Video: Everything That’s Wrong With This New Tesla Model 3


No car is perfect, right?

It’s long been known that the Tesla Model 3 suffered from some occasional build quality issues. But that was in the past, right?

Well, perhaps not.

Even though Tesla is now out of Model 3 production hell, it seems some build quality issues still plague select Model 3. The issues range from minor paint scratches on up to misaligned panel gaps. Yep, those panel gaps still seem to be a problem.

A short while back, we posted video of Engineering Explained taking delivery of a Tesla Model 3. Well, here’s the next follow-up.  This is sure to be a long series of Model 3 clips from the excellent YouTube channel. So, stay tuned for even more to come.

Video description:

A detailed look at the build quality issues with my mid-range Tesla Model 3. Includes exterior scratches, paint quality issues, panel gaps, and panel placement.

What quality issues did my Tesla Model 3 Mid-Range arrive with? It’s been heavily reported that while Tesla has been ramping up the production quantity of Tesla Model 3s. The quality of the builds is not fully there.

In this video we’ll look at all of the various paint scratches on my Model 3, paint defects, and also the mismatching panel gaps on each side of the vehicle. As a control, we’ll also look at the panel gaps on my Subaru Crosstrek (a vehicle that cost 1/2 the price), and see how the panel gaps compare to the Tesla at the exact same locations.

All of the issues shown in this video are from how the car arrived at my house. I took delivery on November 29th, and the car went straight into my garage at 22 miles on the odometer for this video to be filmed. I had not yet driven the car before filming this video, except from taking it from the delivery truck and placing it into my garage, several hundred feet of travel.

Are the flaws I show worth mentioning, or am I simply being petty? Feel free to let me know how you feel in the comments.

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149 Comments on "Video: Everything That’s Wrong With This New Tesla Model 3"

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More negative publicity paid for by the other car manufacturers. I have owned my Tesl 3 since June 2018 and i love it. I have had zero issues with this car and the quality and finish is very good. The software updates continue to make this a better car than when I purchased it. This car may not be right for everyone, but Tesla sold more units than BMW, Audi am Driving a Mercedes combined in North America in 2018,

Engineering Explained is very thorough and no judgment from him on fit and finish, he simply points out condition he received vehicle and measurements of panels. Tesla is fixing the paint defects.

And this is exclusive for Tesla? Have you ever seen a critic similar for legacy automotive. Of course is part of the bad press for Tesla.

If you follow Engineering Explained you will see that he became interested in Tesla and this is his personal vehicle he bought. It isn’t a hit piece against Tesla.

Being an Engineer myself, whenever I buy something if there is a common complaint with a product I will check my own and maybe post about it on the web. Nothing unusual there.

Oh, really? Or maybe this is a case of seeking out the very worst case they could possibly find to highlight, as part of the ongoing anti-Tesla pravduh campaign. I think we’ve seen enough cherry-picking of fit-and-finish problems with Tesla cars. This is old news.

We need to ask just who paid for the production of this video. If “Engineering Explained” caters to the gearhead crowd, then there is a distinct possibility of an anti-EV bias there; perhaps a strong one.

The consensus is that Tesla has improved their quality control significantly. If there are still a few cars that slip thru the current production process with some flaws, then that is most likely an outlier, and the same sort of thing you’ll see with cars from quite literally every auto maker.

It’s long past time for this anti-Tesla pravduh campaign to cease to get coverage on EV related forums. I suppose those desperate to slow the EV revolution will never stop churning out propaganda, but I call upon the InsideEVs staff to stop reporting this cabbage unless it contains some real news — not fake news.

Go Tesla!

No, if you follow his other videos you will see he is very pragmatic, and actually has gone to effort to dispel the myth that EVs are dirtier than ICE. Became interested in Tesla and ordered one for himself. Did you even watch the video?

What we really need to find out and “ask” is who pays you to be so anti-ICE and pro-Tesla. After all, this is using your same logic. This man points out genuine errors on the car that most of us already know to be true and all you do is try to white knight for Tesla. So who/what is paying you?

If you are not anti-ICE or pro-Tesla, then what in the world are you doing wasting your time reading articles and comments here? If you want to defend continuing to drive cars which spew pollution which poisons the very air we all breathe, as well as contributing significantly to global warming, I’m sure you can find a gearhead or coal-rolling forum that will welcome your comments.

My comment isn’t out of step with the purpose of InsideEVs. Yours most certainly is.

The fact that he used a zip tie to point our flaws is misleading, when he manages to let you see his finger, you see how unbelievably small the “defects” are. In 50 years I have never seen this level of critic on any car. Same thing for the panel gaps, when have you ever seen someone do that to a car? Most of the errors are less than 1/10 of an inch!!! Yes, a car line that has been running for many years will be dialed in even better, so will Tesla 4 years from now.

All of these issues are typical start of production issues for every car line. Nobody seems willing to admit these problems always take time to work out!

He makes no judgement on them. The zip tie is a perfect pointing tool as it is plastic as to not scratch the paint and pointy at the end to emphasize the point. Many of those scratches are quite large as evident when his fingers are visible.

The problem is that some see any negative comment on Tesla as trash talk. This is something Tesla obviously still needs to work on. Something like that spec of dust under the paint right near the handle would really bug me. If it was on the rocker panel I wouldn’t care.

Compare gaps on Toyota products to those on Teslas and maybe you can see HOW much room they can improve.

Typically I would agree. Though this Youtube-er is the real deal. Tesla does need to raise the standards of their pre-delivery vehicle preparation to a much higher level. Then people won’t be posting videos with calipers and close-up photography. Whenever I buy a new car, I take it in for a thorough detail and paint correction. With Tesla, it’s even more necessary because they are clearly rushing to move these things out. It’s a good problem for Tesla to have that other brands aren’t faced with. But it is something they need to correct.

