Tesla Driver Quoted $16,000 For a $700 Repair Proves a Need For Right to Repair

Getting pretty much any car repaired at the dealership will wring a customer’s wallet dry. The model for most dealerships is such that they make thin margins on actually selling cars but make up for that in after-sales and repairs. Now, with Tesla doing direct-to-customer sales and Rivian following suit, Tesla still charges a hefty pile for basically any repair, like this guy who was quoted $16,000 to replace a battery pack that an independent shop did for $700. And here lies the reason for the fight for the right to repair without the losing warranty. 

Mechanic repairing a car as more people push for the right to repair to pass
A mechanic works on a car | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Are Tesla repairs expensive? 

According to The Drive, a Tesla model 3 leasee recently found out just how expensive Tesla Repairs can be, the hard way. The road ran over some road debris which damaged one of the battery packs. When he brought the limping Tesla to the service shop, Tesla quoted him 16 large to replace the damaged pack. 

After looking for an alternative solution online, the owner reached out to Rich Benoit and the team at Electrified Garage, who got him on the road again for just $700. Clearly, something is happening here to have such a massive price gap. 

The road debris damaged the Tesla’s cooling system by cracking the flange that attaches the coolant line to the front battery pack. Because this nipple that accepts the coolant line is molded into the battery back, Tesla told him he would have to replace the whole thing. To salt the wound, the owner’s insurance policy didn’t cover comprehensive claims from road debris, meaning he was fully on the hook for the massive repair bill. 

What is “Right to Repair” 

The term right to repair has been aimed at America’s farmers most recently. The long and short of it is that farming equipment and many other vehicles and heavy equipment have stringent rules on how an owner can repair it and still maintain a factory warranty. This basically means that the manufacturer can charge whatever they want for a repair, and most people will pay for fear of losing the warranty. 

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are going to the mat for Farmer’s right to repair their own farm equipment as they see fit. This is a more common issue for anyone who uses heavy machinery or industrial vehicles for their jobs than most regular drivers. However, the principle applies, and this Tesla repair proves there is a need in the private sector for the right to repair. 

To make matters worse, Tesla questioned the owner’s request to keep the old battery pack if Tesla did the repair. They fought him until he referenced a New Jersey customer protection act that states that customers have the right to request their replaced parts from the shop. In this case, we are talking about a part clearly worth thousands of dollars, or else Tesla wouldn’t be charging $16,000 for a replacement. 

What Tesla don’t know, won’t hurt ’em

After going back and forth with Tesla, the owner eventually went to Benoit’s and the folks at Electrified garage for the clever fix to what was a silly and problematic engineering problem in the first place. Benoit is a serious supporter of the Right to repair act and supports all owner’s rights to repair their cars or trucks however they see fit. 

Only time will tell if Tesla finds the non-OEM repair and decides to make a stink about it. So far, Tesla has repeatedly stepped into hot water with PR situations like this. However, the Tesla is still slinging EVs a mile a minute and doesn’t seem to be slowing down all that much. 

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