Hybrids & Electrics

Tesla Owners Shouldn’t Be OK With Their Cars’ Quality Issues

It’s never pleasant when your car’s suffering quality problems, especially if it’s a high-end model. And Tesla, despite its recent improvements, still lags behind some brands when it comes to delivering flaw-free vehicles. Not even the Tesla Model Y, which in many ways shows the brand’s growing maturity, is immune. However, it seems that some Tesla owners are OK with their EVs’ quality-control imperfections. Something owners of other higher-end vehicles are also seemingly fine with. But they shouldn’t be.

The recent Tesla Model Y rust issue

Blue Tesla Model Y's rear hatch, showing rust
Tesla Model Y hatch rust | Skivvy via Tesla Motors Club

In a recent Tesla Motors Club forum thread, user Skivvy posted a photo of their newly-purchased Tesla Model Y. Unfortunately, it wasn’t particularly flattering. As shown above, Skivvy reported rust in their Model Y’s rear hatch.

How the rust formed isn’t clear. Several other forum-goers mused it could be from metal dust that adhered during production. But regardless, it’s still, as Skivvy themselves said, “it’s poor craftsmanship. There’s [sic] various issues all over the car that any autobody guy could see a mile away.”

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This isn’t the first time the Tesla Model Y has been dinged for paint quality problems. Trusted automotive experts Munro & Associates report the Model Y suffers from the same paint issues as the Model 3. And car detailing shop Chicago Auto Pros has seen new-from-the-dealer Model Ys with numerous paint flaws.

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Also, this isn’t the first Tesla to have rust issues. InsideEVs has reported numerous Model 3 owners complaining about their rusting EVs. Once again, paint quality was to blame. Paint is a key component of a vehicle’s rust protection. If it’s too thin, it won’t be strong enough to resist chipping, which exposes the bare metal to the elements.

Red 2021 Tesla Model Y rear view, while it drives on a curvy road
2021 Tesla Model Y rear | Tesla

Skivvy doesn’t mention if their Model Y has any panel gap problems. This is something the Model X, in particular, suffered from. However, Munro & Associates report, apart from the Model Y’s hatch, overall, the crossover is improved compared to previous models.

Yet, the rust seemingly hasn’t phased Skivvy much. In regards to the paint and quality issues, “I knew this going in so I can’t be too upset.” Which calls to mind perspectives owners of other luxury cars have shared.

Tesla isn’t the only problematic luxury brand

To be clear, Tesla isn’t alone in suffering quality issues. It’s not even the only luxury brand with these problems.

Steel-gray 2019 Land Rover Range Rover Velar SV Autobiography in front of mountain range
2019 Land Rover Range Rover Velar SV Autobiography | Land Rover

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Perhaps the quintessential example of a fault-prone luxury marque is Land Rover. Its products may be stylish, high-tech, and capable off-road. But they’re notorious for breaking down. Doug Demuro bought an unlimited bumper-to-bumper warranty for his CarMax-bought Range Rover. The repair costs had paid for it within the first 2 years. By the warranty period’s end, CarMax paid out almost as much as Demuro had paid for the SUV.

BMW, too, has been known for problematic vehicles in the past. The V10-powered E60 M5 has been described as a maintenance nightmare. Even relatively reliable models like the E90 3-Series can suffer engine-related failure.

Dark blue 2003 Ferrari 360 Modena coupe
2003 Ferrari 360 Modena | Bring a Trailer

Then there are the supercar brands, like Ferrari. Part of the problem is that most owners don’t drive them regularly enough. Even a Lamborghini Countach can be reliable if it’s driven on a day-to-day basis, Jalopnik reports. But, even with regular exercise, a 360’s F1 automated-manual is still notoriously failure-prone.

However, even if the new C8 Corvette is also suffering panel-gap problems, that doesn’t excuse Tesla’s recurring issues. It also doesn’t excuse the flaws of the other brands mentioned here.

Repeated quality problems aren’t acceptable

1992 Lexus LS400
1992 Lexus LS400 | Bring a Trailer

There’s a reason why the Lexus LS400 and original Acura NSX made such big impacts on the automotive world. It showed that someone could offer Mercedes-level luxury and Ferrari-level performance, without quality problems. And in doing so, it made those brands’ faults inexcusable.

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And it’s not just high-end companies that need to learn this lesson. Toyota has repeatedly struggled with Tacoma paint and rust protection. In fact, the rust and other issues have gotten so bad, Consumer Reports down-graded the truck’s reliability rating. It’s one thing for the owner of a brand-new Ferrari, who’s likely to own other cars, to have a quality issue. It’s another for someone who depends on their Tacoma for transportation or as part of their job requirement.

That’s why the Tesla Model Y’s quality issues shouldn’t be acceptable. It might be someone’s only car, not just their only EV. If Tesla—indeed, all automakers—are serious about making EVs for all, they can’t be rusty from the factory.

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