People may only notice this when it is too late to get it fixed.
When you buy a car, you may do whatever you want with it – even trash it, if you will. That said, we would never recommend you to cut your Tesla Model 3 seats as the FrostyFingers YouTube channel has done in Norway. That voids the warranty for them. It may also compromise their structural integrity, even if you like skiing as much as the videomaker seems to do. That said, the video above shows something more relevant than a personal decision on what to do with a car. It reveals something eight-month-old vehicles should never have: rust.
Gallery: Tesla Model 3 Reveals Rust In The Seats While Getting A DIY Ski Latch
UPDATE: We have learned more about the rust on these seats and you can check the new article here.
The video presenter decided his Model 3 needed to have a ski latch instead of a roof rack like this one Bjørn Nyland talks about in the video below.
The best way the FrostyFingers channel owner found to get one was dismantling the rear seat and cutting a hole on the steel structure behind the armrest. His video had the goal of teaching other people to do the same thing. We strongly recommend you choose the roof rack instead.
Anyway, when he disassembled the armrest and the rear seat, he discovered rust on the steel structure, hidden by the back cushion. And it did not stop there. When he opened the zipper of the fabric backrest cover – to expose the other side of the steel structure – he saw even more rust building up. And that is something to worry about, especially if more cases emerge.
This article’s primary objective is to find if this is an isolated situation or if more Model 3 units present rust in their seat structures. If you have a Tesla Model 3, check your seat structure. Opening the fabric zipper may be the easiest way to do so. Is there rust behind it? If there is, take pictures and get in touch with us.
We would also like to know who is Tesla’s seat supplier. According to this 2017 article from Reuters, Tesla builds them itself. But is that still valid? Are Tesla Model 3 seats built in house?
Gallery: Finnish Goods Inspection Finds Tesla Model 3’s Paint Is Soft And Thin
This is not the first issue the Tesla Mode 3 presents. It has a fragile paint in some units and it recently presented rust problems on its left A-pillar. Tesla has fixed this last one for free in at least one situation and we hope this to become a common practice. Especially because, according to Consumer Reports, these problems are becoming less frequent.
If this rust issue on the seats is widespread, that is another situation Tesla will have to handle quickly to preserve the car's reputation. It has recently presented a meaningful improvement in reliability, from 24 points to 59 points in Consumer Reports' Reliability Survey.
We waited for more cases to reach a conclusion. Although we have no idea how the videomaker uses his car, it is clear the backrest structure does not have proper protection against corrosion. The question was how many more cars apart from his Model 3 have the same issue. Al Steier, from Munro & Associates, helped us find that out: check here.