Broken Sunroof - 2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test
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2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: Broken Sunroof

July 10, 2013

2013 Tesla Model S

My daughter was curious about the all-glass sunroof in our 2013 Tesla Model S. So I opened it for her, or tried to.

It jammed at 21-percent open and went no farther. I closed it without incident and tried once more. Same result, except just 20 percent this time.

The trouble seemed to originate on the driver's side just above my head where I could hear a faint click. And I could see the glass panel pull up short on my side, too, as the whole mess cocked sideways a tiny bit before the action ground to a premature halt.

I saw what was going on in short order once we all exited the car at home. But it was also abundantly clear that I wasn't going to be able to fix it myself. This looked to be a job for the Tesla service center.

2013 Tesla Model S

As you can clearly see, the pop-up air deflector isn't popping up on the driver's side.

2013 Tesla Model S

A closer look shows why: the left-hand pivot arm is broken in two. Yes, it's made of plastic, but plastic isn't unusual for this sort of part.

2013 Tesla Model S

The remaining piece is still attached to its hinge point, but it's free to drop down into the works where it can jam things up.

2013 Tesla Model S

I can fiddle around and line up the pieces, but the result only shows how futile it would be to attempt to fix it. And it looks to be a brittle sort of fracture. This fix is going to require a whole new piece.

I'm a big fan of the Tesla Model S and of Tesla's approach to the EV segment in general. There's a lot of genius here, and it's an unprecedented car from electric vehicle performance, range, and usability standpoints.

But I also see many signs of Tesla's inexperience as a carmaker. After all, this isn't the only quality or satisfaction issue that has cropped up on our test car. I'm of a mind that Tesla is set to become a permanent part of the automotive landscape, but if anything shoots them down it's going to be quality issues like this.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 6,021 miles

  • Full Review
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  • Long-Term (6)

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