If you were doing research before buying the new Tesla Model Y electric crossover, chances are you would find owners sending up online warnings about quality issues. Uneven panel gaps, misaligned trim, and paint defects are the common ones to look for, according to owner complaints, and it is up to the new buyer to either tolerate the issues and let Tesla Service fix them afterwards or refuse delivery and wait for another car (which does not guarantee to be built better). If this sounds ominous, know that the reaction common amongst new Tesla Model Y owners is a love of their new EV offset by disappointing quality issues.
We’ve found the Model Y to be a pleasant adaptation of Tesla’s relatively affordable Model 3 sedan, albeit with far more interior room and a more useful cargo hold. Our experiences, however, have been brief—not like the day-in, day-out use Model Ys are subjected to by their new owners. Let’s take a look at a few of the highest-profile examples of the Model Y’s teething issues that owners have raised to date:
(By the way, we’re not including the amusing hardware-store parts one owner recently found underhood because it doesn’t seem to have any functional impact on the Tesla’s operation and as you can see below, there are far more serious flaws that are more widespread).
Model Y Back Seats and Seatbelts Not Attached?
In June 2020, a few new Model Y owners sent photos to Electrek showing their SUVs’ back seats and seatbelts were not attached to their bases. As the images showed, underneath the seat are some metal brackets, the high battery voltage metal casing, and the high voltage system disconnect handle. Those items shouldn’t necessarily be accidentally exposed to occupants in the event of a collision that could dislodge the seat itself, to say nothing of the seatbelt (a safety device) not being truly attached to the car. These are the sorts of issues one hopes would be caught in even the loosest of quality control inspections before a new car is delivered to a customer.
A Brand-New Model Y’s Glass Roof Flew Off
On October 4th, 2020, Reddit user Indescribable reported that his dad’s brand-spanking-new, straight-from-Tesla’s-Fremont-factory Model Y decided to part ways with its glass roof on the highway. Just two hours after his father took delivery of his new Tesla.
The user described the impromptu convertible experience as follows: “Everything was going fine, and we were driving back home when we started to hear a ton of wind. I thought maybe a window was open but a minute later the entire glass roof just blew off.” The new convertible SUV was then driven back to the Tesla Service Center in Dublin CA, same place as the owner picked it up moments ago. (The same Tesla Service Center did not respond with any comment about the incident.) Later on, the same Reddit user tweeted Elon Musk along with a clip of the Model Y driving without its glass roof, but no response from Tesla nor Elon Musk himself.
Fortunately, the flying glass roof did not cause any accidents or injury to anyone on the road according to the Reddit user. The California Highway Patrol was notified about the road hazard.
Tesla Model Y Water Leaks
On June 20th, 2020, teslamotorclub.com member jb401 reported water leaking into their Model Y through the headliner and onto the front center console, originating from around the front edge of the glass roof. On June 29th, 2020, another club member, CT7Summits, reported and uploaded a video of a Model Y with water leaking into the rare hatch area. At first, the owner noticed a pool of water in the rear after taking the new Tesla through a carwash. They then attempted to recreate the issue, and unfortunately were successful in doing so. A significant amount of water was leaking into the car after only about five seconds of running a hose over the roof. The Tesla Service Center did take care of those problems. However, it certainly was not a welcome experience after spending upwards of $55,000 on a new electric SUV.
So, What’s the Deal With These Issues?
As Tesla keeps on rushing to meet growing demand and chasing delivery numbers, it seems quality control is unable to keep up. The automaker appears to be letting more serious problems slip through the cracks beyond the minor fitment and paint issues that have impacted new Teslas in the past. Potential safety issues are not only avoidable, but unacceptable—we’ve reached out to Tesla for comment, but are waiting to hear back. Long story short, these issues should be taken care of before Tesla’s vehicles leave the Fremont factory. In the past, new Tesla models have suffered from initial quality woes before improving as the automaker gets better at building them, as was the case with the Model 3 and Model X.