As electric vehicle (EV) automakers without traditional dealerships rise in the U.S. auto market, right-to-rebuild legislation is needed now more than ever, as depicted by the stark pricing difference between Tesla’s service centers and third-party repair shops.
One Tesla user took his leased Model 3 to a Tesla service center, only to receive a bill for $16,000 USD to replace a battery pack – which was damaged when hitting road debris, according to The Drive.
The individual later reached out to Rich Benoit of Rich Rebuilds and Electrified Garage, which were able to replace the part for just $700 USD before getting him back onto the road.
The owner, who remains anonymous, hit some road debris on the freeway, damaging the coolant line’s connection to the battery pack, causing coolant to leak from the pack. Later he found that the damage wasn’t covered by insurance, and through the service center, he would have been forced to swap out the entire car instead of being repaired, since the problem wasn’t serviceable at the center.
Ultimately, Rich and the Electrified Garage team fixed the part affordably and called this an example of why right-to-repair laws are needed. Still, it’s unclear how Tesla service teams would react if they witnessed the repair, since their “Unsupported or Salvage Vehicle Policy” states that the company will permanently disable access to Superchargers for any unsupported repairs to its vehicles.
A right-to-repair measure passed in Massachusetts after Benoit helped to push for it, and the law will force Tesla to share diagnostic tools for all 2022 models and beyond – however, there’s still a long way to go before Tesla owners can save money by replacing parts themselves.
Zachary Visconti is a writer with a knack for electric vehicles, technology, and climate change. Currently residing in Fort Collins, Colorado, Zach loves his partner, his cat, and a good cup of coffee.