Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register
  • Want to remove ads? Register an account and login to see fewer ads, and become a Supporting Member to remove almost all ads.
  • The final cut of TMC Podcast #34 is available now with topics timestamped. We covered Tesla's rollercoaster prices, Toyota pushing junk science, Mike's new Model 3, Optimizing track mode for snow driving, FSD V11 apparently coming by the end of this week, and more. You can watch and check out the chat replay on YouTube.

Negotiate for repairs

rakh

Member
Feb 16, 2020
13
2
CA
What's the best way to negotiate repair work on a Tesla (or in general)?

I have a ding/scrape on the front of the car and probably need to replace the front part. I got two estimates for ~$2k, the two shops have quite different opinions on what to do and wildly different labor rates and number of hours estimated but magically are within $100 on the bottom line estimate cost, which seems odd. I tried getting in touch with the Tesla repair shop, but they don't respond.

What I really want to do is to send pictures to 10 good shops, get a firm price from each and negotiate from there. That's how I bought the car I had before this Tesla - worked great, very easy and got a good price. This isn't working here because only 2 shops would even take pictures and even those two are doing an "estimate" which is no commitment. Everyone wants to inspect the car physically, which means I have to make an appointment, show up and be subjected to whatever their sales game is while I wait. It might be reasonable that they want to inspect, but if I just tell them to replace the part, that should be a standardized thing that they can just tell me what it costs to do - no dice so far.

What's the best way to do this without wasting a lot of time driving around while having to dodge sales techniques? Or is that just the only way? I can't imagine just taking the first price you get is going to be good?
 
I doubt you are going to find 10 repair shops that are Tesla certified. If you go to a shop that is not you will likely get a better rate but who knows whether they know what they are doing.

You have two quotes, both for around $2,000. And you want to go to ten more shops to negotiate a better price? That sounds like an incredibly time consuming process. How much are you going to save? $500? Is your time worth it? And how are you going to know whether a shop that gives you a better rate is qualified to do good work? Are you going to research every shop that you talk to and ask for references? It sounds like an awful lot of work for a savings of maybe a few hundred dollars.
 

rakh

Member
Feb 16, 2020
13
2
CA
I'm posting this because I *don't* want to do that. :) What do you suggest is the best method? I have no ability to evaluate any statement a mechanic might tell me; for all I know the reasonable cost for this could be less than $1k or more than $3k. The two picture-based estimates I got were around the same amount, yes, but the way they got there was *wildly* different, which is what matters.
 
Without photos I'm only guessing...but your damage description and the repair shop estimates seem consistent with a job better done by a mobile bumper repair specialist.

If the body shops are estimating $2000, then a bumper repair specialist can likely do it for under $500 and it will be nearly impossible to see the repair.

If you're in Los Angeles , then Ken and his crew are excellent:
https://autobodyautocare.com/car-services/mobile-repair-services/
 
If you need a front bumper repair, then it most likely involves getting the bumper replaced (Tesla sells pre-painted ones to authorized shops). After the bumper is replaced, all the sensors need to be recalibrated.

If anyone quotes you without the recalibration, then they don’t know what the hell they are doing. I can’t see any other way of fixing a Model 3 front bumper. And not just anyone can recalibrate the sensors.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: C141medic
If you need a front bumper repair, then it most likely involves getting the bumper replaced (Tesla sells pre-painted ones to authorized shops). After the bumper is replaced, all the sensors need to be recalibrated.

If anyone quotes you without the recalibration, then they don’t know what the hell they are doing. I can’t see any other way of fixing a Model 3 front bumper. And not just anyone can recalibrate the sensors.

Parking sensors have no calibration. Only the radar.
 

rakh

Member
Feb 16, 2020
13
2
CA
Thank you OCR1 for the idea to just post the estimates I got. I'd appreciate any input from people who are more knowledgeable than I am on this sort of thing. I attached a picture as well that shows the full damage that was done to the car by persons unknown while parked (I have very high liability insurance, but no insurance for damage done to my own car, since I only ensure against ruinous expenses and the total cost of the car is not ruinous to me, though having the insurance take care of the negotiation is a benefit that I hadn't considered, so maybe I should revisit this approach).

