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WTF?! Buying a brand new car only to receive a $14,000 repair bill less than 24 hours later sounds like a nightmarish and frankly unlikely scenario. Yet this is exactly what happened to an unfortunate Tesla Model Y buyer, highlighting one of several quality issues that the automaker is reportedly more aware of than it lets on.
Shreyansh Jain told Reuters that his Model Y came to a halt one day after he paid $55,000 for the new EV, which had just 115 miles on the clock at the time of its demise. After making a slow turn into his neighborhood, the vehicle's front-right suspension collapsed. Jain lost control as parts of the car loudly scraped the road and it came to a stop.
Repairing the vehicle took almost 40 hours of labor. It involved, among other things, rebuilding the suspension and replacing the steering column. A worker initially texted Jain to say they'd found "no evidence of an external damage" and implied that Tesla would pay for the car to be fixed, which would be expected in the case of a new car. The final cost came to $14,000, but the company refused to pay the costs as it blamed the incident on "prior" suspension damage.
Jain had to pay a deductible of about $1,250 to have the work covered by his insurance company, which after the claim hiked his rates sharply on another car he owned. The experience led to the former Tesla fan selling the repaired Model Y for $10,000 less than he paid for it.
Reuters writes that it reviewed Tesla documents and interviewed more than 20 customers and nine former Tesla managers or service technicians. It discovered that Jain's incident was one of thousands of similar cases involving relatively new vehicles dating back at least seven years. They cover Tesla's entire lineup and across the globe.
The publication writes that Tesla has long known far more about the frequency and extent of the suspension and steering issues in its EVs than it discloses to customers and safety regulators. It often blames owners, telling them the parts were not faulty.
Some of the Model Y QC issues reported in 2020: botched paint, defective door and glass seals, loose seatbelts
Elon Musk has admitted that Tesla vehicles can ship with quality issues, many of which were reported in Model Y EVs during 2020. It's especially common when production ramps up. "When you go faster, you just discover these things," he told automotive engineer Sandy Munro in 2021. "If we knew them in advance, we'd fix them in advance."
Tesla vehicles have been the subject of several National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigations in the past. The agency announced a recall of every vehicle the company has sold in the US due to autopilot flaws this month.
In related news, a recent study found that Tesla drivers were involved in more vehicle accidents than drivers of any other automobile brand. It's unclear why.