Tesla Owner Receives $22K Battery Repair Estimate, Electrified Garage Fixes It for $5,750

Tesla Model S Owner Received a $22,500 Budget, Paid $5,750 to the Electrified Garage Instead 7 photos
Photo: Rich Rebuilds
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This is not the first case of a battery pack issue that almost turns into a death sentence to an EV. Tyler Hoover, from the Hoovie's Garage YouTube channel, bought a 2013 Tesla Model S P85. Soon after its battery pack got out of warranty, it got a message error and only 50 miles of range. Hoover took it to Tesla and received a $22,500 budget. He then took it to the Electrified Garage and paid $5,750 for the repair, a 74.4% discount compared to what Tesla would charge him. Obviously, Rich Benoit made a video about that.
To be precise, the Tesla estimate was just for the $22,500 and did not include taxes. With them added to the bill, the repair would have cost Hoover $24,496.88, as we can see in the Rich Rebuilds video. His car is worth around $25,000.

That makes the Electrified Garage discount come to 76.5% and Hoover’s relief to be even higher thanks to the Right to Repair. Without it, he would probably have sold a perfectly working car, except for its battery pack, for junk. How’s that for saving the planet?

Tesla fights the Right to Repair with all weapons it has available. That happens because the company wants customers to solve their problems solely in Tesla Service Centers. The issue is that the EV maker is not willing to provide them with the most cost-effective solution: it wants to offer the best solution available for the company.

Tesla's Budget to Replace the Battery Pack in the Model S
Photo: Rich Rebuilds
Instead of fixing a defective battery pack, it just replaces it. Besides being faster, it is also cheaper for Tesla since it does not have to hire highly skilled technicians in its Service Centers. Replacing a battery pack also takes much less time than fixing it in already crowded shops. On top of all that, Tesla also thinks it can keep the old battery pack to refurbish it and sell it again for $22,500 – without taxes.

That’s what almost happened with Donald Bone. When debris on the road broke the nipple of a coolant port in his Model 3, Tesla wanted to charge him $16,000 for a new battery pack. It would also keep the old one. The Electrified Garage fixed it for $700, and people still accused them of taking advantage of the process. Go figure.

Although that is cheaper for Tesla, it is much more expensive for clients. Jennifer Sensiba almost had to pay for replacing an entire second-row seat assembly because her dog puked on a seatbelt during a Model Y test drive.

The Error Message Hoover's 2013 Tesla Model S P85 Presented
Photo: Rich Rebuilds
In Hoover’s case, the error “maximum charge reduced” was due to two bricks inside the Tesla Model S battery pack. An 85 kWh battery pack has 16 battery modules, and each of them has six individual battery bricks. The Electrified Garage diagnosed that two modules had battery bricks with a lower voltage than the rest, which created an imbalance in the battery pack.

The solution given by the Electrified Garage was to replace the defective battery modules with new ones. Each of these modules costs $1,500, which alone accounted for $3,000 in the $5,750 repair. The rest came from a new fuse and contactors ($750) and the labor ($2,000).

For the usual budgets critics, the labor process included the diagnosis, coolant refill bleed, removing the battery pack from the car, disassembling the battery pack, ordering the new modules, extracting the defective ones, installing the new parts, reassembling the battery pack, putting new coolant in the vehicle, test driving it, and charging and fast charging the Model S to make sure everything was working before giving it back to Hoover. Benoit said that anyone who can find another shop that charges less for the same amount of work should warn the Electrified Garage so that they can redirect customers to them.

Part of the Work Involved With Repairing A Battery Pack
Photo: Rich Rebuilds
Although Tesla praises itself for not having dealers, it could learn a lesson or two with those that are comfortable with the Right to Repair. They not only sell parts without much discussion but also provide the technical information necessary for maintenance to happen in the best way. Aptera promised to do precisely that when it starts delivering its solar trike.

The bottom line is that people should choose a dealer or official repair service over an independent shop for the quality of their services, not for having no other option – especially when the bill amount to $24,496.88.

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About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
Gustavo Henrique Ruffo profile photo

Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
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