The Tesla Model 3 is the entry point to the EV maker’s range and in theory, it should be much friendlier to the owner’s wallet than say, the Model S.
When Chris Boylan of Clean Technica accidentally clipped a parking sign backing out of a parking space with his brand new Model 3, he expected to pay a few hundred dollars in order to fix the 4-inch dent on the front left fender.
Boylan took his Tesla Model 3 to Precision Autoworks, one of the only few Tesla-authorized repair shops in New York, and decided to file an insurance claim in order to fix the small dent. After a few days had passed with no updates, Boylan asked his insurance company what was the hold-up. “Well the shop’s estimate was a bit higher than we expected.” How much higher? “Nearly $7,000, of which $5,000 was labor.”
Clearly this is one very expensive dent to fix, especially if you consider the Model 3’s more simple design against the all-aluminum structure of the Model S. As it turns out, there’s still quite a bit of aluminum in the Model 3.
“With the type of damage your car sustained and the materials involved, we could not repair the fender but had to order a replacement,” the shop explained to Boylan. “Also, the specific color of your car we call Electric Blue and it uses a special process that requires 3 layers of paint and primer. And to match it precisely with the surrounding body means that we have to blend the paint on these surrounding panels. And all of this takes time and paint.”
Apparently one of the most complicated and labor-intensive parts of the job is the removal and installation of new parts. In order to repair the fender, much of the left side of the car requires disassembly and reassembly and that includes trim pieces, moldings, the driver’s mirror, as well as the front bumper. And once the bumper is reinstalled, you also have to re-calibrate the front distance sensor. The repair also requires the disassembly of the rear seats in order to access and disconnect the high-voltage battery pack.
Eventually Boylan’s insurance company sent their own expert to assess the cost of the damage. The second estimate was not far off from the shop’s own appraisal, at $6,250. The repair was approved and the dent was eventually fixed.