Why is the Tesla Model S such an unreliable car?

The Tesla Model S was first manufactured in 2012, as the second car ever released by Tesla and the first to cause serious head turns. Being the first car built with a turbine engine in place of a combustion engine to win a Car of the Year Award from Motor Trend, it became the symbol of Tesla’s capability and image. Yet the Model S has recently been voted by What Car? Magazine as the most unreliable car on the UK market, with nearly half of Tesla owners who responded to the survey ranking it as unreliable. Here’s why voters felt the need to single out the Model

Persistent Faults

Although the electric power behind Tesla has proven very reliable, users of the car report more general cosmetic and functional issues, such as problems with seat frames being bent, door handles breaking off and parking sensors failing. Although this is all anecdotal, the Tesla Model S received unreliable votes mainly due to the cost of procedures involved in repairing even minor quibbles, with minor costs often exceeding £1,500. Bodywork issues seemed to be the most prevalent complain from What Car? users, with problems involving non-engine electrics and interior trim also receiving fault complaints.

Other sources have confirmed the unreliability of Tesla through consumer reports and ratings. Where Tesla's Model S has been consistently praised in nearly all areas except reliability, reliability problems included a well-publicised recall of 53,000 cars in 2017 for parking brake problems. One of the main problems with Tesla at large is a lack of infrastructure for repairs, adding to the consistent woes of consumer reliability. Furthermore, Tesla consistently incorporates cutting-edge technology inside their cars. Although this seems like a major boon, in actuality, this can cause more problems because when this technology does break down, it cannot be fixed easily or cheaply. This cycle of difficulty is then reflected in the dependability rating. Because the cars are so sophisticated in their engineering, glitches can be crippling for owners. Another reason Tesla may be more unreliable than other manufacturers is because of the limited testing used on beta models of the cars. Instead of using traditional methods, computer modelling is used to reduce the time a car is spent in the prototype stage, fuelling the possibility of future issues.

Are the complaints exaggerated?

Possibly. Because of Tesla's pronounced public image, news reports have been quick to publicise any and all glitches or faults that occur. This in and of itself doesn't make the Tesla less reliable, but it can sway public opinion into thinking they are unreliable based on the vested interests of those reporting it.

Reliability issues

Despite Tesla and their Model S having been featured in unreliability ratings and reports, the cars have been praised and recommended at the same time. The issues, then, largely circle around cosmetic and often minor interior issues which are both expensive and a hassle to fix. Although Tesla discount many of these reports as too anecdotal and not scientific enough, they are certainly listening and seeking to improve their performance with their future aims to mass-manufacture their Tesla models.

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