Shreyansh Jain, an electronics engineer from Cambridge, England, experienced every new car owner’s nightmare. Just one day after purchasing a brand-new 2023 Tesla Model Y for about $55,000, he faced a catastrophic failure. While driving with his family, the vehicle’s front-right suspension collapsed after covering only 115 miles, leading to a loss of steering control and parts of the car scraping the road.
This incident left Jain and his family terrified, considering the potential dangers if it had occurred on a high-speed highway.
Tesla Model Y Repair Ordeal and Financial Burden
The repair process for Jain’s Tesla was neither quick nor cheap. It took almost 40 hours to rebuild the suspension and replace the steering column, among other fixes. The total cost amounted to more than $14,000. Initially, a Tesla worker hinted that the company might cover the repair costs, as no external damage was evident. However, Tesla later refused to pay, attributing the issue to “prior” suspension damage.
Jain had to pay a deductible of approximately $1,250 for his insurance to cover the work, which subsequently increased his insurance premiums on another car he owned. Disheartened by the experience, Jain sold the repaired Model Y at a loss of about $10,000.
Tesla’s Quality Control Issue
This incident is not an isolated case. Reuters’ investigation, which included interviews with over 20 customers and nine former Tesla service managers or technicians, revealed that Jain’s experience is one of thousands of similar cases involving relatively new Tesla vehicles. These incidents, dating back at least seven years, cover Tesla’s entire vehicle lineup worldwide.
Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, has acknowledged that Tesla vehicles can leave the factory with quality issues, especially during production ramp-ups. The company has faced significant criticism for these issues, which were notably prevalent in Model Y vehicles during 2020. Tesla’s approach to these problems often involves denying the issues or blaming the owners, telling them the parts were not faulty.
Regulatory Scrutiny and Safety Concerns
Tesla’s quality control problems have attracted regulatory scrutiny. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has investigated Tesla over various issues, including reports of steering wheels falling off while driving. The company has also faced concerns over its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features, leading to over-the-air updates to address faults in the system for monitoring drivers using these features.
This incident underscores the need for Tesla to improve its quality control and be more transparent with its customers about potential issues. While Tesla’s innovation in the EV market is commendable, ensuring the safety and reliability of its vehicles is paramount for maintaining customer trust and satisfaction.