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Probability of getting a Model S with a "known" issue?

Racerx22b

@unplggdd on Instagram
Nov 17, 2014
916
1,027
West Palm Beach, FL
So I am anxiously awaiting our mid Feb delivery of an S85. I've been reading through the various forum categories and it kind of freaks me out a little seeing all these issues that seem to be "known". Perhaps the sample size is skewed so I was wondering what some of the more knowledgeable Tesla owners/fanboys thought the chances were of actually getting one of these issues. I have listed issues that I think are frequently reported. Please rate them on a scale 1-10. 1 being no chance and 10 being practically guaranteed to get at delivery or within 2yrs of delivery. I appreciate any participation and please feel free to add issues that you think should be listed. I'm sure I've forgotten something. I've ordered an S85 so if an issue is Model 60 or P85 specific please specify in your reply.

Dead 12v battery issues
Pano roof leak
Pano roof open/close issues
Out of alignment rear wheels
FOB not recognized
Paint/Clearcoat defects
Drivetrain clunk
Door handles not presenting/defective
Buffeting due to poor hatch seal
Misaligned stitching on interior
Water leak through rear hatch
Water in tailights
Battery pack failure

Anything else?
 

Pate

Member
Jan 19, 2014
178
1
Finland
No reason to freak out! If you happen to encounter some of those issues Tesla will fix them with minimal hassle for you.

Pretty much all of those chances would be pretty close to 1 at delivery, I would assume. Within 2 years some of them will rise to higher levels.

I personally have only encountered the rear hatch buffeting problem, which was easy to fix by myself. That was a problem immediately after delivery, so perhaps I should give that one a value of 2. I have not heard a lot of reports on that, so perhaps some people are more sensitive to such.

From members of our local Tesla club I have heard a few reports of door handle problems and pano roof open/close problems. Also some suspect they have the drivetrain clunk, which seems to only happen after at least 10.000 km in the odometer. No other problems reported as far as I remember..

Pate
 

AmpedRealtor

Well-Known Member
Jun 30, 2013
6,414
4,111
Phoenix, AZ
So I am anxiously awaiting our mid Feb delivery of an S85. I've been reading through the various forum categories and it kind of freaks me out a little seeing all these issues that seem to be "known". Perhaps the sample size is skewed so I was wondering what some of the more knowledgeable Tesla owners/fanboys thought the chances were of actually getting one of these issues. I have listed issues that I think are frequently reported. Please rate them on a scale 1-10. 1 being no chance and 10 being practically guaranteed to get at delivery or within 2yrs of delivery. I appreciate any participation and please feel free to add issues that you think should be listed. I'm sure I've forgotten something. I've ordered an S85 so if an issue is Model 60 or P85 specific please specify in your reply.

Dead 12v battery issues
Pano roof leak
Pano roof open/close issues
Out of alignment rear wheels
FOB not recognized
Paint/Clearcoat defects
Drivetrain clunk
Door handles not presenting/defective
Buffeting due to poor hatch seal
Misaligned stitching on interior
Water leak through rear hatch
Water in tailights
Battery pack failure

Anything else?

I have an August 2013 build and have only had one of the above issues in 17 months - water condensation in tail lights. I've had other issues that you haven't listed, which are best left unsaid if those items are not on your list. You'll be fine.
 

tomas

Out of warranty...
Supporting Member
Oct 22, 2012
4,326
4,246
Santa Barbara/New York
Only the tail light condensation, and it only happens at car wash and evaporates shortly after... truly a nit.

I understand the apprehension these forums can cause. All I can say is this:

* For my last 2 BMWs, when I went to BMW forum to research issues, I found that I had EVERY reported issue at some point. Every problem was epidemic. And, to compound that, BMW does not really fix them. 2nd BMW 7 model years later than first, and BMW STILL has not fixed epidemic issue with air conditioner condensers collecting water and growing mold. And they charge you to flush, which really does nothing to solve problem.
* By contrast, I have experienced very few of the issues reported on this forum over 2+ years of ownership, and have found that Tesla is very quick to correct individual owners problems, and also quick to correct common problems in updates to the car.

