Unreasonably long wait times for parts and a lack of reputable Tesla-approved repair centers has been a glaring problem for many Tesla owners.
Across the internet, Tesla forums are filled with angry owners who regret even buying the electric car because a basic repair could take months. Some owners have reported 4 to 5 weeks, while others said six to nine months for repairs.
Tesla has gone from "production hell" to "delivery logistics hell," and now it seems there is a new one: "repair hell."
Electrek, one of the more popular electric vehicle websites and constant cheerleader of the automaker, recently tried to calm owners, who feared the slightest repair could take weeks if not months to fix.
The publication said Tesla has plans to launch its own in-house ‘Body Repair Centers’ to reduce repair time with the first nine locations scattered around the country.
Tesla owners had been complaining about repair times for years, but it came back to the forefront last year when Tesla blamed repair times on third-party body shops and the body shops blamed Tesla for an unreasonably long amount of time to receive a part.
The most recent horror repair story is from Vancouver, where Rex Gao has been patiently waiting since February when he had a minor accident.
The Model S, which he purchased in early 2017, needed work on its suspension after a fender bender. He waited four months for parts to arrive from Tesla to his local body shop.
“I was so excited that I got the part. I ran into the body shop, but they said ‘Not yet. You cannot get your car repaired. There’s a car before yours.'”
Gao said the body shop only had one special lift for Teslas, and could not go to another body shop because no one else was Tesla certified.
Gao received a call from the body shop earlier this month to say work has begun.
“I said ‘That’s good news. When can we finish it?’ They said ‘We don’t know. We may need other body parts.'”
To make matters worse, Gao is paying $1,300 in lease payments every month. He said Tesla would not offer him a courtesy car but did compensate him for three and a half months of payments.
“If I knew that we would have to wait that long for repairs, I would never have bought a Tesla. You never know when you’re going to need repairs. When your repairs start, your nightmare starts. It’s exhausting, it’s frustrating, and I can’t sleep at night.”
ICBC insurance acknowledged there is a massive backlog for repairs on Teslas in the region. “For this reason, we stay in regular communication with these shops about their ability to take further vehicles for repairs and we have been storing vehicles on our property to help when the shops reach capacity,” ICBC said in a statement to CityNews.
It also said the backlog is not specific to Vancouver and that the biggest challenge is the availability of parts – sometimes it takes months to get the most basic parts.
“We completely understand our customers’ frustration when they experience delays in getting their Tesla vehicle repaired,” the statement read.
“We’ve been exploring ways that we can help reduce wait times but the core issue is the availability of parts. When we receive a claim for a Tesla vehicle, we expedite the process when possible so these vehicles are estimated more quickly to determine whether they’re repairable.”
If owning a Tesla means repairs could take months. Is it worth even owning the car?