Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

This is why Teslas are totaled so easily

It's called price gouging. I was charged $4500 to have a door replaced. No metal work was done, just paint and hardware swap. My quote from a non-certified shop was $2,000. I know Tesla is working on this problem, but I think they kind of created the problem with their certification program. Growing pains.

This is the correct price for a door. I had two replaced as well at that price, along with a quarter panel. Was the non certified shop going to repair the damage? They couldn't have ordered a new door... if they said they could they'd be lying, Tesla wouldn't ship them one. Thus they'd be trying to uncrinkle a crushed coke can :p

I used to work in the collision estimation space, Tesla chose our platform for exclusivity on damage estimation. The costs are high because of two things:

1.) Tesla makes the parts
2.) It's aluminum, try to un-crush a can and "hammer it out" so it looks like new...

For reference, look at 2015+ ford f150 repair costs. those trucks are totaled like no-ones business because of the all aluminum body and the lower-than-tesla MSRP/residual value.
 
Did they give you a breakdown for labor cost in accordance with the California Bureau of Automative requirements? It's not clear to me that they can charge a different rate depending to the car "type" and if they "can", I would love to see a list of what car falls into what category.

A Consumer's Guide To Automotive Repair In California

I would definetly shop around and flag it with Tesla.
 
A few days back a truck turned in front of me in traffic and dragged the side of his vehicle over the front of mine, ripping off my bumper cover, denting my fender and doing other minor damage. It wasn't the end of the world. I zip tied the bumper back on the car and was on my way. [...]
ouch, sorry to hear about your accident @Mike K. I feel your pain... My car is in the shop right now for almost identical damage :(. Seriously, I don't have pics of mine, but if I photoshopped the car's colour your photo could be mine.

I see from your photo that the plastic bumper cover sheared in same spots as mine, near the vertex of the headlamp and at the little screw hole where it joins the fender bracket. In my case the bumper cover wasn't pulled off quite as far and slightly fewer components damaged than you - only 1 parking sensor damaged, radiator was fine but headlight housing and chrome nosecone-surround cracked. My left fender had no visible dents or scratches but needs replacing because a hidden aluminum tab sheared off underneath, where the bumper cover bracket attaches. Yeah you'd think just bolting on a new fender, no actual aluminum dent repair required, would be cheap and easy, but...

The repair work isn't yet complete, so I don't know the official repair total yet but I heard it's around Cdn$7k (covered by insurance). Note there are only two Tesla approved body shops in town here, both shops specialize in high-end/exotic cars... and I heard the certification process is long so I assume that factors into the cost justification. The shop was able to pre-order most of the parts before my actual repair appointment timeslot a few weeks later, but they didn't discover the cracked headlight until tearing things apart so unfortunately that's added delay. At least they've painted and prepped everything else while waiting for the part. It's a bit frustrating parts have to be ordered directly from Fremont, since there's a Tesla Service Centre just a couple blocks away. Not only that, driving a noisy, gutless, slow-shifting VW Jetta courtesy car while I wait to get my car back is painful!

p.s. I like your zip tie temporary repair. I did something similar but using rectagular slots at edge of the bumper cover and a couple corresponding hidden slots underneath. Zip ties were a bit bulky and stuck out so I cut those off and instead used a length of telepone wire twisted pair and managed to pull the gap tight and still hide the wire in the gap.

good luck with your repair!
 
Thanks for the comments guys. Long post incoming...

I suggest to make Tesla aware of this.

I think Tesla are catching on quickly to excessive repair costs and know this is damaging the brand and hiking insurance costs which the ICE lobby are using negatively against Tesla to hit sales.

I did. Thanks for the link. I agree. It's absurd. And it's not even Tesla's fault.

The shop provided correct information. The repair is $2K, +$9K exotic car surcharge. You know, to hire a mechanic who won't take it for joyride, insure it while at the shop, and just because they can. ;)

My father always told me, car mechanics and dentists, you should always get more than one estimate and if you can find one you trust, you stick with them. Both professions have the opportunity to drain you and/or your insurance company of thousands of dollars for work that is not needed or sometimes not even done. Now, I since learned more about cars to be able to tell when I am being robbed blind, but for dentists, I just have a guy I've trusted for the last 16 years - dreading the day he retires.

