Tesla in the past has promised to look into the rear bumpers flying off of Model 3 sedans after entering puddles. Whatever Tesla is doing or has done the problem continues. These quality issues seem to nag at Tesla. The video below shows a low-mile 2019 Model 3 losing its rear bumper after exiting the puddle of water. Here’s what the driver said, “I was driving in the rain with my girlfriend and her father, decelerating about to make a right turn going into the turn lane when all of a sudden we heard a big noise. I thought we got rear-ended. I pulled into the nearest parking lot and went outside, and the whole back of my car was off.”
As you can see from the video the driver was not going faster than surrounding vehicles. So the circumstances were no different than with other cars. “I was in shock,” continues the owner. “I took pictures and watched the video right away. Then I called the Tesla Roadside Assistance and walked over to where it happened. I watched dozens of cars drive over the same spot with no issues.”
Soon, he was on a phone odyssey being transferred from one Tesla spokesperson to another
After waiting for assistance to no avail the owner called Tesla back. It told him they were putting together a quote for how much the repair would be. The owner asked if Tesla could cover it? Soon, he was on a phone odyssey being transferred from one Tesla spokesperson to another. One respondent said it “was an act of God.”
Of course, an act of God means Tesla won’t cover the damage. That sucks! Fortunately, Tesla changed its mind and covered the damage after seeing a video of what happened. It indicated this type of incident is “a known issue.”
It’s plain to see what is happening. Though Tesla vehicles missing bolts and fasteners is, unfortunately, a common problem, the bumper attachment points are unaffected. The problem is that the rear bumper scoops up water from puddles. The weight of the water overwhelms the bumper structure and it tears away from the body. There are more examples below.
The rear bumper can’t handle the weight of the water and rips away from the car
The Tesla forums have gotten into the act detailing multiple incidents similar to the ones above. Then there are others not so similar. For those, the issue is just a buildup of water during heavy rains. In these cases, it’s a drainage problem that results in the same conclusion. The rear bumper can’t handle the weight of the water and rips away from the car.
It appears that this issue first reared up in 2018, but that is anecdotal. This may have been happening before that time but only came to the forums in 2018. Model 3s first started landing on the streets at the end of July 2017.
Some parts of the underbody have what racers call “belly pans” that are flat covers to help airflow more evenly over the undercarriage. Model 3s have them and they appear to be some form of plastic. These are known for packing in slush and snow and the release from the undercarriage due to the weight.
So, in all, Tesla needs to make some tweaks to components that can potentially hold water and ice like a bathtub.