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My new Model 3 has faulty battery. Needs replacement...

UZJedi

Member
Apr 4, 2016
148
167
Seattle, WA
Each day, since I took delivery last Wednesday, I faced my morning commute with a smile on my face and preset 80% charge in my new Model 3. As a first time Tesla owner I was thrilled to be driving my dream car. Rush hour traffic is no longer a dreaded experience when you're gliding in this magic machine. Each day at work I got compliments on my new wheels, answered questions, and got requests for test drives. The more I drove it the more I loved it. That is, of course, until I went to leave work after only 6 days of ownership and had the following scary notifications on the touchscreen.

"Power reduced"
"Unable to charge"
"Car needs service"


The car has less than 300 miles on it. I'd had 0 issues aside from minor phone key imperfection prior to this. I drove the car straight to the closest service center per the instruction of roadside assistance. They would send a tow truck if it broke down on the way there... The car drove ok, though the complete lack of regenerative braking was a shock at first. The service center wasn't answering their phone since they had just closed, so they looked at me a little funny when I walked into the open garage. To their credit, as soon as I told them my issue and they realized I was an owner they treated me like royalty. I got a pre-autopilot P85+ loaner and went home. It's pretty obvious how far Tesla has come in the last 6 years. This P85 has some kick, but I much prefer my 3. This all happened yesterday.

Today they failed to call me around 1 or 2pm with an update like they said they would, so I waited until shortly before they closed and called. They told me the battery had a fault. They have to send it off to be refurbished and a new replacement battery would be shipped to Seattle and installed. According to the rep I spoke to, it'll be their first Model 3 battery swap in Seattle. When I asked how long it might be for the replacement to get here, he said he didn't know. For the S and the X, it can take anywhere from a week to a couple months. A couple months! I hope they put some priority on this considering how new the car is.

Now, I realize these are first world problems and there is still a Tesla in my garage. But man... when you spend more than 50k on a car, you expect it to last more than 6 days. My wife and I had planned to take it on a road trip to Portland, OR in a couple weeks to visit family and friends and show the car off while we're at it. But now I'm not even sure I'd want to take it (or the loaner) on a road trip with my kids when our Toyota minivan is bigger and clearly more reliable. I realize I am an outlier and this big of an issue is rare so early on. I'm sure I'll get over it after the highs and lows of the past week wear off and I have my car back in working order for a while.

As a Tesla fanboy, I can choose to look on the bright side and joke about this as my initiation into the Tesla family. Everyone gets an unwanted loaner eventually... but the stories I am hearing about problems with brand new Model 3s are worrisome. Once Tesla gets deeper into these reservations, buyers are not going to be quite so forgiving. Not everyone is a day 1 reservation holder who's been biting their nails in anticipation for the past two years. Not everyone reads in detail about all the problems some Tesla owners have and decides to reserve a car they haven't even seen yet anyway. I drove my previous car, a 2011 Mazda6, for 6 years and 95k miles with no issues other than predictable, scheduled maintenance and a broken sunglasses holder. This is what your average car buyer expects from a new car, especially one this costly. I can't imagine all of this post production rework is more cost effective for Tesla than slowing down and getting their QA and manufacturing optimized before they start pumping out cars. Maybe that's just the nature of the beast when you are pushing the envelope with cutting edge engineering. I don't know. I know it's a huge undertaking. But I can't help but think that they should eat a little humble pie and learn from what other car manufactures have done to get a handle on this instead of acting as though they're all dinosaurs with no vision. I really, really hope they can figure this out. Because the car is freaking amazing... when it's working.

Have any of you required a new battery on your 3 or know of someone that has?
Thanks for reading. Rant over.
 
Last edited:

AEdennis

Active Member
Jul 23, 2013
2,719
938
Have any of you required a new battery on your 3 or know of someone that has? Thanks for reading. Rant over.

...nope you're the first I've seen. And here I am complaining that I haven't been able to range charge to anything close to 310 miles...
 

