When I first told my readers about an Austin-made Tesla Model Y with a cracked front casting, the owner had yet to confirm how serious the problem was. It did not take long: apart from using a flashlight and a mechanic pick to show it affected more than the skinny paint that component has, NK also told me more about his lengthy struggle to correct his brand-new Model Y – which led to a more extensive investigation.
“At delivery, I inspected the car based on the main things other owners said to check. At the time, everything was fine, but I did not check the frame or structural members, as the car was new from the factory, and one shouldn’t have to check that.”
NK denied his car was ever involved in any collisions. Ironically, he discovered the cracked front casting when he was investigating another serious issue that his Model Y could present: a missing brake fluid reservoir cap. Believe it or not, for anyone to check if the brake fluid reservoir is in place, they will have to remove the plastic cover on the base of the windscreen. The second embedded video here shows that on a Model 3, which shares several components with the electric SUV.
“I saw this post on Reddit and thought it was extremely dangerous if there was no cap to the brake fluid. And based on Tesla’s track record of issues, I had to check my car.”
An open brake fluid reservoir is a death trap: the vehicle can either lose brake fluid, or this substance may absorb moisture as time goes by, which will make the brakes fail. As much as a Tesla may have regenerative braking, it is not enough to stop the car in emergencies. If it were, the BEV maker would have found a way to eliminate it and save some bucks, rest assured. Cracked_Tesla’s car had the cap, but its front casting was cracked, as the images I’ve published in my first article show.
“May is when I first saw the cracks and submitted the service request. I was not able to take the car to the service center until July, so that’s when the whole saga began.”
I’d count all four months since the issue was discovered, but NK generously says he has been dealing with the problem with Tesla for the last two. If the company had offered to correct that right from the start, we probably would have never heard of the flaw. Unfortunately, that was not how Tesla decided to deal with NK’s concerns.
“The manager of the service center said multiple times that ‘the car is safe to drive’ and that he had been assured by ‘engineers’ that it is ‘safe.’ However, he will not give me anything in more detail or any official Tesla documentation to confirm that.”
The Tesla Files episode revealed that the BEV maker instructs its technicians always to provide feedback orally. Internal documents obtained by Handelsblatt stated: “Do not copy the report below into an email, text message, or leave it in a voicemail to the customer.” That was not acceptable for NK, notably after he managed to see and film light beams from his flashlight crossing the cracked front casting. You can check the video below, which Cracked_Tesla published on his YouTube channel and allowed me to embed in this article.
Pay careful attention to the area of the crack right below where it bifurcates. The flashlight shines there right at the beginning of the video. I recommend you watch this on your cellphone, where the video format is more favorable. It leaves no doubt about how deep the damage is. The mechanic pick was not even necessary to confirm the issue, but NK used it as well.
“I was shocked, scared, and nervous for my safety as it is my only method of transportation.”
So far, Cracked_Tesla has not heard of any other cases like the one involving his BEV. Although even the Model Y owner wishes his car to be the only one affected, that is very unlikely. Giga Grünheide faced 60% of rejected cast parts about a year ago. There are pictures of these rejected parts pilling up in Fremont. If NK’s Model Y received a component that should also have been discarded by quality control, others may have reached production units as well.
NK’s alert should get Austin-made BEV owners to verify that. If you repair Tesla vehicles and have ever seen anything like this, please let NK and me know. If the BEV maker is so sure that this is not serious, it should provide Cracked_Tesla at least with a document that gives him some peace of mind. I’ll let you know about all the developments this story may have.