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Within the automotive space, Tesla is often subject to criticism. Take the recent Tesla NHTSA investigation for example. Obviously, there’s always going to be someone out there unhappy with the product you make. However, one detailer made those criticisms known to the masses in her now-viral TikTok video. In it, one of the company’s Tesla Model 3 sedans was eviscerated in a way I haven’t seen since the last time I missed curfew in high school.


Reply to @kohens_dad not saying it a *bad* car there’s definitely worse, but it’s not as nice as people think they are

♬ original sound – Jessica Tran

In other words, yikes. However, the criticism was fair and points out a larger issue with both the brand’s image and quality control.

Is the Tesla Model 3 a reliable car?

A red Tesla Model 3, similar to the viral car on TikTok, in a service center shot from the front
A red Tesla Model 3 | Christian Charisius via Getty Images

Obviously, this brings the overall reliability of the Model 3 into question. Well, it’s not really in question to be honest. Matt Farah brought up an excellent point about that on his podcast that’s very much in line with our detailer Jessica Tran’s video. Farah states that he’s spoken to people close to Tesla who say that cars have shown up with bolts missing.

Clearly, the body panel gaps and poor fit of the interior and exterior of the Tesla Model 3 shown in the TikTok video aren’t a one-off. Quality issues have long plagued Tesla. That said, this Model 3 seems to be one of the worst examples. Obviously, one car isn’t a large enough sample size, but its poor quality speaks volumes.

If it wasn’t obvious, the Model 3 is the cheapest Tesla

A red Tesla Model 3 shot from the front 3/4 on an alpine road
The Model 3 does get some things right | Tesla

Arguably the largest grievance that Tran points out is the panel fitment. To be fair, that’s certainly where any detailer’s attention would turn. In the video, Jessica says that the “job requirements to be an assembly person at Tesla are that you’re blind and have no hands.” Harsh, yes, but deserved. The passenger side mirror trim doesn’t go all the way down the window and the cover for the mirror looks like it’s going to fall off in her hands.

In short, many of the panels and trim pieces on the exterior of the Tesla Model 3 in the TikTok video are horribly misaligned. Gaps are micrometer tight on one side and finger width at the opposite end in several places. However, the most frustrating mistake is easily the steering wheel. The Tesla badge doesn’t line up with the leather on the wheel’s rim, making it appear off.

Issues aside, the 3 has done someting other EVs haven’t

A blue Tesla Model 3 EV on a country road
The Model 3 Long Range | Tesla

While Tran’s video points out many of the flaws in Tesla’s production quality, the Tesla Model 3 has also managed to do something a lot of other EVs haven’t. The Model 3, like the Model S, has become a status symbol. It’s something that younger people to aspire to because its seen as caring about the planet. For that, at least, the Model 3 and Tesla deserve some recognition.


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