John Cover decided to share his story on a Facebook group on February 3. He has a 2018 Tesla Model 3 Long Range RWD. When taking his children to school, he often heard a rattle on rough parts of the road. Once, backing out from his driveway, he heard a pop. That was when he decided to have a look at the front suspension. Cover took the picture above on that occasion.
"When checking the aeroshield and wheel well, I saw the cattywampus bolt and knew enough about control arms to know that that was really bad. Looking at the other side confirmed my suspicions."
UPDATE: Douglas Birk and David Abrams mentioned their visits to their Service Center did not point anything wrong with the bolts in their cars' suspensions, but they get the same "clicking sound." The Tesla engineer that got in touch with Cover asked not to be identified. The article has been adjusted to reflect that.
Cover had almost completely loose bolts on the control arms of his EV. He immediately contacted a Tesla Service Center and took his car there for repair. Unlike other stories we report here, the Scottsdale Service Center did an outstanding job of getting everything fixed.
It also did not classify the repair as goodwill but rather as "Basic Vehicle Limited Warranty," as you can see in the image above.
Under these circumstances, Cover had the best outcome possible, due in significant part by the competent service provided by the SC. It fixed a serious issue that came with the car. He felt well cared for by Tesla. Anyway, posting on the Facebook group led to the discovery that this is a much more common issue than we could imagine.
The gallery above contains the reports of many more owners that experienced the same issue. They identify themselves there as Benjamin Lam, Luis Alicea, Joe Dropkin, Guy Barzilai, Sasha Anis, Russel Wong, Nouphone Vongphakdy, Mike Schultz, Brandin Abbott, Brett Ryan, E.T. Micha, Nauman Jaliawala, Brian Fukumoto, Mark Cabacungan, and Darren Fonseca – on that tread alone. Apart from Cover's, these 15 names show this is far from anecdotal evidence
Douglas Birk and David Abrams mentioned they had the same issue, but they were referring to a strange sound when driving. Check what Birk had to say about it.
"It is a clicking sound on the left front that occurs with unevenness of the road surface. No strange feelings at the wheel or pulling at all. My local Service Center has been working with me to resolve the clicking sound as it is intermittent and couldn't be replicated on the last visit, even after two test drives. If there's something wrong, I'm very confident my local SC will take care of it."
He went to an appointment with his Service Center and said that "after a complete reinspection and a full-stress test found nothing amiss in the entire front suspension, they re-torqued all fittings to factory spec." The noise stopped after that procedure and nothing else was repaired in the car.
One person also got in touch with Cover identifying himself as a Tesla engineer that is tracking this issue. He asked us not to be identified and we have omitted his name in this report. It is a relief the company seems to be taking action. At least he is.
Regardless of any measure the company adopts, some commenters mentioned Alladin had had a similar issue with his car. We tried to find out more about that. What happened was that Mena Massoud, the actor that played Alladin on the namesake Disney movie, crashed his Model 3 Performance one day after buying it, on September 20, 2018.
Massoud said the issue was caused by the "passenger front wheel" ejecting from the car. He reported having felt a pop – just like Cover did – and seeing the wheel escape before hitting a tree.
According to this BusinessInsider article, a Tesla spokesperson blamed the actor for the accident, claimed the wheel was ripped off by the impact, and that Massoud was at high speed.
Massoud probably tried to discuss the matter with Tesla until deciding to take legal action. With the help of the attorney Kevin K. Javidzad, he filed a lawsuit on May 30, 2019, eight months after the accident. Apart from the pictures of the accident, the suit also has a letter from the GEICO insurance company that confirms Massoud was not guilty of the accident.
When you check the letter, you see that GEICO changed its mind "after review of the EDR data" provided by Massoud. The curious note is that all the data came from Tesla. It reveals Massoud was not at high speed and that something bizarre actually happened to his car.
Some pictures show the place in which the accident took place. It was on Hollywood Boulevard, as the map below reveals. The tree in which the actor hit his Tesla is evident, but the marks on the asphalt are not.
You can see them in the images below, extracted from the lawsuit. They are part of the "Exhibit A," which also presents pictures of the wrecked Model 3. "Exhibit B" brings the Tesla data, and "Exhibit C" is the GEICO letter.
We have tried to contact Javidzad to know more about the lawsuit and the circumstances in which the accident happened, but have not heard back from the attorney so far. The connection point is that Massoud claims to have been affected by the same issue in the suspension that the Scottsville SC managed to fix for Cover.
Massoud now needs to prove in court his Tesla had an issue in its suspension that made him lose the front right wheel and the car control. Cover will not have that trouble. Luckily, he had more time to see the problem and get it fixed before anything happened. We only wonder how many had the same opportunity. That is not something Tesla needs to track. It is something Tesla probably needs to recall.