Tesla Accused Of Disabling Features On Salvaged Model Without Telling Owner

A family was left stranded in the middle of a road trip when certain features of their Tesla stopped working, including the ability to use the company’s Supercharger network.

This complaint was received from Rich Rebuilds, a YouTube channel about rebuilding cars like the Tesla Model S.

The car, which is not specified if it’s a Model S or Model X, was bought from a salvage auction with a damaged door and fender. According to the owner, the damage was so light that the airbags didn’t even go off, so the car was allegedly totally roadworthy once a new door and fender were installed.

Once repaired, the Tesla was working as it should according to the owner, receiving over-the-air updates and being able to charge at the company’s Superchargers network.

The issues started when the owner took the car to the service center to get some warranty work done to it before taking the family on a long road trip. The car was accepted and the owner even got a Model X as a loaner.

Tesla’s official policy on salvaged cars is that it considers them as unsupported, meaning that the cars are not accepted for service, are not eligible for over-the-air updates and are not allowed to use the Supercharger network among other things.

Apparently Tesla’s HQ notified the service center of the vehicle’s salvage status, which then tried to charge the owner for the work they’ve done to it, since the warranty is no longer applied. Eventually the service center agreed not to charge the owner for their work and he got his car back.

The family left that weekend to head to California, but after six hours into the trip the car stopped showing the location of Tesla’s Superchargers. Using a map on a smartphone, they located the nearest Supercharger, only to find out that their car refused to charge. Sounds like the perfect nightmare scenario: being stranded hours away from home with a car that won’t go anywhere and the kids going crazy.

Read Also: Tesla Model 3’s Frunk Is Perfect For Changing Your Baby’s Diaper

The owner then called the service manager in order to fix the issue, where he learnt that Tesla won’t do anything unless they paid to get their car rectified, with the price of the re-certification being north of $10,000. Eventually the car had to be towed 100 miles to a friend’s house and the family rented a car to complete their road trip.

Personally, I don’t think that Tesla is the only one to blame here. The owner should have paid more attention to the fine print of owning a salvage-title Tesla and Tesla should have blacklisted the car the moment it left the service center, notifying the owner at the same time. Both parties are in fault here and if there’s a moral in the story is this: don’t buy a salvage-title Tesla, unless you’re prepared to live outside the company’s official infrastructure.

  • S3XY

    It’s salvaged. What do you expect

    And I drove from LA to San Francisco and back in 1 day using the Superchargers, no issues. No “Nightmare scenario”


    • LWOAP

      To not get stranded on the side of the road? The difference between your experience and theirs is that yours didn’t have a salvage title.

    • Patrick O

      Its not a normal salvage. The car was totaled due to tesla’s monopoly on repair causing high prices. Warranties can only be invalidated if the manufacturer can prove damage outside of normal operation caused the problem. Normally salvage means extensive damage, so normally its ok to flag these vehicles. But most auto companies will still honor the basic factory warranty as long as the reason for totaling didn’t damage the part that failed and the car is fully repaired so its not just a junk yard car. They will also do all safety recalls. They will not disable features either. Tesla has definitely entered new ground by disabling features and refusing to do safety recalls Remember, the car has internal systems that will disable charging if anything is unsafe. Tesla disabling features for any kind of safety reason is 100% false. Had the original owner did the same repairs and didn’t make an insurance claim, this car would be in the same condition with a full warranty and supercharging. That fact alone speaks for itself.

  • Dr Strangefingger

    Buy a Tesla, become Musk’s slave.

    • G82FS


      • Dr Strangefingger

        Yet you know it’s true.

    • Carl

      hey some people like that sort of thing, with the kinky outfits and the whips. you really should not be so judgemental 🙂 lol

  • TheBelltower

    Well that’s pretty shitty.

  • Carl

    Model S by my understanding

  • Arthur Burnside

    Another example of how Tesla deals with its customers. No wonder they are getting sued by everybody. Fortunately they can buy an adapter and use CCS charge stations, which will soon outnumber Tesla’s very sparsely located Supercharger stations. If Tesla has a policy of basically refusing to service or support their salvaged cars, then they should, at a very minimum, tell any buyer LOUD AND CLEAR, without any fine print, that they are buying a car that is more or less worthless. If I were them I’d sue Tesla Motors, just for the satisfaction of being able to spread the word far and wide about the ethics of this greedy,high profit company, run by a
    certified mental case. Tesla even controls the collision repair shops, only sending them body parts, and sucking up most of the profits. Reportedly their collision repair costs are astronomical.Just another case of Musk fulfilling his goal of making EVs affordable to the masses. The millionaire masses, apparently.

  • Hello Moto ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    Tesla is the Apple of automobiles.



    • LWOAP

      Well, not exactly. A car is given a salvage title when it is damaged in an accident or if the insurance company declares it to be a total loss. It kind of varies from state to state here in the US how salvage titles are issued and that really depends on vehicle damage and the cost of repairs compared to the current market value of the car etc, etc….And, honestly, I can’t be bothered to go through each and everyone of them. Anyway, a salvage title doesn’t automatically mean the car is going to be scrap but that does mean you cannot drive it on the roads in some states and it will harm the car’s value considerably. Now as for Tesla, basically, when one of their cars have a salvage title the car is no longer supported by Tesla. That means no warranty coverage, no over the air updates to the software, none of Tesla services are provided to you and you can’t use their supercharger network. Period.

