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Tesla Mud Flaps / Paint Protection Kit

Discussion in 'Canada' started by int32_t, Dec 31, 2019.

  1. int32_t

    int32_t Tesla Spotter

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    Tesla’s mud flaps are available free of charge as a DIY kit. News to you? I happened across an article on Electrek—that's the only reason I know. Tesla didn't reach out to tell me. (Just the facts, not implying anything.) Here's the finished product:

    IMG_2549.JPG

    Apparently Tesla will install them for you if you prefer, but will charge for shop time. I chose to do it myself, and followed the service advisor’s suggestion to cut the rubber portion of the splash guards shorter, as they hang low. My dad helped me through the whole process, and an extra pair of hands definitely sped it up! Even so, it took about an hour and a half start to finish.

    Before I get started, I'll clarify some nomenclature. There are two parts: the basic retrofit, which Tesla calls the “mud flap," which protects the paint. It's a robust moulded plastic part which bolts into the inside of the front wheel well (x2) and into the underside of the rocker panel (x1).The optional mud flap is a thick, flat piece of slightly flexible rubber, which adheres to the plastic portion with double-sided tape, and shares the same two bolts in the front wheel well. This part Tesla confusingly calls a “splash guard.” This is the terminology I’ll use, but remember, the mud flap doesn’t flap (it’s plastic) and the splash guard is rubber. Whatever.

    Tesla provided instructions, two loose mud flaps, hardware in a sealed pouch, and a pair of splash guards in a ziplock bag.

    Tools required:
    • 10 mm hex socket (outer diameter must be small enough to fit in rearward hole in mud flap)
    • Knife
    • Philips screwdriver with a perfect fit and a blunt tip (the wrong size/shape will only make your job more difficult, which you don’t need while kneeling on grit trying to get the bolts to thread correctly)
    • Flathead screwdriver (thin but wide blade ideal) or robust blade for prying
    • Cat’s-paw
    • Vice-Grips
    • Light, lots of light (I used a plug-in trouble light, at least 800 lumens, 60W equivalent)
    • Assistant, particularly if you need somebody to hold the light!
    • Scrap foam or cardboard to kneel on and rest elbows on
    • Bottle of water and a towel for light cleaning immediately before install
    If you’re cutting the splash guards, you'll also need:
    • Ruler/straightedge (only needed if cutting rubber mud flap)
    • Sharp shears

    First I stopped at a car wash and spent $2 on a high-pressure rinse to remove the majority of the road gunk from the front wheel wells. Then I borrowed a spot in a friend's underground parking garage because, well, it's cold, wet, and dirty outside.

    Turn the wheels to the left lock—you’ll need all the space you can get.

    Preparing the installation area
    The push clips in the wheel arch liner are easy to remove. Insert a flathead screwdriver or similar pry tool into the slot in one side, wiggle (not much will happen), the opposite slot, wiggle, and the clip will make its way out with minimal trouble.

    Open the access cover under the rocker panel and remove the bolt and its attached washer. Aside: the washer is captive on the bolt. Tesla provides an almost identical bolt in the kit, which is just a couple mm longer and has no washer. I surmised the only reason they provide a new bolt is due to the captive washer, which makes the head of the old bolt too large to fit into the mud flap.

    Tesla recommends gloves for this step. I didn’t wear any and didn’t feel like I really needed them, but you didn’t hear that from me. Cut (yes, cut off a part on your >$45k car) the plastic door off the rocker panel. It’s all one plastic piece, and the moulded hinge is thin. I easily cut it with three strokes of minimal pressure.

    Modifying the splash guards
    As the unmodified splash guards hang quite close to the ground, I decided to bisect the hanging portion, removing about 1.25 inches of material.

    IMG_2535.JPG

    IMG_2534.JPG

    After cutting, I used the discarded material as a guide to round the corners. It’s rough, but you can’t tell from the street, and it looks way better than right angles.

    IMG_2541.JPG

    IMG_2542.JPG

    The mud flap fits inside the splash guard, which has fingers along the top to maintain alignment.

    IMG_2543.JPG

    To adhere the splash guard to the mud flap, I first put the two pieces together, then flexed the mudflap upward, removed the release liners on the adhesive, and pressed the two parts together firmly.

    IMG_2544.JPG

    This single unit I then bolted to the car in the following steps.

    Installing the mud flaps
    Installation differs between 1st and 2nd generation kits. 1st-gen kits have bolts for the wheel arch liners, whereas 2nd-gen kits have push clips instead. I have a 1st-gen kit.

    The wheel arch liner is fitted inside the bodywork panels on the car. I pried it out using a cat’s-paw from the bottom, flexing it outward until the plastic wheel arch liner popped loose from the bottom. Once out, I was able to clip the U-nuts (which the bolts thread into) onto the plastic rocker panel inside. Be careful not to lose the U-nuts inside the car somewhere. It would be hard to fish them out again! (They're ferrous, so a magnet may assist retrieval.)

