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Why Are Tesla Model 3s Already Suffering From Rust?

Electric Car / 19 Comments

Owner manuals now include explicit instruction to "avoid corrosive damage."

Washing a car isn't rocket science. Using the right tools for the job will keep your paintwork looking good for longer, but nobody actually reads the vehicles manual front to back. Well, nobody except the sharp-eyed writers over at InsideEVs. Digital car manuals aren't unusual anymore, and as they are digital they can be updated quickly and easily by the automaker.

After reports of Tesla owners complaining about rust issues, InsideEVs noticed that the digital manual for the Model 3 was updated in May to include a new caution about washing the Model 3.

2017-2019 Tesla Model 3 Side View Driving via Tesla
2017-2019 Tesla Model 3 Control System via Tesla
2017-2019 Tesla Model 3 Hood via Tesla

The fact the update came in May 2019 is important, as about a month before that Tesla owners started complaining about paint and rust issues. One owner in Finland noticed that just after a month of ownership, his paint was wearing off. On top of that, the Finnish Chamber of Commerce had a good look and concluded that missing paint and poor panel fitment was contributing to damage around "the front and rear hinges, from the underside of the doors, the A and B pillars."

It's the paint rubbing off at the A-pillar on the Model 3 where it meets the fender that's mainly been investigated by owners and media publications.

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via Tesla

After the May update, InsideEVs reports there's a new paragraph in the Model 3's manual that reads:

"Caution: To avoid corrosive damage that may not be covered by the warranty, rinse away any road salt from the underside of the vehicle, wheel wells, and brakes. After cleaning the vehicle, dry the brakes by going on a short drive and applying the brakes multiple times."

The timing could, of course, be a coincidence as rinsing off road salt from under the vehicle is a smart move on any car, even with the levels of protection applied from the production lines on most cars now. However, the timing does make it look like Tesla knows there's an issue and is trying to give itself a level of protection legally. If it's a widespread problem and paint is rubbing off in those areas, Model 3 owners living in places with harsh winters where the road is often salted are going to develop problems quickly.

2017-2019 Tesla Model 3 Front View Driving via Tesla
2017-2019 Tesla Model 3 Rear Angle View via Tesla
2017-2019 Tesla Model 3 Infotainment System via Tesla
2017-2019 Tesla Model 3 Rear Angle View via Tesla

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2017-2019 Tesla Model 3 Side View
2017-2019 Tesla Model 3 Infotainment System
2017-2019 Tesla Model 3 Control System
2017-2019 Tesla Model 3 Side View Driving
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