PS) replacing the front bumper skin can be done in few hours max, and it's plastic, not aluminum. I've dropped mine and put it back on a couple of times (installing and adjusting radar detector and laser jammers) and managed to do it in less than 3 hrs, including installing extra hardware under the bumper - and I am not a car mechanic by any means, nor do I have the professional garage or tools to do it.

It's a little more extensive than just the bumper skin. The fender would need to be removed and replaced. I have to take a closer look at the radiator support they want to replace and see if it's just superficial damage to that or if it's actually really bad.

Can you post the detailed estimate of what they are doing for the $11k?


Because of Tesla's Approved Body Shop only monopoly nonsense, the few approved body shops can basically charge whatever they want. Plus since most owners are going through insurance anyway, they don't care what it costs.

I care because I feel like it's screwing with insurance rates. I'd like to be at least a little vocal about it so Tesla knows what's going on. There's is no good reason to charge DOUBLE the labor for a Model S. If anything, I would think they'd be a lot easier to work on. And aluminum isn't new. The A8's have been aluminum since 2004.

weird. my rear panel replacement due to being rear ended totaled 18k and had a lot more work involved.
30485238731_b4cc33fcc0_h.jpg

Good god... They would have asked me to mortgage my house if I had quarter panel damage. :)

It's called price gouging. I was charged $4500 to have a door replaced. No metal work was done, just paint and hardware swap. My quote from a non-certified shop was $2,000. I know Tesla is working on this problem, but I think they kind of created the problem with their certification program. Growing pains.

I imagine they were getting a used door because Tesla won't sell them a new door. Oh yeah, speaking of doors... Apparently they are on indefinite backorder. The guy at the shop told me they have an S that's been there for months because they can't get doors for them.

Mostly off-topic, but your wire tie repair reminds me of this which turned-out to be pretty cool (stitches):

I couldn't believe how well it worked out. I made it to my meeting on time too. It was actually quite an accomplishment all things considered. :-D

This is the correct price for a door. I had two replaced as well at that price, along with a quarter panel. Was the non certified shop going to repair the damage? They couldn't have ordered a new door... if they said they could they'd be lying, Tesla wouldn't ship them one. Thus they'd be trying to uncrinkle a crushed coke can :p

I used to work in the collision estimation space, Tesla chose our platform for exclusivity on damage estimation. The costs are high because of two things:

1.) Tesla makes the parts
2.) It's aluminum, try to un-crush a can and "hammer it out" so it looks like new...

For reference, look at 2015+ ford f150 repair costs. those trucks are totaled like no-ones business because of the all aluminum body and the lower-than-tesla MSRP/residual value.

Point 2 I get but point 1 I'd need to challenge. Tesla has among the lowest parts costs in the industry. A bumper cover costs $400. A fender is $300. Regardless, my car has no sheetmetal damage that can not be simply removed and replaced easily. If we were talking quarter panel work where a chunk needs to be cut out and put back in then yes, totally understand the higher costs. This is literally removing and reinstalling very basic parts.

Did they give you a breakdown for labor cost in accordance with the California Bureau of Automative requirements? It's not clear to me that they can charge a different rate depending to the car "type" and if they "can", I would love to see a list of what car falls into what category.

A Consumer's Guide To Automotive Repair In California

I would definetly shop around and flag it with Tesla.

They did. In addition to the comically high labor expenses they add on time for what seems like a bunch of un-needed stuff like resetting the parking sensors, resetting the window switches, etc. Stuff I can't imagine would need to be done even if they're removing 12v power.

ouch, sorry to hear about your accident @Mike K. I feel your pain... My car is in the shop right now for almost identical damage :(. Seriously, I don't have pics of mine, but if I photoshopped the car's colour your photo could be mine.

