Laundry List Service Visit - 2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

2013 Tesla Model S: Laundry List Service Visit

May 30, 2014

2013 Tesla Model S

None of our most recent 2013 Tesla Model S complaints were very significant. Taken separately, each one could wait. The vanity mirror hinges had cracked, but they still worked and hadn't fallen off. Ed heard a creak in the steering. We needed to have the new Underbody Shield kit installed. I recently heard a loud buzzing when the air conditioner kicked on in hot weather.

And then we started to hear a sort of raspy noise under hard acceleration. That tipped the scales. We made our appointment.

Here's what the Tesla Service Center did in addition to installing the Underbody Shield Kit, which was covered previously.

2013 Tesla Model S

Sun Visor Vanity Mirrors, Broken Hinges:
Both sides were affected. They swapped in new driver and passenger side vanity mirror assemblies. They're still not illuminated, which is frankly surprising at this price.
Pay Type: Goodwill

Steering, Creaking Noise:
They added a shim and re-torqued the subframe bolts to a higher torque setting. There's a factory bulletin that covers this (SB-13-32-001), so we aren't the only ones.
Pay Type: Warranty

AC Compressor, Humming Noise Upon Starting:
Apparently we're not the first to notice this, either. They installed a "Compressor NVH Cover" and associated bracket to attenuate the noise and help eliminate interior resonance. I'm not yet sure if newly-built Model S sedans come with this part or if they install it on an as-needed basis.
Pay Type: Goodwill

2013 Tesla Model S

Mobile Connector Badge, Install:
Our mobile power cord has been missing a glint of stainless steel trim since any of us can remember. It's purely cosmetic to the point that we weren't bothered by it and had not pointed it out. The Tesla service folks noticed this one on their own when giving the car the once-over.
Pay Type: Goodwill

Raspy Noise During Hard Acceleration:
Tesla technicians confirmed there is no fault with drive unit (main electric motor) which was our main worry going in. Instead they re-routed and secured some logic harnesses in accordance with a recent repair bulletin to reduce the chance of contact at various points between the subframe and body. They also reported feathered wear on the tires that were contributing a hum. They felt especially good about this theory after temporarily fitting a completely different set of wheels and tires for a quick check.
Pay Type: Warranty

There's no doubt that new tires are in our near future, but I'm not entirely convinced they got this one right. The noise I heard was more mechanical than that. But I didn't personally participate in the back-to-back tire test, so I'll defer for the time being. We'll revisit this issue when new tires enter the picture.

When all was said and done the car was ready the same day it arrived at their shop. But Friday afternoon got weird on our end and we asked them to hold the delivery until Monday morning. None of this cost us anything, but I can't help wondering about the "goodwill" repairs. Are all Tesla owners getting the same treatment when it comes to issues such as these?

We've never specifically told any service writer this is an car, but they know the VIN. By now it's pretty obvious. And this time I caught a glimpse of the notation "Edmunds VIP" written on the Tesla copy of the paperwork when Cameron and I signed for the car.

Good service or not, I'm getting weary of all of these little issues. None of them was a big deal, but they keep coming. And in the past they've replaced a touchscreen, two drive units and the battery. It hasn't all been little stuff, not by a long shot.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 22,175 miles

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