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My Service Experience

HighZ

MDNT SLV M3
Apr 30, 2019
193
205
Rockford, IL
I had an encounter last week with a small deer driving through a rural area west of Chicago. The deer ran across the road right in front of me from right to left. I hit the deer only the far left side and when I surveyed the damage, I did not see any major body damage. Two of the parking sensors on the left side of the bumper were pushed in and the left fog lamp was dislodged but still working. The top left corner of the bumper was slightly pushed in under the headlamp and quarter panel, but no metal seemed to have been damaged. I attached pictures. Note that it snowed after the accident but before I took pictures after driving to work. There is no paint damage, just road salt.

IMG_6096.jpg
IMG_6090.jpg
IMG_6093.jpg

I had previously used a Service King in Rockford where I work to touch up some scratches I had on the car and they did an excellent job. When I called them, they told me that they no longer were Tesla certified and in fact, their branch was closing. I remember that it seemed like a Tesla facility when I was there last summer with about 20 Tesla's with all kinds of damage.

So I went onto the Tesla app and it allowed me to set up a service appointment at Westmont Tesla for the damage. I uploaded the photos of the damage and it gave me a date to bring the car in about one week away. I received a text to send the photos again, and within a day, I had an estimate for replacement sensor clips, a new fog map, and labor for around $600. I thought that was pretty good.

On the morning I dropped the car off, I had actually hoped someone might be able to look at the car right away and see if it could be fixed quickly since it seemed to be a matter of just reattaching the sensors and light. But they said that they would prefer to give me a loaner and that was fine. They gave me an older Model S without AP and enjoyed driving that car for the first time. Much more of a 'luxury' car experience vs. the Model 3 'sports car' feel. They said they would let me know the status in a couple of hours.

Later that afternoon, I received two texts that a mobile body repair guy would be contacting me, and just then I got the text from the guy that said he could come out to my house to fix the car. When I called him, he said that the bumper cover would need to be replaced, since that held the clips for the sensors. He also said the attachments for the fog lamp were on that cover. He said the fog map would probably need to be replaced as well since the attachments for it would have broken off, but mentioned that if I gave him permission, he could try to 'glue' it in place.

I asked him for a new estimate and he ball-parked $1200 for the bumper cover plus anything else he needed, so probably around $1500. I asked him to send me the estimate and he said that he was driving and would have to do it later, but once I gave him the OK, he would have the bumper cover sent out to be painted and he could plan to come out next Monday. I asked him if I needed to reschedule on the app and he said no, he would come out to fix it on the same ticket.

I had to drive back to Tesla to return the loaner and essentially they 'completed' my service ticket. I never got a callback today from the guy about the estimate or getting the parts ordered.

Tesla did an absolutely phenomenal job of customer service when I dropped the car off. The process was fast and very friendly. I didn't have to argue to get a loaner and they gave me an I-Pass for the freeway.

What I was puzzled about was why didn't they have someone take a look at the car right away, much like an estimator, to tell me what I would need to do rather than drive 30 mins out of my way with the loaner. It seemed they had this guy do an in-person evaluation, but only much later.

Then, it seemed as if the process went 'off-system' without an estimate. I actually feel as if this mobile guy is a sub-contractor for Tesla doing body repair work. I was told I would eventually be paying Tesla for the work, so maybe not the case, but the process seemed inefficient.

I am hoping all goes well with the repair. It is annoying to see the constant error that my parking sensors are obstructed, but everything drives fine.

I just want to post my experience and will update it based on how it gets all resolved. I wish Service King was still authorized and able to do the work, since it is much more like how I would expect a body shop to work. Another observation is that I think there is a true Tesla body shop closer to Chicago that may have been more prepared than Westmont, which was mainly a dealership. But I would have thought they would have told me that on the app when I set up or confirmed the appointment.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: KenC and C141medic

HighZ

MDNT SLV M3
Apr 30, 2019
193
205
Rockford, IL
Final update: I did get a call back to schedule my repair in my own garage about a week after I had brought it into Tesla.

The Tesla repair tech that came out had been with Tesla for over seven years and was even involved with the Model 3 design, so he was able to tell (and show) me quite a bit about the car. From what I understood, he is leading a pilot to do more body repair in the field rather than at a Tesla service center. They hope to expand this with more techs in more areas.

Telsa no bumper.JPG

It took him about 3 hours in frigid temps (my garage is not heated so it was 35 degrees) to remove the bumper fascia and replace it with a new one. He showed me what had broken on the old fascia that could be used as well as the right fog lamp. Overall, it wasn't complicated but was cumbersome - lots of things to pull off the old fascia and install on the new one. We talked a lot so that may have delayed him a bit :). Very friendly guy and I hope a new friend. He also had a LOT of nice tools.

By the end of the repair, it looked even better than before - the lines were perfect and I was very happy with the process. I also got to see under the frunk, which was cool.

Tesla no frunk.jpg

He told me that my case had apparently fallen a bit in the cracks as I should never have had to bring my car into the Tesla service center. The way it is supposed to work is that someone comes out to look at the car and estimate the parts needed. Then they schedule a repair once the parts are available. Because of perhaps the way I had described the repair, maybe they thought it could be handled in house. When I brought the car in, this tech was coincidentally present and was able to get it scheduled correctly.

He also said that had I selected the Elk Grove Village Tesla service instead of Westmont, they could have done everything in-house as they are the primary service depot in the Chicagoland area. But I would have had to wait maybe a month or so to get an appointment, so doing it the way I did it was designed to be much faster. In effect, it was only two weeks from the accident to the repair. Something to remember for the future in case I have something more complicated to get fixed.

My only regret is that I had forgotten to pull my video footage after the deer strike - that would have been YouTube-worthy. But I forgot totally I was recording the dashcam and wrote over everything on my one hour commute the next day.
 

HighZ

MDNT SLV M3
Apr 30, 2019
193
205
Rockford, IL
That's expensive

Bumper fascia (painted) was $900, fog lamp was $200 and labor was $140. The $80 balance was tax. Total was around $1300.

working 3 hours in a 35 degree garage is ridiculous

My feet were frozen - he seemed to have warm clothes and was thankful that we were doing this in my garage and not outdoors, although, by the end of the repair, we were very happy to go inside. I wish I had a heated garage.

One cold-weather repair trick that he showed me was using a heat gun on a lot of the plastic clips. Without it, he said that a lot of the plastic will break, but just 10-20 seconds with the heat gun helped.
 

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