How about prove it or shut up.

Must be something he likes about the Model 3, he researched it carefully before he bought it. 🙂

My PHEV BMW 330e in less than one year had two recalls – one because of engine fires, second because of punctured engine starter. I haven’t checked car with any ruler but it creaks like crazy. Dealership told me that’s OK.

Can INSIDEEV write article about that? My car has 30km EV range so it fits here.

You know you can be a Tesla fan and still have credibility…
The Engineering Explained video was sponsored by as he states and not some other car manufacture…
He is a nerds nerd with over 2 million subscribers and totally honest and awesome and all his videos are generally sponsored by some third party…
If you want to know anything about how cars and how other stuff works he probably has a video for it…

Like Kelly Blue Book, Auto Tempest would be competitive with Tesla’s preferred vertical handling of its used cars. KBB typically has nothing good to say about Tesla. Would AT want to sponsor a video that, relatively speaking, took the spotlight off AT’s listings?

First impression is “I’ve never seen a zip tie look that big”. Second, If he’s an engineer, he should know which side of his calipers measures gaps. But mostly, I’ve handled more Meg 105 to take out such minor scuffs than I care to remember.

My opinion is this video was created to harp on the perception that Tesla has poor fit and finish, which it does not. A website named “Engineering Explained” should focus on its core mission, and not get distracted for “sponsorship”. We’ve already lost enough gear-heads, to pig lipstick critics.

Like I said…
You know you can be a Tesla fan and still have credibility…

Wow Tesla a competitor to KBB…
That’s just a stretch and half…
Does fanboi membership come with tinfoil hats…

Really, “tinfoil hats”?

I personally haven’t watched enough of Kelley Blue Book’s videos to know if there is a noticeable anti-Tesla bias there.

But I imagine KBB doesn’t at all like the fact that Tesla’s CPO program completely ignores their near-monopoly on the pricing of used cars. How much or how little does that attitude color their video reviews of Tesla cars?

Regarding “tinfoil hats”, maybe you should feel your own head to see if you’re wearing one.

Yet Tesla’s poor QC is a fact. Try again.

No, it’s a fact that Tesla used to have a problem with quality control; a problem which most of those reviewing recent production units agree that Tesla has corrected.

It’s also a fact that there are more people who spend time writing post after post attacking Tesla on forums like this one; more than all other auto makers combined. Including those who use obviously made-up screen names like “B. Cosby”.

134 down-votes? And for a pro-Tesla comment? That’s something like 4x as many down-votes as I’ve ever seen for any other comment at InsideEVs, even very negative ones.

Looks like this article has been targeted by an anti-Tesla pravduh campaign. Perhaps an article over at Reeking Alpha linked to this article, and suggested readers visit and give down-votes?

No thumbs down from me

Yeah dude, you’ve posted 25 comments in this one thread alone. People are getting tired of you crapping up every single thread, all day, every day. There are only two possible explanations for posters like you: 1) You are being paid to post (lazy Tesla employ who surfs the net all day at work/owns Tesla stock), or; 2) You’re crazy. Either way, if there was any impartiality to this site’s comment censorship, you’d have been blocked a long time ago.

I believe he may be enjoying a well-earned retirement.

On the other side of the spectrum, your comments are childish. Delete yourself.

No thumbs down from me

Enjoying it by spending all day, every day posting in every thread on this site? I wouldn’t call that, “enjoying,” I’d call that pathetic.

“On the other side of the spectrum, your comments are childish. Delete yourself.”

Look up the word, “ironic.” BTW, you’re not fooling anyone – you’re his duplicate account.

He’s not let out of Mommy’s Basement that often. Since he’s 64 that means Mommy is in her late 80’s now. But that explains why it takes him 25 comments to say something. He expressed willingness to go to work for Tesla, but, they’ve got all they can handle at the moment.

You’d think he’d get interested in something else, since he legally cannot drive any car, and will not purchase any kind of electric vehicle but has no qualms about criticizing those of us who have bought quite a few of them by now.

No thumbs down from me:

I think Nix – who I gave the moniker ‘the superdope’ so that he knows the comment is really coming from me – he got that for refusing to answer several reasonable questions of mine, that tended to show that he, well, is what he is.
Pushi is I think a different person because Nix at least seems a bit smarter than him,, although Pushi will often brag that he is expert in EV engineering, and Physics, even though he doesn’t begin to understand either and will remain mum when an actual engineering question arises since he can’t comment on it if it hasn’t been cut and pasted out of something before since he can’t do any thinking or calculations or analysis of his own.

Another Euro point of view

I fail to see how small differences in panel gaps are important. For the paint quality this is yet a well documented issue. For the rest it would be great to have his review in, say, 6 months from now.

1. Panel gaps are there for a reason, parts move, doors need to be closed, even after years of use

2. If a company does not manage to align panels you need to worry, they are not able to perfectly align other more important components as well

3. Lets bend your nose a little, make one eyer smaller than the other and add some huge gaps between your teeth and see, how you or any girls like that

Funny. I didn’t realize the only men women are interested in look like Brad Pitt or Mark Harmon.

Have you notice Tom Cruise upper set of teeth? He has one right in the middle!

He had the other one knocked out when he was a child, so they just moved the other one into the middle.

If you pay for a Brad Pitt and the manager of the Brad Pitt Company tells everyone, how perfect Brads face is, you want to receive a Brad Pitt.

All humans are asymmetrical.