Don't worry, it will be great!
 

Zroiron

Poodle Pack Leader
Feb 11, 2014
280
65
Las Vegas
We've had none of these after 17,000 miles and 10 months of grinning!!
So I am anxiously awaiting our mid Feb delivery of an S85. I've been reading through the various forum categories and it kind of freaks me out a little seeing all these issues that seem to be "known". Perhaps the sample size is skewed so I was wondering what some of the more knowledgeable Tesla owners/fanboys thought the chances were of actually getting one of these issues. I have listed issues that I think are frequently reported. Please rate them on a scale 1-10. 1 being no chance and 10 being practically guaranteed to get at delivery or within 2yrs of delivery. I appreciate any participation and please feel free to add issues that you think should be listed. I'm sure I've forgotten something. I've ordered an S85 so if an issue is Model 60 or P85 specific please specify in your reply.

Dead 12v battery issues
Pano roof leak
Pano roof open/close issues
Out of alignment rear wheels
FOB not recognized
Paint/Clearcoat defects
Drivetrain clunk
Door handles not presenting/defective
Buffeting due to poor hatch seal
Misaligned stitching on interior
Water leak through rear hatch
Water in tailights
Battery pack failure

Anything else?
 
Please don't freak out as Telsa Service is setting a new standard of excellence in support of customers by which others are being measured and roundly criticized.

Things happen to all electromechanical things, and all of those things (and more) have been reported, so obviously are possible. The one issue I think just about everyone will experience inside the 4 years 50k miles warranty period at some point is the 12V battery replacement, either prophylactically or because it died. The vampire drain is simply too high and the 12V lead-acid battery gets too many shallow discharge / charge cycles -- even the high quality deep discharge battery Tesla uses simply "wears out" over time. But don't freak out about it.
 

Racerx22b

@unplggdd on Instagram
Nov 17, 2014
916
1,027
West Palm Beach, FL
I guess "freak out" was too strong of a term. Perhaps, "concerned" would've been better. The issue is the car is for my wife and she has minimal tolerance for problems. Especially things she relies on heavily. The iPhone drives her crazy at times. However, this car was her idea and I support it wholeheartedly. I just wanted to know how likely I may encounter any of these issues so I can give her a heads up. No matter how good the service is if she gets stranded somewhere with the car it will take a lot to her to trust the car again. She is not a car person and has driven a CRV for the past 8yrs and it has not provided her with a single hiccup. She strongly prefers Japanese brands because of the high reliability ratings so this is a leap of faith for her and I am hoping all goes well.

Based on these responses I feel it will.
 
P85. past 2 yrs and 22k miles,
door handle issues on one - all 4 replaced promptly and no problems since.
water condensation in taillights- no real problems as it dries quick.
12v battery replaced as a precaution- never had problems.
sunvisor mirror cover hinge broke- replaced on next ranger visit.
Charge port door sticking intermittently- door replaced - no problems since.

Despite everything you see posted on this forum, you will find very few problems with the model S when compared to any other ICE vehicles.
 

ArtInCT

Always Learning
Sep 2, 2014
1,713
435
Southern Connecticut
Racerx22b:
That looks like a nice configuration that you will be getting soon... congratulations.
Perhaps you can report back to this thread one year after your delivery and let us all know what your personal experience has been.
In fact it would be nice to run a thread as a blog of sorts on your car, much like Tesla Living has done.

Lastly, since you are in West Palm Beach, I recon, that if you were to introduce yourself to the Service Center Manager there,
and begin the development of a good relationship with him/her, and present your questions to the SC Manager, well I bet
he or she could fill you in on the history of those documented items and what their local experience has been of late.

Cheers.
 