*** Estimate 1 (did not suggest replacing part)
Parts = 0.00
Body Labor 9.5 hrs @ $ 96.00 /hr = 912.00
Paint Labor 6.4 hrs @ $ 96.00 /hr = 614.40
Mechanical Labor 4.3 hrs @ $ 140.00 /hr = 602.00
Paint Supplies 6.4 hrs @ $ 50.00 /hr = 320.00
Miscellaneous = 15.00

Total before tax: 2,463.40

*** Estimate 2 (suggested replacing part was necessary by Tesla's guidance)
Parts = 338.00
Body Labor 6.7 hrs @ $ 137.00 /hr = 917.90
Paint Labor 5.4 hrs @ $ 137.00 /hr = 739.80
Paint Supplies 5.4 hrs @ $ 50.00 /hr = 270.00
Miscellaneous = 36.00

Total before tax: 2,301.70

As you can see, a wide discrepancy in approach, hourly rates and hours estimated. These estimates could both be very good or very bad, for all I know, so I appreciate any advice.


20200122_121915.jpg
 
Thank you OCR1 for the idea to just post the estimates I got. I'd appreciate any input from people who are more knowledgeable than I am on this sort of thing. I attached a picture as well that shows the full damage that was done to the car by persons unknown while parked (I have very high liability insurance, but no insurance for damage done to my own car, since I only ensure against ruinous expenses and the total cost of the car is not ruinous to me, though having the insurance take care of the negotiation is a benefit that I hadn't considered, so maybe I should revisit this approach).

*** Estimate 1 (did not suggest replacing part)
Parts = 0.00
Body Labor 9.5 hrs @ $ 96.00 /hr = 912.00
Paint Labor 6.4 hrs @ $ 96.00 /hr = 614.40
Mechanical Labor 4.3 hrs @ $ 140.00 /hr = 602.00
Paint Supplies 6.4 hrs @ $ 50.00 /hr = 320.00
Miscellaneous = 15.00

Total before tax: 2,463.40

*** Estimate 2 (suggested replacing part was necessary by Tesla's guidance)
Parts = 338.00
Body Labor 6.7 hrs @ $ 137.00 /hr = 917.90
Paint Labor 5.4 hrs @ $ 137.00 /hr = 739.80
Paint Supplies 5.4 hrs @ $ 50.00 /hr = 270.00
Miscellaneous = 36.00

Total before tax: 2,301.70

As you can see, a wide discrepancy in approach, hourly rates and hours estimated. These estimates could both be very good or very bad, for all I know, so I appreciate any advice.


View attachment 512195


Wow.
Friend of mine in auto body repair calls this the "Tesla Tax". That shouldn't be more the $1000 retail. I'd pull the cover myself and pay someone to paint it. Or use the other guys suggestion of a bumper repair that comes to you.
 
Thank you OCR1 for the idea to just post the estimates I got. I'd appreciate any input from people who are more knowledgeable than I am on this sort of thing. I attached a picture as well that shows the full damage that was done to the car by persons unknown while parked (I have very high liability insurance, but no insurance for damage done to my own car, since I only ensure against ruinous expenses and the total cost of the car is not ruinous to me, though having the insurance take care of the negotiation is a benefit that I hadn't considered, so maybe I should revisit this approach).

*** Estimate 1 (did not suggest replacing part)
Parts = 0.00
Body Labor 9.5 hrs @ $ 96.00 /hr = 912.00
Paint Labor 6.4 hrs @ $ 96.00 /hr = 614.40
Mechanical Labor 4.3 hrs @ $ 140.00 /hr = 602.00
Paint Supplies 6.4 hrs @ $ 50.00 /hr = 320.00
Miscellaneous = 15.00

Total before tax: 2,463.40

*** Estimate 2 (suggested replacing part was necessary by Tesla's guidance)
Parts = 338.00
Body Labor 6.7 hrs @ $ 137.00 /hr = 917.90
Paint Labor 5.4 hrs @ $ 137.00 /hr = 739.80
Paint Supplies 5.4 hrs @ $ 50.00 /hr = 270.00
Miscellaneous = 36.00

Total before tax: 2,301.70

As you can see, a wide discrepancy in approach, hourly rates and hours estimated. These estimates could both be very good or very bad, for all I know, so I appreciate any advice.