The tools humans use, on the other hand, aren’t. If you build stairs in your house, the code will require them to be measured down to the eighth of an inch and force you to keep the rise below 7 3/4. Even a slight discrepancy causes humans to trip. Cars and other engineered products are no different. Symmetry is not a nice to have when you try to open a door in the middle of winter.

Stairs need to be built to the standards of less than 1/8 inch variation between steps? Speaking as a carpenter, that is absurd. There’s no need for such precision in stair-building. You’d certainly want the steps to be even enough that someone wouldn’t stumble ascending or descending, but a 1/8 inch variation here and there, or even 3/16″, should be perfectly acceptable in wooden steps. (Stone steps may require more precision, because small variations in stone steps will be more noticeable to the eye.)

Likewise, if someone needs calipers to measure a car’s panel gaps, then he’s asking for a ridiculous level of precision. The panel gaps should look reasonably even and aesthetically pleasing from several feet away from the car. Anything more precise than that is just wasting money on the assembly process.

I’d far rather Tesla spend its money on far more important areas. And thank goodness, it does!

IRC R311.7.4.1 “The greatest riser height within any flight of stairs shall not exceed the smallest by more than 3/8 inch.”

Proves wood-butcher Pushi isn’t a Carpenter. If he had built any Stair Case Stringer in his 64 years he would know the building inspector would insist on consistent stair spacing to prevent trips and falls, since that is the way humans walk, and more variation than the law allows would cause many mishaps down staircases since you get ‘programmed’ by the first step you take.

Of course he also calls himself a ‘Computer Programmer’, but who knows if he has ever written more than 10 lines of computer code at a time.

He already calls himself a EV engineering Expert – even though he goes mum when ever an engineering question comes up which requires calculations or analysis that he can’t cut and paste off of wikipedia.

Panel gaps are there to handle alignment imperfections. Only issue is they can look bad. I will tell you that my Honda Clarity PHEV is worse than that Tesla. Mainly the paint imperfections would bug me (and the Glass roof panel issue).

Oh, they can do more than, “look bad.” Have you ever tried to close a misaligned door? Seen the wear caused by repeated friction? Expected a buyer to pay your asking price when he notices the gaps on your quarters go from 1/8 to 1/4” over five inches? Panels and alignment matter, especially on $60k+ cars.

Panel gaps are there for slight imperfections. They give some wiggle room in fit. Yes, they can be so misaligned they rub, but then they are out of spec. Only car I have ever seen that on was the hood of a 2001 Ford Focus, brand new. Yes, they matter if they are off, but honestly that Model 3 doesn’t look bad, the paint would bug me. As I say, my Honda looks worse as the gap varies on the same piece (The Model 3 was mostly different gaps were different, but fairly consistent on a single gap).

A door so badly misaligned that it won’t close properly is miles away from a mere small variation in panel gaps.

You’re deliberately conflating a serious issue with one that isn’t merely trivial, it’s actually not even noticeable to the average car buyer.

If someone needs to use calipers to figure out if the panels are well aligned or not, then it seems pretty clear that they are well aligned. If you make your measurements fine enough, I’m sure you can find so-called “problems” with panel gaps on literally any car.

When I was working in my grandpa’s metal-working shop, I learned how to use a micrometer to measure parts down to about 1/2 a thousandth of an inch. But it would be absurd to apply such standards to mass produced automobiles. There’s no need for such precision, and trying to attain that would only drive up the price needlessly.

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

The guy from EE is simply measuring them for engineering reasons. He bought the car, had heard complaints with panel gaps, so he thought he would measure and report on it. There is nothing absurd about that. He makes no judgement if they are bad or good. That is for the viewer to decide. As a viewer it is pretty clear the panel fit is not as good as his previous car. He said Tesla was fixing the paint defects and providing him with a loaner.

As more than one other person has pointed out here, he’s not even using the calipers properly! So don’t try to tell us “there is nothing absurd about that”.

What’s absurd is how much time is wasted arguing about tiny variations in panel gaps on Tesla cars. If you’re obsessed with cosmetic blemishes which need a magnifying glass to see, then take your car to a detail shop and pay to have those microscopic flaws corrected.

And stop whining about a non-issue that most car buyers don’t even notice, let alone care about.

He is comparing the Tesla to a much cheaper car. The Tesla proves to be no better overall on panel gaps even though it is a premium car with a premium price tag.

It is a premium car with a premium price tag because it has superior premium technology and drivetrain compared to the LICE crap makers.

My Model 3 LR, rear motor built Oct is flawless.

It’s the “LICE” comment that made me stop reading; I just don’t read juvenile comments. You’re an adult, not a grade school kid on the playground. Make salient, rational arguments instead of calling silly names.

I did make a salient, rational argument before my “LICE” comment.
Have a Merry Christmas and have fun driving an EV John.

Offended by the moniker LICE being applied to internal combustion engines on an EV website? Pretty hard to take that seriously.

Maybe he doesn’t know it stands for Legacy Internal Combustion Engine vehicles. Gotta admit, tho, that it’s not a commonly used acronym.

People usually just use the acronym “ICE.” But Get Real seems to prefer an extra level of outraged disparagement, so he goes with “LICE.”

I don’t think I’ve seen any other person – anywhere, ever – use that acronym.

I’ve used it plenty of times. When I use “ICE” and “LICE”, I use them in two completely different things, and Get Real used the terms the same as I always have.

“ICE” is what I use to refer to the car itself.
“LICE” refers to the car makers making those cars.

