Tesla owner refuses to pay over $21,000 for a new battery, gets locked out of his car

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midian182

Posts: 8,152   +97
Staff member
WTF?! A Tesla owner has seen his TikTok video about the car's apparent shortcomings go viral. Mario Zelaya said that he had been locked out of his Tesla Model S after the battery died, which would have cost him $21,000 to replace.

Zelaya, who lives in Toronto, Canada, said he paid $140,000 (Canadian) for the brand-new car back in 2013. According to Elon Musk, the batteries in these cards are designed to run for 300,000 to 500,000 miles or about 21 to 25 years before they have to be replaced. But Zelaya's EV needed a new one after just 77,000 miles.

Zelaya said the problem is that some 2013 and 2014 Tesla Model S vehicles had an issue in which fluid from the air conditioning system's drainage hose dripped onto the battery, causing it to rust—technicians at the Transport Canada regulatory agency confirmed this was why his battery died.

Zelaya took the car to Tesla after a "high voltage battery" warning message appeared, only to be told the warranty didn't cover it. He asked for a free battery, but the request was refused, leaving him with the option of paying over $21,000 for a replacement or selling the car.

@supermariozelaya Replying to @Mario Zelaya Here's an update and some clarifications on my dead ' Tesla. Also, someone is buying it tomorrow for $19K and is taking on the responsibility of opening up the car. I got 85 messages on FB Marketplace on it .... Guess I'm selling it for cheap? #tesla #car ♬ original sound - Mario Zelaya

With the battery dead, Zelaya could not access the vehicle or even get to the ownership documents inside. He says it would not respond to a charge, either. "This is why you should never buy a Tesla, people," he said in the video.

The owner believes the leaking and rusting started when the car was in the warranty period. Zelaya also claims that Tesla canceled his Uber credits, which were received when he went to get the car serviced, after he kept asking why the car needed a new battery.

Zelaya acknowledges that he could have accessed the Tesla by removing the front bumper or going in through the tire well but "didn't have time for that."

The situation ended when Zelaya sold the car after paying $30 for new ownership documents. It seems the new owner did find time to remove the bumper to gain access.

It seems unlikely that Zelaya will return to the car brand in the future: "I'll never buy another Tesla again," he said. "That's the long way of me saying stay the f**k away from Teslas. They're brutal cars, brutal manufacturing, and even worse, they're a 10-year-old company."

Last year, a Finnish man teamed up with a YouTube explosives channel to blow up his 2013 Tesla Model S after discovering he would have a buy a $22,600 battery because it had "outlasted its 8-year warranty."

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Endymio

Posts: 1,824   +1,891
I first read this story a couple weeks ago, and I'm still struck by this snowflake -- whose identifies himself as "Mario Zelaya, a Canadian ax-thrower and entrepreneur" -- incredible sense of entitlement. The car is 10 years old, meaning the battery lasted double its warranty period. Yet he drove it to the shop demanding a free one? And the only reason he wound up "locked out" of the vehicle was that he ignored the battery warning signal for months, until it failed entirely.
 

Ludak021

Posts: 736   +560
I first read this story a couple weeks ago, and I'm still struck by this snowflake -- whose identifies himself as "Mario Zelaya, a Canadian ax-thrower and entrepreneur" -- incredible sense of entitlement. The car is 10 years old, meaning the battery lasted double its warranty period. Yet he drove it to the shop demanding a free one? And the only reason he wound up "locked out" of the vehicle was that he ignored the battery warning signal for months, until it failed entirely.

The only reason he got locked out of HIS car is because Musk is a thief.
edit: I agree with the rest of the points you made.
 

havok585

Posts: 287   +151
I first read this story a couple weeks ago, and I'm still struck by this snowflake -- whose identifies himself as "Mario Zelaya, a Canadian ax-thrower and entrepreneur" -- incredible sense of entitlement. The car is 10 years old, meaning the battery lasted double its warranty period. Yet he drove it to the shop demanding a free one? And the only reason he wound up "locked out" of the vehicle was that he ignored the battery warning signal for months, until it failed entirely.
It seems you have problems with reading comprehension.

