienced the same/similar issues. I want to express that I’m not looking for a free lunch or a handout (but rather a car that simply operates and won’t leave me stranded as this one has) and any feedback / recommendations / call-outs would be appreciated.

So what’s the issue? I purchased my Model S Plaid in March of this year from a dealership in FL (I am a GA resident) with about 4K miles on it, and like many of you, I have been blown away by the car, the tech, the speed, and the fit and finish when compared with others I have ridden in over years prior. However in April, with the car fully charged (and still connected) in my garage, I came home after a 5-day trip to find the car completely dead and unresponsive to all the key fobs, phone key, key cards, etc.

Frustrated, and lacking the time to call roadside then and there before work (I am an orthopedic surgeon that had firm timelines that particular day), I returned later to deal with it. They jumped it off, and thinking it was an anomaly, I declined to have it towed and drove it without issue on and off over the next few days.

At the end of that week, I go to get in the car — and low and behold — the same issue and completely ‘stuck’ in hibernation (second time). Again roadside comes out, sends the wrong type of service contractor, and a few hours later a second contractor arrives to tow it away. Luckily, he was able to jump it and drive it to the end of my driveway to load it and get it to Tesla service— where it remained for 17 days in total and I was not provided a loaner of any kind.

The issue was diagnosed as an issue between the DC converter utilized by the high voltage battery to the 12V. The part was ordered, repair completed, and I picked up the car— and again no issue for about 10 days.

I then decide to drive it to the lake as the range is more than doable (especially as they have a Tesla charger I can top off with during the day). Around dinner, I go retrieve the car from the charger (at the hotel on site) and drive about a mile to the home we are staying at to pick up some company to go out for dinner. Upon getting back to the car 20 min after I moved it a mile— and with company in-tow— the car is dead (third time for those keeping score)!!! Worse— its blocking all the other cars.

At this point, I can’t help but just feel so ridiculous and frankly— mad — that here I am with a $150K vehicle, in the middle of the woods, in 90 degree heat blocking in a bunch of friends who are just trying to have dinner down the road— with no support or path of escalation (GM, Service Mgr, etc.) as I would have with Audi, Mercedes Benz, Porsche or any of the other brands I gravitate towards. By the grace of God — the car opened after about 15 min, and we were on our way.

I drove it back home without issue, then parked it, plugged it in, and went away for several days out of town. Again upon returning, the car is dead (fourth time), however, unlike the very first time, the car refuses to go into tow mode / neutral / or release the parking brake. So for 7 hours on a Saturday, Tesla sent one truck after another until finally the third was able to bring the proper tow setup to literally remove it from the interior of my garage on rollers.

The car now has been at Tesla for 10 days (27 days total as we speak) and has YET to be given an initial diagnosis. Unlike before, I was given a loaner (though it did take 5 days of persistence to ‘track one down’) however it’s a total dog — a 2016 Model S with almost 80,000 miles.

At this point, I have no trust in the vehicle I own at ALL and I MUST have reliable transportation given my profession and the critical nature of getting from one hospital to another. I don’t think that for $150K I am unreasonable— and I feel like I have given Tesla more than ample time to address the issues and repair the vehicle.

This is where I could use some advice or a considered $0.02 from those that may have been down this path before. As I purchased the car in GA used from a dealer in FL, it doesn’t qualify for GA lemon law / buyback. I didn’t realize this until today— but used cars (no matter how new or how few miles) do not qualify legally for me to exercise what I would prefer them to do at this point: Buy this hunk-o-*sugar* back!

And without a point guard at Tesla— I don’t really know what to do at this point other than sell it , take a $25K (or whatever) haircut, and forever be done with this brand that I once had high regard for.

I really do love the car when it works and would have no issue swapping into a new one (and paying the incremental costs/wear and tear of the current one) or getting creative somehow to come to a resolution. I’ve only done this one other time on 200+ cars I’ve had over the years. But without the lemon law on my side, perhaps foolishly paying cash for it (vs. if it were leased or financed there would be easier to calculate the loss of use), and not having anyone from Tesla speak to me since last Wednesday, I’m at a loss of what best to do as it seems like Tesla’s attitude is ‘take it or leave it’ — which for their flagship model— is frankly pathetic.

I consider myself lucky to have other vehicles that I can use-- but I really feel for the person who has purchased a Model S Plaid (or any Tesla) as their primary mode of transport.

Frustrated, but Thank you for your consideration and feedback!
Hope you opted out of the binding arbitration clause. Otherwise that is your only option.

Edit: just saw it was purchased used. It should still be under Tesla warranty so they are obliged to fix it or make you whole. But it’s not going to be easy to get them to do anything.
 
But it’s not going to be easy to get them to do anything.

What do you mean by that? Are you saying the service center won't try as hard to fix this vehicle because it was resold? I don't believe that to be true. Repairs are made by individual human beings... I can't imagine one of the techs treating this vehicle differently because of resale... it's still a Tesla and practically brand new.
 

glide

Well-Known Member
Jun 6, 2018
5,340
7,485
USA
What do you mean by that? Are you saying the service center won't try as hard to fix this vehicle because it was resold? I don't believe that to be true. Repairs are made by individual human beings... I can't imagine one of the techs treating this vehicle differently because of resale... it's still a Tesla and practically brand new.
No, the service center will provide the same crappy treatment whether it’s new or used. 30 days in with no resolution and a thrashed loaner isn’t a good look.

The difference between new and used was in regards to the binding arbitration clause.
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
8,240
7,738
MA, NH
Sell the car and move on if you have no confidence in it. If you’ve owned “200+” cars the money is obviously inconsequential to you.

As I’m sure you already know, those are your only choices. Let Tesla fix it and keep it, or let Tesla fix it and sell it.
I didn’t catch the 200+ cars. I’ve been driving 40 years. 200+ cars would be a new car every 2.4 months for me. Since OP bought it in March he is way overdue for a new car anyway. Problem solved.
 
Can you get the car service history?

I have been meaning to do this, just haven't had the time to go down there as the service center is a bit away from where I live/work. I will update once in-hand.

you've owned 200+ cars and the fit and finish on a tesla was better than all of them?

If you read the context of the sentence, I implied the Plaid was better than prior Model S's I have ridden in over the years-- and arguably the best in any EV (my early Taycan Turbo had raddles like you wouldn't believe).

The 200 car citation was to further the point that I'm not a serial lemon-law nut and that I've only lemoned (mfg buy back) one other car. I didn't mean for it to come off braggadocious or however else it's been interpreted. Cars are my only vice.
 
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Sell the car and move on if you have no confidence in it. If you’ve owned “200+” cars the money is obviously inconsequential to you.

As I’m sure you already know, those are your only choices. Let Tesla fix it and keep it, or let Tesla fix it and sell it.
Yes, I'm planning to take the L and move on, but I do thank you for your assessment of my financial situation and surrounding motives.

Just wanted to put last ditch attempt out here in case someone had any experience dealing with similar issues coupled with a laissez-faire service dept that has yet to offer an initial diagnosis on the car-- much less a guess of resolution/timelines/confidence post repair.

Clearly what I am experiencing appears to be the norm and not the exception. Silly me for thinking that Tesla would view provide owners of late model cars-- much less their flagship -- with any level of service and communication, post-sale, especially when it wasn't long ago where you could get a loaner flat-bedded to your home and swapped out for service.

Just my $0.02.
 
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