Tesla Model 3 Owners Survey Reveals New Details

Blue Tesla Model 3

AUG 10 2018 BY EVANNEX 50


There are plenty of rave reviews from Tesla Model 3 owners on YouTube and elsewhere, but as the saying goes, the plural of anecdote is not data. There have also been plenty of posts on Reddit complaining about Model 3s that were delivered in terrible shape, but there’s another saying about the reliability of anonymous online posts, and some of these sound pretty far-fetched.

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Charles Morris. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

Above: Model 3 ready to be delivered to a customer (Image: EVANNEX)

If you’d like to see a more comprehensive look at the satisfaction levels of Model 3 owners, and the various problems they’ve encountered, check out this Tesla Model 3 Owners Survey.

The survey originated from a discussion on the Model 3 Owners Club and was advertised there and on the Tesla Motors Club, the official Tesla forum, and the Tesla Motors Reddit page. It is based on 193 responses received over the course of a week. The authors of the survey discuss their methodology in detail (including a couple of clever “honeypot” questions specially designed to weed out trolls). However, the survey does not identify its authors, which limits its credibility. Scientific studies and surveys include the names and organizational affiliations of all authors. In this online age, anonymous postings are common, but savvy information consumers (all too rare, alas) understand that surveys of this kind are the online equivalent of a conversation with a stranger at a cocktail party.

That said, while we wait for an academic institution or media outlet to perform a more formal survey, we can have some fun with the results of this one (for informational purposes only, of course).

Above: Tesla Model 3 charge port door (Image: EVANNEX)

The survey breaks down Model 3 problems into categories – Panel/Trim Fit and Alignment; Paint; Loose Trim; Squeaking and Rattling; Glass Cracking, etc – and tabulates the percentage of respondents who experienced problems, the severity of those problems, and how they were resolved.

In most of the categories we find that the majority of owners experienced no problems, a substantial number had minor or moderate issues, and a small number had serious problems. For example, in the category Panel/Trim Fit and Alignment, 83% reported no unevenness outside of expected margins, 12% reported that one panel was slightly off, and the rest reported more noticeable gaps. One common issue has to do with the charge port door – 14% of respondents reported problems. The most common problem of all is that the Tesla app is sometimes slow to wake up – a minor inconvenience that affected all but 13% of respondents. The most serious potential issue is probably drive-unit failure, which was a problem with early Model S vehicles. Tesla seems to have greatly improved its quality control in this area, as 97.3% of respondents had no problems at all, and only two individuals required a drive unit replacement.

The survey also asked owners about their experiences getting problems fixed – for each category, we learn how long it took Tesla to make repairs. Another very interesting set of data is the incidence of each problem over time. In most cases, there seems to have been steady improvement – most of the major problems showed up on early production vehicles, and even minor issues have become less common. For example, while the much-publicized panel gaps were common in the early days of production, for cars delivered in May 2018, there were no “major” problems, and 89% of users reported no issues at all.

Above: Tesla’s Model 3 (Image: EVANNEX)

What about general satisfaction? Nearly 80% of respondents chose the hyperbolic “YEEEEEEEAAAAYYYYY!” Only one respondent out of 184 described themselves as “somewhat satisfied,” and not a single respondent said they were unsatisfied.


Written by: Charles Morris; Source: Tesla Model 3 Owners Survey

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here.

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50 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Owners Survey Reveals New Details"

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I’m glad to see some real evidence — not merely some anecdotes — that Tesla has made significant improvements to the frequency of fit-and-finish problems reported in early Model 3 production. (I note exactly the same thing happened with the Model X.)

* * * * *

This survey appears to be quite positive for Tesla, but there’s one selection bias not mentioned here: The fact that Evannex reported this survey. If the survey had not been quite positive, Evannex would have ignored it.

I’m not suggesting we should discount what’s in the survey, but let’s just remember the reporting source has a clear pro-Tesla bias.


I guess there are 3 people here (at time of my comment) who will just downgrade any PP comment.

Then again, literally ANYONE can vote, even without registering or even a captcha… Not even worth mentioning any downvotes, only the % counts (currently 21/3 = 70% = positive)

I wonder how you get to this 70% figure. Not that it matters much but when 21 are positive and 3 are negative then 21 out of 24 are positive which is 87.5%, right?

I have a bot that does it for me.

It does seem like the only time any comment of mine, no matter how positive, escapes down-voting entirely is when it’s either a rather belated one or when it’s very far down in the comments.

I guess the Usual Suspects are gonna vote all my comments down just because they don’t like how I hold their feet to the fire, hmmm?

Welcome to the troll invested snake pit that is the insideEV comment section, ROFLOL!

Evennex is not the primary source, they are simply an aggregator. The survey stands on it’s own merits regardless of who reports on it. The survey itself is the primary source material.

For example, the execution of Billy Irick actually happened Thursday, whether you read about it from a pro-death penalty website, or an anti-death penalty website. Reading about it from a website that is biased in their viewpoint doesn’t suddenly bring Billy Irick back to life.

