Document Proves Tesla Admits Model 3 Rear Bumper Design Flaw, Though Quietly

It was 2018 when the first cases of Model 3 rear bumpers coming off after driving through rain first surfaced, but the issue reached peak notoriety earlier this year when Tesla denied one owner warranty by invoking "an act of God".
Tesla Model 3 rear bumper incident 6 photos
Tesla Model 3 rear bumper detaches after driving in the rainTesla Model 3 rear bumper detaches after driving in the rainTesla Model 3 rear bumper detaches after driving in the rainTesla Model 3 rear bumper detaches after driving in the rainTesla Model 3 rear bumper detaches after driving in the rain
We're won't go into what can of worms that kind of formulation can open up, which is probably why Tesla changed its stance immediately. However, despite the media coverage the incident received, the company never really came out to clear the water, so to speak, and explain why several of its EVs were faced with the same problem.

One month later, another Model 3 owner made a staggering discovery. It would appear his electric sedan had the unorthodox habit of gathering dirt and all sorts of debris in its rear underside panel and bumper. And just in case you're thinking something like a handful, think more in the terms of bucketful: 32 pounds, to be more exact.

Clearly, the Model 3's underside has (or had, as we're about to find out) some design flaws, but since Tesla's not the kind of company that's willing to admit something like that, the general public was pretty much left in the dark as to the cause and the solution for the problem.

An official service bulletin from Tesla dated July 31, 2020 sheds some much-needed light on the situation and, as suspected, shows there was indeed a flaw in the component's design. However, it's worth pointing out the document wasn't made public through the company's official channels - whatever those may be these days after Tesla dissolved its PR department.

As it turns out, we have electrek to thank for clearing up one of the world's greatest mysteries and sharing this internal document with everybody else. "In rare instances," the paper reads, "certain components on Model 3 vehicles built at the Fremont Factory before May 21, 2019, might be damaged when driving through standing water on a road or highway with poor drainage or pooling water. In these rare instances, the rear fascia might detach from the vehicle and harnesses and/or body fasteners/mounts might also be damaged."

So, the problem was identified a long time ago and sorted out before May 2019, but Tesla didn't see fit to inform anyone about it. The good news is the service bulletin also states that any damage occurred under these circumstances is covered under warranty, though we fear it all comes way too late for everyone who lost years of their lives fighting Tesla's customer service on this issue. You know, the same customer service that invoked an act of God.


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