Costly Tesla Fix Shows Why 'Right to Repair' Matters

Jane Lu
· 3 min read
Getting any
car repaired
at the dealership usually results in a bit of sticker shock. The costs of servicing an
electric car
are even more daunting.
A recent experience by a
Model 3 lessee brings to light the potentially high price of repairing an electric car, as reported by
The Drive
. It also emphasizes the importance of Right to Repair legislation.
Tesla repairs have an extremely high price tag

A Tesla driver's dilemma

A Tesla Model 3 driver accidentally drove over some debris in the road which struck and damaged the electric car's coolant system. This caused coolant to leak from the battery pack.
The driver had the vehicle towed to a Tesla service center. There he was told that the battery pack could not be repaired and would have to be replaced. He was handed an estimate for the shocking cost of $16,000. Even worse, his insurance policy would not cover
claims from road debris.
Car dealerships only realize a slim margin of profit from the car sale itself. They compensate for this with after-sales and in-house repairs. Tesla, along with other automakers, offers a direct-to-customer sales model.
As the company expands its services, it’s becoming more clear that consumers will continue to see high costs.
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The driver looked for cheaper alternatives

Not wanting to foot a five-figure repair bill, the driver started searching online for a more affordable alternative. He came across Rich Rebuild's YouTube channel. The video showed how Electrified Garage was able to repair the damage without replacing the battery pack.
Battery packs for electric vehicles are known to be expensive. They hold their value even when used. Refurbished packs are often sold on eBay and other retailers for thousands of dollars.
Though the Tesla engineer at Electrified Garage was located a few states away, it still seemed worth a try—and it paid off. The team at Electrified Garage was able to thread a basic brass fitting into the battery pack housing to fix the broken part.
The total cost of getting the Tesla back on the road, including diagnosis and labor, came to approximately $700. The Tesla driver's experience demonstrates why Right to Repair legislation matters.

What is Right to Repair?

Right to Repair allows owners to repair their vehicles and property themselves or through a source other than the original manufacturer. It’s unknown whether the lessee of the Tesla Model 3 will be on the hook for getting a third-party repair.
Currently, Tesla has an "Unsupported or Salvage Vehicle Policy." This means the company can permanently disable access to its Supercharging network to protect its vehicles and repair technicians if they find any unsupported repairs.
This has resulted in significant pushback from consumers. It’s frustrating to see a simple problem cost almost half the price of a completely new vehicle to fix. You can expect to see more discussion around Right to Repair to address these concerns.
In the meantime,
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