I don’t see any problem with having the two different terms to communicate different ideas. *shrug*

It really is amazing to me just how much professional car reviewers are obsessed with panel gaps. I personally have never closely examined such gaps on any car I’ve ever owned. From comments made by many, many others on this subject, I think I’m in the majority, and those obsessed with panel gaps are only a tiny minority.

There certainly are many indicators of quality in automotive build. I fail to grasp why a millimeter or two variance in the gaps between panels should be one of those. Given a choice between perfect panel gaps and any number of other characteristics, from sound deadening to seat comfort to dash glare reduction to how easy the interior is to clean, and a hundred other details about how well a car is designed and built, I’d take even a modest improvement in any one of those over getting absolutely perfect panel gaps all around. Every time!

Panel gaps are like overhead liner material: you won’t see them discussed in a review of an economy car, but you will see them pointed out in a review of a luxury car if they are deemed to be substandard.

Mass production of automobiles for the general public presents a witheringly difficult set of design, engineering, and production challenges.

For a company that’s been doing it for many decades, it’s really hard — see all the recalls and screwups in cars (EVs and otherwise) from the Legacies, for example. For a still new company starting from scratch, it’s much more difficult. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Tesla still has some work to do in this area. That’s not a criticism of Tesla, but a simple recognition of the difficulty of what they’re doing.

I cannot imagine what caused people to down vote my comment above, unless some people here simply cannot stomach the idea that (gasp!) Tesla is less than perfect at doing anything.

Grow up, people. Tesla is doing a phenomenal job for such a young company, but they’re still learning and getting better at all parts of running a large car company. If you can’t handle that simple fact, then find something else to obsess over.

Some people here are blind fanboys and will call you a paid spy just because your ownership experience was not good. (like me… Worst customer service I have ever recived in my life and had to take my car in 3 times for warranty repairs in the first 7 months)

Another Euro point of view

Yes but did you read the hidden owner manual of the Tesla owner period 2012-2017 ? As follows: buy a Tesla then for same amount of cash buy Tsla shares (so you need quite a lot of cash). Then as you own Tsla shares you need to pretend that everything is fine and that you car has no defects. The problem is that many of those new Model 3 owners did not get it (or do not have enough savings to buy the tsla shares together with the car), so they are allover internet as soon as something goes wrong thus are partly responsible for ruining the Tsla positions of Tesla owners period 2012-2017.
/s 🙂

But you’re not here to give us your honest opinion, “Another Euro…” No, you’re just here to bash Tesla as badly as you can, as often as you can.

You really outdid yourself when you claimed:

“How will hubby explain to wifey that their hard won cash just blew up in smoke buying Tsla stock… That may lead to divorce, that to children with substance abuse issues etc.”

I don’t think we should be making excuses for stuff like the alignment of glass roof pieces, however the paint stuff – with the exception of the dust particle – is surely a delivery/trucking problem not paint shop. What I don’t really get is why this guy took delivery with so many quality issues. Better video this way?

” is surely a delivery/trucking problem not paint shop” glad you pay attention to details and watched and listened attentively. Yes delivery/trucking cause paint problems underneath clear coat.

Thank you! That’s exactly what I was thinking about the paint scuffs. That’s probably something that occurred during shipping.

I remember reading a comment just the other day about a legacy (gasmobile) auto dealership whose service department spends an inordinate amount of their time dealing with shipping damage on new cars, and the commenter was saying this is pretty common.

Seems to me the real issue with paint scuffs probably isn’t the manufacturing process, it’s more likely that Tesla’s service centers are so busy they don’t have time to properly prep all the cars before delivery.

I’m not saying we should ignore the ongoing problem with Tesla having growing pains, but let us please not conflate them with lack of quality control in manufacturing.

The paint scuffs could have happened in the factory just as easily as they could have by post factory handling. It isn’t fair to blame that on delivery without investigating. If I file a claim for a damaged product shipped via UPS, they will make me show that the box was damaged.

Tesla is also responsible for the shipping, so that doesn’t seem like a productive response. Whether the issue is with the manufacturing channel or the delivery channel, in a vertically integrated company like Tesla, it’s still a Tesla problem.

The panel gaps are much better on this car then on the model S cars they use at work. The paint finish on the Model S had no problems.

But at least it makes farting sounds. You cant have your cake and eat it too pal.

Another Euro point of view

Good point, no farting noises = no deal. One needs to put its priorities straight. 🙂

Wondering if the one who programed the farting, did it after taking Model S controls to the Version 9 sh!t house?

I’ll take it. Ours came perfect to this day. We got it in March 2018. Maybe the push to increase production let a few slip through. I’m sure they will make it all good and let you use a Tesla S 100 while they redo it.

I think so, too. There’s year end push to get as many 3 out as possible for full tax credit, and I suspect some suffered. But EE states Tesla has agreed to fix the problems, though not sure how well (ie, expensive) they’ll be fixed for paint problems under clear coat.

Not good news but if Tesla is addressing the more significant flaws, mainly paint, I could live with the rest. One lingering concern is whether these issues say anything about mechanical and electronic quality. We won’t be able to answer that question for a long time but Model S experience tells me it’s not anything to be very worried about.

Wow, that is sloppy and the thing that would bother me about such things is if they messed up that bad on fit and finish which is the easy part how did they do on the mechanical side, the stuff you can’t see?
Now on the flip side growing up, when we saw a new US made car like that the dealer would always say ” it came that way from the factory” which was supposed to make it all better.
Had I gotten a brand new car looking like that, I would have told them to replace or refund, what you have is symptoms of much larger problems and after spending 26 years as a custom car builder what you have there is a Lemon, especially this early in the game.

A car is a “lemon” just because of a few minor paint flaws — which will be fixed by a Tesla service shop — and some half-imagined panel gap issues so minor the tech needed a set of calipers to detect them?