View attachment 512195
Agree --- wow! I have had lots of things repaired, but never so much $$ for so little damage.

The (first) company suggesting not replacing the part is really jacking up the price everywhere. If they could get a Tesla bumper, then it would be $600 painted? Or is that unpainted? I don't know if Tesla stocks silver bumpers since they don't sell that color Model 3. Either way, it looks from the picture that the plastic bumper is deformed and not easily fixed. I would forget them simply because a new bumper is better.

The second company is jacking the price up everywhere too. The second company wants over $1000 to paint a brand new bumper?

If you are paying cash and not using insurance, do these companies know that? Often I have paid out of pocket and can get the price lower than if it were priced for an insurance company that may not even pay them the full amount.

Will Tesla fix the car? Any damage other than the bumper? It looks like you were hit pretty hard.
 
Thanks for the input. I did mention in both cases that I was paying myself and I sent both estimates to the other shop, arguing respectively "why so many more hours?" and "why such a higher hourly rate?", but they both dismissed the topic and said I should come in.

I don't know how this happened as someone hit me in the parking lot while I wasn't there and fled the scene. There is no other damage that I'm aware of. Car is working fine, including autopilot, it's just cosmetic.

I've tried several times to contact the Tesla body shop in San Jose, but they don't respond, as Yelp also indicates. I figured the regular Tesla service that comes to you couldn't handle body work like this, but maybe they can, if it's purely a question of replacing the part?
 
Thanks for the input. I did mention in both cases that I was paying myself and I sent both estimates to the other shop, arguing respectively "why so many more hours?" and "why such a higher hourly rate?", but they both dismissed the topic and said I should come in.

I don't know how this happened as someone hit me in the parking lot while I wasn't there and fled the scene. There is no other damage that I'm aware of. Car is working fine, including autopilot, it's just cosmetic.

I've tried several times to contact the Tesla body shop in San Jose, but they don't respond, as Yelp also indicates. I figured the regular Tesla service that comes to you couldn't handle body work like this, but maybe they can, if it's purely a question of replacing the part?

Sorry. It's annoying what some people can do and just walk away.

Frankly, I think that any body shop that presents quotations like this is not worth working on my Tesla.

Does anyone in the South Bay know of any body shop that is up to this job and not just trying to take people's money?
 
The only thing that concerns me is that this is a silver car and Tesla doesn't sell the silver color anymore. I don't know if the service centers stock a pre-painted silver bumper cover.

I have had the bumper cover replaced on my car. Originally, I went to the Tesla body shop in San Jose, and they said that I needed to schedule an appointment at my local service center and they would forwarded any request to them if needed. So, I just scheduled an appointment at your Tesla service center in the Tesla app. Your local service center saw the request and forwarded it to their internal body shop estimating team. They sent me a quote, which I accepted, and they scheduled the replacement at my local Tesla service center (not the body shop). There was some confusion at the service center, but ultimately they replaced the bumper cover in a few hours.
 
What's the best way to negotiate repair work on a Tesla (or in general)?

I have a ding/scrape on the front of the car and probably need to replace the front part. I got two estimates for ~$2k, the two shops have quite different opinions on what to do and wildly different labor rates and number of hours estimated but magically are within $100 on the bottom line estimate cost, which seems odd. I tried getting in touch with the Tesla repair shop, but they don't respond.

What I really want to do is to send pictures to 10 good shops, get a firm price from each and negotiate from there. That's how I bought the car I had before this Tesla - worked great, very easy and got a good price. This isn't working here because only 2 shops would even take pictures and even those two are doing an "estimate" which is no commitment. Everyone wants to inspect the car physically, which means I have to make an appointment, show up and be subjected to whatever their sales game is while I wait. It might be reasonable that they want to inspect, but if I just tell them to replace the part, that should be a standardized thing that they can just tell me what it costs to do - no dice so far.

