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Common Problems With the Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

Especially with fuel prices inflating, people are investigating buying an electric car to reduce their fuel costs, and the Tesla Model 3 has been a great entry car for these new owners of EVs. But sometimes new Teslas have defects, which have been seen in:

  • the suspension
  • the trunk and trunk lid
  • the taillights
  • the warning system for safety restraint faults
  • the side camera

Below we discuss these common problems with the Tesla Model 3.

Tesla Model 3 Suspension Defects

Front Upper Control Arms

The most common issue with the Tesla Model 3 is a front-end suspension noise when turning, or driving over rough or uneven roads. The noise will sound like a squeaking or creaking, a clunk, or even a duck quacking.

This noise is caused by upper control arm ball joints being worn out or seized. The ball joint will fail if moisture gets into it. This problem is more common in vehicles that are in a wet environment.

The front upper control arms have been periodically redesigned and presumably improved. That's probably why this problem seems more common in Tesla Model 3s built before 2021.

Symptoms

A squeaking, creaking, quacking, or clunking noise.

Model 3 Control Arm Ball Joint

Model 3 Control Arm Ball Joint

Another issue with the Tesla Model 3 front suspension is a clunking, squeaking, or creaking noise caused by a torn inner bushing on the lower lateral links and/or compliance links. It is less common for this area to make noise than the front upper control arms, but during inspection a technician will notice the inner bushing on the links starting to tear, or being torn through completely.

Symptoms

A clunking, rattling, squeaking, or creaking noise.

common-problems-with-tesla

Defects in the Model 3 Trunk Area

Trunk Water Leak

Tesla Model 3 vehicles have a problem with water or moisture entering the trunk. This can be caused by as simple a thing as debris building up in the area between the trunk lid and the rear windshield. So if the vehicle is always parked under a tree, you will want to clear debris out of this area to allow water to drain freely.

A more common reason for this problem is the trunk seal being deformed or installed incorrectly, or the trunk lid being out of adjustment.

Another possible cause of water entering the trunk is the trunk lid not being sealed properly. The areas to take note of are the top and sides of the trunk lid.

Another area that can cause the water leak is a poor or deformed seal on the rear windshield, which is more common on the older Tesla Model 3.

Symptoms

Water in the trunk tub, or mold or moisture in the trunk lining.

Where water might enter the Model 3 trunk

Where water might enter the Model 3 trunk

Trunk Lid Power Strut

Having a trunk lid that can open and close with a touch of a button is nice—until it stops working. The trunk lid power strut tends to fail over time. Sometimes the failure is caused by moisture; Tesla attempted to fix this problem by adding an O-ring to prevent water from entering the strut.

Symptoms

The trunk lid will not open, opens with difficulty, or does not open high enough as per the settings.

Tesla Model 3 trunk

Tesla Model 3 trunk

Trunk Lid Wire Harness

The trunk lid wire harness has been a common issue in Model 3s. The wiring tends to break over time where the harness bends going into the vehicle. A recall has been issued for this problem and a rectification has been put in place. Contact your dealer for more information on coverage.

Symptoms

Inoperative back-up camera, or inoperative lights including taillights and the license plate lights on the trunk lid.

Model 3 trunk lid wire harness

Model 3 trunk lid wire harness

Model 3 Taillights

Model 3s have had an issue with moisture going into the taillights. The problem is just caused by poor assembly of the taillights. Usually this will be noticed early within the warranty period.

Symptoms

Moisture in the taillights

Tesla Model 3 taillight

Tesla Model 3 taillight

Alerts or Warnings About Safety Restraint System

Another problem seen often in the Model 3 is warnings or alerts for safety restraint system faults. These warnings can be caused by the driver's or passenger's occupancy sensor located on the seat bottom of the driver or passenger seat) or the safety restraint module under the center console.

Symptoms

Warning or alerts on the screen, the screen shutting down after the door closes, or missing airbag icons on the screen.

Safety restraint system alert

Safety restraint system alert

Model 3 Side Repeater Camera

If your side repeater camera stops displaying on the screen even after a reset, most likely moisture got into the repeater camera at the connector, or there is a broken connector.

Symptoms

Alerts of a fault at side camera(s), or loss of side display when backing up

Model 3 side camera

Model 3 side camera

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

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