Hmmm… no, “lemon laws” are intended to deal with cars which have real issues, not trivial or even half-imagined ones like these.

Again, read the entire comment before cherry picking just to be critical.

I did read your entire comment. Including the conclusion, where you asserted Tesla should have to replace the car because of a few very minor cosmetic blemishes.

Engineering Explained has been releasing a lot of pro ev content recently. So for someone like this to be openly critical is a shot across the bow that Tesla needs to act on.

Paint defects are legitimate. Panel gaps? I mean really? What laymen ever noticed or cared that a gap was micrometers different around a door frame. Does the panel close and operate or not? Yeah, the caulk job on your new $500,000 home is garbage as well…but you didn’t know (or care) until I do a video showing you.

Paint defects are a legitimate gripe. So go buy the BMW 5 series…and ask why it operates like a weak powered puss. Nobody who is buying electric will buy ICE because of “better panel gaps”.

Strange you got so many down-votes; I think you’re right on target here.

Yeah, I have never in my life heard anyone say “Well, I’d buy that car, but the panel gaps are too uneven!” …and I seriously doubt I ever will.

Nobody I know in real life has ever complained about panel gaps on a car. I’ve heard many, many complaints about cars in my time, but that’s definitely not one of them! It seems nobody cares about this non-issue except professional car reviewers.

If the wealthy did not support new tech like microwaves and plasma TV’s where would we be. The wealthy make things possible for the masses, late. The Model 3 is here because of the wealthy taking risks on new tech. This is a first generation vehicle and look how great it is with a few imperfections. This vehicle is a bargin at all new tech, power train, and at same price as its old school competitors. Amazing how a new company out of nowhere makes all the these new tech records/history with the safest and fastest cars. Amazing! Look how expensive old school Escalade and Tahoe’s are and people think a Model x is expensive!

To some extent, you are correct. The Model 3 is an expensive car and most buyers are ordering them sight unseen without a test drive or other typical car buying activities. But it’s a second generation product, and as such expectations of improvement over fit & finish of first generation products (Model S & X) are reasonable. To Teslas credit, though, they are going to fix the errors. And from what I’ve heard, Tesla has typically been very responsive about fixing build quality or fit & finish issues with their vehicles without fuss.

Paint job looks like a mess, I wonder how this car got so scratched up. It definitely should not have been delivered in that sort of condition. I wonder if one could demand that Tesla takes it back and deliver a properly finished car rather than have to settle for a repainted car? At the very least a substantial discount is in order ($2500 for this paint, how about $0?)even if the paint defects are properly fixed.

He says in the video that most of the scratches are on the driver side. Seems to me its a transport issue. The truck drivers are not careful. For the dust particles, yeah that’s a production issue.

According to Elon, he needs to re-calibrate his micrometer 🙂

According to elon every millimeter counts and every Tesla that rolls off the line is perfect

I love Tesla but if this way delivered to me like that id be asking for a replacement. bad paint is not something any car company should be sending out in 2018.

There’s a difference between good paint whose clear coat is scuffed, and the splotchy metallic I witnessed on a Jag I-Pace.

Google: Kia Stinger Yellow
Bad paint forced stop sale and they basically have to buy back or repaint all the cars.

Minor fit and finish issues that Tesla will resolve. Meanwhile the planet is becoming inhospitable to human civilization due to our insane insistence on burning fossil fuels.
Perspective anyone?

My son refused the first Tesla 3 he had ordered due to panel gap issues. It was no problem. 2 weeks later, he had his new one delivered with no issues. It was handled professionally without issue

The unprofessional part is trying to unload this on customers in the first place, hoping they won’t notice or pay attention

So, it’s “unprofessional” for an auto maker to not obsess over tiny cosmetic blemishes that most customers won’t even notice, let alone care about?

Here’s a different opinion: Detailing shops exist for the small percentage of car buyers who aren’t satisfied with the state in which new cars are generally delivered. The rest of us are perfectly happy that auto makers don’t drive the price of all their cars up to appeal just to the tiny minority who suffer from OCD about their car’s appearance.

You are not being petty. These are real issues. Before saying anything else I’d like to say NOBODY SHOULD ACCEPT DELIVERY OF THEIR MODEL 3 WITHOUT A THOROUGH INSPECTION OF THE VEHICLE. DON’T ACCEPT DELIVERY AT HOME IN DARK. GO TO THE TESLA SHOWROOM IN BROAD DAYLIGHT TO INSPECT AND ACCEPT DELIVERY. YOU CAN THANK ME LATER. I accepted delivery at home for our midrange on December 14, Friday, 7.30 pm. The delivery guy told us we have 3 days to accept or decline delivery. Inspected the car as soon as the sun came out on Monday and took it back to the Tesla showroom to report the panel alignment and other warping door seals and paint issues. Expressed the intent to replace it with a like car to the owner adviser who said sorry can’t swap the car there is no such policy. Clearly, the delivery and sales teams are not on the same page. Well, after slimming down the bank account by $55K, we are now waiting for the service appointment in January in hopes that these issues will be resolved to factory standards. We are not very hopeful if they will be resolved because they were missed… Read more »
Well he’s not being Petty. If he paid $2500 EXTRA for the ‘fancy paint’ (I didn’t remotely see how this is special since it didn’t look metallic flaked to me anyway). He didn’t mention it but why are some panels orange and some panels red when he is using the same overhead lights? I paid I think $395 extra for the fancy paint for my BOLT ev, and it was a far better quality paint job, plus it LOOKS like it is fancy paint. Since Tesla doesn’t have any colors that are included with the car other than Police Car Black, that would be my color choice since they are not paying any more attention to the optional colors than the standard color. I can’t imagine that the Black Paint would be worse than this. This type of criticism is Valid since every other car is OVERPRICED compared to a Tesla (per the peanut-gallery), which is RARELY even mentioned as being an expensive car, whereas my absolutely flawless (as to fit and finish ELR – my 2014 Still looks great) with a metallic Silver Standard equipment, you know the ELR: the car that didn’t sell supposedly – even though GM… Read more »