I see from your photo that the plastic bumper cover sheared in same spots as mine, near the vertex of the headlamp and at the little screw hole where it joins the fender bracket. In my case the bumper cover wasn't pulled off quite as far and slightly fewer components damaged than you - only 1 parking sensor damaged, radiator was fine but headlight housing and chrome nosecone-surround cracked. My left fender had no visible dents or scratches but needs replacing because a hidden aluminum tab sheared off underneath, where the bumper cover bracket attaches. Yeah you'd think just bolting on a new fender, no actual aluminum dent repair required, would be cheap and easy, but...

The repair work isn't yet complete, so I don't know the official repair total yet but I heard it's around Cdn$7k (covered by insurance). Note there are only two Tesla approved body shops in town here, both shops specialize in high-end/exotic cars... and I heard the certification process is long so I assume that factors into the cost justification. The shop was able to pre-order most of the parts before my actual repair appointment timeslot a few weeks later, but they didn't discover the cracked headlight until tearing things apart so unfortunately that's added delay. At least they've painted and prepped everything else while waiting for the part. It's a bit frustrating parts have to be ordered directly from Fremont, since there's a Tesla Service Centre just a couple blocks away. Not only that, driving a noisy, gutless, slow-shifting VW Jetta courtesy car while I wait to get my car back is painful!

p.s. I like your zip tie temporary repair. I did something similar but using rectagular slots at edge of the bumper cover and a couple corresponding hidden slots underneath. Zip ties were a bit bulky and stuck out so I cut those off and instead used a length of telepone wire twisted pair and managed to pull the gap tight and still hide the wire in the gap.

good luck with your repair!

Sorry to hear. I'm tempted to take the fender off and do a full assessment of what's bad. And I'm surprised at how well the wire tie repair is holding up. Might have to due for awhile too. The body shop says 2 - 3 weeks for the work after they get the parts.

I damaged the front bumper and turning light of my 2013 Prius.
The replacement (non OEM), primed and ready for painting bumper cost $80 shipped, the light housing $30, and paint $20.

It was trivial to DIY repair and I hope the Model 3 heads down the same path. No exotics for me.

Yeah I mean that's the thing. Tesla isn't quite that cheap but the parts themselves are still quite inexpensive.
 
I just had to go through exactly same thing. Front bumper damage that happened whiteout my knowledge. It's a long story of what could've happened but anyway assume someone hit in parking lot or similar. Looked pretty small damage to front bumper cover plus a scratch on the door.

Just got the car back after repairs - almost $11k. I can pull up itemized list if interested. This was pretty eye opening experience. I was shocked it was > $3k. Picked up by insurance-deductible, but still.
 
@Mike K How badly damaged is the radiator support? Replacing the radiator support is rather involved and a certified shop may not be willing to try just 'get by' with the repair. Certified shops should aim to bring the car back to manufacture's specs, which isn't always the most cost efficient way to repair a car. Returning the car to OEM spec certainly isn't the most cost efficient way of restoring the aesthetics of a car.

If the radiator support needs to be replaced, $11k to repair is within the ballpark (per Tesla's estimation system).

To be clear, we cannot tell what the exact repairs are required by the picture and description in this post. We are merely offering some color on a potential scenario.

Hope that you're back on the road (sans zip ties) soon!
 
This is the correct price for a door. I had two replaced as well at that price, along with a quarter panel. Was the non certified shop going to repair the damage? They couldn't have ordered a new door... if they said they could they'd be lying, Tesla wouldn't ship them one. Thus they'd be trying to uncrinkle a crushed coke can :p

I used to work in the collision estimation space, Tesla chose our platform for exclusivity on damage estimation. The costs are high because of two things:

1.) Tesla makes the parts
2.) It's aluminum, try to un-crush a can and "hammer it out" so it looks like new...

For reference, look at 2015+ ford f150 repair costs. those trucks are totaled like no-ones business because of the all aluminum body and the lower-than-tesla MSRP/residual value.
When I called my local Tesla service center I was told that Tesla would sell parts to uncertified shops as long as it wasn't for a structural repair. That doesn't mean it's true, but that is what I was told.

