Tesla tried to bankrupt me during Covidapolis

Recall back at the beginning of the month, I had to deal with a nearly $2,000 tyre bill from Tesla? Well, that’s not the end of the story…

After I got #CO2Fre back from Tesla, my coworker and I noticed some squeaking sounds as I would drive the car at low speeds, making turns under humid conditions. So, I made the soonest appointment available to both me and Tesla, which was today, 31 March, 2020, which is therefore going to be the topic of my 50th day in of quotidian postings.

Of course, then SARS-CoV-2 happened, and all the crazy things that came with it. I haven’t left the house since my job went to 100% telework apart from a couple outings to the grocery story and stroll inside my housing community. So, when Tesla reminded me of my appointment, it wasn’t so much that I was eager to get out (at least I don’t have to fear a physical abuser) as I was eager to finally get this over with in terms of having to deal with Tesla and a potential fault in their repair.

I got up early this morning, ready to head over to Tesla. I was, alas, so tired, I ended up locking my CAC Card. The details aren’t important, but I will just add that resetting it required a long drive to work and a long drive back just to restore access. But that had to wait until after I dropped #CO2Fre off.

Anyway, I got in #CO2Fre and noticed a software update. Not wanting to delay my appointment at the Tyson’s Corner Service Center, I headed straight over and initiated the update as I arrived.

Arrived at Tesla, March 2020
I arrived at Tesla a little past 08:00 for my schedule appointment to resolve a squeaking in my steering and suspension, mainly observed in highly humid weather. What are those signs, covering the windows? © 2020, Jeffrey C. Jacobs.

I arrived at Tesla a little after my 08:00 appointment and spotted some interesting signs on the windows. After waiting a bit for folks to pass, keeping a social distance from anyone, I made my way over to the door.

Use the QRCode to Login
Sorry this picture is blurry as I took it from inside a ziplock bag. But you can see the notes on the windows advising customers to scan the QR Code and fill out the form to register their arrival. © 2020, Jeffrey C. Jacobs

The signed contains a QR Code that I could scan with my phone in order to check into my appointment. I scanned the code and opened the web page associated with it. The page contained a list of questions: who I was, why I was there, and did I have an appointment. I filled it out and got a message saying I should wait for a call to confirm my appointment.

Tesla Service Registration Complete
Registration for service was easy as cake. Just fill in your name and your reason and if you have an appointment and they’ll call you when they’re ready.

I went back to #CO2Fre; the software was still updating. I got the call and we agreed to leave the car where it was. I got some Uber credits but had a ride home already and so used that to get home, then get a ride to work to fix my CAC, and then back home again. Phew.

Then I got a text from Tesla saying they sent me over an estimate and said I needed to replace some tyres. Are you freaking kidding me!? Didn’t I just drop almost $2,000 on tyres at the beginning of the month!?

Needless to say, I was not amused.

Tesla Service Estimate, Inflated Estimate, March 2020
When I got this in my mail, I was shocked. I took the car in, after waiting 3 weeks for a follow appointment to the tyre replacement at the beginning of March, to resolve a squeaking issue with my tyres and front suspension. I thought it’s be just, at most, $100 to do the diagnosis, only to be sent this behemoth of a bill for just over $2,000. Having just paid almost that amount at the beginning of the month and facing a 1 week suspension in addition to docked pay, I could never in a million years afford this estimate and I complained to Tesla until I was blue in the face. Not shown is the $84 in tax and the total of $2,043.75. Oy, gevalt!

Looking over the estimate I saw they recommended replacing all four tyres! Seriously? I had just replaced two rims at the beginning of the month, but, as I looked over my meticulous history of tyre replacements, it turns out I replaced a tyre just three months ago on 3 January 2020, and another on 4 November 2019. Both tyres were relatively new and there could be no possible way they could both be so worn to need replacing. It was bad enough the other two tyres were April and May of last year, but some of the tyres were less than six months old!

Looking over the costs, not only were they charging me for four tyres, but they were also charging me for a $160 Tyre Setting and a $302.25 Tyre Alignment, for a total of $1946.25 in tyre repairs! That would have been a total of $9,647.95 on tyres for 42,695 miles of driving over 19½ months!

It took a number of texts for me to get through to Tesla. I was quite frank. I didn’t agree to any tyre replacement and demanded they generate a new invoice for me without the tyre replacements. Furthermore, if they though my tyres were showing wear, I demanded they show my the tread depth to prove they had wear given one tyre was just three months old, and another only five. Thankfully, the obliged.

Tesla Service Estimate, without Tyres, March 2020
After many irate texts, they agreed to remove the tyres from the invoice which made it a manageable $97.50. I did ask them for Tread Depth readings though, just to verify that maybe some of the tyres needed replacing.

The new invoice was quite reasonable. Less than $100 for a diagnostic check which so far turned up nothing. I agreed to that and then my service advisor sent me photos of the tyres with the tread measurements.

Clearly, two tyres were at around 8/32 inch depth, which is pretty nearly as good as new. The other two hovered around 5/32 and I agreed they probably should be replaced. I therefore agreed to a new invoice where only those two more worn tyres would be replaced. Tesla kindly obliged.

Tesla Service Estimate (Revised), March 2020
This is the revised service estimate for the two low-tread 5/38 depth tyre replacements. Not included is the $42 tax, which was the perfect answer to this issue, for a total of $939.50.

Although the cost jumped to nearly $1,000, I agreed to it as the best course of action. They dropped the wheel setting and alignment which also lowered the cost quite a bit. I’m hoping I can get the alignment done elsewhere when the Covidapolis is over. It still brings my total lifetime tyre costs to $8543.70, with seven tyres and seven rims, but it’s much better than $9,647.95!

Plus, I got a software update.

Tesla OS 2020.12.1
The morning of my drop-off I noticed there was a software update. I set it going when I got to the dealership and it was done by the time I got home.

I’m not happy that it will take me a month an a half to pay for this repair as I sink further into debt, but mainly I miss driving #CO2Fre. Die SARS-CoV-2, die!

Until next time, I’ll be cruising on a cloud.

7 Replies to “Tesla tried to bankrupt me during Covidapolis”

  1. Honestly, I’d shove my foot up someone’s ass if they suggested replacing tires with 8/32 of tread left. I’d burn the place down if they convinced my wife to replace tires with 8/32 of tread left. I have no patience for shady mechanics. This is unconscionable. As I posted on LinkedIn, 5/32 probably means another 17,000 miles left out of the original 45,000 miles.
    -Lou

    1. Great point Lou. I probably should have waved the two but I was tired from arguing and did want the squeak to go away so was hoping they might be more actively considering the initial problem with a little compliance from me. I could have refused though, they did allow me. But I agree, even 5/32 is hardly bald.

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