If in doubt of the messenger, skip the recap and go straight to the primary source. Luckily Insideevs provides a link to the actual primary source at the bottom of every evanex story or inside the story, so there is no need to rely upon the recap by evanix. It is easy enough to skip the messenger and go straight to the actual primary source material.

It’s rare for you to miss my point, Nix. The point is that if Evannex hadn’t reported this, then we wouldn’t be reading it here.

I don’t see how publication bias matters here: it’s not like there are likely any other studies providing data on this, that could show a less positive result…

I’m sure any number of Tesla Death Cultists could link to something they claimed was a “study” or a “survey” which shows exactly the opposite. You see that sort of FUD posted to Seeking Alpha quite literally every day.

I agree that there very likely isn’t — yet — any other survey conducted with any effort to be scientific, statistically valid, or unbiased.

No problem. If the survey had been negative several larger media would have reported it. Starting with seeking alpha

Looks like Tesla can kiss their J. D. Power award hopes goodbye. One out of seven cars had problems within the first six months, as reported by die-hard enthusiasts. That does not bode well for the mass market or for quality at year three or four. A failure rate this high is unheard of among modern mass market cars.

Have you even read the content of this article?

OH, please. What is unheard of is the amount of demand for the car. Some manufacturer’s are cutting sedan lines wholesale, others have drops of 15%-45% in sales of their sedans. You’re still not getting it. What else should people expect from you?

Dream on troll.
Your FUD is weak.

The game is over Seven, and I hear your mother calling.

@Seven Electrics said: “Looks like Tesla can kiss their J. D. Power award hopes goodbye…”

Smell that?

Jim Chanos anti-Tesla wolfpack…the smell of TSLA short-squeeze despair in the air.

Reminder: Project Dunkin Chanos…

Each Monday morning Tesla owners & Tesla reservation holders buy Dunkin Donut dozen for the office.

I have never seen cultists cut more slack.

Eleventy Pretend Electrics tried — but failed — to post FUD:

“Tesla can kiss their J. D. Power award hopes goodbye”

😆 😆 😆

Tesla has made it quite clear it doesn’t want to participate in “pay to play” fake awards like J.D. Power.

That’s one of the many things showing how much better, how much more admirable, Tesla is than legacy auto makers!

Go Tesla!

“One out of seven cars had problems within the first six months, as reported by die-hard enthusiasts.” I think you are right, and you are wrong. I have had the car for about 3 months now, experienced two “see service immediately” type failures, one of which I did take in, mostly because I wanted to see what the service was like. If it were a normal car, I would agree with you. Its not, it is a laptop that happens to have wheels. And unfortunately we have learned to expect this in software applications like this. Do I like it (that the car behaves like a laptop)? No, absolutely not. I write and test software for a living. I think the present software error rate is unacceptable, and I do not tolerate this in my software. But it has become common in user applications. It also depends on what the appliance is. We use large complex touch screen navigation and control systems in airplanes. If the manufacturers of those systems had the same error rates as consumer devices, they would be run out of business in short order. You don’t trust the lives of hundreds of people to crap software.… Read more »

Yeah, I can agree with you on that Scott – Software Developer myself. For some of the settings when we first got it, I was like “How could NOT persist that value correctly?”

Aircraft do not use touchscreens at all. The displays you see in cockpit photos are not input devices; all inputs and control is through physical buttons, dials, and switches. The displays can go out completely and the plane remains completely controllable.

This is probably what Tesla thinks of JD Power awards:


Thank you, I was thinking the exact same thing. Although this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSBsq6HBBzw is IMHO more relevant because Mahk really goes into why JD Powah is basically a phony made-up award.

Thank you for bringing balance to this site. You’ve changed my mind, thanks.

JDPower is fake, designed to give participation awards to their advertisers.

JD power’s credibility doesn’t matter to me. Lexus returned to dealership within 1 year.
First time I received a survey, within 3 months of the Lexus ownership. A specific issue I located via a blog with many owners complaining of the same defect. My Audii, returned to dealership within 1 year over electrical issues. The over 400000 Model 3 reservations from the general public for a vehicle sight unseen says more than a JD Power survey ever could. In addition to the conversion rate for owners of modest vehicles to Model 3 costing double to triple in price. Tesla hasn’t spent anywhere near the legacy auto makers in marketing to amass their customer base, or general adulation.

Civic and Prius were among the most popular trade ins for model 3. It IS already mainstream

You know it is mainstream when the car nearest /closest parking spot where it can be easily dinged by careless people with their car doors ,I checked this mod 3 up close and looked at the panel gaps and misalignments and all those things that was so much in the news , my Honda CRV had more flaws than this Mod3

J.D.Power award is over rated,I’d rather follow the crowd of over 400,000 putting their $1000 where their mouth and mind is ,and i would never trust OLD AUTO & their STEALERSHIPS , BEEN THERE ,stung TO MANY times ,fool me once , fool me twice,*****

I own two Model 3 Teslas. So far no problems with either one of them.