Last edited:
I think I can reply to your thread with a detailed respone. To be honest, our car has not been perfect, and we have had the following problems:

Dead 12v battery failure (x3) - replaced 3 times
Out of alignment rear wheels - realigned at service center and corrected
Drivetrain clunk - drive unit replaced
Door handles not presenting/defective - door handles updated/replaced
Misaligned stitching on interior and defective dash - replaced
Battery pack failure - main battery pack replaced

Although I agree that I "expect" the car to perform at a high level, and was somewhat concerned with the issues when they occurred, Tesla has been OUTSTANDING for any warranty work. They go above and beyond any other car/truck I have ever owned, including several "premium" brands. They have always done business not in a way that is convenient for them, but rather what has been convenient for us. No fuss. No hastle. I was brought up around cars - my dad was a mechanic then a service manager, and he always taught me that things can go wrong, but repairing them properly and maintaining them properly paid dividends.

With all that has been done to our car, I would not trade it for something else, or hesitate to purchase another. We have an X reservation. The people at both the Tampa and Orlando service centers are great. If something goes wrong, they fix it with minimal to no hastle to me. Some of the people I work with here have Mercedes, BMW and Lexus vehicles, and they all have said that they wish they received the level of service and attention I receive with our Tesla. I have the philosophy that you do not judge something all the time when all is going perfectly, but how something is taken care of if there is a problem. Simply put, Tesla so far has been head and shoulders above their peers.

Good luck with your S85. We have a S85, not a P and love it.
 

AnOutsider

S532 # XS27
Moderator
Apr 3, 2009
11,957
210
Dead 12v battery issues
Pano roof leak
Pano roof open/close issues
Out of alignment rear wheels
FOB not recognized
Paint/Clearcoat defects
Drivetrain clunk
Door handles not presenting/defective
Buffeting due to poor hatch seal
Misaligned stitching on interior
Water leak through rear hatch
Water in tailights
Battery pack failure

I've got an early car, and the items bolded above are what I've had personally (multiple times in some instances). Can't speak for the current cars coming off the line though. I will say though, that Tesla hasn't given me any hassle on getting any of them fixed.
 
It's nice to be in this forum to know some of the issues that's occurring on some MS. But as you know, these issues could get amplified, good and bad, since a lot of folks are chipping in with their experiences.

As for me, I got my P85 from Fremont, CA last Sept when there was a storm. The following day, we found out that we have a pano roof leak. My wife was freaking out but I knew that this issue already existed because of this forum. One call to the service center and they took care of it.

It was our first Tesla car and we have no prior experience with their service. Thanks to TMC community, it validated our positive experience even though we had a minor issue. I know for sure that you will not get a lemon and Tesla will take care of your car if there's any issue.

Enjoy your S85! One of the most beautiful car ever built!
 

dsm363

Roadster + Sig Model S
Moderator
May 17, 2009
18,279
160
Nevada
I guess "freak out" was too strong of a term. Perhaps, "concerned" would've been better. The issue is the car is for my wife and she has minimal tolerance for problems. Especially things she relies on heavily. The iPhone drives her crazy at times. However, this car was her idea and I support it wholeheartedly. I just wanted to know how likely I may encounter any of these issues so I can give her a heads up. No matter how good the service is if she gets stranded somewhere with the car it will take a lot to her to trust the car again. She is not a car person and has driven a CRV for the past 8yrs and it has not provided her with a single hiccup. She strongly prefers Japanese brands because of the high reliability ratings so this is a leap of faith for her and I am hoping all goes well.

Based on these responses I feel it will.

Tesla is still a new company so there is always the chance there could be some issues but as others have said service is excellent. As long as she knows she is still a relative early adopter she should be fine. That said getting stranded somewhere shouldn't be any more likely than a gas car. I'm sure you both will love the car as there's really nothing like it. Best of luck.
 

ChadS

Last tank of gas: March 2009
Jul 16, 2009
3,381
2,822
Redmond, WA
I've been reading through the various forum categories and it kind of freaks me out a little seeing all these issues

Hi Racer. That's very common, understandable and a perfectly valid question to ask. But it is the nature of online car forums.