The whole thing in the article got explained but it flew right above your head.
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 761   +1,202
It seems to me he has two options. The first is pay $21k for a 9 year old car to get probably another 9 years of life out of it. As he said this is a $140k high-end luxury car so it sometimes has expensive repairs. The other option is to go to a third party shop to try to get the battery repaired instead of replaced. They do exist.
 
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Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 761   +1,202
Dear Author.

Please add Metric units if you would be so kind. Only the Americans use imperial system and maybe one or 2 other tiny nations.

Thank you
Learn how to convert them yourself, math is important and it’s not hard. 77k mi/0.62 = 124k km.

The batteries for these older Teslas have an 8 year warranty (no mileage limit included), so it seems he got unlucky.
 

Nobina

Posts: 3,881   +4,387
Lmao, people here think a car should only last as long as its warranty. Cars from the early 00s still run today while newer ones are either too expensive to maintain or they just break down. Not surprised. Every Tesla owner should get locked out of their car just so they buy another one.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 9,088   +8,125
What we really need is a 3rd party maker of batteries. Since the Tesla warranty is basically worthless, breaking it won't be an issue and once one company makes Tesla compatible devices, more will follow. Since Tesla doesn't patent his products (he actually brags about this), nothing stops somebody from coming in behind him and taking out patent's that Tesla will have to follow .....
 

terzaerian

Posts: 1,488   +2,200
Zelaya said the problem is that some 2013 and 2014 Tesla Model S vehicles had an issue in which fluid from the air conditioning system's drainage hose dripped onto the battery, causing it to rust

Once again, Californicated Engineering at work. This is the exact issue my car had with its engine cradle - a stupidly placed air conditioning drainage basically eroded the thing out from under my car. Who needs AC when you live in a temperate monoclimate, after all? All those *peasants* living everywhere else just have to make do.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,824   +1,891
It seems you have problems with reading comprehension.

The whole thing in the article got explained but it flew right above your head.
The "whole thing in the article" is exactly what I stated. An out-of-warranty battery died in a ten-year old vehicle; the owner attempted a lengthy, strained justification as to why he deserved special treatment, and continued to ignore the car's warning signals until the electric locks would no longer function.

And in response to your reading comprehension insult, I'll challenge you to develop some critical thinking skills. Musk states the batteries on *current* Tesla models are estimated to last 300-500K miles, but the 2013 Tesla was warranted for 4 years/50K miles. This owner states "he believes" corrosion may have begun when the car was still under warranty. So? All vehicles begin to corrode the moment they're driven off the factory floor -- which is why no manufacturer will replace a part until it actually exhibits signs of failure.

This man has nothing to complain about. I once had a visor hinge on my Lexus fail less than six months after the warranty ended -- a part that should have lasted many decades. I wasn't happy when the dealer charged me to replace it ... but I didn't go crying to the media about it.
 

sreams

Posts: 324   +464
This is why you don't want a remotely controlled computer that controls your entire car.

This comment shows exactly how effective clickbait titles are. Tesla, or remote control of any kind, did not lock him out of his car. The door releases require 12V power (not from the main pack, but from a typical 12V car battery, which his car also has) to operate. The same thing happens in a Porsche 996 if the 12V battery dies. You can't open the front trunk to access that battery without applying power to leads near the driver's leg. Not a big deal, but the article implies that Tesla disabled his access to the car because they didn't like him or something. That simply isn't what happened here.
 

maxxcool7421

Posts: 159   +268
I first read this story a couple weeks ago, and I'm still struck by this snowflake -- whose identifies himself as "Mario Zelaya, a Canadian ax-thrower and entrepreneur" -- incredible sense of entitlement. The car is 10 years old, meaning the battery lasted double its warranty period. Yet he drove it to the shop demanding a free one? And the only reason he wound up "locked out" of the vehicle was that he ignored the battery warning signal for months, until it failed entirely.

yyyyuuuuuuuuuuuuuppp...