The labor rate charged by the certified shops to work on Teslas is over twice the amount they charge to work on other cars. I call that price gouging. The insurance company, of the at fault party, still owes me over $1,300 that I had to pay out of pocket to get my car back.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: SageBrush
@Mike K How badly damaged is the radiator support? Replacing the radiator support is rather involved and a certified shop may not be willing to try just 'get by' with the repair. Certified shops should aim to bring the car back to manufacture's specs, which isn't always the most cost efficient way to repair a car. Returning the car to OEM spec certainly isn't the most cost efficient way of restoring the aesthetics of a car.

If the radiator support needs to be replaced, $11k to repair is within the ballpark (per Tesla's estimation system).

To be clear, we cannot tell what the exact repairs are required by the picture and description in this post. We are merely offering some color on a potential scenario.

Hope that you're back on the road (sans zip ties) soon!

Thanks for the response. I just took a look at the radiator support and one of the ears that the wheel well liner tabs lock into is broken off. If it were me fixing it I'd just live with it and go on with life but I understand you can't make that kind of decision as a body shop doing insurance work nor would you want to since it's insurance work. There's no incentive for you to save money whereas there would be for someone that say bought the car and is trying to fix and flip it. So yes, officially it needs to be replaced but it probably doesn't need to be replaced if you know what I'm saying... :-D

That said, I'm not necessarily saying that they're gouging me though I do find it questionable that a shop charges double the labor rate just because it's a Tesla and I have a feeling that once the certification requirements open up to other shops that rate is going to drop pretty quickly. There's just no reason to be charging double labor on a car like this.

You kind of allude to my point though. Bringing a car back to 100% manufacture specs isn't necessarily required to make the car perfectly fine but it would be required by insurance. In this case the car would be fine without that single wheel well tab and that would save someone hours of labor and the cost of the part. So in that sense, someone could buy a salvage car, fix it well, though not to 100% original spec, and have it be fine at a fraction of the cost.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DC Autocraft
When I called my local Tesla service center I was told that Tesla would sell parts to uncertified shops as long as it wasn't for a structural repair. That doesn't mean it's true, but that is what I was told.

You know what... you're absolutely right. My old service writer at Burbank got me a new LED headlight when they came out and the facelift bumper cover without issue. So not only do you not have to be a certified body shop, you don't need to be a body shop at all.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: SageBrush
The estimate is not gouging. Post the detailed estimate you got from your certified shop. Here's Mine. Granted, it included some rear damage which ran up the total. But what I am showing is the bumper based damage and underlying fixes needed. Total up the parts cost and double it for labor, then add 10% for "misc".

This is from my car's repair at Brooks Motors in Fremont. About a mile from the factory, and Tesla uses this shop for repairs, it's where Elon takes his I have heard.

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 4.11.05 PM.png

continues
Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 4.11.19 PM.png


And finally the cost. ignore the totals, pay attention to part vs. labor cost.
Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 4.16.21 PM.png
 
  • Like
Reactions: DC Autocraft
And finally the cost. ignore the totals, pay attention to part vs. labor cost.

Interesting. My invoice has pretty much the opposite ratio.

Total Parts : $2,799
Total Labor: 48.9 Hours -> $6,425
+ tax ...
Net Total: $10,258
:eek::mad:

I didn't feel like arguing and wanted the car fixed quickly. Shop came highly recommended locally and others are much further away. Also the insurance company agreed to the bill, so I said fine...
 
  • Like
Reactions: DC Autocraft
The estimate is not gouging. Post the detailed estimate you got from your certified shop. Here's Mine. Granted, it included some rear damage which ran up the total. But what I am showing is the bumper based damage and underlying fixes needed. Total up the parts cost and double it for labor, then add 10% for "misc".

I don't think posting that invoice is proving the point you think it is. In fact, if before I was on the fence about being over-charged, your repair bill all but confirms it.