A week or so ago somebody posted about a problem on this forum, and somebody else said something along the lines of "Not another car with this problem! This has been known for a long time. Tesla really needs to get a handle on this or they are going to be in big trouble." That same day in my Facebook feed were nearly identical sentiments (different wording and issues obviously, but the identical sentiment) in the Leaf and i3 groups, and the next day there was one in the B-class group. I saw things like that almost every week a decade ago when I followed a VW TDI group (my VW stranded me several times; something my Teslas have never done).

Tesla has shipped about 50k cars. Assume 10% have minor issues and 1% have serious issues (not too far from industry averages, though it obviously depends on definitions, measurement methods, etc. I'm just picking simple numbers for illustrative purposes; not claiming these are the actual rates, which nobody but Tesla knows). That's 5k cars with minor and 500 cars with serious issues. Then assume 10% of people with problems post here; not at all unreasonable given the number of people we see with single-digit post numbers describing their problem. We would expect to see 500 posts about minor issues and 50 posts of major issues. If you are just scanning the forums, reading that many negative posts would indeed put many people off. But you can't draw the conclusion that Tesla is worse than anybody else based on that alone.

While there are problems with Consumer Reports' methodology, they are more with absolute numbers than comparative ones and their numbers are WAY better than any information you can extract by browsing online forums. They say that Tesla is pretty average compared to other automakers. While that "average" doesn't tell you a percentage chance of YOU seeing a problem, I think it does indicate that worries about problems you might hit if you buy one specific type of car won't likely be resolved by buying a different car instead. Consumer Reports points out that there used to be big differences between automakers, but the differences are getting much smaller. Tesla's warranty reserves seem to be in line with other automakers. Most importantly, Tesla's owner satisfaction ratings are the best any car has ever received.

Just like with any make of car, most buyers don't have problems. But some people always do, no matter the make. And those people are always upset and let other people know about it. I'm not blaming them; the problems are real and I'd be upset too; and it can be useful to talk online and see how others are resolving issues. I'm just saying that is the nature of problem reporting online, and you simply can't get valuable information about problem rates by reading forums.
 
Last edited:

yobigd20

Well-Known Member
Oct 28, 2012
5,929
540
Skaneateles, NY
Dead 12v battery issues
fixed as all MS now use 12V deep cycle battery, this was usually only an issue with the earlier cars with the older 12V battery. plus there was an early batch that was bad too. (of course there are random rare exceptions)

Pano roof leak
fixed by a TSB, applied at either the factory or service center before delivery.

Pano roof open/close issues
fixed by a TSB, applied at either the factory or service center before delivery.

Out of alignment rear wheels
mostly fixed by a TSB, adjustable rear camber bolts. also some of their alignment machines weren't programmed right, so cars were being delivered out of alignment and realigned improperly during service visits. alignments should be corrected now. might still be susceptible to getting whacked out of alignment though on a good pothole.

FOB not recognized
dunno much about this, they might have added stronger receivers

Paint/Clearcoat defects
THIS is the only one you'll still see. swirls and buffer marks on brand new cars. guessing its done POST factory build by either someone washing the cars at the factory or at the service centers. there could be defects they are trying to correct at the service centers hiring someone that doesn't know how to use a rotary buffer either and isn't using good lighting to see all the damage they are causing. i've never seen a brand new car delivered yet with good paint. easier to see on some colors (black/blue) vs others. I think EVERYONE I know that has a Tesla and in our local clubs has needed a paint correction and a permanent coating to fix it. recommend wrapping it too (XPEL). and yes this is still happening today (not just early owners).

Drivetrain clunk
fixed by a TSB, applied at either the factory or service center before delivery. (shim)

Door handles not presenting/defective
fixed by a TSB, applied at the factory. newer generation door handles (first gen door handles had this issue)

Buffeting due to poor hatch seal
fixed by a TSB, applied at either the factory or service center before delivery.

Misaligned stitching on interior
never heard of this

Water leak through rear hatch
fixed by a TSB, applied at either the factory or service center before delivery.

Water in tailights
fixed by a TSB, applied at either the factory or service center before delivery.

Battery pack failure
rare. random. nothing to worry about really. it's covered by warranty.
 

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