Monkey

Member
Feb 4, 2016
371
292
Golden, CO
First Model 3 with a faulty battery I’ve seen reported anywhere. I might have seen one other — the comment above about battery and drive motor seems familiar. Model S had some battery and motor issues in the beginning as well. Model X had fit and finish and door issues, but battery and drivetrain were solid from the get go, being what was already in the Model S. Very rare with the S or X. When my X was in for it’s 2nd annual service a couple months ago, they ran diagnostics on the pack and saw no issues or noticeable degradation. I asked the tech at what point would they replace a battery pack and he didn’t know off hand. It would be replaced under warranty if it does actually degrade a certain percentage or fails in some manner. He had only been involved with one battery swap and that was on a Model S and he didn’t recall the reason for replacing.

Tesla will get your car sorted for you, it’s too bad this happened when it’s so new. They should give you a loaner and you can sport around in a Model S until they get yours fixed up. Hard to say how long it could take. Service centers seem to get repair components rather quickly these days for S and X, but with production as it is on the 3, it’s anyone’s guess.
 

RayK

Active Member
Apr 5, 2016
2,131
2,101
San Jose, CA
Tesla will get your car sorted for you, it’s too bad this happened when it’s so new.
My take is that this is actually the best time for something like this to happen. It's called "infant mortality". When applied to electronics, it's the case where a failure occurs within the first few hours or days of operation. Better to identify the issue, or force the problem, early on.
 

cwerdna

Active Member
Jul 11, 2012
3,633
2,543
SF Bay Area, CA
Man. Sorry to hear about your problems. This is unfortunately a downside of being an early adopter of anything Tesla puts out. :( This is exactly why I have put in no deposit $ on a Model 3 yet. I'm waiting to see how its reliability is in the hands of real customers for 6-12 months. And even then, that might be too early.

And yes, I know I could be waiting a VERY LONG time or may never get a 3. That's ok.
I drove my previous car, a 2011 Mazda6, for 6 years and 95k miles with no issues other than predictable, scheduled maintenance and a broken sunglasses holder. This is what your average car buyer expects from a new car, especially one this costly.
I would agree for the average buyer of a known reliable Japanese make or model. Mazda's not too bad in the reliability department. My Toyotas and Nissan haven't been perfect but I expected my Nissans (which is all over the map in reliability) to be worse than Toyota.

For someone used to not very reliable brands (e.g. VW, BMW and many GM vehicles) and hasn't ever experienced truly reliable, your expectation is probably not the same as theirs.

I'm not so sure their engineering is so cutting edge, but rather bleeding edge. I stated my opinion at automotive reliability and durability testing 2 years ago, in light of the Model X door problems we'd been seeing + drive unit problems on the 1st few years of Model S. Or perhaps their testing is up to snuff but there are manufacturing and/or supplier consistency problems?

Seems like every vehicle Tesla's has introduced has been a rush job (and w/the Model X having major delays).

Keep us in the loop. Let's just hope it doesn't take months.
 
Last edited:

cellogig

Model X..Model 3
Feb 14, 2018
310
298
Near the BP oil spill
Sorry about this let down. I remember reading your posts in the delivery section and rated them with likes. Yes Tesla will make it right. Ruby Red also has the same issue currently. Keep us posted.
 
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apacheguy

S Sig #255
Oct 21, 2012
5,090
1,247
So Cal
The LEAF is notorious for battery degradation. Having said that, their packs are fairly robust and do not just suddenly fail except in very rare circumstances. It’s concerning that we already have a couple reports just 6 months into deliveries. And the two that have been reported are with recent (April/May) deliveries.
 

brkaus

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2014
8,021
6,507
Austin, TX
Infant mortality. They will get a loaner pack that you can use/abuse and have yours repaired. I wouldn't worry about it too much. Even if they have it for months, as long as they get your car back on the road.

Agree, it's a HUGE disappointment. But it isn't like there the removal of a motor in an ICE these days with all the wiring, hoses, crammed in an awkward fashion that they scratch something taking it out. More like changing the battery in your phone.

My friend had his BMW X5 engine go in the first 2 weeks of ownership.
 

brkaus

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2014
8,021
6,507
Austin, TX
From that battery removal video.. . removing the Model 3 doesn't seem that trivial. But... It will be a good training exercise for the techs in the PNW.
Definitely not as easy
Check your lemon laws.
If your goal is to rid yourself of the car.

If it is otherwise in great condition, I would keep it and not try the lottery again.

ask for a few free annual service visits for your inconvenience.
 

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