September 2019. California.
Mobile Service is one of the unique benefits that Tesla provides to make car service easy on the owner. This week I experienced Tesla’s Mobile Service first hand.
Mobile Service is also the only way U.S. Tesla owners who live in Michigan, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Alabama can get service for their cars – those states do not allow Tesla to operate service centers within their borders (as of Nov. 2019). In case you didn’t know, Tesla is still fighting headwinds of these sorts every single day. On a recent trip I spoke with a New Mexico owner at the Albuquerque Supercharger. He had an issue, made a Mobile Service appointment, and Tesla arrived at his house in a van carrying all the parts and tools needed to address the issue.
Back to my car: the door handle on the front passenger door of my Model 3 had begun staying in the open position several times a week. Model 3 door handles have a spring mechanism that smoothly draw the handle back into the door. In my case, sometimes instead of pulling back in flush with the door, the handle was staying in the open position. When that happened touching the handle was enough to activate the spring and pull the handle back in.
I could not see anything obvious in the way so I called Roadside Assistance to ask if I could spray a lubricant on the hinge without affecting the electronic switch that opens the door. The person I spoke with on the phone said it’d be better to have one of Tesla’s technicians look at it and make the appropriate repair. So she set up a time to have Mobile Service stop by and check out the handle.
Mobile Service appointments can be set up at your home, work place, or other convenient locations. I asked to have the repair at my house and was given a 2-hour window when the technician would arrive and begin work. The technician called me 2 hours before the appointment, said he was ahead of schedule and asked if it was OK to start early.
The Mobile Service technician arrived in one of Tesla’s Model S Mobile Service cars. The rear storage area has been outfitted with a slick tool chest including everything they’d need for specific tasks.
The technician had brought along a new handle, but wanted to take a better look at the handle. So he quickly took apart the door, removed the handle, and decided it could be lubricated for a permanent solution.
The technician was knowledgeable, quick, and efficient. He had to take the door apart from the inside and remove the glass to get to the handle. He decided how to fix the issue, reassembled the door, made sure door and window were clean, and was finished in less than an hour. Work was covered under warranty. He showed me where I could spray lubricant if the handle began sticking again, but said it would be better to have mobile service replace the handle under warranty if it happened again.
I believe this issue results from Tesla reinventing practically everything from the ground up. Tesla’s cars have flush door handles to achieve a lower drag coefficient that gets you more miles per kWh. Rather than using generic off the shelf door handles manufactured by another company Tesla designed their own. Teslas is addressing the issue and my Mobile Service experience demonstrates how Tesla is dedicated to providing a positive experience for owners.