First, you appear to have a much longer parts list than I do. You've got an extra headlight to the tune of $800, many more trim pieces at several hundred dollars each, an active vent and you say you had some work done to the rear of the car as well? So you appear to have had more damage than me, required more components to be replaced than me and had additional work done on the rear of the car, still for less money.

And your labor cost on that bill is $40 per hour to the tune of 21.8 hours. My car with apparently less damage (going off your bill alone) is 40 hours at... Wait for it... $125 an hour. So, not sure what point you were hoping to drive home with that invoice but it only appears to prove that more extensive repairs requiring thousands of dollars more in parts can be done for less money than my estimate.

Maybe $125 an hour is the going rate in LA. Who knows. And to be clear, I didn't come into this post thinking I had been price gouged but the more some people post the more I wonder. And the invoice you posted sure doesn't help things.
 
Last edited:
And your labor cost on that bill is $40 per hour to the tune of 21.8 hours. My car with apparently less damage (going off your bill alone) is 40 hours at... Wait for it... $125 an hour. So, not sure what point you were hoping to drive home with that invoice but it only appears to prove that more extensive repairs requiring thousands of dollars more in parts can be done for less money than my estimate.

Maybe $125 an hour is the going rate in LA. Who knows.

Seems in-line with my invoice, which doesn't mean it's what it should be...
 
On the used market I could pick up everything for about $1000, pay a shop $700 to paint it and have it looking like new and I'm not even in the body repair industry. All the parts in need of replacement are simple to remove and re-install. This would not be a half assed repair. Since we've now got years of used Teslas around, one could theoretically find used, same color body panels and skip the paint work altogether, potentially getting out the door for a full repair at a cost of about $1000. Would the panels match exactly? LIkely they'd be close enough, depending on the environment the donor car was in, that all but the most discerning of people wouldn't be able to pick out a difference in the shade of color.

I was rear ended and suffered much more damage than yours. The lift gate and rear lower panel will have to be replaced, involving structural repairs. My estimate? $8,000. I think you are being ripped off. If this is a Tesla approved shop they should loose the privilege,
 
A few days back a truck turned in front of me in traffic and dragged the side of his vehicle over the front of mine, ripping off my bumper cover, denting my fender and doing other minor damage. It wasn't the end of the world. I zip tied the bumper back on the car and was on my way.

Today I went to get a quote from a Tesla certified body shop. The quote came back as... wait for it.... $10,900. Eleven THOUSAND dollars. I wasn't expecting it to be cheap but $11,000? Holy hell.

I had similar incident with my MS, my wife while backing into the driveway clipped a rock wall and ended up pulling the front bumper part way off. Fenders and hood seemed fine; seemed like less damage too based on your photos.

I too zip-tied it up, and thought it's probably going to be about $1000 to repair... Geico originally estimated the repair at $1500. I brought it to a Tesla certified body shop who stated it would be closer to $6k. Then we found out a very small mounting bracket on the radiator support got cracked and "couldn't be repaired". I got the car back last week. Final repair was $13,500.

There seems to be a lot of gouging going on here, Tesla and their body shops... and we'll be paying for it with higher rates.

At least this helped me on my decision whether to go forward on my 3 reservation... I'm going to ask for my deposit back. TCO on Tesla's was already too high and it's getting worse instead of better.

I'll get a Bolt.
 
Sorry to hear. I'm tempted to take the fender off and do a full assessment of what's bad. And I'm surprised at how well the wire tie repair is holding up. Might have to due for awhile too. The body shop says 2 - 3 weeks for the work after they get the parts.
just got my car back. It was in the shop 8 business days - probably half of that waiting for the headlight to arrive from Fremont - that after all other parts rec'd before bringing the car in. So probably worth taking the car apart to assess all required parts before starting the repair, to avoid parts delays. My total before taxes C$5.8k (parts were 55% of that). Interestingly the most expensive part was headlight assy (C$1185!). Next most expensive was front fender C$451.
 

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