Tesla Model 3 Has Rust Issues

(most of the video’s in this article aren’t in English, but are worth watching for the footage alone)

You wouldn’t expect a new car to have rust, but thats what many people get when they buy a Tesla Model 3

Finnish Tesla Model 3 owner Joni Savolainen has posted video’s on YouTube showing the extent of the issues. In this first video, posted 18th of May, he shows that despite the car only being a month old, a lot of the paint had flaked off.

Savolainen was told by Tesla that it won’t be fixed under warrantee, so he asked the Finnish Chamber of Commerce for an inspection. The report isn’t good. It states that around the hinges of the doors, underneath the doors, and around the A and B pillars, there is not enough paint used. It also mentions that the poor alignment of the doors is causing paint at the bottom of the doors to be scraped off when being opened and closed.  

Just how little paint was used? Well, in some places, the paint thickness averaged 106 microns, below 110-150 microns which is the paint thickness in most cars. But in some other places, the paint is just 70 microns.

The inspection also revealed that the paint is very soft. But it gets worse in the second video, posted 21st of July. In this second video, he shows the area’s mentioned in the Finnish Chamber of Commerce’s report. Around the trunk hinges and doors, and the bottom of the A and C pillars, there is exposed primer, with no paint left. In some places, there is just bare steel. There is also lots of rust inside the body.

In another video, Savolainen looks at a friends Model 3. In addition to the problems with Savolainen’s car, this Model 3 has rusting rocker panels.

At this point, you may be thinking that these are isolated incidents. But they’re not. According to news from TVA Nouvelles (from Canada), Roger-Pierre Gravel was one of the first people in Quebec to order a Model 3, spending the equivalent of $45,000 USD on it. After a year of driving, there is lots of rust. He is quoted as saying “The vehicle is poorly designed. It is the debris on the road that will hit the rear wing and make the paint peel.” Guillaume André, owner of a specialist EV shop, confirms this, saying that he has the same issues with his own Model 3, which started after just 5000km (3100 miles).

And these people are just the tip of the iceberg. Savolainen and Gravel have created a Facebook group for Model 3 owners with these issues, which has 587 members at time of writing.

They have also filed a group complaint at nonono.com, a consumer advocacy website, with their aim being to make Tesla fix the cars under warrantee. If this doesn’t work, Savolainen and Gravel (and likely many others) plan on suing Tesla.

Tesla would be wise to fix these cars under warrantee quickly. Otherwise it could end up becoming a PR nightmare, which would seriously hurt Tesla, given that they are trying to sell more cars to mainstream buyers, in a desperate attempt to become profitable.