      So if you do end up with a salvage titled Tesla you’re pretty much on your own. IMO, you’re better off not buying it all no matter how cheap it is. Unless you can find a charging network outside of your house, you’re pretty much screwed.

      • So-Cal Brick Werks Howard

        Agreed salvage titles are tricky. Here in California a Salvage title can be given to a vehicle that was stolen also. Seen cases where recovered vehicles have improvements like aftermarket wheels and stereos that would normally increase value but if the owner was paid out the vehicle still gets a salvage title. Always beware of titles from Georgia, title washing still happens there but a clear title search can uncover that.

    • onlineNetizen

      if your car is stolen in CA and the cops manage to find it. it will now have a salvage title. it doesn’t mean its FUBAR

  • gnitto

    And 10k for recertification seems like a reasonable price?

    • Orilis

      If you buy a car for $20k instead of $60k as this guy Larry states… I guess he needs to decide pay any where from $2500 and up to get supercharger back?!
      Warranty it seems as i read a bit blogs – will never be revived!
      Not worth it, but still a great deal!!
      By the way, nobody said $10k, it was just a hear say.
      Remember that Larry had a bunch of repairs done for free as he vaguely stated which means he might have saved a bunch on future repairs needed for re certification!

  • alexxx

    Obviously it’s his fault…Period.
    For buying a Tesla at first place.Period.

  • Maricaibo

    Now you understand why police agencies are in favor of autonomous vehicles. The cops are going to get a big, red “STOP” button to turn your car off in a chase.

    • m4k3m3

      I wish that was reality today. Less morons running over other people while trying to run away from cops.

  • realist50

    This isn’t Tesla’s fault, and technically they are not Tesla’s customers. The insurance company totaled the car, not Tesla they have no idea what happened or if the car is safe. Salvage cars have no warranties with any manufacturer and not a lot of value. My first car was a rebuilt salvage title, I got a decent car at a really good price, but knew it would have no resale value and have since learned it was probably unsafe. 10k for recertification might not be a bad deal if you got the car cheap enough, that should be figured into the salvage price when deciding to purchase.

    • Patrick O

      None of what you said is true. The law gives no warranty exemption for a salvage title. The law says all warranties must be honored unless the manufacturer can prove the damage was caused by something besides normal operation of the vehicle. Most car companies will honor factory warranties on salvage titles as long as the car was repaired and any failure doesn’t appear to be tied to any external damage. Flagging salvage is just so the mechanic knows to scrutinize the warranty claim more. And no finding an example of anyone not honoring a warranty isn’t proof I am wrong. Many companies have been breaking the law when it comes to warranties. The FTC just sent out notices to a bunch of large companies last month notifying them that their warranty policies on invalidating them is illegal. In case you do not know, teslas are being totaled for minor damage due to tesla’s monpoly on repair causing minor repairs to cost tens of thousands of dollars. So cars that can be repaired without invalidating their warranty are being totaled. This repair would be less than $2k on a normal car. Tesla was probably charging over $30 grand, an insurance company will total it rather than pay 30 grand and risk the shop finding additional damage while doing the work.

  • Patrick O

    It is not legal to invalidate a warranty over minor damage. It certainly not legal to charge a recertification fee either. The law is clear that a warranty must be honored unless the manufacturer can prove the damage was caused outside of normal vehicle operation. The salvage title doesn’t mean anything here because tesla’s high repair costs caused the totaling, not damage. Any normal car would have been repaired for less than 2 grand and never would have been totaled. Tesla is essentially boosting sales by making out of warranty repair costs so high cars are totaled for minor damage and customers are paying for it via high insurance rates.

  • BlackPegasus

    I didn’t watch the video but I follow this guy’s YouTube channel. He’s apparently a very skilled rebuilder of Tesla models. He gets his parts from other wrecked models from an online network for salvage Tesla owners and he does most of the work himself. There’s obviously a middle ground here but I believe the owner knew what he was getting into with these salvage rebuilds.

    Btw, his channel is actually quite entertaining and informative. He has a self deprecating humor that endears you to his content. Check him out.

    • onlineNetizen

      I say they should allow him to charge the car without disabling charging; for a fee of course. same with servicing. charge double for salvaged cars that come in for service. that or allow 3rd party suppliers and service shops supply parts for the cars. If they expect the mass market to buy from them, they are going to have to allow 3rd parties to service the vehicles and allow for 3rd party parts. If they continue to DRM their vehicles, they are DOA with the mass market consumer.

  • onlineNetizen

    i don’t see a problem of them denying free service for a salvage vehicle, but it’s against the law to disable and not tell. Tesla is going to have massive problems because a lot of people like buying salvaged vehicles. if they can’t “refill”, then they will have problems with lawsuits.This is why i am not a fan of DRM cars

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