Agreed… Since the service centers are supposedly swamped with all the extra work from the fantastically selling Model 3 – how are they supposed to have the time to fix these things? I would suppose they just tell the most HORRID cases of paint jobs to take the car to Macco and have the thing totally redone, and they’ll pay for it. Dirt under the paint would make one wonder what other things they got dirt in – maybe grounding screws as a for instance?

But then the question remains since this is a problem for a long time now, wouldn’t it be cheaper to just have the factory learn how to paint cars the first time?

The huge number of deep scratches are the biggest issue. Someone massively scratched up that car during transport. Tesla should be firing people responsible for that.

It’s hard to get an impression if the panel alignments matter as long as it visually looks ok overall. There is going to be some variation. The glass alignment seemed somewhat worrisome, but it was hard to tell in the video how bad it looks.

This is the reason why I would never buy a new car, I would have nightmares about gaps or scratches. I bought a brand new car once ,I would park at the farthest spot in the parking lot to avoid people dinging my new shiny car. One day some jealous guy took a key or knife to the hood over 3 feet long.

Sorry to hear that, yes there are some jerks out there. I park at the back too.

I bought my very first brand new car in 1981. Parked in the farthest corner of a lot. Some one in a Chrysler “as big as a whale” tried to turn around in the lot and hit it!

Why would have accepted delivery of this car with all of these issues? Seems rather foolish for a guy that is going through this vehicle with a fine tooth comb.

Yeah, that’s what makes no sense here. If the guy is so obsessed with panel gaps that he’s using a caliper to check them, then why didn’t he take the time to do an extended check of the car before accepting delivery?

That’s what makes this whole thing look like a hatchet job. I don’t think the guy who is doing this video is talking about his own car; he’s talking about some other car that somebody managed to find, one that has a lot more fit-and-finish issues than most of the Model 3’s now being delivered.

Because the delivery guy says you have three days to accept or decline delivery based on your inspection and then the Sales team denies that there is such a policy allowing a return for manufacturing issues. Yes, there are over 30,000 Model 3s (as of January 1, 2019) out there ready for delivery but the sales, delivery and service teams will not play ball with you once you have paid in full. The only available remedy after delivery is car repairs. Nobody wants to take that chance but customers are left with no choice – which is really sad. A handful of Tesla showroom staff members are bringing down the brand equity.


You want perfect paint and gaps buy a Rolls Royce or Bentley or VWs , VW has perfected Diesel gaps.

I don’t know about Rolls, but Porsche has the best most even panel gaps among any car under $100K. I actually measured them at various dealers about 15 years ago while car shopping. BMW was worse than Toyota, so much for German precision (see what I did there?)

American BMWs, maybe. European BMWs are bether than any Toyota.

My 15000 € car hasn’t problems with gaps or paint. Most of people don’t need the best work, only a good one and this Tesla is a bad example of how Tesla quality fabrication is below, I think, any other mainstream car maker in the world. The Subaru is one example. This could be important or not for anyone, but the fact is that Tesla has big problems in some aspects, and excuses or look at the problems of other makers, don’t help to improve the products.

Douchy millennials say anything for a paycheck. Desperation is a bad cologne.

I am always amazed and how Tesla Fan Boys will ridicule and dismiss someone so flippantly. Some of the comments on here are so incredibly ignorant.

A panel gap whine-fest for x-mas day based on a two day old video? Weird timing. Sounds more like a topic for Festivus.

I can’t imagine 10 years ago when EV fans were desperate to get their hands on highway capable EV’s having anyone whine about panel gaps!! Sad. I fear for the human race when we finally get EV’s to complete head-to-head vs. ICE vehicles, and instead the talk is about panel gaps.

Rome burns while the fiddler plays songs about panel gaps.

36 hour delivery is impressive. A shame on The paint. Some of that could have been delivery. It happens.. This company is still a startup in car terms and to be where it’s at now is quite amazing. They are forcing the EV market, which in and of itself is ground breaking.

The video was very padded so I did skip quite a lot. My screen really did not show the problems. Panel gaps are wider on alumimium bodies and it is excusable on my ‘S’ but the ‘3’ I understand has a steel body. Steel is dimensionally more stable so the gaps should have been better formed.

Actually most of the body panels in the Model 3 are aluminum.

Sources to your claims please.
In my opinion, you just made them up. The use of aluminum does not lead to these issues, but poor manufacturing tolerances.

BTW I have a 2017 Chev. Volt, actually a very good vehicle imho which had a number of cosmetic defects similar to those described in the video. Not excusing them but still they do happen frequently even among the legacies. I have nearly 30k miles with no mechanical/electrical problems, averaging nearly 90mpg out here in the west. True EV types complain that it’s only a phev and that’s technically true but it gets an honest average of 50+ electric only miles, way more than most of us need for daily use. Alas GM is sending it to EV1 land this spring.

I can’t have a strong comment, I didn’t watch the video but all I can say is my November delivered LR RWD Blue Model 3 was near perfect. Three very minor parallel scratches that were so faint I couldn’t feel them with my fingernail that were polished out while we were signing paperwork was all there was. Oh, and mud behind the door handles. They thoroughly washed the car at the same time. It has been perfect since then as well. I have set up two service appointments to look at a couple of problems that turned out to be the stupid driver and cancelled both of them.
He may have had issues with his car. If he did then I am sure Tesla will take care of it. I wish him well. I am immensely satisfied with my car.

