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Service charging for cleaning inside body frame? Gravel Road issues?

Digitallogik

Member
Oct 17, 2019
7
0
Michigan
I recently brought my Model S(still under warranty) in for a low coolent error. We live on a gravel road so unfortunately it is part of life to have the car dirty. We just give it a wash every week or so to keep it clean.

Just brought the vehicle in for service and it seems the service center is wanting to charge me additional to clean inside the body of the vehicle(not just the exterior) as apparently there is dirt and debris inside, including covering the condenser fans. They say they cannot find the source of the leak because of the amount of dirt inside(not the passenger compartment) the vehicle. They haven't found the source of the potential leak yet.



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Speaking with them, they claim this isn't part of the warranty coverage and even if the leak was due to a warrenty part, I'm still responsible for the additional cleaning. I've never had a vehicle that has required additional vehicle component cleaning and fees from a service center to diagnose an issue before they will move forward to diagnose. I have no choice to accept the quote for now or they won't service the vehicle.

I'm wondering how normal this is? Have others had this issue? What would you do?

Is the Model S not intended/designed to be driven on gravel roads?
 

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JimBob 909

Little Red Raven
Sep 16, 2019
90
53
Southern California
I would take this opportunity to ask them what to clean regularly, and look at the $175.00 as a cost of schooling. In a harsh environment such as gravel roads i would expect more than "just a wash every week or so" for any car. You've never had a vehicle that required additional vehicle component cleaning, but I'm sure a Tesla has systems you old ICE cars don't have to cool the batteries.
 

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
8,808
7,620
Visalia, CA
...Is the Model S not intended/designed to be driven on gravel roads?

The warranty treats Tesla's cars as if they should be pampered for a nice perfect road only because of the exclusions:

".Driving off-road (applies only to Model S and Model 3);
.Driving over uneven, rough, damaged or hazardous surfaces, including but not limited to, curbs, potholes, unfinished roads, debris, or other obstacles, or in competition, racing or autocross or for any other purposes for which the vehicle is not designed;"

https://www.tesla.com/sites/default/files/downloads/Model_3_New_Vehicle_Limited_Warranty_NA_en.pdf
 
  • Informative
Reactions: croman and rickyjb

Big Earl

bnkwupt
Jul 12, 2017
5,322
9,847
Springfield, VA
Leaks can be difficult to track down when there is a lot of dirt or mud caked on the components. In order to properly diagnose and repair, the car needs to be cleaned. If you took an ICE car to a shop for an oil leak, but the engine was caked in dirt, they would charge you to steam clean it; same situation here. In your case Tesla might put the car up on a lift, remove the plastic belly pan and pressure wash the undercarriage.
 

Digitallogik

Member
Oct 17, 2019
7
0
Michigan
The warranty treats Tesla's cars as if they should be pampered for a nice perfect road only because of the exclusions:

".Driving off-road (applies only to Model S and Model 3);
.Driving over uneven, rough, damaged or hazardous surfaces, including but not limited to, curbs, potholes, unfinished roads, debris, or other obstacles, or in competition, racing or autocross or for any other purposes for which the vehicle is not designed;"

https://www.tesla.com/sites/default/files/downloads/Model_3_New_Vehicle_Limited_Warranty_NA_en.pdf

Thanks for pointing this out. Certainly haven't driven it offroad. The only thing that sticks out here is the mention of unfinished roads, but it is unclear if it means unpaved roads..... My understanding is that my roads are "finished" and maintained just not paved.

I will definitally ask them what I should be cleaning differently, If I need to do additional cleaning thats fine. It sounds like this is one of those conditions that Tesla didn't plan/design for, but also doesn't specifically exclude, as it would not allow for driving the cars on 35% of american roads.

Waiting on my CT, but would really prefer keep my Model S and not be forced to move to another brand becuase of this limitation.
 

Digitallogik

Member
Oct 17, 2019
7
0
Michigan
Leaks can be difficult to track down when there is a lot of dirt or mud caked on the components. In order to properly diagnose and repair, the car needs to be cleaned. If you took an ICE car to a shop for an oil leak, but the engine was caked in dirt, they would charge you to steam clean it; same situation here. In your case Tesla might put the car up on a lift, remove the plastic belly pan and pressure wash the undercarriage.

I think about this as a step that must be done to diagnose the issue regardless, not sure why it is unique to my case and is included as an additional charge...wouldn't any vehicle have the same issue? Suppose I'll move ahead and see what they discover the root of the problem is.
 

AMPd

Active Member
Nov 27, 2012
4,465
3,738
Northern California
Leaks can be difficult to track down when there is a lot of dirt or mud caked on the components. In order to properly diagnose and repair, the car needs to be cleaned. If you took an ICE car to a shop for an oil leak, but the engine was caked in dirt, they would charge you to steam clean it; same situation here. In your case Tesla might put the car up on a lift, remove the plastic belly pan and pressure wash the undercarriage.
Interesting you say that because my oil cooler hose on a bmw was leaking pretty bad and by the time I got to the dealer the entire front end behind the bumper was covered in oil, no charge to clean it. In fact they even cleaned the wheels. Picked the car up all nice and shiny
 

FatherTo1

Member
Mar 7, 2019
758
609
California
I would ask them to show you how bad the undercarriage is. There is so much cladding and panels to ensure smooth airflow under the car that I wonder how dirty the components really are. What is their method of cleaning it? By looking at the repair manual, wouldn’t they be able to at least narrow down the most likely origins for a leak (especially since the techs know the car better than we do)?
 
Mar 25, 2013
623
559
Key West, FL
The warranty treats Tesla's cars as if they should be pampered for a nice perfect road only because of the exclusions:

".Driving off-road (applies only to Model S and Model 3);
.Driving over uneven, rough, damaged or hazardous surfaces, including but not limited to, curbs, potholes, unfinished roads, debris, or other obstacles, or in competition, racing or autocross or for any other purposes for which the vehicle is not designed;"

https://www.tesla.com/sites/default/files/downloads/Model_3_New_Vehicle_Limited_Warranty_NA_en.pdf

This is so ridiculous. It's far from uncommon to see daily traveled roads that are "uneven, rough, damaged, has potholes, debris,....". Pretty much par for the course with other vehicles on the road today. Tesla doesn't want you to drive in those situations. Such blatant CYA verbiage. If one has to avoid all that, then might as well not have the car at all.
 

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
8,808
7,620
Visalia, CA
...Such blatant CYA verbiage...

Indeed!

Tesla has not been complaining about "competition, racing or autocross" but it even discusses it as if it's encouraging such activities with improved acceleration, performance, ludicrous mode...

The warranty language is there when someday it can cite it a reason to deny warranty once people are hooked to performance, ludicrous mode.
 

croman

Active Member
Nov 21, 2016
4,724
6,714
Chicago, IL
Interesting you say that because my oil cooler hose on a bmw was leaking pretty bad and by the time I got to the dealer the entire front end behind the bumper was covered in oil, no charge to clean it. In fact they even cleaned the wheels. Picked the car up all nice and shiny

You spilled nasty petrochemicals. That's cost enough that you're passing on to everyone.
 

jeremymc7

Active Member
Feb 3, 2013
1,308
581
U.S.
Exactly. I was just going to post that video as well. He also states that he thinks (maybe) it's been fixed in newer 3's to avoid as much collecting.

But yeah, I would except you're going to get buildup in inside the pans quite easily when driving regularly in muddy / rocky areas.
 

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