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Tesla Client That Got Model 3 Performance Without Brake Pad Tells Us Her Story
April Gillmore is the kind of woman that likes cars and knows them well. Before buying a 2022 Tesla Model 3 Performance, she owned a Mercedes-Benz C300 4MATIC but wanted something more exciting. After checking some Audi S4 and RS5 units for sale, she realized the Tesla was more exciting and also new. The problem is that it came without a brake pad.

Tesla Client That Got Model 3 Performance Without Brake Pad Tells Us Her Story

Inside brake pad on the right rear wheel of April Gillmore's Tesla Model 3 PerformanceInside brake pad on the right rear wheel of April Gillmore's Tesla Model 3 PerformanceTesla Model 3 Performance bought by April Gillmore had no inside brake pad on rear left wheelTesla Model 3 Performance bought by April Gillmore had no inside brake pad on rear left wheelText messages exchanged by April Gillmore and Tesla Service Center showing rear left wheel without inside brake pad was "within specs."Text messages exchanged by April Gillmore and Tesla Service Center showing rear left wheel without inside brake pad was "within specs."Text messages exchanged by April Gillmore and Tesla Service Center showing rear left wheel without inside brake pad was "within specs."Text messages exchanged by April Gillmore and Tesla Service Center showing rear left wheel without inside brake pad was "within specs."Text messages exchanged by April Gillmore and Tesla Service Center showing rear left wheel without inside brake pad was "within specs."
Curiously, she chose the Model 3 Performance “because of the upgraded brakes and track mode.” She wanted to take it to a track that was being built near the city where she lives. But that changed soon after she took delivery of her Tesla, on December 19. Gillmore immediately heard the sound of metal scratching metal that she knew was a sign of trouble. It came from the rear left wheel.

“I was instructed to report any issues with the car to Tesla via the Tesla app by the Tesla employee who called me to ask how I liked the car the day after pick up. So, on the evening of December 20, I created a service ticket and booked a service appointment. I was completely shocked that the first appointment was three weeks out, but I figured I'd book it and go from there.”

Gillmore was surprised with Tesla’s first providence about the issue in her car.

“The following morning, I received a message from Tesla Service referring me to a third-party paint or body shop and offering to cancel my service appointment. I responded that this wasn't a paint or bodywork issue and questioned their decision to refer me elsewhere. Later that day, I received a message that their previous message was sent in error, and they requested that I submit a video of the issue.”

The Tesla customer had to recruit a friend to help her record a video showing the issue. The response that came after she sent it was something other customers hear so much that they even make fun of it: the car would be “within specs:” Tesla’s technicians said the noise was normal for performance brakes.

“I'm not sure why or how an experienced technician could say that the noise was normal. I actually argued with them about their feedback. I don't think you need to be a mechanic to tell that there's something wrong with that wheel. Also, if it's ‘normal,’ then why was the noise only coming from one wheel?”

Tesla’s reply to that was also disappointing: Gillmore would have to call Tesla Roadside and have her car towed. She decided to grab the bull by the horns.

“At that point, the only thing that I could come up with is that maybe there was a pebble stuck between the rotor and the dust shield, which is why I decided to take the car to an independent shop to get the wheel inspected. I really figured they would find something back there, remove it, and that I could cancel the service appointment. I was obviously very wrong.”

When the independent shop inspected the rear left wheel, Gillmore saw that the inside brake pad was not there. That means it came from the factory without it or had the brake pad removed before she took delivery, which is the most unlikely of the alternatives.

“The car was brand new when I picked it up. It had about 20 miles on it when I drove it off the lot. It currently has 112 miles on it. It was never serviced or tampered with during the four days that I had it. I have 24/7 video surveillance of my home with videos of every minute the car was parked under my carport. There's no way anyone removed the wheel, took the brake apart, and removed the inner brake pad without it being caught on my surveillance system or setting off Sentry mode. Impossible.”

The car was towed to a Tesla Service Center. It took them one week to provide Gillmore with a loaner, and her car was still at the Tesla Service Center until the last time we checked. Tesla promised it would be fixed and ready for her to drive it again on January 19. That’s almost a month without her EV.

“I told Tesla I wanted all the brake components for that wheel replaced; the rotor, the caliper, everything. They agreed to do that, and they also agreed to keep the old parts so that I could see those parts off of the car. The mechanic that inspected the wheel and found that the pad was missing had suggested that I do that, and I thought it was smart. I mean, at this point, I have no reason to trust Tesla. Their excuse for not repairing the car has been that they do not have all the parts – specifically, the caliper.”

Gillmore qualified that as the “worst customer service experience” she has ever experienced. Although that is getting increasingly common to hear, it is the exact contrary to what Tesla fans say the direct sales process is: seamless. We asked Gilmore about this apparent contradiction.

“To be fair, the ordering process with Tesla was great. There was no haggling and sitting around at a car dealership waiting for paperwork, etc. I have to credit Tesla for providing a unique buying experience. However, once you drive the car off the lot, everything changes. It feels like a game of hot potato where you're the potato, and Tesla employees are just passing you around to get rid of you. I've never experienced that with any car manufacturer or dealership. Dealing with Tesla Service is definitely not a plus from my experience.”

The Model 3 Performance owner has lost confidence in the brand and the car.

“At first, I didn't think it was that big of a deal – my thinking was that the car has regen braking, so it's not like I wouldn't be able to stop the car. However, the more I thought about it, I realized that had I kept driving the car, that brake might've lost fluid, caught fire, or caused the entire brake system on the car to fail. And, when is the only time you ever need to use your brakes in a Tesla? When you really need to stop the car. I definitely have concerns about the car and if it's safe to drive or not. There are a lot of red flags.”

Gillmore hired an attorney to deal with Tesla because she got tired of “the back and forth.”

“At this point, I'm going to follow the attorney's suggestions about how to move forward. I’m going to see if they keep their promises like covering a car payment, showing me the parts that took off the car, and, of course, repairing the car properly.”

If the company keeps its word, that may restore Gillmore’s confidence in the Model 3, but that is not for sure.

“The bottom line is that they sold me a car that wasn't safe to drive. I urged them to inspect the car, and they blew me off. This really could've turned into a catastrophic accident where people were hurt had I kept driving the car. They've had three weeks to fix the issue, but they say they don't have parts yet they keep building and shipping new cars. Again, horrible customer service.”

For anyone interested or even dreaming about buying a Tesla, Gillmore has some pieces of advice.

“If you're going to buy a Tesla, just be prepared to take matters into your own hands when Tesla Service won't help you. Read online reviews for your local Tesla Service Center – are they responsive? Do they take care of customers or give the runaround? The information is available if you're willing to do the research. Unfortunately, I had no clue that Tesla Service was so poor, and now I'm stuck with it.”

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