    I verified the U-nuts were aligned with the holes in the rocker panel and wheel arch liner by threading a bolt into the U-nuts. Then I snapped the wheel arch liner back where it came from. This required flexing/arching it with the cat's-paw, as if I was trying to remove it, while pressing it back into place.

    There is not much room to tighten the inboard bolt! I used a short Philips screwdriver bit and Vice-Grips as shown.

    IMG_2546.JPG

    The finished product:

    IMG_2553 copy.jpg
     
    • Informative x 7
    • Like x 1
  2. N.Y.R.

    N.Y.R. Member

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    Great pics but seems about 100 times the effort than the Amazon generic ones you can buy. Literally snap in and they even give you the plastic screws. Look better as well, IMO.
     
  3. int32_t

    int32_t Tesla Spotter

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    Haha yeah, it wasn't quite as simple as I expected. It's not difficult though, just time-consuming. At least it has the Official Blessing of Tesla and is supposed to save my paint. :)

    Elsewhere on here I read about some kinds of 3rd-party mud flaps that crack or break, so the Amazon world is buyer beware and I'd do it on recommendation only myself.
     
  4. coolmanfever

    coolmanfever Member

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    Looks good but seem lots of work. How much does tesla service quote you for installation ?
     
  5. shayshay

    shayshay New Member

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    I have mobile service appointment scheduled for tomorrow. Tech will come with the kit and install at my workplace - all for under $30. I'll take that any day. Hopefully, the flaps are durable. Will post the picture once job is complete
     
  6. Grinsta

    Grinsta Member

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    Yes! Let us know how you make out. Also, is there any drilling into the metal or the frame, or are the screws only into the plastic?

    Thanks,
     
  7. Blu-Ion

    Blu-Ion Member

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    So can you install the Mud Flap only (without splash guard)?
     
  8. int32_t

    int32_t Tesla Spotter

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    #8 int32_t, Jan 2, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2020
    I didn't ask. If it really is $30 for the install as @shayshay says, I … still would have done it myself. It was kinda fun working on my car! Also, I found a missing clip while I was under there, which is cause for concern. About to follow up with Tesla about that.

    There's no drilling required. I didn't take a pic of this part, but on the 1st gen kit there are metal clips, basically nuts with a retaining clip attached to them, that clip to a plastic part behind the wheel arch liner. The bolts then thread into these nuts. On the 2nd gen kit, there are two push clips that simply slide into these holes, requiring much less effort—no clip nuts to install, no bolts to thread.

    Yes, the splash guards are totally optional. As a resident of rural Alberta with gravel on the roads, gravel roads, and no shortage of stuff for the tires to throw at the paint, I thought I'd do both mud flaps and splash guards.
     
    • Like x 1
  9. Nomad2006

    Nomad2006 Member

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    I stopped by the Oakville SC yesterday - no mud flaps for old cars yet, they are still holding them back for any new cars that come without the flaps. They said to check back at the end of the month. Should have them on just in time for the end of winter...
     
  10. coolmanfever

    coolmanfever Member

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    I checked with toronto service Lawrence location when I bought in for some paint touch up. They told me mud flap will be available for pick up sometimes end of Jan
     
  11. realtycoon

    realtycoon Member

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    I just got an email blast saying they are available for pick up. Anyone else get the email?
     
  12. antoinearnau

    antoinearnau Active Member

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    I just did too, the French form ! :)
     
  13. ccudmore

    ccudmore Member

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    I received the email this morning. Does this mean we can just drop into a service centre and pick up a kit? The link included in the email message just had winter driving tips and didn't have any more info about the kits.
     
  14. m4eyyz

    m4eyyz Member

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    Lawrence has these in stock now. Just picked them up. I should have read this tutorial before saying I’d do it myself. I may just hold onto them until spring and have them installed with a caliber/brake service when flipping to the summer tires.
     
  15. Blu-Ion

    Blu-Ion Member

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    Just received email saying that I can pick up at local service centre

    :You can now pick up your All-Weather Protection Kit from a Service Center near you. In certain regions where heavy salt, sand, or gravel is used to improve winter road conditions, we’re providing the All-Weather Protection Kit to help protect your paint from stone chips — at no cost. Instructions for self-installation are included."
     
  16. GooseSerbus

    GooseSerbus Member

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    Location:
    Montreal QC
    Got the same email, might have to head to the Montreal service center at some point.
     
  17. martind3

    martind3 Member

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    Anyone know if you can schedule an install with mobile service or just in the SC?
     
  18. Lon12

    Lon12 Member

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    Picked mine up in Calgary today.
     
  19. MaRH

    MaRH Member

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    Toronto
    Got the email this morning and dropped by at Toronto Lawrence SC on my way home. They have a lot to pick up and will charge $35 for installation. No appointment needed, however it's only between 8am to 3:30pm.
     
    • Informative x 2
  20. thesteve

    thesteve Member

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    Location:
    Toronto, canada
    anyone know what the instructions are? Just want to decide between self install and having them do it
     

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