Hybrids & Electrics

Tesla Makes Own Rules For Cars In Accidents

Tesla is not making it easy for rebuilders to return salvaged cars back onto the highways and byways of continued use. While there are some who make businesses out of buying salvage-title cars and fixing damage to resell, Tesla wants no part of that and is doing something about it. In February it defeated salvaged Teslas from being Supercharged; the fast-charging capability all Teslas come with. Well, not all now. But there is more that Tesla is doing to thwart efforts to fix wrecked Teslas. It makes its own rules for cars involved in accidents.

Tesla is now defeating smartphone applications and not updating ownership records

Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3 | Tesla

The latest news comes from rebuilders who told Teslarati the company is not updating ownership records nor is it activating smartphone applications. Smartphones are set up to control some Tesla functions. 

You know why Tesla is doing this. It comes down to liability and safety, with a bit of good old profits thrown in as well. Sometimes when a vehicle is involved in an accident it becomes structurally compromised. Not always but sometimes. 

A compromised, poorly rebuilt Tesla bodes poorly on the company

Tesla's Autopilot Technology
Tesla’s Autopilot Technology | David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

This can lead to a variety of ills from poorly refitted panels making noise to performing much more poorly in a second accident. Especially, if the rebuilder is doing the least to achieve the most crumple zones could be compromised and in some cases, airbags are never replaced. We get it. A compromised Tesla bodes poorly on the car and company. 

So, it is discouraging rebuilders to work on wrecked Teslas. There are supposed to be laws that dictate how a rebuilt car should be revived but a poor repair can be hidden in a number of ways. In the end, it behooves Tesla to discourage reviving its wrecked cars. It is going to extremes to stop the practice.

Tesla wants to replace wrecked Teslas with new ones

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, talking into a microphone.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk | Getty Images

Also, let’s face it; Tesla wants to replace a wrecked Tesla with a new one. It makes money selling as many cars as it can. A rebuilt Tesla is one less Tesla it can sell new. It’s a bit draconian but Tesla is making its own rules in this case. Who is to stop them? Who can say it’s wrong? 

The flip side is that a rebuilt Tesla lives to perform as it should rather than sitting in a boneyard forever. It takes materials and manpower to create each Tesla. It does the environment no good to not get the full use of that which has had so much invested into it. 

Do rebuilders have the rights to rebuilding Teslas?

Tesla Sets Authorized Service Centers In China
Tesla trained technician | Getty Images

Then there are the rights of rebuilders to rebuild. It is a common and lucrative business that employs people, purchases components, and contributes to local, state, and federal tax bases. As Tesla cars age and are involved in more accidents it will be harder for Tesla to justify the practice of defeating electronic functions and refusing to help in re-registering salvage cars. 

For now, it will be interesting to see how a Tesla with limited functions is valued. Whether new or used a Tesla owner expects certain features to function. If they don’t is the owner getting a Tesla or a shell of was formerly a Tesla?