"I demand free food as my food I did not eat spoiled in my fridge!!!!! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!"
 

someOtherGuy

Posts: 39   +24
This comment shows exactly how effective clickbait titles are. Tesla, or remote control of any kind, did not lock him out of his car. The door releases require 12V power (not from the main pack, but from a typical 12V car battery, which his car also has) to operate. The same thing happens in a Porsche 996 if the 12V battery dies. You can't open the front trunk to access that battery without applying power to leads near the driver's leg. Not a big deal, but the article implies that Tesla disabled his access to the car because they didn't like him or something. That simply isn't what happened here.

That's fair, and that's why is crazy to have "tech only" methods in your car, unless you don't care: since you have a Porsche or a BMW you'll probably "get it fixed" by someone else and use other kind of transportation in the meantime (probably a loaned Porsche or BMW). Most regular "electronic" means on "normal" cars also have physical alternatives, for this same reason. Even if your "key" can lock/unlock/start your car remotely, you still have a physical key, in case... the battery dies, you could still access your car (even lock it). Same with starting the car, since your key might get damaged (just fell on some body of water) or discharged (batteries die, like in this case).
 

Adhmuz

Posts: 2,264   +1,090
Once again, Californicated Engineering at work. This is the exact issue my car had with its engine cradle - a stupidly placed air conditioning drainage basically eroded the thing out from under my car. Who needs AC when you live in a temperate monoclimate, after all? All those *peasants* living everywhere else just have to make do.
Same thing happened to me, 98 Accord, the passenger side sub frame was almost completely rotted through because the AC drain hose drained right into it. Fortunately it wasn't too expensive to fix and the mechanic who did the job redirected the drain line.

Honda did actually fix this on my 10 year newer Accord, the hose drains well away from anything.
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,746   +4,683
TechSpot Elite
The only reason he got locked out of HIS car is because Musk is a thief.
edit: I agree with the rest of the points you made.
I don't think you understand just how dangerous these batteries can be if they're defective. Locking the cars was the best thing they could do to avoid an ***** driving with a broken battery if he decided to tinker with it.
 

someOtherGuy

Posts: 39   +24
And in response to your reading comprehension insult, I'll challenge you to develop some critical thinking skills. Musk states the batteries on *current* Tesla models are estimated to last 300-500K miles, but the 2013 Tesla was warranted for 4 years/50K miles. This owner states "he believes" corrosion may have begun when the car was still under warranty. So? All vehicles begin to corrode the moment they're driven off the factory floor -- which is why no manufacturer will replace a part until it actually exhibits signs of failure.

The warranty in 2022 is 8yr or 150k miles (for S and X, less miles for other models). The 300k-500k miles figure is Musk's hot air balloon content. The HUGE problem with this is that the cost associated with the battery repair is only comparable with an engine repair/swap in a regular car, which is not unheard of but very few attempt. If you were to be required to change/repair your engine every 8yr or 150k miles you wouldn't be happy at all or be talking about how you're "out of luck because warranties", you'd be probably bitching and moaning about such brand, like this guy in here. Most car manufacturers would put the life of your engine in the 300k miles range (does the number rings any bells?) and usually age doesn't matter, which you can confirm with a visit to your neighborhood roads (unless you live in a very fancy neighborhood, that is). The bottom line is that Tesla is a luxury brand and you should expect the same issues that a Jaguar would give you (and hefty price tags too).
 

terzaerian

Posts: 1,488   +2,200
Same thing happened to me, 98 Accord, the passenger side sub frame was almost completely rotted through because the AC drain hose drained right into it. Fortunately it wasn't too expensive to fix and the mechanic who did the job redirected the drain line.

Honda did actually fix this on my 10 year newer Accord, the hose drains well away from anything.
I was lucky I *could* get it fixed, period, with supply chains being so screwed up right now - an area dealership luckily had the exact replacement part I needed and my mechanic was able to go pick it up. It was not cheap, however, but seeing as any newer car is going to be some smart hyper-connected trash heap with even worse design, I need to keep it running.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,824   +1,891
Tesla dead battery should default to unlocking doors so at least you would be able to tow your Tesla... Some ***** programmers at Tesla...!
This works the same way on every keyless entry system I know. If a vehicle automatically unlocks when the battery gets low, the manufacturer is begging for a class-action lawsuit for stolen and/or vandalized vehicles.

And you can still tow the vehicle regardless; you simply need a flatbed tow truck.
 
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