TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker and becoming a Supporting Member. For more info: Support TMC

New member with big plans... I hope.

Discussion in 'Model S' started by emechanic, Oct 20, 2018.

  1. emechanic

    emechanic Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2018
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Huntington Beach California
    So as my profile states I am a mechanic by trade and a business owner by choice. I am interested in converting one of my BMW/MINI repair shops into a Tesla service shop. Why? Because I believe in Tesla and I have a child and I want to leave something other than a polluted mess of a planet for her to grow up in. So I am reaching out to Tesla owners for input. Understandably Tesla vehicles will not need much work but as I understand, the service they do need seems to be a bit of a hassle due to the Tesla service facilities being very overloaded. I also know that Tesla does recommended services that I and my team could very much do I.E alignments, tire rotations, Cabin filters, wipers and fluid changes. Beyond that, I will need to gain the confidence of Tesla in order to procure replacement parts for vehicles out of warranty. I don't expect this will be a problem as it's in Teslas best interest if customers are able to easily get the vehicles serviced or repaired. As it is Tesla does not perform body and paint repairs. Those are sublet to independent paint and body shops. So please give me some feed back. What are some of the challenges you face as an owner and what would you like changed in terms of service. I will follow up with a questionnaire of common repair problems later. for now this is more of a general discussion of service shortcomings.
    Thanks to all that reply!
     
    • Like x 4
    • Love x 2
  2. demundus

    demundus Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    1,126
    Location:
    Oceanside, CA
    Not going to happen. You have to be a vetted, chosen (probably pay some fee etc), and reputable body shop. They are called "Tesla approved body shops", google em.

    Tesla aint gonna give you much of the time of day unless you are the owner of the car, in most cases. Additionally you need access to a proprietary software called Toolbox, which isn't given to anyone but service centers (who perform these repairs already) and Mass. residents under the very liberal right-to-repair law. Even then its VIN controlled.

    There are ways to get toolbox illegally, those are on you to find. Additionally, there are a plethora of specialized parts Tesla won't sell you to deal with certain procedures.

    Finally, if you touch a warranty'd car and Tesla finds out about it, they could potentially void the warranty (maybe against the Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act, but they have the lawyers to fight it) depending on what you did and if it impacted the overall health of the vehicle. The battery and motor are covered under 8 years unlimited miles, everything else is 50k miles and 4 years. Lots of little things here and there break, plenty of resources on how to fix them yourself if you so choose, and at the moment... besides in California, and maybe a couple other choice-cities... the SVC wait times are supposedly not bad. I see you're in Huntington; the Costa Mesa service center is swamped and might as well not exist with their ridiculous 5-6 month wait times.

    It can be done, but you need a very very deep understanding of this car. And software that you can't get. One part electrical engineer one part computer scientist, one part ASE tech.
     
    • Informative x 2
    • Like x 2
  3. emechanic

    emechanic Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2018
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Huntington Beach California
    Thank you very much for the in depth reply! You are correct in many ways.
    The fact that Tesla does charge for the small amount of maintenance "recommended" not required falls directly into the MM Act. Yes, this is very similar to BMW of which I have been working on for many years however, As you know MM Act protects the owner and the repair shop as the burden of proof is on the manufacturer to show that any part, service or repair done outside the manufacturers facilities caused a subsequent failure. So in essence Tesla would be required to perform all repairs for free if they wanted to avoid the Act. I don't expect to see the software being given away just as BMW and many other manufacturers charge for it but it will be available in time. I expect Tesla to see the light at some point as many more of the vehicles come out of warranty.
     
    • Love x 1
  4. emechanic

    emechanic Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2018
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Huntington Beach California
    As you can imagine being in the repairs business for as long as I have you get to know everyone reputable. I have some inside knowledge regarding the "Tesla Approved body shops" and have to say, It wouldn't take much to be approved. One of my neighbors is a Approved body shop and well... let's just say I wouldn't let him touch my car.
     
    • Funny x 3
    • Like x 1
  5. emechanic

    emechanic Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2018
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Huntington Beach California
    Does anyone have some ideas you can share on how Tesla has not met your expectations in regards to service?
     
  6. demundus

    demundus Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    1,126
    Location:
    Oceanside, CA
    Sorry I didn't mean to sound condescending regarding MM act, I'm sure you are well aware in all things repairs.

    an anecdote:

    I am out of 50k 4y warranty, and dont have a ton of time to work on my car, and for unnamed reasons Tesla won't touch my car any longer. I wanted to replace the D/U fluid and repack and grease the halfshafts. I have the service manual from a secret place on the internet :cool: and printed off all the required documentation and took it to a trusted shop that I get lots of work done at otherwise. I walked them through EVERYTHING carefully, and they did the best they could. Without Toolbox they were unable to properly deal with the air suspension, which turned out to be ok... but point is there is a Toolbox procedure for everything. There was also a special axle pry tool that they said woulda made them more comfortable when pulling the spline off the D/U.

