When we wrote about Tesla Model 3 units losing their rear bumpers back in 2018, we hoped the company would investigate "the issue to understand what caused it," as it promised. When Tesla used to talk to the press, it also said it would contact its "customers to resolve this and ensure they are satisfied." That implies the issue would no longer happen, but it did. Logan Derouanna even had Tesla's help to film everything, as you can see above.
What the video shows is his 2019 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus – bough in March 2019 and with only 14,000 miles on the clock – spontaneously lose its bumper after hitting a puddle. At least it did not see water coming out of the A-pillar.
"I was driving in the rain with my girlfriend and her father, decelerating about to make a right turn (going into the turn lane) when all of a sudden we heard a big noise. I thought we got rear-ended. I pulled into the nearest parking lot and went outside, and the whole back of my car was off."
You can see Derouanna was at the same speed as the cars that come from behind when the accident happens.
"I was in shock. I took pictures and watched the video right away. Then I called the Tesla Roadside Assistance and walked over to where it happened. I watched dozens of cars drive over the same spot with no issues."
But Roadside Assistance never arrived.
"I waited for them for over an hour, so I decided to call. They told me they were sending me a quote for how much it would cost. I asked if they could cover it, and I kept getting transferred and transferred and transferred… One person told me it was an act of God."
By blaming the Almighty for the bumper that wanted to be a SpaceX rocket, Tesla Service said that the warranty did not cover that damage. Quite a disappointment for a Tesla shareholder and long time fan of the brand.
"I love my car and had no issues up until Friday. I really love this company, and I'm even a long-term stockholder."
Luckily, we learned before publishing this article that the company changed its mind about "acts of God" and performed a miracle: it recognized the issue was its fault – with a little persuasion.
"My dad had to email the manager with our lawyer, and the manager just called my dad and said it's a known issue, and they are covering it all for me and bringing a tow to my house. They're ordering new parts for it and fixing it."
We're happy Tesla did the right thing with Derouanna and hope that to also be the case for other clients that had the same problem after the 2018 incident, such as Rahul Nowlahka and Rhenart, whose tweets you can see embedded below.
Looking at the pictures Derouanna sent us, we see no damages to the attachment points underneath the bumper that should hold it in place. If the car had its respective bolts in place, these recessed niches would be split apart. The Model 3 owner will check them to confirm if they are intact as the pictures seem to show.
That information is relevant because there are frequent reports of missing bolts in Tesla vehicles. If that was the case in Derouanna's Tesla, it could explain this and other situations that keep on happening despite Tesla's promises of sorting this out. There are similar reports at TMC Forum. Another post there claims the issue is a design flaw that makes the rear bumper hold more water than it can cope with.
If you have also had this problem with your Model 3, please let us know more about it. In case you have a different explanation for that, you are also welcome to share it with us. Remember, Derouanna's story had a happy ending that should be the rule for everyone that had to face the same situation.