I have a minor complaint about the charging handle lock that takes 30-40 seconds to open with the phone app. Other than that, the TM3s are the best cars I have had to date.

If you open one of the driver/passenger doors, and then press the button on the charger wand, the charge port will unlock (no need to open the app). I’m not sure how it behaves with a non-Tesla charger though. It seems like this behavior needs some work. If my phone key is nearby it should just let you press the wand button and remove the wand.

I’m using the JuiceBox Pro to charge my TM3s at home.

I know the charging lock can be released from the car’s console. It’s just so much more convenient (and natural) to try to do it from the phone app. I’m sure there will be some OTA update that will take care of this issue eventually.

I think if you’re close enough that your phone unlocks the car, you can just press on the cover and it will open. I think I’ve seen that in vid reviews, and that’s how it is with the Model S. Lots of options 😉

In order to unlock the car with the phone, you need to physically open (or try to open) the car’s door. It’s not good enough to be in the vicinity of the car with your phone. I don’t believe the charging cover can be opened without the car being unlocked. I’ll test this tonight.

Besides, it’s not the charging cover that I want to open, it’s the charging handle lock that I want to release so that I can pull out the charging handle and disconnect the car from my JuiceBox.

I would really like location based locking, so that when I am home and my Model 3 is in the garage it stays unlocked and the charging port does not lock.

Yes, exactly. It should be fairly easy to implement because the car knows its location and it recognizes the “home” setting.

I understand why some people might still want the car auto-locked when at home (maybe they park on the public street). Nevertheless, it’d be nice to have an option that enables/disables auto-locking of the car at the “home” location.

You are correct, the charge door will not open upon walk up (and touching it), unless one actually opens one of the doors first. That could be fixed with software though. However, if you use a Tesla charger, you do not need to open any door. Just walk up and push the button on the charge handle. I guess this issue will only bug people with non Tesla chargers.

That’s never worked for me. I have to either open the drivers door or use the app.

Any issues have been minor – and many have been corrected with over the air updates. I had a small panel gap issue — but frankly I was overly inspecting the car and probably would not have said anything in most cases.

The advantages of this vehicle far outweigh any of these minor issues. I hate driving ICE cars now!!! I’m totally spoiled.

One of the trolls biggest problems is that so many cars are showing up. People no longer only have to rely on what they “read on the internet”.

You think panel gaps are bad? Judge for yourself.

Exactly. You can walk up to actual cars in parking lots and inspect them. I see a lot of uneven gaps myself.

So, your Tesla Model 3 takeaway is, “a lot of uneven gaps”?

FFS, so you couldn’t see the forest for the trees?

Be warned, Tesla Model 3 owners and drivers, “DL” is now the Official On-Site Parking Lot Panel Gap Inspector and Troll.

“Clouseau” is the REAL, and greatest of all-time, EV “actual cars” P.G. inspector!


Hmmm, no, he didn’t specify that it was the Model 3’s he saw that have uneven gaps.

DL quite rightly pointed out, just as I have done several times, that if you closely inspect several random cars in any public parking lot, you’ll likely see a lot of uneven panel gaps.

Not all claims of bad quality in panel gaps in Tesla cars are a result of people looking far more critically at them than they do at other cars. But a lot of it is a result of exactly that.

I’d love to see someone take a micrometer and actually measure panel gaps on, say, 100 randomly chose new cars, and see where a typical Tesla Model 3 falls in the bell curve.

I’d bet that, despite what the Tesla Death Cult FUDster’s keep telling us, the average Tesla Model 3 is actually better built than the average car.

I’ve seen three close-up. I saw no gap problems at all on two. The first one I saw (red) looked like driver’s side door trim didn’t match up exactly. It wasn’t noticeable until I looked closely. It’s possible one door closed on a seat belt or something. The car did not look brand new, might have been an early model

The new white one I saw yesterday had a slight paint mismatch between rear bumper panel and car body. I doubt a normal buyer would notice.

Internet surveys have little value as there are no controls. For all anyone knows, no one who responded even owns a Model 3. Add to that the fact that the survey admittedly screened out negative responses. There’s a reason the professional scientific polls cost a lot of money.

“Add to that the fact that the survey admittedly screened out negative responses.”

That’s not what the article says. It talks about “honeypot” questions designed to weed out trolls. In other words, trick questions that someone who doesn’t actually own a Model 3 would be unlikely to answer correctly. The intent would be to weed out people falsely responding to the survey with the intent of Tesla bashing. Given the high percentage of Tesla related posts online being from FUDsters, that sort of weeding out appears to be, sadly, necessary.

Actually this survey is a pleasant surprise, as far as it goes.

There apparently have not been too many problems reported. A long term (one year or so) evaluation will provide an even clearer picture later.

It looks pretty reasonable to say that the reliability of the Model ‘3’ has improved somewhat. Good to hear – so I’m waiting for the one year evaluation.