What's the best way to do this without wasting a lot of time driving around while having to dodge sales techniques? Or is that just the only way? I can't imagine just taking the first price you get is going to be good?

Body shops will give you a better price in person. They are covering their butts in case there is more damage than is visible.
 
  • Love
Reactions: JasontheBeaver
OP: I think the way you are approaching these shops is telling them to take advantage of you. Clearly you can easily afford the repair, but don't want these people giving you a bad repair at a rip-off price. When you say that only two shops would talk to you without bringing the car in, that says it all. There are many places that would paint your whole car if they thought you’d go for it. While that’s an overstatement, you get the idea.

The reason I asked for people to chime in with good places to fix this bumper is because there are tons of Teslas in the Bay Area, lots of people who will fix bumpers, and lots of customers that know of the good repair shops. I assume your time is at a premium, but there are times (like this) when going into (at least) one local recommended shop is necessary.

It’s either that, or pay the “Tesla tax” and a lot more - risking a crappy repair in the end. This is not a difficult repair, but simply a pain the the ass.
 
Thank you everyone, I've really appreciated all this input. Yep jonquiljo, I'd pay $10k in cash if that's what it cost, but I don't appreciate being taken advantage of and from the responses I was getting I was suspecting that that was the case and... seems it was. I have a much better understanding of this now - thanks everyone. I'm taking this to Tesla service now as suggested by quitepossibly, which it sounds like this might be a ~$800 repair from this story (this person was quoted $2k and $4k elsewhere):

minor bumper scrape = $4000 repair : teslamotors

If that's true then I'm happy I didn't pay $2.5k. Both the estimates I got were from shops recommended on Tesla forum posts.

Funnily enough, bumper replacement and independent shops charging "an arm and a leg" is precisely what Elon Musk cited when starting the Telsa collision repair service in 2019, seems he was on to something there:

Musk: Tesla mobile service option replaced first bumper in 'less than an hour' - Repairer Driven News

Here's another story about someone getting his model 3 silver front bumper replaced for $1615 (same as my car), with comments stating that this was too much and one comment indicating that the commenter paid $1050 for the same:

Scraping By: How I Got My Tesla Model 3 Front Bumper Fixed

If Tesla service doesn't work out, my plan is then to call around on the phone (evidently auto shops are not good with computers) and simply want to know what they charge for replacing a silver model 3 Tesla front bumper made on a given date - this is not a question they need to see the car to respond to, the full procedure is right there in the question, they shouldn't even need pictures, so if they say they need more information beyond maybe VIN, I'll know what's up. But I'm betting Tesla service will work out instead.

I'll update this thread when it's resolved. Thanks again.
 

SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,420
10,331
SF Bay Area
Sorry about your Model 3. My husband's MS was hit-and-run by a commercial vehicle (but luckily someone saw and got them to come back into the parking lot and talk to my husband). From what I remember of his accident the Tesla Body Shop doesn't deal directly with customers but with insurance adjusters who have already seen the car's damage or referrals from the SvCs I believe. At least that was the way it was in 11/18 so things could have changed. The guy scraped his quarter panel from the wheel well back to the bumper (had PPF on it so saved much of the paint) but did dig deeper to metal in one spot and also dented the quarter panel in one spot. Since he had captured the accident on his dashcam, including the drive-away, the guy's insurance company was quick to accept responsibility. I'm guessing you didn't have TeslaCam recording on your car when this happened? At one point they were talking about repairing the rear bumper but in the end maybe because of the labor to fill and sand and prime and paint and clear coat and hours involved in drying it wasn't worth the time, so he received a new bumper which I think still was unpainted and needed to be paint matched and blended to the quarter panel. He also btw needed to have a sensor replaced. The San Jose Tesla body shop did a great job and he was very pleased with it.
 
Last edited:

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