To Fight Service Delays, Teslas Can Order Their Own Repair Parts

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

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Teslas can now diagnose their own problems and order the parts needed to repair them.

  • Tesla has been plagued with reliability problems and long waits for service
  • If the car detects a malfunction, it will diagnose and order parts automatically
  • It is unclear if Tesla will stop replacing entire systems or start replacing small components
  • While a positive step are reducing down time, this step doesn’t address the underlying reliability issue

Reliability has been a weak point for Tesla, according to Consumer Reports’ surveys of Tesla owners. The pure-electric brand has been plagued by faulty body hardware and general build-quality issues. With a relatively small number of repair facilities and an even smaller supply of repair parts, customers have been forced to wait for extended periods of time for their Tesla vehicles to be fixed.

In order to counteract those long delays, Tesla quietly rolled out an update that enables the cars to self-diagnose. With an issue identified, the car’s system can order the parts into a nearby repair facility. This, according to a screen grab Tesla owner u/houston_wehaveaprblm posted on Reddit.

It reads: “An unexpected condition has been detected with the Power Conversion System on your Model 3. A replacement part has been pre-shipped to your preferred Tesla Service Center. Please use your Tesla Mobile App or your Tesla account to schedule a service visit appointment now.”

Tesla Model 3 vehicles can now order their own repair parts. The onus is on the owner to schedule service, though. | Photo: Tesla

 

Now, whether the car ordered an entire new Power Conversion System or just a specific component for it is unclear. In its infancy (and perhaps still to this day) Tesla applied an Apple-esque repair approach to its vehicles. In order to save time, rather than diagnose the minute defect in a vehicle component, its technicians would wholesale replace entire systems, like the drive system or the infotainment system.

While this method certainly saved time (but not enough, apparently), it was also hugely costly to the company’s bottomline.

It doesn’t seem like Tesla has learned any lessons from the “replace the whole thing and we’ll figure it out later” technique. Rather, it just aims to cut downtime between the vehicle being received and its repair parts arriving in the shop.

Certainly, it’s clever, but it sort of ignores the root problem.


About the Author

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

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