    I hope you're able to do as you're dreaming, it would be cool. But in my personal repair experience, having more access than most owners, it's a little touchy. You F it up, and its going on a flatbed to the nearest service center and HOPE they'll touch it again.
     
    • Like x 1
    • Love x 1
  7. roblab

    roblab Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,044
    Location:
    Angwin (Napa Valley) CA
    #7 roblab, Oct 20, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2018
    Expectations: Overpriced. Sorry, Tesla met my expectations. I had my body work done at my local shop, who replaced all mounting hardware and panels. I think all they did was paint. Still cheaper by several hundred.

    I have had about eighty thousand miles on my first MS, about 70 on second, and near ten on M3 now. As far as I know, there is virtually NO SERVICE, unless you count putting on wiper blades you can get anywhere. This is not a gas car. No transmission per se. What are you going to service that the home mechanic or the little guy down the street can't do? With the money I've saved, I bought my own compressor and fill my own tires. I NEVER go to a service center.

    I wouldn't count on making my living servicing Teslas.
     
    • Like x 1
  8. Lucky_Man

    Lucky_Man Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2017
    Messages:
    185
    Location:
    Larkspur, CO
    Interesting idea but, as responses show, it's a big mountain you're thinking of climbing - with a slippery slope on the other side. Aside from annual scheduled tasks, there doesn't seem to be much service required for many of us. Personally, all I've ever needed was a door handle repair that my Ranger took care of quickly. Body work is a whole different issue, but I believe the existing certified shops are simply constrained by parts availability and not lack of shops or personnel.

    You likely have good mechanical skills (and I applaud your desire to keep your daughter's future secure), so maybe consider a business that's supplemental for Tesla owners like, a detailing/wrap business, seasonal tire swaps, custom work, etc. There might be sufficient opportunities out there along these lines. Hell, I'm getting too old to even wrestle with seat covers these days and wouldn't mind paying someone competent for this sort of work. That said, I'm not sure there's that much opportunity or volume to make your financials positive. Due diligence with a clear head is called for. Would you consider seeking employment at a Tesla service center, or as a Ranger? With the new deliveries of Model 3's, there's likely good demand for your talents.
     
    • Like x 1
  9. Jashev

    Jashev Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2016
    Messages:
    357
    Location:
    Wrightsville, PA
    I would also note that Tesla is now moving to have body work done at their service centers. The Owings Mills SC in Maryland now performs body work. I believe that there were a few more service centers setup at the same time to perform this work.
     
    • Like x 1
  10. croman

    croman Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2016
    Messages:
    3,770
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    The main issue is that most of the service center items are for delivery issues (i.e failure at delivery of items). I had mis installed trim and some other minor issues. Not sure why I'd go to a third party shop when my car was delivered at a service center and could just stay for 3 more days to get fixed.

    I would consider seasonal tire rotation and some basic service to avoid the very pricey annual service. The suggestion to do PPF is a good one. Tons of owners get that done and the margins are large.
     
    • Like x 1
  11. emechanic

    emechanic Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2018
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Huntington Beach California
    Thank you very much for your input!
    Yes of course the little work required on these cars now does not seem like a sound business plan, however as Tesla gets millions of them on the road and those eventually fall off their warranty period, I expect to see some repairs becoming common. For now it's more establishing relationships with basic services, tires, alignments, filters and accessories, yes wraps and widow film would be an option as well as small body repairs or paint correction. I have 4 shops established here in Orange county and they are BMW/MINI only. I have lost many of my customers to Tesla and those I have talked to have told me about long waits and poor body repairs. I think it would be long term goal but a goal worth investing in.
     
    • Like x 1
  12. emechanic

    emechanic Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2018
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Huntington Beach California
    Thank you for that.
    I am not surprised about the body repairs, as independent body shops have had a very long history of poor workmanship that is a result of the Insurance companies pressure. Body shops are paid by insurance companies on average $30-35 hour, this results in some very low skilled labor especially if the body shop is doing a lot of insurance work. With Tesla, nearly all work is paid by insurance companies. If Tesla establishes the repair procedures, the time needed to do them and forces the insurance companies to pay for this it will actually be a good thing.
     
  13. emechanic

    emechanic Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2018
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Huntington Beach California
    Thank you very much for your feedback! Yes, it is a mountain however we do have Teslas crawling all over the place here in Orange county. I think independent service will eventually gain a hold and I would like to be established when it does. For now, yes accessories and films, color correction, alignments, tires and small body repairs are the plan.
     