Thanks! You obviously have a common-sense approach to car ownership, with realistic expectations.

Too bad the guy in this video doesn’t.

If you actually watch the video you will see he is simply pointing out the measurements of the panels and showing the defects on the car, he doesn’t actually make any judgement on them. He is simply adding data points.

He has produced a lot of pro EV content lately, including a video where he shows that EVs have less lifetime CO2 emissions than ICE, even with large batteries (although payoff is longer).

He is actually the perfect sort of person to transition people to EVs as he is a bit of a technical gear head, many of my friends watch him that don’t necessarily like EVs. If they see him buy an EV and point out the facts he does it helps them realize that EVs are actually good for the environment and that a gear head can like them.

You can find imperfections in almost literally anything if you examine it close enough, with a magnifying glass or a microscope.

So the question isn’t whether or not one can find imperfections. One can find imperfections in literally any and every car if one examines it closely enough.

The question, the real question, is whether or not the imperfections he’s highlighting are significant enough to be worthy of complaint. Given some of the comments above about a plastic zip-tie looking huge in the video, it seems pretty clear he’s showing at least a magnifying-glass level of examination. If you think that’s appropriate… well, you’re entitled to your opinion. But have you ever subjected any of your own cars to an examination with a magnifying glass? Most people haven’t. Why would they? It’s pointless.

The fact that the guy isn’t even using calipers properly is another indication that this isn’t exactly a reasonable examination of the fit-and-finish of this car. It looks very much like the guy in the video has determined before-hand that he’s going to find flaws… no matter how hard he has to look before he finds them.

I wouldn’t normally nitpick… but measuring gaps comes close to it, so here goes…. Am I the only one who noticed that he wasn’t even using the calipers correctly for most of the video? Use the other end (and yes, it would’ve fit in the gaps).

No, I noticed that too, but likely he doesn’t want to jam the metal caliper between the body and damage the paint when he is trying to video as well. Given level he is measuring at it won’t matter that much, I wouldn’t calibrate the production line with those measurements, but it won’t change his data significantly for what he is doing.

…in fact, I should add that he didn’t show the calipers zeroed out to make sure they were acurate – that’s necessary. Of course, this is on top of using $20 plastic Harbor Freight Calipers. I wouldn’t call that the most accurate measuring device. I’m sure the gaps may be an issue, but show us with something harder to refute.

You are able to see the difference of the gaps with your naked eye in the video.the measurement he did, was more than accurate enough.

The last brand new model S i have seen had a very visible step of about 4mm from the drivers door to the back and hilarious big gaps in general. I wanted to have a look at the interior, but then my father, who never heard of Tesla before came and commented that it must have been involved in a crash and bad repairs until i explained to him, that this is actually how they are delivered. Build quality has always been and still is an issue.

If an educated person in europe buys a used car, he checks gaps and paint first, as these tell you, if it has been in an accident that wasnt declared. That works for every car brand except Tesla.

A variance of 4 mm would certainly be cause for complaint, and good cause for a demand that the flaw be fixed.

None of the panel gaps shown in this video even remotely
approach that level of obvious imperfection.

In a nutshell…made in USA. All of the Big 3 mfgrs have similar issues. Just check.

I think it was too much Nitpicking. Measuring panel gaps via calipers? with panel difference of over 1 MM? I spot of “dust” in paint shop? Some scratches due to poor delivery handling?
I think people are forgetting what is actually important in a car. When real engineers talk about car’s quality, this is not it. These are minor cosmetic blemishes. Hyping them to hurt a brand, because u need uTube advertising is a bad thing, IMO.

I am so sorry to hear about your despicable Model 3 and want to help: how much do you want to let me take that horrible lemon off your hands?

Be sure and knock off the $7,500 tax credit you’ll get on your 2018 taxes and the standard 25% ‘driving off the lot’ discount. Together, that should reduce the price to ~$35k.

I bet he doesn’t even own that car….. 🙁

I’m a qualified mechanic and work for a luxury brand, I’m also well aware of the EV take over and welcome it. Most of our models have Hybrid versions and am in no way a EV hater. But those kinds of defects and misalignment issues shown are such poor quality for the price Tesla are charging.

They have the potential too be a fantastic car, those misalignment issues boil down too assembly issues, Not enough accuracy in how they are put together. Those gaps widen and move over vehicle use and may end up touching other areas they shouldn’t causing noise, water issues, wind noise while driving. And I’d gather if that is the ‘resolution’ they are working in on the vehicle exterior that would apply to vehicle interior as well.

I want them too be good cars but they aren’t doing themselves any favors with the Model 3.

Have you EVER done an article on this about ANY other car or EV? Why not? And why have you started now? This is does not live up to the standards we expect of InsideEVs….

Are you talking about the guy from Engineering Explained? He has tons of car articles. He even recently did one disproving the myth that EVs are dirtier than gas cars (i.e. a very pro EV piece).

No, Mr. Moore is pointing out — quite correctly, I think — that InsideEVs has never, ever done any article about examining panel gaps or minor paint flaws in any car other than Tesla’s cars. None. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

The unwary reader may come to the conclusion that all cars other than Tesla cars have absolutely perfect fit-and-finish, with panel gaps which never vary by as much as a single millimeter, and which never have tiny flaws in the paint finish!

The thing about propaganda campaigns is… they often work. Repeat a Big Lie often enough, and people will start to believe it. FÜDsters and serial Tesla bashers have repeated the accusations about fit-and-finish issues with Tesla’s cars that even EV advocates now accept them as “fact”, despite very clear evidence that Tesla has significantly improved the cosmetic issues which are receiving microscopic examination here.



I’d love to see a double-blind study done of the fit-and-finish of various cars from various auto makers. I’d love to see a series of very close-up photos taken of panel gaps and various spots on the paint finish; close-ups taken in positions where even professional auto reviewers would not be able to tell what car it was. Let a panel of car reviewers examine the photos and give them numerical ratings for quality.

But unless and until that happens, I’ll continue to believe that the overwhelming majority of complaints of this type are just an example of bias, either conscious or unconscious, and heavily influenced by an unfortunately successful FÜD campaign against Tesla.

Several comments here say that Engineering Explained has no anti-EV agenda, and that we shouldn’t assume any intentional bias on the part of the reviewer here. Perhaps that’s true. But scientists worked out the principle of the double-blind study because even people trying hard not to show bias, sometime are still influenced by an unconscious bias.

Others do not have these issues. Have a look by yourself.
Others do not produce in tents as well.

I have looked at cars in parking lots. Every single one of them has imperfections in panel gaps, if you look closely enough. I have to wonder if you have actually had a look for yourself, if you think they don’t.

And Tesla cars don’t get painted, or pre-washed before painting, in tents.

He’s Nit Picking The Hell 0ut of The Car , 99.9% 0f Those Minor Flaws Will Buff Out in Less Than 10 minutes Time ,Using a Bit Of Common Household Tooth Paste & a Rag … lol .. He’s Exaggerating , Zooming In, & Magnifying it , Over Blowing a Simple “Non Issue” Flaw Making a Mountain Out of a Moe Hill. This Critic Is Misrepresenting the Product, it’s All Very Misleading . Btw, Most new Cars if not All , Have Some Orange Peel in the Paint , So Does My Mercedes .. And there is Nothing Wrong With it ! It’s “Production” Car & Minor Flaws Are Expected . This Big Shot Should Go & Get A Custom Show Quality Paint Job For about $10,000.00 + & Keep The Car In A Show Room & Never Take It Out ! …. What A Bone Head He Is ! … Does All This, Just So People Will Watch His Inaccurate & Demeaning Video .. * 🙁 *

The scratches and dirt are down to the color layer. You can not get them out with polish on the clear coat!
The Tesla fanboys are going mental right now on here.

Moderators, please have a look at the votes to this post by amt. It got an insane amount of positive in a very short time. Especially obvious, if you compare it to other posts of him generated around the same time.

Your the actual boneheaded one.

You clearly know nothing about paint.

The new tech drivetrain seems no ptoblems

In regards to the paint defects – I can see where some of them are valid concerns – piece of dirt floating around and getting stuck behind the clearcoat and the “textured appearance and orange peel” look. However, if you compared this to pretty much any other vehicle, whether it’s a luxury model or some low-end economy car, you’d probably find the exact same defects. As far as the scratches? Can he confirm these scratches occurred during the paint process, or could they have occurred during the transport of the vehicle to either the dealership or his home? The transport companies have to strap the vehicles down in some cases to avoid them from hitting other vehicles on the transport. I’ve had several cars shipped to me from various parts of the country, and minor scratches like this aren’t uncommon. Good to see Tesla is willing to fix all the paint issues. Probably take an entire re-spray of the car.

Wealthy owners of the X/s do not seemed to be bothered by what Model 3 owners seem to be Disasterous. They expect the Model 3 to be a Model X/S and it is not. It’s base price places at an average car level as an average base car MSRP around $32000. If it were not for the buyers of Model X/S there would be no Model 3. For a new car company to come out with 3 revolutionary cars with safety and power is unbelievable vs the other companies being around for 100 years. Just think what generation 2-3 or more will bring.

Lots of polarizing comments here, but easy to draw some simple conclusions from his observations, although not very dramatic: The scratch positions clearly are related to transport handling, not anything to do with the factory. Not surprising given the big year end push with new delivery contractors but shows Tesla needs to work on new contractor performance measurement. In this case, Tesla agreed to fix it, as would most manufacturers. The “orange peel” looks pretty standard for many new cars. Seems to be more of a marketing problem since the $2500 up charge makes people believe it is a better paint job, whereas it is just a way to increase prices for the same paint process standard. The single dust particle under the paint could have happened in any paint shop, but this one clearly should have been caught in factory inspection. Can’t draw any conclusions on one defect on one car, but Tesla will fix it anyway, as would most manufacturers. The panel gap differentials are reasonably small, but slightly below current industry norms. Few will notice, but shows Tesla still has a bit of work to do in order to reach industry parity. In summary, if you really… Read more »

I am not a Nissan fan, at all… But,,, I can get a better paint job on a Leaf, for free.

I am just saying…

Actually, no offense, but you have to pay for a Leaf in order to get a Leaf paint job. It’s not “free” when you have to pay to get it! 🙂

The paint condition is horrible.

Glass gap is no good.


With regards to paint defects as far as I see the car has only 1 (dirt in paint) the rest are shipping damages not defects !

I have no problems buying a “pre-scratched” car, but then I don’t want to pay for a new car. As many of you already stated, if you can’t put the body panels straight, what else is mis-aligned? Does the car have the same wheelbase on both sides? Does it track straight?

Those panel gap differences are in the same league as a vintage Mustang, only 55 years later.

Wife frequently tells me “you’re too picky” but I would probably accept delivery, so think he should sell it to me at a big loss.
Relax, go for a drive, and be happy!