  14. demundus

    demundus Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    1,126
    Location:
    Oceanside, CA
    Be advised only one estimation software is "licensed" and provided data by Tesla to preform repair estimates etc; Audatex. CCC and Mitchell have gathered enough data to emulate, but not actually sanctioned and supported by Tesla (yet?)
     
    • Like x 1
  15. emechanic

    emechanic Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2018
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Huntington Beach California
    Thanks , Yes, very much the same with any manufacturer.
     
  16. appleguru

    appleguru Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2017
    Messages:
    832
    Location:
    US
    Unless Tesla has a massive change of policy, you will not get access to toolbox unless you sign up and get approved as an authorized body shop ($$$$$$$ in equipment, training, etc).

    Which sucks. They 100% have a monopoly on parts and service. Nevermind the dubious legality of that, but the end result for us owners is higher insurance and repair rates, and no competition or choice that would allow us to select to work with the shops that are the most reasonably priced/do the best work/have the best service.

    I have had extremely mixed results with local service centers, and have been met with nothing but resistance when trying to get the tools needed to work on my own car (Toolbox, Ethernet cables, etc). I would *love* to have a trusted local mechanic to do basic maintenance/annual service (drive unit fluid/air filters/AC desiccant/brake work, tires/wheels, 12V DC battery, etc).

    On the parts side of things, they will only sell parts when provided with a VIN. And if you buy “too many” of a given part with your VIN they will allegedly blacklist you from buying more parts (!). In addition, they offer no external parts catalog. The one included on the service website (which is crazy expensive to access) is out of date and missing many, many parts. I regularly have to call my local SC’s part department and “describe” the part that I need, and hope that the PN they provide is correct (which, regularly, it is not). Also, you can’t buy “restricted parts”, which include any body panels as well as items that commonly fail like the MCU.

    Despite living in MA, where they legally have to provide me with access to the tools I need to work on the car, they have done no such thing. I’ve been promised a “customer” version of toolbox for a year and a half now, which still does not exist.

    While you could certainly swap out 12V batteries and cabin air filters without too much trouble, even swapping some of the fluids on the car requires toolbox access to do properly :-/

    Anyways, I wish you the best of luck.. if you have success, please let us know!
     
    • Like x 1
  17. emechanic

    emechanic Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2018
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Huntington Beach California
    This is a great group! Everyone is very willing to help. Yes, the challenges are many but worth it in the end. I may push forward for Tesla approval as a body repair shop as there's plenty of low hanging fruit in the form of body repairs. Given time things like window regulators, door handle actuators and locks along with HVAC and suspension work will eventually become common. I will let everyone (especially around us) know as it happens.
     
    • Like x 1
  18. appleguru

    appleguru Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2017
    Messages:
    832
    Location:
    US
    I believe approved body shops get a ~30% discount on parts, which also should help things (not sure if this is old information though; I don’t have any current sources).

    I also wonder if there is something in the agreement for becoming an approved body shop that excludes you from being able to do certain types of non-body related maintenance...

    For example, if I have an MCU fail, could I go to an approved body shop to install and provision a used unit pulled from a junkyard? Or buy the new part from tesla and install/provision that part for less than what tesla charges?

    Or would they always send me to tesla because they are only allowed to handle body work?
     
    • Like x 1
  19. IchDochNicht

    IchDochNicht Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2016
    Messages:
    205
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    Here is where I expect a real business opportunity in the futrue: Refubishing batteries. Not just Tesla, but EV batteries in genreal.

    Over time, some batteries will degrade while others may develop other issues. Once out of warranty, the cost of a replacemnet could easily exceed the value of the car. If anyone could take "defective" batteries, take them apart, fix any contact issues or replace non-working cells, and produce a viable replacement at a low cost, I can't see why owners of older EVs (past battery warranty) would not take advantage of this service.

    Baiscally, I expect battery shops to pop-up the same way we have transmission or tire shops today.
     
    • Like x 1
  20. demundus

    demundus Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    1,126
    Location:
    Oceanside, CA
    I believe that is the case RE: maintenance. As I requested the body shop who worked on my car to NOT touch my MCU or any configuration, and they stated they weren't allowed to anyway, just to run procedures such as air suspension leveling and fluid draining in conjunction with the repair

    You are also correct in that they will flag "you" if you order X number of a Y part, and refuse to sell said part to you again. This has led to owners trading VINs on the site for use of ordering parts (in the case of salvage needs).

    Finally, I wonder if he can get Tesla approval to be a repair facility, as I'm sure there's some kind of franchise-style radial restriction, since there so few shops (3 in San diego county, been around for years and yet no others have popped up? Why is this?)
     

Share This Page

  • 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